June 9 – Bugs ahoy!

Tuesday I got up fairly early and went for the first bike ride of the summer.  My injured knee finally recovered and the weather cooperated.  It seemed easy going at first, but I think I had a tail wind.  There wasn’t much in bloom, but at least there were a few butterflies.  I got home at 9, and Savannah was not yet out of bed.  She’s been sick.  Fortunately, she hasn’t had to work the last couple of days. 

Eastern Comma, early form

Clouded sulfur.

The bright green color of this bee caught my attention.  later I noticed its lovely blue eyes.

Statue of St. Francis at QU main campus.

Wednesday I finished scanning all the photo albums, including Savannah’s.  Plenty of blackmail material there–naked baby pics and such.  It was the classic trip down memory lane for me, just seeing all the old photos.  In the afternoon we went to our local cell phone store to work out a new plan, as we will need nationwide service.  I swear the damn cell phone companies have thought of every way to screw you.  Don’t get me started.  We spent an hour there, and still didn’t get a definitive answer.  Savannah went to work at the pool that night, even though she was still a little ill.

Thursday it rained on and off all day, so there wasn’t anything I could get done outside.  I got the bugs out of the refrigerator and worked out the macro lens.  I found I get better image quality without the extension tubes, even though I lose some magnification.  After lunch Savannah I went to Monticello to register her car.  We had to accept new license plates, but I’m not sure why.  I couldn’t get one screw out of the front plate on her car and had to cut it with a hacksaw, after giving up on other sorts of efforts.

The ant lion larva, Myrmeleon immaculatus, I think.

The real Jaws.

From what I could tell online, this is the mining bee, Anthophora abrupta.

Friday it finally didn’t rain.  I started by mowing the lawn, which was fairly overdue.  I did the string trimming too.  I took a gate off the old dog kennel so I could pull the lawnmower in there and park it on the concrete pad.  I took a newer piece of tarp and strung it at an angle over the mower.  I’m tired of getting wet butt every time I mow.  I proceeded to the rental house and cut another large branch off the boxelder maple.  I hauled the brush down and picked up a load of firewood, mostly big stuff.  I took that home, chainsawed the long thin ones, and split the short wide ones (slices of trunk).  There was a hollow log with a carpenter ant nest in it.  I tried knocking them out onto the middle of the street, but there seemed to be no end to them.  I put that one back in the truck for later disposal.  I raked the yard where I had felled the branch (just one left now), and hauled the small amount of brush away.  After lunch Savannah and I went down to swap phones at the cell phone place.  I went straight to the brush dump again and pulled out a bunch more logs.  Someone had cut down a mighty large tree.  I chainsawed some and split some others until I had a good truckload.  There’s still some left that I may go back for another day.  I took the stuff home and stacked it.  While I was unloading, Joe LaCount stopped by and showed me a jar with a very large spider in it.  It was Dolomedes, the fishing spider, and the largest type we have in this area.  I borrowed it for photography purposes.

It’s about four inches maximum from foot to foot.

Saturday we went garage saling.  We ended up going all the way to LaBelle, but we did get some good deals.  While we were there, some guy ran his car into a tree and had to be life-flighted out.  We got off to an early start, and while driving through Canton we saw a doe walk across the street.  Casually.  I think she lives here in town.  We went grocery shopping and did odd jobs around the house.

Sunday morning I worked on unclogging the bathroom sink.  It’s been running slowly for a long time.  Two bottles of Drano have failed to make an impact.  I disassembled the trap and ran my snake (the metal kind) down all the way.  When I pulled it out there was a little hairball on it and I figured that would do the trick.  But when I reassembled the trap, the flow was still slow.  I took it apart again, ran the snake down and gave it a good long rotation.  I pulled out a little more hair and sludge, but still the sink would not drain.  I figured the problem was upstream.  I took apart the stopper assembly and found the whole area plugged with greasy wads of hair.  Yuck!  At least that solved the problem.  From there I went to the brush dump.  I had pulled some logs out and chainsawed them when Joe LaCount showed up.  He helped me load some logs and we BSed for awhile.  Someone had left fish carcasses down there.  It’s going to smell very bad very soon.  While I was stacking wood I picked up a big carpenter ant and gave it to the ant lion.  The lion had no trouble capturing the ant.  Savannah thought that was cool.  I had fed the spider a beetle the night before, but it showed no interest.  In the morning there were fragments of the beetle in the bottom of the cage.  We have a small petting zoo on the counter now, a slightly scary petting zoo.

Monday I went to my office and ran errands all over Quincy.  I totally forgot to put out this blog on its usual day.  Tuesday morning I installed window tinting on my truck.  I had bought a roll of film and the installation kit with the special tools.  It even came with a miniDVD showing how to do it.  Of course, the guy in the video has done a thousand of them and does every procedure flawlessly.  My results differed somewhat.  The first requirement is a dust-free environment.  Who has that?  My garage still has dog hair floating about.   I found it necessary to curse much more than the video guy.  My tint job was imperfect, but adequate for vehicles that are 10 years old.  I got the truck done and had enough left over to do one window of the Lil Egg.  That looks cool.  One tinted window.  I’ll get some more film and finish it off this week.

That afternoon I drove down to St. Louis for the MONEP meeting.  The speaker was the Missouri Department of Conservation staff photographer who does most of the work for their magazine, Missouri Conservationist.  Of course, I his images are amazing.  I learned some things too (use manual focus to get eyes in focus, shoot in raw, if a subject is workable, keep working it).  I’m not going out at 3 a.m. in subzero temperatures to get the shot, as he has done.  I drove home afterward, which wasn’t bad.  I got home at 11:30.

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