May 22

Monday night Savannah spent at a friend’s.  They pitched a tent in the backyard and attempted to sleep there.  Their ribs and legs gave the underlying rocks considerable pains, apparently.  I picked her up Tuesday morning and we went out to Lowell’s.  She slept all the way.   My memory must be going.  I thought we had just a couple of trees to chop up and move, but it ended up being a whole trailer load.  We all got good work-outs.  About 10:00 Savannah started asking about lunch.  We finally went at 11:30.  We went fishing when we got back, but by then the wind was up so much it made fishing and boat control very difficult.  Savannah made one cast, then slept in the back of the boat.  I caught 4 bass.  Savannah slept all the way home.   And took a nap when we got there.   While we were logging and moving things about, Savannah got to drive the Pug, Lowell’s ATV.  After her first trip, she said, “I’m a pro at driving this thing!”  Later that same day…we went back to a spot where I wanted to photograph some flowers.  Savannah turned and headed down hill–straight toward a tree.  I yelled, “Brake, brake, brake!”  She managed to slow it down some, so I said, “Right, right, right!”  Too late.  We had a minor impact with the tree.  Then the challenge became backing out of that jam. 

Skippers like milkweed.

The dove eggs in the clothespin bucket hatched a while ago.  Anyone for squab?  They’re actually much bigger now, and will fledge any day.

I think the young grackles were eaten.  The cardinal babies were similarly MIA.  This is typical pre-fledgling mortality. 

Wednesday I worked on a manuscript.  Stacey was having major allergy problems, and left work after about an hour.  I found a great web page that shows how to get good macro images with my model of camera (  I had everything but the light reflector, which I constructed.  I couldn’t get it to work though.  I don’t have exactly the same macro lens.  Besides, the display on my camera is having problems.  It still takes great shots; it’s just hard to see what you’re shooting.  I’ll probably have to send it in for repairs soon.  In the evening I went in to my office for a quick errand, and went to book club.  We had a new member who had found us by our old web page.  We decided that our group probably needed a new web site.  Stay tuned, it’s coming. 

Thursday was for pets and planting.  I planted a bunch of nannyberries in the cleared area out back.  I trimmed back a little brush, and herbicided the ones that were growing back.  It’s hard to kill off mulberries and honeysuckle.  I divided a peace lily of Stacey’s.  It had a dozen babies, so I made a bunch of little pots of them.  I did a little fertilizing and watering afterward.  Savannah’s snake got out yesterday.  I’m constructing a new lid that should be more escape-proof.

This is the inflorescence of a ninebark, planted in front of the house just a few weeks ago.

A horse and buggy pass in front of the house. 

The Amish don’t really like having their pictures taken, so this is kind of uncool.  I was shooting flowers in the front yard when I heard the clippy-clop of approaching hoofbeats.  I hid behind my truck in the garage and got just one shot as they passed.  I kind of like the partial motion blur, which conveniently obscures the faces of the occupants.  This one is especially for my family in California and others who are unfamiliar with living near an Amish community.

In the afternoon I revised another manuscript and got it submitted.  This one has been rejected twice from high-end journals, so now it’s either “third time’s the charm” or “strike three, you’re out!”  I must say, the web is a wonderful thing.  In the old days, you had to print three or four copies of your paper and send it off to the editor in a massive envelope.  Usually, my figures wouldn’t come out right and I’d have to print and copy them about 5 times.  What an ordeal. 

Missouri primrose: little plant, big flower.

Coincidentally, Friday morning I got an email indicating that one of my papers had just appeared in print, and included a pdf version.  Again, there used to be a long delay before you saw a printed copy of the journal, much less received your reprints.  Here’s the citation:

Coelho, J.R., C.W. Holliday, J.M. Hastings, E. Maty, M. Swigart and A. Mendell. 2007. Thermoregulation in male western cicada killers (Sphecius grandis Say) in the Chihuahuan desert. Journal of Thermal Biology 32(5):270-275.

This is the first paper to come out of our work in Big Bend National Park.  We go back in about 5 weeks.

Saturday morning we went to the River Arts Fest in Hannibal.  There was a lot of neat stuff, but not much we really needed.  Stacey got a thing for her hair.  We had lunch at a unique local diner.  We had chocolate covered frozen cheesecake for dessert, and rolled out afterward.

Sunday I went to meditation.  Too bad I was late, as I missed Mukunda, who moved to New York about a year ago, but stopped by while passing through.  I collected some research stuff from my office, then went to see the lady whose jewelry I photographed.  I gave back her stuff and a CD of high-resolution photos.  I took some of my payment in jewelry for Stacey and Savannah. 

Monday we had our annual Memorial Day blow-out picnic at the state park.  As usual, we were blown out by the weather.  We had to pack up our stuff and go to the house of one of the families to escape the rain.  We had a good barbecue, and I took some pictures of the local flora and fauna. 

It was Savannah’s first day as a lifeguard.  She had to enforce rules and call a break because of lightning.

Eastern meadowlark.

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