Nearly a month has gone by without any new posts, despite my recent statements about blogging in earnest. I'm finding that teaching writing classes not only involves lots of time grading papers but also focuses my interest on writing. I'm actually writing a lot in various journals and notebooks, but not focusing in the short run on material I want to post here. We'll see what develops. Let's just say, my cessation of blogging is not due to deterioration of my health. I might be back soon. It probably depends on how spring unfolds - wildflowers, lizards, interesting insects, etc., usually fire me up and prompt me to keep my camera batteries charged.
I have been teaching since 1965 and have recently joined the English Department as an Associate Faculty member at Feather River College. Recently taught Nature Literature in America and am currently teaching Interpersonal Communication and Basic Reading and Writing.
Many of my favorite milkweed-watching spots have succumbed to the Road Department weed eaters, and I have been complaining about the loss. But yesterday afternoon, in one of the remaining small patches along my traditional route, I was excited to find my first Red Milkweed Beetle of the season. When I approached, I first spied a dark blob on the shadow side of a leaf. On closer inspection, it was the beetle, but only a dark silhouette. I lightened it considerably (above) in iPhoto which I suppose is a form of cheating. Only after I uploaded the photo did I discover a small cricket on the same leaf. Click on the photo for a closer view. I then hung around for a while, poking at the beetle a little to get it to come out in the sun and assume various positions (below), and I got several nice photos. I think this bug liked me because it could have easily flown away but did not.
Elsewhere on the same plant I found a tiny grasshopper (below) then paid attention to the flowers.
Some very large bees were flying from flower to flower. It was getting pretty hot by the pavement, but
I hung around long enough to get a few pretty good Bumblebee photos before moving on. I hope this particular patch of milkweeds is spared by the weed-eater folks a while longer.