August 19 – First week of classes

Tuesday was the first real day of classes.  I had a headache all day, and had a hard time staying with it.  Add to that computer problems.  Then some of the FYE students really didn’t want to adopt a cockroach.  Can you believe it?  Tough day.

I had noticed that the air conditioner at home was making a whining noise.  I checked the filter Wednesday morning.  It was so dirty it’s a miracle any air molecule was able to pass through it.  Some sources say to change it every month.  I think it’s been a couple of years.  I picked up a new one after work; the whining has stopped.  It was Savannah’s first day back to school.  Summer’s over for her too. 

Thursday was fun.  I took my invertebrate zoology class to the pet shop so we could get all the materials to set up a salt water aquarium.  We got it all working, and may be able to put in a fish by next week.  The goal is to get a variety of invertebrates to live in it. 

I found a patch of weeds with dead grasshoppers perched near the tops.  I don’t know what parasite causes your body to be hollowed out and separated from your head, but I know I don’t want it.

This mud dauber was hauling big spiders into my garden shed one after another, like that was the easiest part of its job.

When I got to the office Friday morning there was some water on the floor.  I thought the aquarium was leaking, but as I leaned on it to look around I noticed it was really cold.  A thermometer showed that the water temperature was 4 C.  I guess the old refrigeration unit on the thing still works.  I turned the thermostat up considerably. 

When I got home I took Savannah over to Culver to buy her book–she’s taking one class.  It was $80 for a thin softcover book.  I don’t often see that side of the equation.  I normally just assign textbooks.

Saturday I started making the blackberry wine.  I found my notebook and followed an old recipe.  Fortunately, I had all the ingredients.  I watched some Olympics.  Stacey and I went to a party at QU for biology majors.  I played hackysack and volleyball with my students.  It was fun, as many of my old students I don’t have in class right now.  I went up to spike a ball against a really big student on the other side.  I was flattened.  I had to shower when I got home to get all the sand off of me.

I was a little sore Sunday morning, but I managed to motivate sufficiently to go fishing.  I had bought some minnows while we were in Quincy, and took care to aerate them constantly.  Nonetheless, they were all dead on Sunday.  Lowell and I tried catfishing with them (unlike the crappie fishing we had intended), but got no bites.  We fared better with bass fishing.  I tried a jitterbug and a spinner to no effect.  I was getting bites on a slug-go, but not hooking well.  I switched hooks and increased my percentage substantially, boating 8 largemouth bass and one hybrid bluegill.  Lowell was nailing the big bluegills.  At one part of the lake we got a distinct smell of something dead. After lunch we took a drive around in the mule, finding a small dead canid.  Yuck.  Later we tried baitfishing off a large tree–right in the odor plume of the dead beast.  The fish weren’t biting anyway so we got the heck out of there.  Butterflies were abundant this day, many basking in the sun because it was cool.

Giant swallowtail samples a cosmo.

A pearly eye, which I haven’t seen for over a year.

Nice viceroy.

Finally, a great spangled fritillary that would pose for me.  I’ve been trying about 3 years to get this shot.

This strange flower was in the trail.  The stem is a double helix, with little flowers blossoming out in a spiral pattern.  It’s not in my wildflower book (any help, Leo?).

Monday was a fairly uneventful day at work.  That night when we were leaving the house Stacey noticed something on the sidewalk.  Seizing a rare opportunity, I ran for the camera.

Young bumblebees in love.  The new queen, at right, will hide out in the leaf litter and wait for the spring.  The little male will die shortly.  Life is not fair. 

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