March 26

Tuesday I went downtown to run some errands.  I drove around the riverfront, but there wasn’t much wildlife.  The water’s high.  I ran into my friend Lew, and we went to the coffee shop to BS.  We ended up staying there until lunch.  I’ve never seen the place so busy.  That’s a good thing.  In the afternoon I worked on a manuscript and a web page for awhile, but didn’t accomplish much otherwise.  That night I had a meeting of the Canton in Bloom committee.  Looks like I’ll be giving the butterfly talk when the day comes.

Wednesday I took the last of my ashes to the brush dump and picked up some firewood.  I built a new wood rack in the back yard and restacked some older logs.  I chainsawed the new ones and stacked them as well.  I de-winterized the dog kennel and filled up the 5-gallon water buckets for the summer water supply.  There was an ant colony in one of the logs.  I used one ant for a photo subject, and spent a long time playing with the exposure, flash, tripod, and every other variable.

Big carpenter ant.  I don’t want her to build a nest in my house.  I’ve been there and done that.

I went to my office for a bit to take care of plants and pets.   Book club followed.   We started a new book, which was interesting. 

Thursday I went out to Lowell’s.  We fished two rounds of the lake.  Not only were we skunked, but we got really cold.  There was a pair of greater scaup and a pair of wood ducks on the lake.  The geese are nesting already too.  We warmed up inside, watched an episode of X Files, and went to town for a good hot lunch.  I went home and took a long nap.  When I got up Kane was wandering around the back yard.  He had made another hole in the kennel.  He’s one determined dog.  I let him stay in the garage with me while I changed the oil on the Lil Egg.  He stayed there until it was time to put him to bed in his crate.

Friday I spent half the morning working on the dog kennel.  I reinforced the upper edge of the panel Kane’s been escaping from.  It already was more structurally sound because it has a heavy wire reinforcing the edge of the chainlink.  I disconnected the panel and flipped it upside down.  I put heavier brackets on the short section that goes over the dog house.  He’ll have a tougher time getting out of it now.  Then again, he has all day of almost every day to work on it.  I changed the oil on the tracker too.  I was pretty cold after all that outdoor work.  After lunch I went downtown to run errands.  When I came out of the bank there was a small crowd gathered around a storefront.  I walked over to see what was going on.  They asked if I was the guy coming to take care of the bat.  I said no, but I’d take care of it anyway.  First I was going to photograph the booger though.  He was pretty agile and flew around the store.  I was going to get my net from home, but the guy from the little sporting goods store came over and caught it with a fish net.  He does it all the time for many of the old downtown buildings.

It’s reddish fur made me think it was the eastern red bat, but it turns out to be  Eptesicus fuscus, the Big Brown Bat.   The “Big” is no joke with a wingspan of about 12″.  I tried to get a shot of him flying around the room, but most were out of focus.  He was released without harm.

A pair of Canada geese are nesting in the wetlands by the river.  This great blue heron had just landed when I got down to the riverfront.

My neighbor’s crocuses came up.  Finally, flowers to photograph!

Speaking of flowers, on Saturday morning Lowell, Nancy and I went to Jefferson City.  I don’t think I’ve been through there since I came back from California last summer.  Anyway, we went to Runge Nature Center for a big native plant sale.  It was outdoors, and it was cold!  Most people just bought their plants and left.  We each got a nice flat full of prairie plants and shrubs, but we stayed for a talk on prairies in the visitor center.  We wandered around the display area for a bit before we left.  They have some actual live animals.  I don’t normally like to photograph animals in captivity, but then it does give you some rare opportunities.  If you crop them right, you can’t tell they’re caged.

I wouldn’t normally get this close to a rattler…or to an alligator snapping turtle.

We ate at Chili’s and stuffed ourselves.  Sadly, I had forgotten that Stacey, Savannah and I had planned to go to the ElBermawy’s for dinner.  As usual, that night Omaima cooked an awesome spread of delicious Egyptian food.  I still ate a fair bit, and we stayed late talking about a variety of subjects.

Sunday I planted all the new stuff.  First I cut down all the dead stems from last year’s prairie plants.  I picked up dead sticks around the yard and took them down to the brush dump.  There was nothing worth picking up so I drove down to the river.  There were a couple of teal on the wetland, along with the nesting geese. While I was shooting the teal, a couple of wood ducks came in and landed. 

The bluewing teal were eating algae and aquatic plants.  The drake wood duck kept displaying this way to the female, who was just out of the frame.  The dabbling teal don’t seem impressed.

Redwing blackbirds had the place surrounded.

In the evening Savannah and I went to see Sweeney Todd at the newly restored old theater in Canton.  It is quite nice inside, but the audio and video could use some upgrading.  The movie was good, even though we knew it would be gory and couldn’t possibly end well.

Monday Spring Break was over.  It was back to work for me! It rained like mad in the morning.  Kane goes into maximal escape mode during thunderstorms, and we had a big one.  He had pushed the kennel halfway off the concrete pad before I left for work.  I straightened it out, but had no chance to make countermeasures.  The day started off reasonably well at the office, but ended badly.  When I began my afternoon lab, I found that our laptops were not loaded with the software I needed, even though I asked for this weeks ago.  I was not happy.  We had to haul everything down to the cramped computer lab.  It still kind of worked, but we had to make some shortcuts.  A few of the plants were positiv
ely photosynthetic anyway.

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