May 6

Tuesday I took my Environmental Science class to Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.  This is the capstone to our course, where we see how a community can live sustainably.  It’s grown a lot since I was there two years ago.  Apparently, it’s catching on.  It was a fascinating tour.

Two apartments converted from a silo.  Straw bale insulation.  This one was featured in the 30 Days TV series.  I like the sunburst pattern molded into the walls of this little house.

I just like the looks of this house.  They are culturing mushrooms using these logs drilled out and plugged with inoculating medium.  This is a project Lowell and I will likely try someday.

This house is made of cob: mud, sand and straw.  They incorporated bottles into the walls, which looks really cool both inside and outside.  This guy built a little chicken coop into the side of the house as well, with a little window in between for “Chicken TV”.

We stopped at the Mennonite store in Rutledge on the way out.  The students enjoyed snacks and drinks, and just seeing the place, I believe.

Wednesday I took the plant class out to Lowell’s.  We had an outstanding day. 

Indian Paintbrush: fairly rare, I don’t see it anywhere else, and there’s a bounty of it this year.

I think this is an elderberry.                          I know this is a stinkbug.

Wild Geranium.  Found a nice patch of it.                         Mayapple in bloom.

We found more morels than in any previous year.  Brian, Brent, Me; Laura, Emily, Johanna.

Thursday after class Emily took Johanna and me out to her uncle’s farm, where she had seen some interesting flora.  It turned out to be a real treasure trove, with many species I’ve never seen before.

Unknown fungus as big as your head.                           Stalked Scarlet Cup (Sarcoscypha occidentalis), smaller than a mouse’s ear.

Violet Wood Sorrel.                                                                                  Maroon flower of the paw paw tree.

False Solomon’s Seal.                                                                                 Hispid Buttercup.

Philadelphia Fleabane.                                                     Dwarf Larkspur.

Normally, phlox occurs in various shades of purple (left), but we found a rare plant that had all white blossoms (right).

Rock and log landscape.                                                  Johanna and Emily next to a big sycamore tree, obviously home to the Keebler elves.

Johanna has been hired as an Americorps Stream Team Assistant.  Emily will be student teaching next fall.  Both are my advisees and I’m very proud of them.

Friday was a day for meetings and the Faculty-Staff end-of-year party.  My colleague in biology, Kim Hale, won the prestigious teaching award.  My friend Bill Duffield won one of the Franciscan service awards for his efforts to get recycling going.

Saturday Stacey and I did the spring bird count.  Our designated area was the northwest corner of Adams County, Illinois–directly across the river from Canton.  We had hoped to take the ferry across, but they were closed on the weekend.  So we drove down to Quincy and up the other side.  Our travels took us throughout the boonies via some interesting terrain.  We did stop in at Meyer, directly across from Canton.        
Cliff swallows collect mud from a puddle on the levy.                                An old iron bridge.

We kind of liked this old barn.

We met Savannah in Quincy to buy some new swimsuits for the upcoming season, had lunch, went to the pet store, then home.  I was unloading the trunk when I noticed this tiny butterfly on our bush.  I knew immediately it wasn’t one I’d seen before.

The Juniper Hairstreak, my first good butterfly photo of the year.

Savannah and I went down to work on the rental house.  There isn’t much to do because the renters took care of it so well.  I gave her a first lesson in driving the Lil Egg, which has a manual transmission.  She did OK for just putting around town.

I forgot to mention that Savannah was on the front page of the Quincy Herald-Whig last week.  They photographed her while she was taking the lifeguard CPR class.  We got lots of compliments.  I said, “Yeah, and she’s great at saving those silver-skinned alien babies.”

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