KEEPING WATCH - JOY LAKE
Joy Lake — 10/19/2012
Geese and coots continue to dominate the lake with a few ducks, mostly Mallards, scattered among them. I did pick out a pair of Ringnecks and what appeared to be lone Shoveller. There looked to be something more than 200 Coots and ducks and right at 90 Canada Geese. The home pond and wetland roost contine hold well over a 100 Wood Ducks. There were 70 Canada geese on the home pond earlier today.
I found yet another tree supporting two nice (hericium) coral mushrooms. I am collecting spores off of them today and will probably dry them tomorrow.
I got up this morning early to haul duckweed (like 3 AM early). I carried about 25 gallons of duckweed from the wetland to the pond to the choral accompaniment of a group of coyotes.
As I talked to the candidates for the Iowa Senate one on one after the forum both Kruse and Taylor agreed with the concept of giving unemployed people assistance in the form of jobs in public works and community service not merely monetary handouts.
This is an important first step and a potential game changer. Instead of complaining about people sitting at home free loading off a system so designed as to encourage that very thing, we can begin to go to work on a system that directly creates jobs and keeps people working productively in public service until alternate employment opportunities in the private sector opens up.
The question is are we ready to get serious about doing that or do we just want to sit back in our rockers and complain about the free loaders?
The ball is in our court. If we want people to work for a living then we need to supply jobs. Tax incentives and training have their place but such measures are indirect and risky and take time to mature. In the mean time tell your legislators it is time to put the unemployed to work in public service jobs.
Question for candidates for the Iowa Senate, District 42.
Whereas sustaining the capacity of a man to feed his family by the labors of his hand is fundamental to the rewards and the incentives of a dedicated father and
Whereas: the U6 or “real” unemployment rate for Iowa is 10.5%
With Lee County having an estimated U6 under employment rate of 17.8% and Henry County at 13% and
Whereas Siemens is in the process of cutting over 400 jobs and
Whereas We the People are tired of being berated and humiliated when our jobs are shipped overseas or lost to the preferential treatment of big Oil, all to fill the pockets of the super-rich while offering us handouts and humiliation,
We want jobs, not talk, not handouts, but jobs - that pay a living wage.
Therefore are you willing to call for and support full employment through community-based public works and community service jobs programs that are governmentally funded and community controlled to assure every person seeking to provide for themselves and their family and who is willing to work is given the opportunity and the dignity that comes along with a job?
The six state measures are based on the same definitions as those published for the United States:
U-3, total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (this is the definition used for the official unemployment rate);
U-6, total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.
Question for Supervisor Candidates Garretson, See and Moeller
to be Submitted by Steve Wilson
To assure that in the future there can be no question of the level of the public’s support for a decision to sell a parcel of land that has been acquired for conservation purposes,
Are You willing to introduce and/or support a county resolution requiring that the sale of the People’s parks and other county property that has been purchased specifically for conservation purposes by the people of Henry County shall require public approval as determined by the passage of a parcel specific ballot initiative?
History: Parcels of Henry County Park Land were stripped of their special conservation status by the Henry County Conservation Board at a meeting without appropriately notifying the public or all the board members of their intent to do so. (per Board Member Marty Frazer)
Question for Henry County Supervisor Candidates to be submitted by Steve Wilson
Can I look forward to You being a champion for transparency in Henry County Government seeking to meet, and in the spirit of the law to exceed where reasonable, the requirements of the Open Meetings and Open Records Laws of the State of Iowa.
In the pre-dawn darkness this morning I donned my head lamp and headed up over the hill to pick up a couple of five gallon buckets of duckweed to dump on the home pond to feed visiting ducks and geese. On my way I came upon a grey phase Screech Owl sitting on a branch just a bit over head high not 10 feet in front of me. I suppose the bright LED head lamp pretty well blinded him as he sat there staring at me. He was, as they all are, a cute little guy and I enjoyed taking a moment to appreciate the opportunity to observe him at such close range. I heard them occasionally but it has been along time since I have seen one.
Needing to get the duckweed on the pond before dawn I had to move on.
As I approached the hilltop wetland I could hear the Wood Ducks that were roosting there keeping up constant communication with their high pitched voices that sounded like a combination of a squeal and a whistle rising and falling in a wavey crow. I shut off my head lamp and approached quitely to pick up the buckets that had been draining on the levee over night. Last night sitting down along the road with Amy Amos (the Canada Goose) I had counted right at 100 Woodies heading in that direction, some from the river but most taking off from the home pond.
Joy and I got to watch a Pileated Woodpecker fly across the river just about Faulkner's Access yesterday morning and I caught a glimpse of one while I was feeding horses down stream along the river later in the day. The white patches on their black wings and their large size makes identification easy if they are not hidden in the leaves.
