Thursday I took the environmental class out in the rain. Most of us wore rubber boots, but one student was so inspired that she put on the chest waders. What a sight. We collected some dirt, humus and leaves to put in the Berlese funnels. We went in when it started pouring. I picked up some pizza for dinner, but they screwed up our order. We got an extra pizza out of it, and I took that to Savannah at work.
Friday I did different things in the office in the morning. In the afternoon we met with some administrators to gripe about various problems at North Campus. The president had some great suggestions. Afterward I ran errands. I picked up the motorcycle battery, which they had neglected to hydrate and charge. That gave me time to look around at the helmet selection. I picked up Savannah’s senior pictures. I talked with the photographer a bit. When he told me he used to have a studio out by Staples, I realized he had photographed me almost 10 years ago. It’s the one where I’m wearing the bug lab coat and holding some cockroaches. I stopped by the Jade Orchid and talked to Wanaree for awhile. That night I carved the pumpkin. I had printed out a photo of one of the jackrabbits from Arizona and transferred the pattern to the pumpkin. I got the idea from my brother Mike to use a Dremel tool to cut into the pumpkin skin to create the image. Then I took the guts out and cut a hole in the back to insert a bright fluorescent bulb inside. Ta Da! The Jack O’Rabbit. Savannah went out to see the Paranormal movie She was so scared she threatened to sleep in our bed with us.
Saturday I was running errands around Canton and saw a guy with a nice little buck in the back of his truck. Then on our way to St. Louis I saw another strapped to a hitch haul. The bucks must be on the move! Stacey and I went to pick up my print at Powder Valley Conservation Area. We stopped at Olive Garden for lunch. We hadn’t eaten at one for a couple of years at least. We stopped at a Farmer’s market and picked up some veggies, then went on the the Global Foods Market, which has stuff from all over the world. We bought figs, dates, and some other stuff. It’s fun just to walk up and down the aisles. I was particularly amused by the canned bullheads and gouramis. We stopped at Bass Pro Shop and I bought a reel on clearance. Stacey went to Gordman’s, which is kind of like TJ Maxx. She bought an assortment of stuff, mostly gifts. We got home just after sunset. We turned on the outside light, but I guess the trick-or-treaters were mostly done. The LaCounts did stop by and visited a little, but we gave up after they left. Savannah was at work most of the day, except for the hour she spent getting her costume and make-up together for her–surprise–cat costume. I went down to Orscheln’s and took her picture.
Sunday morning I got up to go to Lowell’s, but not too early since the sun rises so late. I got up into stand number 2, one of my favorites. It wasn’t long before a little spike buck came up from the east, jumped the fence and walked behind me. Shortly after that, a forked horn walked up on my west and approached the fence. The spike walked up to the other side of the fence, using a sidling step, which I assume was an aggressive posture. The forkie responded with pawing the ground, kicking up leaves. They snorted at each other a couple of times. It was hilarious to watch. The spike walked away and the forked horn jumped the fence and followed him. A couple of does wandered out in front of me, maybe 40 yards out, then wandered away. Later an 8-point buck walked up to where the forked horn had been, paused a bit, and jumped the fence. He followed about the same path through the woods. He was legal, but too far away, and not as big as I’d like. I got some photos, though it was still a bit dark. Some time later another doe walked across the woods in front. It sure was a day for deer. I also saw a variety of birds, including a hawk (sharp-shinned?) flying through the trees. When things slowed down I went to the house to see Lowell. We went out to look for my lost arrows, as I had brought my metal detector out. The weeds are just too deep out there. We didn’t find any. It rained so much last week that the lake was very high. The water was up above the dock where the pontoon boat is moored. I wanted to fish to test out my new reel. I climbed down to the other dock, also mostly underwater, and took the canoe out to the pontoon, untied it, and ran it ashore. We got our fishing gear and fished two rounds of the lake. I tied a black and red spinner on to the old rod with the new reel. I caught a nice bass on the first round. It looked long, and had a big mouth, but only weighed two pounds. I guess it was kind of thin. I was impressed with the new reel (Bass Pro Rick Clunn baitcaster). My casts were long, and I never got a backlash, even in all the wind. It has a very smooth action. I like it better than my Pflueger, which cost me a lot more. It was pretty windy out, and we went in. We went to Durham for lunch and stuffed ourselves on roast beef plates. On the way home I noticed how flooded the rivers and streams are. It’s going to take them awhile to go down.
That night we went to dinner to celebrate Savannah’s 18th birthday at Best Buffet, her favorite. Afterward we went to QU to see the guitar ensemble. It was pretty good. A couple of my students were in it, including Shawn Murr, who’s in a lot of my classes.
Monday I had the ecology class. First I gave them an exam, then I took them fishing. Lowell was the gracious host, as he had rigged up a bunch of rods before we even arrived. It was a good, clear day, but it got cold later. The bluegills were biting well, and we ended with 12, even though only five students and myself were fishing. I only caught three small bass, but the students caught some big bull bluegills. We got enough data that we should be able to construct something of an age distribution from the scale samples we took. We gave the fish to Shawn, who was willing to fillet and eat them.
Photos from this and a few past episodes are here: