May 21 – Let summer begin

Tuesday I drove down to St. Louis.  I was following the directions to Kyle’s house, heading south on 270 when a “Motorist Assist” truck passed, then a fire truck, then an ambulance.  Traffic began to slow down and merge to the right.  I thought I would be OK, as I was in the far right lane.  I was only a few miles from my exit when I saw that all lanes were closed and all traffic was forced to exit on 44.  Dang!  A truck was jackknifed and a van was totaled.  They were loading a guy into the ambulance when I passed.  I got onto surface streets and navigated through Kirkwood back onto my route and to Kyle’s place without too much difficulty.  We went to lunch at a Chinese place that was really good.  I got way overstuffed.  We went to a couple of nearby stores to take advantage of big city shopping opportunities–a head shop and a dive shop.  We watched a movie, No Country for Old Men, that afternoon.  I went to Powder Valley Conservation Area to the meeting of the Missouri Nature and Environmental Photographers.  I  bought some prairie plants from one of our members. 

Before the meeting started a guy showed an image of a bag of Coelho’s Gold coffee.  I was astonished at never having heard of it before and wrote down the web site,   Later I visited said web site, where I learned that their coffee plantation is in India and the founder was Gregory
Joseph Coelho.  The old dude had such an awesome mustache; I only wish I could grow one like it.
  I ordered 5 pounds of whole bean roast from Marlton Coffee.

Joseph Coelho

After a few announcements I gave my talk on dragonflies.  I went longer than I wanted to, but no one complained.  In fact, received many positive comments and lots of good questions.  There were some good photos in the show-and-share portion of the program.  We went to O’Charley’s afterward, and Kyle met us there.  We ordered dinner and it took an hour before we were served.  Afterward we went back to Kyle’s and watched Taken, which was quite good.  I was up way past my bedtime.

Wednesday I slept as late as I could, then read and watched some TV.  I saw a new show called “Hook and Look.”  First they fish, then they scuba dive the area they fished.  Interesting concept.   Kyle has a greater capacity for sleep, but after he got up we watched Live Free or Die Hard, which has many creative action sequences.  I got out of St. Louis without difficulty and went to Stacey’s office in Hannibal.  I found a few bargains at the thrift shop.  We had DQ hot dogs for dinner, then went to the opening of Terminator Salvation.  This was a special one day early opening happening only in 5 places around the country (woo).  Stacey had gotten free tickets at the grocery store.  They had door prizes before the movie started, and Stacey won a shot glass (second woo).  The movie was good.  It has many action sequences with cars, trucks, motorcycles and, of course, robots.  Bring ear plugs. 

Thursday I took my time in the morning but eventually went to my office.  I caught up on some work and met with a student.  When I got home I mowed the lawn (second time this year), and mucked out the goldfish pond.  I’m glad that job only comes once a year.  At least I found a dragonfly nymph in it, which I saved for future use.

Algae-covered dragonfly nymph.  I put it back in the pond.

I put this minnow in with the d-fly, but he ignored it.  I think it’s a juvenile green sunfish.

Friday I loaded up the kayak and headed to the state park.  It was a warm, clear, calm day.  Perfect, except that the fish weren’t biting.  I had picked up some minnows in LaGrange and was heading to a favorite crappie spot when I saw there was a couple there already in their jon boat.  I anchored nearby and tried my minnows, to no effect.  I did hook a decent bass on a spinnerbait, but it got off.  I tried various other places to no avail.  It got hot and rather uncomfortable.  I did see a few Caspian Terns, which made the day, as well as a mockingbird, most unusual in this area.

Saturday we did a little yard work.  This is the year I make war on the trumpet creeper.  We did grocery shopping and ran errands.  I photographed some yard flowers.



Sunday I dropped off Stacey at the Lewistown Christian Church to preach, and I drove on to Lowell’s.  We did one round of the lake in the hour we had available.  I caught three bass, which wasn’t bad. 

This Northern Water Snake came by while we were fishing.

Monday we were supposed to have our annual Memorial Day picnic at the park.  Instead, it rained like mad all day.  We canceled.  We made the best of a day indoors, and cleaned all lizard/snake/cockroach/fish habitats.  For awhile I smelled
like every one of them.  The cockroach job and the goldfish pond are about the dirtiest jobs I do every year.  Later I prepped for bottling the wine.  I got some corks soaking and scrubbed the labels off two dozen bottles.  Savannah and I watched a couple of episodes of the old Land of the Lost series.  I think SciFi was running a marathon.  I can’t believe how incredibly lame it was.  Let’s hope the movie is better.

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