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.
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.