April 1

April Fool’s Day!
It was stream team day.  The river was high and turbid.  Both the water and the air were cold, but we persevered.  We weren’t at the site long before Lowell asked where I had put the ladder.  I had forgotten it.  We use an emergency fire ladder to climb down the bank of the stream.  Instead, we climbed down a fairly steep, muddy place.  One of the Katies essentially slid down on her rear.  This muddy accent was later joined by strategic wet spots where she went in over her waders.  Yup, it looked like she had peed herself.  That was as entertaining as Michaela in my chest waders.  She’s the 6′ 1″ center for the basketball team.  The waders were just a bit too small for her.  She, Katie and I were the only ones in waders, so we had to handle the net in the stream.  The water was so cold that it was painful to our arms to retrieve rocks from the bottom.  We found the usual complement of benthic bugs, and one that I haven’t identified yet.  [It turned out to be a beetle larva.]

Katie, Katie (butt still dry), Michaela (unmistakable), Johanna and Emily.  Dressing up for stream team makes you look so sexy!

Tuesday afternoon I took the plant class to the arboretum at John Wood Community College.  They have a series of short trails and trees that are numbered or identified for convenience.  The web site is here: http://www.geocities.com/svtanda/index.html.  We saw three tree species that we had not recorded before.  Wildflowers are coming up but not blooming just yet.  Mosses are sporulating, however, which is their way of reproducing. 

You can tell these are different species.  Not only do the gametophytes (lower portions) look different, but the sporophytes (pointy spears) are different colors.

There were a couple of old roofing tins beside the trail.  Under one we found a nice little snake.

The midland brown snake, Storeria dekayi, a new species for my life list.  Woo hoo!

On the drive home I saw a coyote running along the side of the highway, but I had no chance to pull over and take his picture.

Thursday was a long one.  I ate dinner in the cafeteria and sat with the parents of one of my students.  She’s a great kid, and it was a really nice conversation.  She wants to go to the Galapagos, and they had some questions about that.  I went to a meeting on the environment that the League of Women Voters was holding.  I talked for 10 minutes or so about our efforts with Stream Team and Monarch Watch.  Other speakers talked about energy efficiency and similar topics.  I was amazed that I knew so many people at the meeting, from diverse areas of my life.  Meanwhile, Kane had gotten out again and ended up spending the night in the garage.

Friday I ran a couple of errands in town.  After seeing the hole in the kennel Kane had made (in spite of my reinforcements), I got some fairly heavy wire fencing and firmly attached it to the outside of the vulnerable panel.  It took all morning.  It was a good thing I checked the brush dump because there was quite a bit of good wood in it.  I spent most of the afternoon hauling and sawing.  There were four good bales of straw down there too.  I picked them up and gave them to Nancy.  It’s been a long time since I bucked bales of hay.

I found another wetland where ducks are hanging around.  These three bachelor bluewing teal were  lurking about.

Saturday I made some additional modifications to the dog kennel.  I realized that he always gets out of the same panel because the ends of the wires are only hooked together, rather than twisted.  So I twisted them all.  Savannah and I raked out the rock area in front of the house and hauled the leaves to the woods.  We planted a few things as well.  We drove down to the school where She had seen a killdeer on her nest the previous day.  The bird kept running back to her nest as we approached.  It tried the crippled bird trick and various display behaviors.  I’ve never gotten so close to this species.  Savannah shot this image of it.

If you look closely you can see an egg right under her breast feathers.

Then, after not picking up the camera for about a year, Savannah went nuts and photographed everything in our yard–pets, plants, etc.  She took many interesting and artsy shots, but I’m partial to this self portrait.

Love that smile!  She sports a nice new haircut, but you can’t tell that here.

We went to work on the dune buggy for a little while.  I made some last-minute touch-ups to the paint and took off the license plates.  I collected all the spare parts and tools to go with it that I’d accumulated over the years because it is SOLD.

I now have a slide show that plays on my web page.  It’s a collection of 30 of my best photos, and operates through Photobucket.  

If I do this right it should show up here.

This is slick technology, and I love it.

Stacey reports on her visit to the optometrist and other topics.

Bi-focals! Yes, the word of the day is BI-FOCALS. The eye doc says I have to get ‘em. Talk about feeling old. Maybe I can start to see my books that I need to read for class. By the time I get home from work, my eyes are fried and I can barely read the tv channels and definitely not the newspaper. We had a fire call last night, at about 1:15 am. The call was for an ATV on fire, close to the house. At first, I wanted to roll back over and go to sleep, but the fire being close to the house pushed me from bed. I was too slow to make the truck (as was the assistant chief and another officer). The chief and a junior officer had three fairly green firefighters to take on the call. But it was an easy call for them to handle.

Church went well this morning. Our numbers were a bit low, but everyone was in good spirits. Ashton, one of our littlest ones, turned three last week and we had a special birthday song for her. She is a wonderful child, who knows no fears. She knows that she is wholly loved by her parents and all of us, too.

After church and lunch, Joe, Savannah, and I worked on cleaning the winter debris away from the back porch. You know how it is—in the winter the porch becomes a place where things just get put until another time when a better place can be found. So we put things away, swept out the leaves and such. I cut back the trumpet vine that has spent the last two summers taking control of one end of the porch. The humming birds love to each from the fluted, red flowers and by trimming the vines, there will be a growth spurt this year. We tie and train it over the porch rails.

Kane was up barking on and off Monday night.  I let him out and put him in the kennel at 5 Tuesday morning.  By the time I got back up again, he was out.  I put him in the garage for awhile.  When I checked, he had pushed the kennel off the concrete pad and escaped through the gap between the bottom of a panel and the ground.  I put it back and drove some rebar into the ground next to the pad so he couldn’t push it off again.  When I left for work he was pulling on the wires with his teeth.  Stacey and I both had a miserable day of fatigue.  When I got home, he was sleeping in the dog house, and the kennel was largely intact.  I won a round!  Stacey thinks he needs doggie downers. 

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