Nearly a month went by without any new posts, despite my recent statements about blogging in earnest. I found that teaching writing classes not only involved lots of time grading papers but also focused my interest on writing. I'm actually writing a lot in various journals and notebooks, but was not focusing in the short run on material I wanted to post here. Finally, in the month of July, I managed to resume my average of one post per day for the month. I plan to surpass that volume from here on out. What I post here, combined with my daily writing in journals, is mostly fine-tuning what I hope to publish in a memoir about my experiences in education as student, parent, teacher, supporter and critic.
Meanwhile, I am still available for guiding local nature hikes. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about rates and parameters of time, distance, and personal needs regarding matters of health and fitness.
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.
We hiked the Jamison Mine Trail up past Grass Lake on Sunday and got part way uup Mt. Washington. A casual walk, over some pretty rocky terrain, we enjoyed walking through groves of huge confers and occasional meadows lined by smaller broadleaf trees. I'll posting tree photos and notes shortly, but wanted to start by posting this photo of Paintbrush, the only flower we saw on the 6-mile venture. I don't call it an adventure because we knew where we were going. Backlit by a low sun, it literally glowed from a basically brown ground cover. Many flowers of many different species will bloom here next spring, but for some reason on this day of cold wind and the ground covered with the yellow leaves of Cottonwood, Maple, Alder, and Willow, a single blooming flower gave me the feeling of a "last of its kind," like seeing the last Passenger Pigeon or the last Dodo. A sad feeling, really, yet happy to see it.
Interpret this any way you wish - was I researching little stem cells (actually, they're all little), or doing a little research on stem cells. Maybe both. I just knew I didn't want to take cliched photo of a pumpkin.
For a while, I stood erect while trying to catch a photo of this Cabbage White butterfly on an Aster bush while a beautiful Golden Lab lay around 20 feet away, apparently oblivious to what I was doing. The butterfly kept coming and going, quicker than I could adjust. But gradually it started frequenting the lower branches. I then got down on my knees for a better angle of view. Suddenly, the Lab got and up barked and growled. This reminded me of an experience I've had at home recently when my getting down on all fours was a signal to one of our dogs to get angry with me. I don't know enough of dog behavior to say whether the dog saw me as a potential threatening predator, or potential prey. I didn't really want to find out, so I cautiously stepped away from the scene. But not before getting a few more interesting photos.
I came across this scene on my afternoon walk around town. I couldn't help but wonder if Mother Nature was trying to tell us something about the state of our democracy. Ironically, the flag had been attached to our town's funeral home. Seems fitting after yesterday's confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. I replaced the flag. Hopefully that will help.
While splitting firewood for kindling, I found this fellow hiding under a small piece of bark. It looked to me like a place that would soon dry up and this little critter would perish. There was no apparent water source nearby. It also appeared to me that, like a bear, he'd fattened himself up for the winter. I wanted him to survive, so I moved him to a nearby place that was more likely to remain humid until the rains resume. Hopefully, they will. Pseudacris regilla.
I almost titled today's post "The Last Daisy," but I know there must be a few here and there around American Valley, but this one stood alone along the pave path up to the main campus at FRC.
Nearby was a small stand of end-of-season Mulleins. A beatiful flower when viewed up close, even though it's seen as a weed by most.
What came to mind when I looked up from photographing the Mullein was imagining a determined gopher racing the women to class. It wouldn't surprise me if their underground route was just as fast. I know it will be after the snow flies.
Around 100 yards away, one or more other gophers seem to have established an underground network.
While I enjoy spotting the last of certain flowers, it' also exciting to see some firsts, like these fall mushrooms. I hope the Orange Peel Fungus returns this season. Certain landscaping projects seem to have wiped them out at my favorite viewing spots. THey are certainly easy to spot when they emerge.
Deer Lake, a couple of weeks ago, when water was low enough that it was two lakes. Beautiful, as long as I didn't look down at the ORV tracks along the shoreline. Hope to get up there at least one more time before the snow flies. Also contemplating Homer Lake, Brad's Camp, and other favorite spots at higher altitudes, but might have to start contemplating Spring (in the middle of winter) around Chico. Tempus fugit.
Two things I haven't seen in quite a while made my walk to the truck this afternoon very pleasant - rain and wild turkeys. The intermittent rain brought up that smell of soil and earthworms that I love. Where I grew up back east, we experienced that every month of the year, but in California, especially during the recent drought years, we rarely experience rain in the summer. I've seen this flock of nine a couple of times from a distance at places along Golden Eagle Avenue, but now they're back at the Green where a new food supply has been exposed. They barely looked up as I walked by within 100 feet or so. I think there were nine, including one outlier who probably didn't trust me.