Tuesday morning I met Bob and Jamie early at the La Grange boat ramp. We put Bob’s canoe on top of my truck and hauled both boats (my kayak already being in the bed) to the put-in at the old iron bridge. Scattered thunderstorms were forecast, but all we had was light, overcast skies. The usual put-in spot was blocked by downed trees, and we used the other side of the bridge. About a mile downstream I realized I had left the tie-down straps in the truck instead of putting them in the boats. That would make the shuttle back a bit challenging. Anyway, it was a nice, cool day. We saw herons, kingfishers, an eagle, turkeys, and a couple of deer in the stream. I would have been better if there had been another foot or so of water in the stream, as we often had to get out of the boats and walk them through the shallow rapids. This was especially tedious for Bob and Jamie in their canoe. It slowed us down a bit, but the float only took 35 minutes longer than usual. We stopped at a big gravel bar and hunted rocks for awhile We found some really cool fossils and geodes. Bob and Jamie were impressed with the bluffs, which appear to be about 100 feet high in places. There were many firsts for them, especially Jamie–first time she dropped the paddle, first time falling in the stream on her rear, first time canoeing the Wyaconda and the Mississippi. It was just sprinkling when we got out. It didn’t matter to me, as I was all wet anyway. Jamie used my phone in the steep bluff portion with only one little bar of signal, and it worked. Go razr! Jamie had to go take her mother to the doctor. Bob and I shuttled the boats back to the put-in with only one good strap and a bunch of bungies. They held. When I opened the door of my truck, a monarch butterfly flew out. It must have come from the caterpillar I lost in there a couple of weeks ago. We went back to Canton and had a late lunch and a beer at the Riverside Smoke House. That was a pretty good end to the day.
The serene Wyaconda.
Bob navigates the shallows while Jamie plays the Princess.
Damselfly spreading its wings on a holy rock. I now own the rock.
Jamie demonstrates the butt dunking technique.
Our favorite gravel bar was covered with water willow, but only this one was in bloom.
Bob and Jamie provide scale for these bluffs, which are not even the highest along the stream.
The American Rubyspot, my favorite damselfly.
The deer on the right is wading and eating. The one on the left appears to be pooping.
I put on the teleconverter for more magnification. These deer didn’t leave until we were pretty close.
Wednesday morning I got up at 3:30 and let Boots out. When we got up later that morning, he had killed a small rabbit, disemboweled it, ate half of it, and left the remains on the back porch. This is the same cat that is supposedly suffering from a chronic condition. Here we’re expecting him to die any day, and he’s still out there hunting. The rest of Wednesday was yard work day. I planted some bulbs Stacey had gotten and repotted a cactus. Then came the fun: I went all over the back yard on my knees lopping off trumpet creepers and dabbing Tordon on the stumps with a toothbrush. This was very tedious, but it might actually work. I took a couple of small branches to the brush dump and brought back a couple of logs. I chainsawed those, plus a few others I had collected a few days ago. The chain was pretty sharp and I figured it was a good time to shorten the stump on the old boxelder tree at the rental house. I no sooner got started on that and the chainsaw ran out of gas. I drove home, refueled and went back. Of course, my cut went off track while going around the stump and I didn’t finish at my starting place. I cut all the way around again and got it right. I propped up the butt log to let it air dry. I’ll split it later when it starts to crack. I parked the truck in the garage and walked home, stopping at Nancy’s to chat. She hasn’t seen many butterflies this year either. We saw a couple in her prairie, but nothing like we should be getting.
Thursday I spent most of the day putting the finishing touches on a book chapter. I need to get it done so that I can move on to other writing projects. After lunch, Savannah and I went down to the Methodist church to give blood. Savannah was immediately deferred because she’s stll on antibiotics from her recent bout with strept throat. I had all my vitals taken (healthy as a horse, as usual), and we got to answering all the questions. Have you been out of the country within the past year? Yes, Ecuador–Quito, Mindo, and Galapagos. It turns out that Mindo is now considered a malaria zone. Ding! I was deferred too. Later, they called me twice and sent a letter to be sure I knew why. Duh!
Friday morning I went out to Lowell’s. At first, the bass weren’t interested in my big buzzbait. Then I caught maybe one on a spinnerbait. It was time to try something radically different, and I tied on a slug-go worm. It worked immediately, and I caught 13 fish in three rounds of the lake. Some were of decent size, but the small ones we saved and filleted. After lunch I helped a little with the floating dock reattachment project. On the way out I stopped in Lewistown. I gave Jamie the photos of her and Bob from the float trip. I also left some material and a pattern with her neighbor Charlotte to sew me a shirt. The material has wasps all over it.
Red-spotted purple on dock. This seems to be the only butterfly species at normal levels this year.
We were all surprised when Stacey’s Dad, sister and stepmom showed up that afternoon. Stacey was apparently unclear on this. I went to answer the doorbell. Stacey was downstairs not feeling too well. She said she would not see any visitors. I said she pretty much had to come upstairs for these. In any case, we had a nice dinner at the Smokehouse.
Saturday morning we got up crazy early to go to swim finals. Normally, August 1 here is hotter than blazes, with humidity to match. It was already raining when we woke up. It rained all the way to Pittsfield (over an hour). We got a small break while setting up our canopy, a Coleman geodesic dome type. At this venue, spectators can’t even go into the pool area. We have to sit outside the fence and peer in. Many people have Easy-Ups, and it was our experience three years ago that prompted us to get the canopy. I expected it to shelter us from the sun, but this day it actually sheltered us from rain. Good thing, or we’d have been soaked. From our vantage though, we were able to get a good view of Savannah’s races. She did
well in her races, taking first in medley relay and third in breast stroke (there were a couple of giantesses she couldn’t beat). All of her races contributed to the point total, which allowed Can-Oka team to win the River Country Championships again. That’s I think the twelfth time in thirteen years. Quite a record. Savannah slept all the way home. We barbequed for dinner and hung out awhile. Savannah and Krystal went to a movie, Phil and Rhonda went back to the hotel, and Stacey and I went to bed.
Sunday morning Phil dropped off some doughnuts early, then went back to the motel to retrieve the ladies. I read the paper and they came back an hour or so later. We had breakfast and chatted. Savannah went off to work, and the Nicholas family headed back to Indiana. Stacey had a preaching job in Hannibal to make. I went on my usual bike ride. I saw another coyote right away. Too bad I didn’t take my camera this time. When I got back into Canton I still felt pretty good so I rode around the riverfront and stuff. I came up the hill on the college concourse, which was a granny gear affair. Curiously, there were no cicada killers in the flower beds where there hand been dozens last year at this time. Once home I set up the canopy in the back yard to dry it out. I showered and hid indoors the rest of the day.
Monday we woke to overcast skies. It seemed to get only darker as the morning went on. It thundered and lightninged, but we didn’t get a huge amount of rain. By noon, the sun was shining and it was warm. I spent much of the day analyzing data and working on a manuscript. We’ve been working on the distribution of cicada killers for about six years. This is going to be a monstrosity. Stacey would have been home early, except that there was a fire call just as she arrived. A house in town was on fire. She spent all afternoon there. I brought her some clothes and shoes to change into around 7 when it was time to clean up trucks and stuff. Right after I got home, they were called out again because the fire rekindled. She finally got home around 9. She wasn’t home 20 minutes before they were called out again. Dang place won’t go out. I was watching the Cubs game and working on my bike. The Cubs won, and the bicycle is now ready to travel. Part of the strategy of driving my truck on the upcoming trip is to be able to take my bike along.