February 18 – Boidz

Tuesday morning I worked on my truck.  I’d been having battery problems, so I got detailed instructions from Lowell about how to track down shorts.  I pulled the cable and it wasn’t drawing any current, indicating that there were no shorts.  I had had it on the charger two days and it still showed only 10.5 V.  Not good.  I took the battery back, even though it was only 3 years old.  I guess a lot of that brand are returned under warranty.  Rather than use the remaining warranty, I bought a different brand of battery.  It’s better to be worry-free.  The truck started fine with it.  I took the ashes down to the brush dump and picked up some odd logs.  I took them home and chainsawed them, even though I was still sore from the day before at Lowell’s.  I also cut up the parts of the whomping willow that had fallen in the last wind storm.  I think I spent most of the rest of the day recovering.

Wednesday was back to work.  Yeah, 5-day weekends are rough.  When I checked my email in the morning, I found I had been invited to write a chapter for a book on evolution and behavior in wasps.  I was high on that for pretty much the rest of the day.  Stacey and I went out to dinner to celebrate, probably spending more money than I will ever make on the book.  In vert field lab we studied the mammal skulls.  I pulled out the container of skulls that had lived in the woods in my back yard for a year, letting the bugs clean off the flesh.  I had the students clean the dirt off with toothbrushes and glue the teeth back in.  It was good experience for them.  One of the skulls was from a skunk that I had found as a roadkill.  I cut the head off with my knife and put it in the trunk that day two years ago.  Savannah was my only passenger, but she was NOT amused.  In my FYE class I read in the book that the Monterey Aquarium has a notecard with recommendations for fish you can eat and which you should not.  Then I remembered I had picked one up when I was there last summer.  I used it in class, naturally.  All day there were huge flocks of American Robins and European Starlings in front of our building.  Apparently, they collaborated in an international effort to redecorate my car.

The Spotted Egg

Thursday I just had my two classes.  In senior seminar our discussion of the paper morphed into a discussion of careers.  I think it ended up being more valuable for them.  Most of them at least have a feasible plan.  My desktop office computer was dead, however, which made it difficult to get much done.  Our IT people came and hauled it away.  It turned out that the video card was fried.  I hope I have one back by Monday.  I actually used the wireless connection on my iPod to record grades and stuff.  Makes a pretty good back-up for a handheld device.  It was also handy for showing people photos of the Galapagos while I was at the basketball games that night.  We won both games again, setting several records in the women’s game.  Most consecutive wins, steals (Keller), individual (Rosnowski) and team 3-pointers,  Keller’s amazing moment of the game was making a perfect bounce pass while falling down.   She was fouled on the play, making the pass a moot point, but it was still quite a feat.  It was faculty appreciation night, and they had us stand up at halftime of the men’s game.  My colleague the physics prof refused to stand.  They also had a little reception afterward with lots of pizza.  I had one piece, as it was late.

Friday I just had a meeting to attend.  I took in the recycling and stopped by the Jade Orchid to see Wanaree.  She had been to Thailand for a month.  I would have been jealous had I not been to the Galapagos.  Anyway, it was good to see her, and I went on to do other errands.  The meeting was informative but largely uneventful.  Afterward I went to the new career center office to talk about what I’d learned from our students.  My computer wasn’t back, so I graded some papers and went home. 

Saturday I took the ashes to the brush dump and picked up about half a truckload of good wood.  Some of it was honey locust.  I chainsawed it down there to avoid collecting sawdust around the house.  We had gotten a skiff of snow overnight, but not enough to bother about.  It was chilly, and that’s the best time to cut and haul wood.  Savannah had gone to Kirksville for the Science Olympiad and Stacey went to Jefferson City for a meeting.  I had the house to myself.  The birds were really hitting the feeder and the sun was out so I took lots of photos.

I finally got a decent shot of the Carolina Wren.

I thought I had a great series of shots on this cardinal–until I noticed the green post right behind it.

When they’re at the feeder I can zoom in tight.

This brown creeper gave me some opportunities.  They have huge feet for such a small bird.


Tufted titmouse at the feeder.

My Facebook status says, “Joe is shooting native songbirds out the back window–with a Canon.”

Savannah had a great time at the Science Olympiad.  She and her partner took 3rd place in one of the competitions, having something to do with global warming.  She was rather impressed with Truman State University as well.

Sunday Stacey was preaching at Lewistown.  I dropped her off at the church and went out to Lowell’s.  We cut down some dead trees and logged them out.  Stacey called so we picked her up and went out to lunch in LaBelle.  Good food.  She had a good first day at this church.  They seem to be very friendly people.

Monday I was once again without a computer at work.  I had my FYE class go into the computer lab and look up web sites with green products.  It was kind of fun.  In Bio II we walked around learning to ID trees in winter.  I think the students were OK with that, but not so much the cold.  They were unprepared for an outdoor lab.

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