April 24 – Canton in Bloom

Tuesday we were back in the pool for scuba class.  We practiced skills and goofed off.  At least the water was clear and clean.  I brought my camera.

Laura and Brent

Me, trying to relax.

Ashley–this one had the best image quality.

Wednesday morning I took the vert field class to Fall Creek.  We saw a few new birds right away, then it got rather slim.  It’s still a fun place to hike around. 

Shawn, Brian, Kassidy and me at the waterfall.

The earthworm and centipede had a lovely home under a trash can.  The overlook was better than usual this day.

In the afternoon I took the Bio II class out by Cedar Creek near North Campus.  I saw the first tiger swallowtail of the year.  There were a few more wildflowers out since Monday.  I think I had them going on the creepiness of the location, and started talking about an urban legend of a homeless serial killer.  There’s a big culvert where he put the bodies, and an old piece of canvas he used for a tent.  I said I lost a student there once.  As we were exiting the woods, I said, “There she is!”  where a deer skeleton adorns the ground. 

Dog-tooth violet.  Yellow violet.

Freshmen on the trail.  They’re not so naive.

This huge cross is front and center on A wing of North Campus.  Crows like to perch on it.  I finally caught one in the act while I was armed with my camera.  Kind of looks like a scene from “The Omen.”

Friday I went to Kahoka to speak to 50 5th graders.  A friend of mine is the teacher there.  I showed some pictures of deserts and the Galapagos where I’d been, with lots of animal slides.  I brought some cockroaches and let them hold them.  I answered a thousand questions about snakes and tarantulas.  I brought some Larvettes, and almost all of them tried one (seasoned, roasted mealworms).  It was a lot of fun. Kids have such enthusiasm.  When I got home I pulled stuff out of the basement and the boathouse for the garage sale.  I took the truck down to the brush dump and picked up half a load of wood.  I had most of it chainsawed when the chain jumped. I had lost a nut from the bar.  Craptacular.  I used a big magnet to try to find it, but had no luck.   I went to Arkitec and bought a new nut, plus a spare.  I got the remaining wood cut up and stacked.  I taped Savannah’s ankle for a soccer game, but I think her pulled quad is going to give her more trouble.  After Stacey got home we brought more stuff out for the garage sale.

Saturday we got up early.  A brief shower stopped us in the process of setting up our garage sale.  We weren’t quite done at 7 when I had to go.  I left Stacey to finish the rest.  I registered runners at the race in La Grange, and went back to Canton to set up my talk in City Hall.  After I had the computer and projector working, my students got to the park for the plant sale.  They’ve been growing things in the greenhouse since Spring Break. 

This is the first useful thing our greenhouse has done in the 5 years I’ve been at QU.  One day I came in and it was about 95 F in there.  I flipped a switch and the motorized windows opened to vent the hot air.  Cool!

Things sold quite well, although I think the turnout this year was less than last.  I only had five people in my audience, all of which were personal friends.  I guess butterflies (last year’s topic) are more popular then spring wildflowers.  I went home to help Stacey with the garage sale.  A lot of stuff had already sold, but people kept coming and buying more stuff.  I was thankful to sell the stationary bike and the bee hives.  The Amish bought a lot of our goods.  One stopped his buggy right in front of the driveway, and his horse peed about 3 gallons.  He must have been saving it up.  A guy and his little boy were looking over stuff and the kid discovered the silent dog whistle.  He was driving the neighbor’s dogs nuts, which I thought was hilarious.  I gave it to the kid after his dad bought our leftover dog food.  My students stopped by near the end.  I gave them the 50-cent tour of the back yard, and gave a pair of suspenders to one of them.  Stacey and I stowed most of the stuff in the garage and crashed.  Savannah came back from her soccer tournament bone tired.  I kept calling her the “bag of misery,” as ever part of her is injured or sore.

Sunday she had to go to work, though, and was at least a little recovered.  Stacey and I finished cleaning up from the garage sale.  I put a few things in the boat house.  I replaced the battery on the lawnmower, which involved a visit to Savannah at the Farm and Home store.  She seemed in good spirits, though hot.  After the cold weather abated we were plunged directly into summer.  It has not been that fun.  I mowed the lawn in front of the house, but not the back, as I wanted the violets to go to seed first.

I had noticed a knocking noise and feeling directly under the floorboards of my truck.  I thought there was something seriously wrong.  When I stopped to look, I found a heavy stick in the undercarriage.  It could wobble around, but I couldn’t pull the darn thing out.  It must have fallen out on my way home because when I went under for a second attempt it was gone.

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