May 26 – Stop the rain

Tuesday morning I bottled the wine.  It’s been a few years since I did this procedure, but I managed to do it all from memory.  There’s a lot of cleaning and washing involved.  The blackberry vintage was tasty–not too dry or too sweet.  It has a lovely color in the bottle too.  I was one cork short, which I made up with a champagne stopper.  A couple of the corks popped out later.  Fortunately, I had spotted them emerging and tipped the bottles upright.  I hammered them back in.  They should seal.  I went to the Kiwanis meeting with Stacey, where she gave a presentation on the unmet needs committee.  I volunteered to give the butterfly talk in a couple of weeks.  Afterward we went to Quincy, ran errands, and bought crickets.  The Tokay gecko was pretty ravenous.  I think she’s recovered from her illness. 

Wednesday morning I slept in late.  When I finally got moving I went down to the river to fish.  At the bridge there were a lot of tiny minnows, but nothing hitting them.  When I went to step over the guard rail I hit my knee on the steel I-beam.  Ow.  I didn’t lose much skin, but there’s an egg-sized swelling.  Bending it is difficulty.  This is going to put a crimp in my biking for awhile.  Anyway, once on the other side I saw a fish jump and cast right to that spot.  I caught a modest largemouth bass.  Kind of unusual.  I moved down to the launch ramp area and fished the inlet.  There were many larger minnows, but still no predators working them.  Most curious.  When I got home I went to the neighbors and fixed her screen door.  Then I got inspired and went into the back yard with the macro lens to see what I could accomplish.  Wind and clouds made things a challenge, but I had a lot of fun. 

The spiderwort in bloom was what I went out to capture.

This fly was hanging out in one of them, eating pollen.

Another beardtongue is in bloom.  I liked the fuzzies on all the buds.

The neighbor’s flowering shrub was improved by this pollinating wasp.

We always have these iridescent flies in the back yard.  I love ’em.

Thursday I did yard work in the morning–did some pruning and took a load of brush to the brush dump.  I tried fishing the river for a bit, but nothing was biting.  I printed the labels and put them on the wine bottles.

Friday I went to the license branch and got a new driver’s license and registered the boat.  From there I went right to Lowell’s.  We fished a couple rounds of the lake, and the bass were actually biting pretty good.  I caught a dozen largemouths and a crappie on a white spinner with a bright pink blade.  While circling the lake we kept hearing a periodical cicada–a lone straggler without a hope.  We had lunch at a barbecue fundraiser, then tried fishing with worms for bluegills.  We caught a couple, but didn’t really get the size or the numbers that we wanted.  I had knocked down a wasp nest in the boat and used the larvae for bait.  I caught a tiny crappie on them.   I filleted all the fish we had kept that day, plus those we had saved up in the fish cage.  No catfish came up to claim the carcasses, at least while we were there.  We went to the catfish pond and tried fish skin and worms for bait.  I wasn’t having much luck with the spinner, which I was casting while I had some fish skin out on a rod with an open bail.  I was trying to photograph a dragonfly on the wing when Lowell yelled across the pond that I was catching a fish.  I looked at the fish skin rod and something was pulling out line.  I set the hook and felt a nice catfish on the other end.  I only had 6-lb monofilament on, and took my time reeling him in.  It wasn’t the biggest ever, but it weighed 4 lb 6 oz.  Lowell cleaned it later and got a pound and a half of meat from it. 

This painted turtle was basking on the surface next to the pontoon boat.

Male common whitetail with partial adult coloration.

Jade clubtail.  Still awaiting the ideal photo of this species.

Fairly large snapping turtle at the lake surface.

House wren at the floating dock.  Lowell has a video camera inside a different nest box that also has a wren. 
Water scorpion.                                                                                        Common Woodnymph.

When I got home I showered and we all went to the spring athletic banquet.  Savannah got a certificate for playing soccer.  At least her coach was brief.  Some of the others went on and on about every darn player.  The food was good though.

Saturday Stacey and I went to Columbia so I could attend a Stream Team workshop. We passed a freshly rolled dumptruck on the way, which was pretty exciting.  We learned about aquifers and karst and confining layers and lots of interesting stuff.  Afterward we took a field trip and saw a losing stream disappear into the ground, a region of sinkholes (with houses planted between them, of course), a spring and a wet cave.  It was neat to see these features after learning about them.  Meanwhile, Stacey was out shopping and stuff.  I had had a big lunch at Chipotle (love that barbacoa), and I didn’t eat dinner at Red Lobster, but Stacey did. 

Sunday I dropped Stacey at the church in Lewistown so she could preach again.  I went out to Lowell’s to fish.  We only had time for one round of the lake, but I caught two bass, one of which was a nice 14-incher.  When I picked up Stacey someone was having a garage sale in the park.  I got a couple of ax heads and a good snake aquarium. 

Monday I did odd jobs around the house in the morning, and went to a meeting of the La Grange Garden Club in the afternoon.  I gave a talk on Monarchs, which seemed to go over well.  They actually had some caterpillars in jars already, as the lady there had lots of milkweeds.  We had cake and punch.  It was quite a pleasant gathering.  There was a drawing for plants, and I got some black-eyed susans–perfect for the new QU prairie.  One lady offered to let me dig up her prairie garden for the plants.  The meeting was held in screened room, a part of a pool house.  They had 10 acres with horses and a lot of flowers (and an old airstrip!).  Afterward, I prowled around the place looking for subjects for the camera.

The Cobra Clubtail, a new dragonfly for me.  Woo hoo!

Spring Azure on oxeye daisy.

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