After a slow first five months, I'm back to blogging in earnest. In the forthcoming few months I plan to keep on tracking the blooming of wildflowers, the activities of bugs and reptiles and any other critters I'm quick enough or lucky enough to photograph, and to comment on ecological relationships. Since there is an increasing sense of ecological crisis among many people and more vigorous denial of such on the part of others, I will inevitably comment on the social and political dimensions of survival as I see them.
I am still an adjunct instructor in the English Department at Feather River College, but time permitting, I am available for hire as a nature guide in the region in and around Plumas County. A brochure describing my usual kinds of natural history adventures is in development. Email me c/o firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address and a statement of interests, and I'll send you a rough draft.
I have been teaching since 1965 and have recently joined the English Department as an Associate Faculty member at Feather River College. Recently taught Nature Literature in America and am currently teaching Interpersonal Communication and Basic Reading and Writing.
I often have occasion to drive along the northern end of Jackson Street where one side of the pavement is lined with houses and the other follows the base of a steep road cut where I do a lot of photography of wildflowers and weeds. I often find myself in an imaginary battle with the road department's mowers to see who gets to have their fun first. A path roughly six feet wide has been treated to at least three or four cycles of weed eating so far this summer. Some of the weeds and wildflowers that are just out of reach manage to live out their complete life cycles, while the ones in the mowed path - the hardy ones, that is - get to stage several comebacks. It's interesting to see their responses to the cutting, often blooming at much earlier stages of their cycles. For example, Salsify, when left along, often exceeds three feet in height before blooming, but after getting mowed a few times, it might bloom when only 6 inches tall. To me, there is some beauty in survival, even among plants generally perceived as ugly. The Daisies along this stretch are nearing the end of their blooming season, and almost every one I viewed close up had one or two petals (i. e., ray flowers) missing. A few had lost all their petals and only dried-up disks (the yellow flowers in the center) remained.
Another survivor of the harshest of human treatments is the red clover. A bonus that comes with this photo is a cute, green grasshopper on the right. I didn't even notice it until I projected the photo on my screen. I wonder how many of them jump out of the way in time when the mowers advance.
Quite a few of these five-petaled, white flowers are now blooming just above the mowed path. Every year I identify this flower then forget what it is. I've forgotten again, but I have a few along my driveway, and I like it.
This healthy specimen of Red Clover doesn't look at all stressed even though at its base, I could see that it had been mowed at least twice. Maybe mowing strengthens its resolve, much like the prairie grasses benefit by appropriate grazing.