It seems the Great Blue Herons may be on the move as the last several days I have not seen them wading in the river between Oakland and Faulkners as much as before. According to the USGS the Skunk River is running somewhere between 80 and 90 cu ft/sec. at Agusta. The average for the date is between 500 and 600 with the record low of 12 cu.ft./sec in 1957.
There are places where You can walk across the river now and not get in over a foot of water. The low water has also been unusually clear which I would guess favors the herons and the kingfishers.
Joy just spotted a Goshawk out the window. He no doubt has spotted the Woodies. The geese took to deep water as he settled for a moment in the walnut tree.
10/4/2012 Mushroom List
If you got Under the Oak Tree in the mail then You have the list of mushrooms identified at Oakland Sept. 9, 2012. Other wise visit
for the list and
for some great photos.
There is a whole lot more to a forest than trees and whole lot more to mushrooms then what we see.
I am still attempting to culture the coral mushroom, hericium coralloides. I have collected /preserved some spores in a ziplock bag. The spores of some species will keep for years this way and it may take that long for me to master mushroom culture.
I now have some spores growing on an enriched sterilized cattail down/seed culture that I mixed up while I was still working at gathering up all the ingredients for a classical lab culture on an agar jelled sterile nutrient broth.
All efforts at cloning have failed so far as the cuttings fail to initiate new growth.
The old maple log just keeps producing more mushrooms. I water it and cover it on hot days and cover it too on cold nights.
A bunch of what appears to be Honey Mushrooms are now growing up with the hericiums and they will soon be shedding spores (seeds). Therefore, to avoid gathering a mix of honey and coral spores I picked the last corals I will save for "seed" today.
I am wondering about some possible minor side effects of taking the mushroom tincture and powder on a daily basis so I think I will stop for a few days just to see what happens and then go on from there.
Memory Test 10/4/2012 Score: 84.75
180 Geese on Joy Lake, 30 on the home pond. 15 Coots on Joy Lake. A pair of Pileated Woodpeckers west of the house.
I watched a flock of 18 or so white pelicans fly up and down the river the other evening while I was counting the Wood Ducks as they leave the pond to go to roost. I need to get up on the hill and see for sure which if any of the wetlands they are using. We had three Green Winged Teal show up already as well. Canada Geese come and go daily but I am thinking they are still the locals. Young goldfinches are feeding themselves at the feeders now and generally activity at the feeders has diminished significantly.
The mushroom log continues to bloom with over twenty small mushrooms (the fruiting flowers of the fungus) currently visible. I have covered the log with plastic to discourage the coons (or who ever it is) that is also finding them to be tasty. The plastic also helps to maintain the moisture in the log.
9/24/2012 Mushroom Memory Test
If You have been following along You know that I found this mushroom (Hericium Coralloides) growing in the woods that reportedly enhances nerve regeneration. So I made a dried power that I keep in the freezer and an ethanol tincture that I keep in the frig and I take a teaspoon of each every morning in orange juice or on oatmeal.
On 9/10 I posted
I decided to take an online memory test last night. I scored 75%. I figure I should take the test again every two weeks or so to get a nice bunch of data points and see how things look come Christmas. The challenge will be remembering to take the test!
Today's (9/24) test results, 84%
Impressive? I do not think this score is necessarily indicative of any improvement. It could be attributed to better test taking skills (practice) rather than memory improvement but at least I did remember to take the test again. Besides that, I think I might have just been lucky this morning.
As for the tingling in my toes? It is still there and it has not gotten any worse but then again, it has been rather stable for some time. If it were to completely go away, for what ever reason, that would certainly be exciting. Another two weeks I will try again. I would not be surprised to see my score drop the next time, I was on a roll this morning.
I am trying to culture the mushrooms now, but so far I think I am only growing mold. As my techniques improve, who knows.
9/12/2012 Board Meeting
A conservation board member at the last board meeting put all confusion to rest with a succinct and uncontested definition of conservation.
Conservation is whatever we say it is.
The naturalists seemed to hestitate for a moment on this, much as one does upon encountering the first nut in a brownie while wondering if You dare ask, without tipping your hand, "Hummm, do these brownies have nuts in them?"
So if the board says taking the bus to a ball game in St. Louis is conservation -well, that's just what it is.
The nice thing about this definition is that it rings true to form. It also gets around the problem of defining "wise" in the "wise use" definition of conservation (not that anyone really had much of a problem doing that, no matter if they are paving a parking lot or eating caviar.)
The only problem that might surface would be, who is we ? Is it the folks who pay their taxes or the folks who spend their money? The nice thing is no one has to sample water or monitor biological diversity or create programs around threatened species.
On another topic that came up, some more primitive camp ground sites are at risk of being discontinued. I think tents without TVs and air conditioners in the river bottom have been found to be poor sources of FEMA flood money.