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.
The first and last photos in this group possibly could be acts of littering, but I suspect the first is not. There's a spot overlooking Spanish Creek around a mile downstream from Oakland Camp that has hosted a kind of shrine every summer for a number of years. On my nature walks by that spot I've found various carefully-placed artifacts that appear to range from celebrations, such as weddings, to memorials for people or events. The items include plastic flowers, small framed photos, brightly-colored bottles, crucifixes, and stuffed animals. Last week, during a rainy spell, I paid my first visit of the season and found only a couple of plastic flowers and the ceramic angel (above) on top of a trimmed branch of manzanita. I suspect visitors will begin to add items in the coming days as visitations increase. I continued my exploration around the camp and a few spots along Chandler Road, to see what new wildflowers were appearing. There's a great spot toward the western end of
Chandler Road for viewing the Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa. There were a few, small,
brownish insects on a few of the blossoms, but no sign yet of the spectacular Red Milkweed Beetle.
I'll be checking every day or every other day until they reappear.
Near the camp entrance is the recovering specimen of Blue Elderberry that has been nearly destroyed by weed-eaters several times over the past few summers, but it's hanging on. Only three flower clusters so far, with one showing in this photo, but the overall shrub looked remarkably healthy for one that was nearly dead a year ago.
A flowering shrub that is easy to take for granted, it is so plentiful, is the Deer Brush (above). While driving along Highway 70, it appears to be very similar to Lilac, although it's not even in the same family. It's in the Buckthorn family, Rhamnaceae, along with Buck Brush, Whitethorn, and Tobacco Brush, among many others.
One of our prettiest flowering shrubs is abundant along the last half-mile of road leading into Oakland Camp is Ninebark (above), a member of the Rose Family.
Last, a coffee cup conveniently hidden at the base of a hollow tree. Clearly not the work of an angel.