April 25

I have been snaked by the weatherman twice this week.  Tuesday I canceled stream team because it was supposed to storm.  The first raindrop did not drop until 5 PM, by which we would have been done.  I delayed it until Thursday, but no one could come then.  Maybe next week.  Then Wednesday we were supposed to take a field trip to Fall Creek, which is a very nice area.  It was overcast but uneventful until I finished my lecture, when it started raining–hard.  Arrrggghhh!

Wednesday night I had book club.  We watched a video again.  I learned a few things.  My book club has become a lot more fun recently.  I don’t know if it’s because of the new people that have joined, or just a change in my attitude.

Thursday night I took two of my class on the frog survey.  I stayed in my office until 7:30 because you have to do the survey at night.  Makes for a long day!  After two stops and no frogs, it was looking pretty grim.  At the third stop, we finally heard some frogs, and at every stop thereafter.  We didn’t hear any new species, however.  Along the road we saw a possum, a skunk, and a few deer.   On the way back we saw an owl fly across the road–that’s the first time I’ve ever been out with a class and saw an owl (or a skunk for that matter). 

Thursday morning Savannah got her braces off.  Two and one-half years of pupation are over. She’s so excited.  I’m just as happy that the payments are over.   She does look fairly different.  We’ll send pictures soon.  
I think she looks less monkey-like. 
Friday morning I took her for a follow-up visit to be fitted for a retainer.  Then it was back to school for her, and a return to Quincy and a meeting for me. 

At a derelict factory in La Grange (Atchison Castings), vultures have taken to roosting on the rusting equipment, presumably because of its proximity to the landfill.

Saturday I made another attempt at turkey hunting.  I heard one gobbling a few times before sunrise, about a quarter mile away, then nothing.  I gave up around 8 and walked around taking photos.

These droplets are produced by guttation, water forced up by root pressure overnight.

Eastern tent caterpillars are everywhere this year.

This cute wildflower is a new one on me.  I’ll look it up later.

Lowell had gotten another shipment of trees and bushes–300 total.  We didn’t plant them all, but we got through quite a few. 

While we were planting, this chipping sparrow chose to pose nearby.

I think this fly died of Entomophthora, the insect-killing fungus.

We fished two rounds of the lake.  The bass were still liking my blue and black spinner, but they were mostly small.  We kept almost all of them as part of our plan to manage the lake for bigger fish.  We went to lunch in Lewistown.  There was another turkey hunter there (obvious, in camo).  He hadn’t done any better than me.  We waddled out after stuffing ourselves.  We went back for another turn of the lake.  I switched to the all-black spinner, which the bass liked even more.  I ended up with 22.  We went up to the catfish pond to try for a trophy.  I did hook a big one, but while I was trying to get the net out of the shed, it wrapped around the dock and got off.

Water striders were hanging around the dock.

Paper wasp queens are gathering their pulp from outside the shed and building their nests inside it.

We had the day’s catch plus several from last week to fillet.  I got started on it, and Lowell pointed out a nearby water snake in the lake.  I reached in the bucket, pulled out the smallest dead fish, and threw it in the general direction of the snake, which had disappeared out of sight.  The fish just sank.  I filleted a couple of fish, and caught a movement out of the corner of my eye.  The snake pulled the fish out onto the shore.  I couldn’t have been more surprised. 

The initial grip below the gills wasn’t going to work.

It finally got the head in its mouth and began to make progress.  It seemed to gain leverage by pushing the fish into the bank.

Sunday I cut out a lot of our bushes.  I replaced them with the spicebushes and ninebarks I got from Lowell.  I let Kane out to wander around with me.  He wasn’t too much trouble, except when he’d wander off and not listen.  A few times he laid down next to me.   I took a couple of loads to the brush dump, and found some hostas and hen-and-chicks someone had thrown out.  I brought them back and planted them.  I would have taken Kane with me, but he had bathed in the fish pond.  I borrowed the neighbor’s chainsaw and chopped down a bunch of scrubby trees in the back.  While pulling the brush out, I got a little overheated and had to go inside for relief.  After lunch and a nap, I went back out and planted some trees in the cleared space. 

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