February 25 – Mystery solved!

Tuesday I had just one class, but, having no computer, I spent the early afternoon just reading.  We had a community meeting at QU.  With the economy crashed, the outlook of the University is not great.  At least we’re not undergoing major retrenchment.  I got my books and stuff for the SCUBA class from the bookstore.  I resisted reading it all the way through in one night.

Wednesday morning I had my computer back.  I took the vert field class to Moorman park.  Right as we arrived, a flock of snow geese flew over.  What a bonus!  We ended up with something like 15 species, which is pretty good for that site.  We also drove through Quinsippi Island, where there was a surprising number of eagles hanging about, as well as a few thousand gulls.   In the afternoon, I took the Bio II class out to look at winter trees.  We saw a bluebird hanging around the parking lot.   I went back later with my camera, but it was gone.  One of my really good students told me that she wants to change her major to biology secondary education, which is one of my areas.  That just made my day. 

Thursday we had an Environmental Club meeting, and five people showed up.  I think it’s a record.  We planned some events and finished up some recycled notebooks.  That night I went to a meeting to plan Canton in Bloom Day (April 25).   There were only two of us.  We get along well, though, and our planning went quickly.  She had an email about people we might want to get involved in the garden tour.  It mentioned the lady who had bought the old Hasner place.  They didn’t know who it was, but thought it might be my mother, who had moved here from California.  This misconception was moderately amusing on many levels.  The lady in question is Nancy Glisan, who receives this blog (Hi, Nance!).  I can see how someone might have jumped to such a conclusion, as I am often down there helping out.  Nancy is a friend and fellow plant freak, which is why I spend so much time there.   She does have an awesome prairie, as well as a little pond, and would make a good stop for the garden tour.

Friday I went into the office to catch up (from having been computerless).  I wrote an exam and some other stuff.  I went to the pet store and bought some mice for the coming week, as well as some crickets for our lizards.

Saturday morning I went to judge the science fair.  I was a little late, but ended up substituting for another judge.  I met the new biology prof at Culver.  She seemed perfectly nice and reasonable.  We have a lot in common, and I think there’s a possibility of future interaction.  Savannah and her partner Ayah took second place in their division.  After noon, Lowell and I went to the QU basketball games.  The women needed to win to host the conference tournament.  They did, but it was fairly hard fought.  The men had to win to get to the tournament.  They did, and it was tooth and nail right down to the end.  It was senior night, which I always find a little sad.

Sunday we all stayed home, except for a brief, in-town shopping excursion.  I spent much of the day putting together my talk (on spring wildflowers) for Canton in Bloom Day.  While I was at it, I sorted my flower photos.  I was paging through an older version of the Missouri Wildflowers book when I recognized one of the images as that of a species I was unable to identify last August.  I put it in this blog twice.  Here it is again:

It is known as Ladies’ Tresses, Spiranthes cernua, which means “nodding spiral”.  It is an orchid, and the first I’ve identified in the wild.  The reason it has no leaves is that they had fallen off the base by the end of the summer.  Mystery solved!  Apparently, this plant is not common north of the Missouri River — yet another organism that makes Lowell’s place special. 

Monday I saw the first big flock of American White Pelicans of the year.  Spring is knocking at the door.

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