October 9 — Midterm Break

Wednesday afternoon as soon as I was done with lab I drove down to St. Louis.  I was a little late, encountering some road construction and, not surprisingly, traffic.  I met my contact and he took me to dinner at PF Chang’s.  Excellent.  I met a lady who’s family does ecotours in Costa Rica.  Sounds like a good place to take a class!  We went back to the Ethical Society of St. Louis, where I gave my presentation to the St. Louis Camera Club on the Galapagos.  It seemed to go really well.  This was my second appearance there.  I didn’t have to judge the photo contest this time, so I bugged out and hit the Bass Pro Shops on the way home.  I had some reward points to burn, and bought a shirt.  I made it home by 11:30–not bad.  I was pleased to pay $2.99/gallon for gas in Hannibal.

Thursday morning I paid $2.87/gallon.  I was filling up the truck when I guy told me it would be $2.75 the next day, and I stopped (it was 2.80).  I accomplished much deferred maintenance this day.  I mowed the lawn and put the mower down in the boat house.  I went to the bank and stopped by the river.  Pelicans are migrating through on their way south.  I experimented with the bazooka lens.  The sun was too high and bright, but I had fun.

To the Lil Egg, I changed the oil & oil filter, blew out the air filter, added battery water, vacuumed, and aired up tires.  The crabapple had an excellent year and dropped its fruit in the back yard.  I thought I’d rake them up and haul them down to the brush dump.  I grabbed a couple of 5-gallon buckets and began raking crabapples into a big row.  They filled three trash cans and six 5-gallon buckets.  It was a much bigger job than I thought. 

There were about a thousand yellowjackets feasting on rotting crabapples, and a few butterflies joined them.  I haven’t seen these all summer.  They’re great if you like punctuation.

The question mark.

The comma.

A honeybee on the back of a backlit (or is that frontlit?) flower.

Friday we dropped off the Tracker for new tires and brakes.  Savannah took the truck to school; I went to Lowell’s.  First I walked around the place turkey hunting.  I saw turkey tracks, turkey scat, and even turkey feathers.  No live turkeys.  Lowell and I fished two rounds of the lake.  I was hooking lots of fish on a crankbait, the bayou boogie.  I lost most of them, however.  I sharpened my hooks, but that didn’t help.  I think it’s just too much of a mouthful.  We went to lunch in Ewing and hit two garage sales on the way back.  Lowell bought some vinyl LPs.  We fished another round and a half.  As we pulled away from the dock I cast up into the western arm and caught the lure on a limb.  I flipped it back into the water and reeled it in.  Right next toe boat it was slammed by something big.  Catfish! It must have been 5 pounds.  I had a hard time disentangling it from the sunken tree.  Later, Lowell caught two nice crappies, and we saved them in the fish cage. 

These funny mushrooms had antlers sticking out the top.

Not an unusual mushroom, I just like the way the photo turned out.

Lowell’s bee tree.  When we discovered it a few weeks ago, it was absolutely swarming with bees, but it was too dark to get a decent pic.

Found another specimen of this unusual flower.  It’s just a spike with all these little flowers.  It has no vegetative body, kind of like a surpise lily, except it’s only 9 inches tall.

Not many turtles were out, but this one was catching some sun.  I’m trying to accumulate more turtle photos for–you guessed it–the Turtle and Tortoise Calendar.  Available soon.

This northern water snake was so pale I didn’t recognize it.  I had just been telling Lowell I hadn’t seen a snake in awhile.  This could be the last one of the season.

Saturday morning Stacey and I went to Quincy.  We stopped at my office and then went to Washington Park for the Lincoln-Douglas celebration.  The arts faire didn’t have much, and we went grocery shopping.  We got DQ for lunch and an ice cream cake for Stacey’s birthday. 

In the afternoon I went to the second meeting of our local camera club.  We named ourselves the Canton Camera Club.  Everyone (almost) showed some images of “Life on the River”.  We took two hours discussing them, and set a meeting for a month hence. 

Stacey’s pager went off at about 5 a.m.  Pick-up truck upside-down in ditch.  This was not an auspicious beginning to her birthday.  I read the paper and she returned before I left for Lowell’s.  I saw some turkeys–in a field on the drive over.  I walked the entire place and saw none there.  Lowell and I fished three rounds of the lake.  I caught eight bass on a lipless crankbait.  Lowell caught a couple of nice crappie, a bluegill and I think a few bass.  It was cool and overcast with a light breeze–fine conditions.

A green heron was hanging around the eastern arm of the lake.

A northern harrier flew by, but not very close.

More interesting mushrooms continue to spring up.  This time, the shaggymanes.

When I was leaving Lowell’s I spotted this colorful garter snake sunning itself in the road.  I shot it from many angles, and shooed it away. 

In the afternoon I set about installing a siren in Stacey’s car.  It had been a Christmas gift, but she never bugged me about putting it in.  She was pulled over by a cop on her way to the firehouse the other day.  I figured it was time for the siren.  The model is “The Wobbulator”.   The first difficulty was finding a place to mount the speaker.  It ought to go behind the grill or somewhere up front, but there’s no accessing this area on the Taurus.  I found a marginal area in the engine compartment.  It’s mostly held in with zip ties.  By far the hardest was finding a way through the firewall for the wiring.  Many vehicles have a spare grommet that you can pass a wire through.  Not so, the Taurus. In fact, it appears to have a double wall, making it difficult to get through.  After a lot of painful searching, I looked online.  The emergency brake
grommet seemed to be the spot of choice.  I got it through and mounted the switch, but then the power leads were too short to reach the battery.  They neglected to include eyelets for the battery connection as well. I’ll be finishing the job later, now that the cursing is all done. 

I’ve put a few new calendars on my CafePress Shop:

Turtles and Tortoises


Spring Wildflowers


Prairie Wildflowers


Savannah had spent Saturday evening at a bonfire/party somewhere in the countryside.  She didn’t want to eat the hotdogs, which left only s’mores and marshmallows.  She and Kelsey spent the night in our basement, but Savannah had to make frequent trips to the bathroom to barf up marshmallows.  She was looking very green around the gills when she got up in the morning.  She had some crackers and juice at my suggestion–and horked up those too.  The rest of her day was mostly low key, with one exception.  While we were having dinner I was talking to her and watched a tiny fly zoom right into her eye.  She ran for the bathroom while I was dying of laughter.  I saw it fly out of her eye again, but she says she got a black speck out of her eye.  It must have lost a leg.  Most of the fruit flies have finally left us or died off, but they’ve been replaced by larger, more annoying flies that land and crawl around all over.  It was one of these that lit in her eye.

Monday I put some spare snail shells in the saltwater aquarium.  One dropped right in front of a hermit crab, who immediately checked it out and moved in.  Another shell was big, awkward and heavy.  Two different crabs tried it on for size, but traded back for their old shells after a test drive.  I call it the Winnebago.  No one wants to haul it around.

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