Nearly a month has gone by without any new posts, despite my recent statements about blogging in earnest. I'm finding that teaching writing classes not only involves lots of time grading papers but also focuses my interest on writing. I'm actually writing a lot in various journals and notebooks, but not focusing in the short run on material I want to post here. We'll see what develops. Let's just say, my cessation of blogging is not due to deterioration of my health. I might be back soon. It probably depends on how spring unfolds - wildflowers, lizards, interesting insects, etc., usually fire me up and prompt me to keep my camera batteries charged.
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.
No, I'm not about to describe my early morning dental hygiene challenges. Instead, these two photos show what I spotted just as I parked my car in the FRC larking lot. The west side of the lot is bordered by a creek that sports a healthy crop of White Alder trees of all sizes. The ones right in front of me as I parked were infected by Taphrina occidentalis, variously called Alder Cone Fungus, Alder Cone Tongue Fungus, and Alder Tongue Gall Fungus. ANd some websites more accurately refer to the Alder "cones" as bracts, but lay people call them cones. How can they resist? They look like miniature pine cones, especially in the Fall when they dry out and turn brown. I used to use them as pine cones on my model railroad set. I find them rather photogenic, especially when they show a lot of red.
These particular alders looked no worse for the wear, but there is a lone alder on the right hand side of the main driveway to the upper campus that I think will soon succumb to this fungus, or at least to a combination of factors. The main trunk is already hollowed out from rot. This was just the first photo op of an interesting day. A few minutes later, I was photographing wild turkeys just outside my office.