November 29

Wednesday I took my Ecology class out for the goldenrod gall fly lab.  We found an abundance of galls, and fairly quickly.  We had a high yield of larvae, and I saved them for bait, as usual, but also for photographic purposes.  In the evening I met Jay at Lori’s for dinner.  We went to book club and had a lengthy discussion.  We reassessed our purpose, which was very healthy.  We also had a small birthday celebration for Jammie.  Lori made key lime tarts with raspberries, and they were awesome!

Thursday only one out of my four students showed up for Environmental Science.  One had a good excuse; she was in a rollover accident over the weekend.  She was bruised and battered, but will be better soon.  I think this is the second best excuse all-time I have heard in my career.  Her accident (and her name) made the TV news.  The first place excuse will be hard to beat–one of my students had her entire city (Kobe, Japan) destroyed by an earthquake in 1995.  With the one student we skipped lecture and got some work done.  We identified some of the mussels for her research project.  We designed a banner for the environmental club, to be hung in the student center.  The colors won’t be exactly like this.

I pulled out the refrigerated larvae and mounted my camera on the stand.  I attached the macro lens and adjusted my lights, but when I turned the camera on the display was dark.  I tweaked my lights but could not get a brighter image.  Before I went for my flash, I checked the lens again, where I had attached the macro lens to the lens cap.  That was an easy fix.  Yeah, I photographed maggots today.  
Goldenrod gall fly (Eurosta solidaginis) larva, AKA maggot.   Wasp (Eurytoma gigantea) larva: not a maggot but not pretty either.

Last summer when I was in California we all went to the Portuguese Festa, ate bunch of sopas, went back to Mike & Cindy’s house, and crashed.  My sneaky sister-in-law Cindy snapped a rather telling shot, which I just scanned.  Below you can see how my Dad, my brothers and I inherited the afternoon nap gene from Vova. 

Upper left: Dad, Center: Mike, Upper right: me, On floor near ball: Mark, Lower right: Mike’s son Racin.

Recently, I completed a project that I’ve been thinking about for a couple of years.  I’m not going to reveal how I did it, just click on the link below.  It’s a small movie file (.avi).  I’m fairly certain you will not be disappointed. 

The Metamorphosis

Wasn’t that cool?

Friday I went out to Lowell’s.  As usual, we got our walking exercise by taking a dog through woods and fields while carrying guns.  No quail bothered to appear.  We did find that the deer carcass had been gnawed upon.  Later Lowell examined the contents of the trail camera, revealing the fiercest predators in the region.

The deadly tabby!

A murder of crows.

Wile E. Coyote.

There was also three-quarters of an opossum in one frame.  Kane had a good time swimming and running around.  After lunch we did some logging.  First, we took an old hay bale feeder out of the east side and put it near our logging site to serve as a wood pile support.  We dragged some logs out of the woods using the tractor, some of which we had felled last year, some of which were volunteers.  We motored around in the Mule part of the time.  Lowell says that all of Kawasaki’s promotional literature shows the dog riding in the bed of the Mule, but Kane insists on riding up front, right at my feet.  Near the end of these efforts, Kane found an old deer gut pile and rolled around in it, thereby supplementing his own special scent.  Good thing he rides in a crate in the back of my truck on the way home.

In the evening we went to Palmyra to watch our high school basketball teams lose.  At least the girls game was close.  We watched Savannah cheer.  It was the first time we saw her “fly.”  She didn’t look entirely comfortable up there, but at least they didn’t drop her.  We all agreed that Palmyra’s dance (or “kicker”) team, which performed at half-time of the men’s game, was awesome.

Saturday had an icy beginning–freezing rain.  Kane’s kennel was like an ice rink.  I heard on Stacey’s pager that there was a rollover accident in La Grange.  We stayed home.  So did the birds.

Black-capped chickadee under the icicles.  Goldfinches eat seeds from trumpet creeper pods.

Sunday Stacey stayed home, as church was cancelled due to the ice storm.  While we were hanging around and getting ready to go to Savannah’s piano recital, she got an urge to shoot a bird.  I brought up her BB gun and she shot the next available house sparrow out the sliding glass door.  Kelly Cat is no longer here to eat them, so I saved it for a study skin. 

Shooting birds in your nice clothes is probably against standard practice.

We went to the piano practice, which was held in a new auditorium this year, which was TOO SMALL to fit all the people.  That sucked, but at least there were fewer musical numbers and it was over quickly.  Savannah faked her way through her piece.  We won’t have to sit through one of these again, as she is giving up the piano.

Monday morning I took Stacey’s car in for new front tires.  One was a blowout waiting to happen.  I took the truck in to work and hauled the recycling.  That night I had the last Galapagos class before we leave on the trip.  I talked about the history of the Islands, and the other prof talked about the ethics of ecotourism.  We had some good discussion.  Before class I went to the eCommerce Club meeting, hoping I would learn some things, but didn’t get much out of it.  There was, however, free pizza and drinks. 

Tuesday I showed a movie in one of my classes, but I had never previewed it, so I didn’t know that the sound was all messed up.  When it was over, I threw the tape away.  In the evening I went to our High School basketball games.  We won both.  The girls’ game was a blowout, but the boys’ game was a nail-biter down to the last two seconds.  Savannah’s cheerleading team did a really cool pyramid thing, but I had no camera.

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