October 21 – Jack O’ Lantern time

For those interested parties who remain in suspense, it appears that Stacey’s juvenile snake is a yellow-bellied racer (Coluber constrictor). 

Tuesday my FYE class was interesting.  For their group project I have them write a song about bugs.  This time I first put them into groups of my choosing, had them come up with an insect name for their “band”, and decide on an insect to write a song about.  The best band name was Mangled Maggots.  Sounds like a death metal group.  They’re finding the writing harder than they thought.  One of the better songs was “Lice, lice, baby.”

The ecology lab was supposed to go fishing (or sampling aquatic vertebrates) in the afternoon.  The forecast was not very favorable, and by the morning I had really planned not to go.  I didn’t wear the right clothing or bring any fishing gear with me.  But after noon it was sunny and relatively warm.  Moreover, the students came marching in with their fishing rods and tackle boxes.  So we went.  Incredibly, our efforts were quite successful, much more so than last year.  We measured each bluegill and saved a scale to later try to determine their ages.  I caught 3 or 4, but mostly I was wrangling other people’s fish and recording data.

Shawn had a spinner that was just killing them.  He caught a 12.5″ crappie of 3 total.  Our total was 14 bluegill.  After we were done the boys wanted to fillet some of the fish.  I showed them the cleaning station and got them started, then went back to put away the data sheets and stuff.  By the time I returned they had mangled a couple of bluegill carcasses.  I showed them the Hoosier method of filleting.  They saw the advantages immediately.  They began to learn the method, and were starting to climb the learning curve, but in the interest of time, I helped out.

3 lb 14 oz bass, the fish of the day for Shawn.  Many lesser ones were also caught.

Shawn ran all the way around the pond to net Brent’s catfish.  That’s a true friend.

Students lined up in a row: Brent, Liz, Bernie.

Thursday Stacey met me after work and we went out to the brand new Sam’s Club on its opening day.  Yes, we bought into another tentacle of the Evil Empire.  OK, they did have some neat stuff at good prices.  And we had dinner there, if you call hot dog combos dinner. 

If you like instrumental rock music, you might appreciate Ozric Tentacles.  This group has two album covers in my insect art collection, but I had never listened to their stuff.  Though classified as “space rock”, I found the guitar-based tunes more rocky than spacey.  Good stuff. 

I love the saturniid moth caterpillar, and I think the stalked things are bryozoans.

If you’re a fan of Old Time Radio, you can download all 1400 episodes of CBS Radio Mystery Theater here:

It ran from 1974 to 1982.  My brother and I used to listen to them at night when I was a kid, but usually would fall asleep before the end.  I now listen to them during my commute, and they’re entertaining for more than one reason.  Today, one had some news from 1974.  President Nixon had just resigned and was subpoenaed to testify in Haldeman’s case.  They predicted the testimony could run many hours.  NOT!  He would shortly be pardoned by Ford.  I was eating this up while driving home.

Oh, if you want to download a bunch of stuff from one website, this plugin for firefox is really handy.


Thanks to my brother Matthew for finding both web sites.

Friday I went in to work, but I had no classes.  I ran some errands, including some extras to put in the Galapagos first aid kit (Dramamine, antibacterial creme, and more).   While I was at WalMart I picked up a lure similar to the one Shawn was using on Tuesday.  In the afternoon we had a faculty meeting with our new president.  He seems like a very reasonable guy.  It was storming during the meeting, and I looked out the window to see hail bouncing off the roof.  What the hail?!

Saturday Stacey and I went to a meeting in the morning to plan for a charity ATV run.  After the meeting at the coffee shop, we drove out to the venue.  I ended up going with Bill Lloyd to some of his fields where I used to hunt.  Haven’t been there for years.  In the afternoon, I worked on Stacey’s car.  I got the oil changed (first time), and finished the installation of the siren.  It works, but probably isn’t as loud as it could be.  The speaker points up toward the hood, and that’s the only place I could fit the thing.

Sunday I went out to Lowell’s for the usual turkeys and fish.  On the way I saw a nice buck along the Wyaconda River.  You don’t see those by daylight much.  I took the turkey walk, but didn’t see much but a lot of squirrels and the rear end of another deer.  I probably could have shot a couple of geese that flew over me, but I had no stamp.  We fished two rounds of the lake, but it got pretty windy.  I used the lure which had been so productive on Tuesday, but only caught five tiny bass on it.  We went up and fished the catfish pond.  Many casts yielded me one decent crappie.  Lowell was trying for catfish on smoky links, and didn’t raise a bite.  We went to town for lunch.  The little diner in Ewing is now closed on Sunday, and I guess Lowell didn’t want gas station food again, so he drove us to the diner in Durham.  Also closed.  We went back to the gas station.  They were wiped out of most regular hot food.  Lowell got the last pizza.  They were out of chicken fingers and regular chicken parts would not be out awhile.  I had potato wedges.  I started sneezing on the way home, and spent the evening congested and runny-nosed.  I recovered by the next day–must have just gotten my head too cold.

There were some nice reflections before the wind picked up.  I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now, I guess.

Monday night Savannah helped me carve Jack O’ Lanterns.  We made one for Stacey that was a surprise, since she was down at the fire department training. 

It’s based loosely on a picture of her firefighter’s helmet. 

This one’s based on a photo Lowell took of me in the kayak on his pond.

Savannah took the guts of the pumpkins, sorted out the seeds and baked the
m for snacks.  To my amazement, they turned out really well.

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