Semper Fidelis - Semper Discentes

Posts Tagged ‘Fremont County’

It’s Been a LONG Spring and Summer

In Expeditions on July 29, 2014 at 9:44 am

On the last day of February, I received word that my as-yet-unsold house in the Missouri Ozarks had been the victim of a burst water pipe during an extreme cold snap.  The entire downstairs of the 2,800-square-foot place flooded, ruining all the flooring, several walls and ceilings, and creating a generally devastating $20,000 mess.  Fortunately, the insurance company came through, as did the Best Real Estate Agent in the World, who got a contractor to come in and demolish the demolishable, and haul all the wet debris away before the whole place became Mold City.

On April 1, I packed up one bedroom’s worth of furniture, all my books and camping stuff, a primitive set of kitchen appliances, and headed south.  Within a couple of months, all the repairs had been done.  The insurance money lasted EXACTLY as long as the repairs, and I settled in to my one bedroom, anxiously awaiting a buyer.

Lookers came and went, but only one made an offer, at about half what the place was worth.  I kept dropping the price–once, twice, thrice–until I finally got to the point where the proceeds would pay off the mortgage and the realtor.  PERIOD.  The twenty acres, for which I had paid cash, was just thrown in as lagniappe.

About ten days ago, a family–man, wife, six kids–looked at the place and immediately called, saying they wanted it.  He’s out-of-state, so things progress slowly–from him to his realtor, to my realtor, to me.  Everything seems to be falling into place, and a contract was signed yesterday.  We’re supposed to close on the deal within two weeks.

It’s NOT a done deal yet.  He COULD change his mind.  I hope not.  I’m ready to get back to Wyoming–to my family, to school, to snow and wind and sagebrush.  To Oktoberfest and the coolest Halloween you’ve ever seen.  To an occasional happy hour at the Forge and a hike through Sinks Canyon and up to Worthen Lake before they close the road for the winter.

Did almost NO insect collecting this year (or last, either, since we were moving UP to Wyoming), although I’ve had a couple of papers accepted for publication.

In the process of boxing everything up, so that I can be out IMMEDIATELY upon closing.  If the deal falls apart, I guess I can just unpack again.

Keep your fingers crossed and keep us in your prayers.  I’m ready to go HOME!

This is what I was doing the first day of spring in Wyoming.

This is what I was doing the first day of spring in Wyoming.

Missouri Ozarks - last week.

Missouri Ozarks – last week.

photo 2 photo 1

The view out my window.

The view out my Wyoming window.

My first deer.  Ever.  2013.

My first deer. Ever. 2013.

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My First Entomological Expeditions in the Rockies

In Expeditions, Odonata on August 8, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Almost all the hubbub of moving, hauling, and unpacking is over, so I decided to sally forth on Tuesday and Wednesday, to see if I could locate any odonates here in Fremont County, Wyoming.  Almost ALL of the species I’m likely to encounter here are different than the ones I (more-or-less) had learned back in the Missouri Ozarks, so I’m starting all over again, with even WORSE taxonomic skills than before.

I drove south out of Lander, out toward the Sinks Canyon State Park, about six miles out of town.

This is what I get to look at, about five miles from my home.

This is what I get to look at, about five miles from my home.

The ubiquitous Popo Agie River, where I’d hoped to find lots of odonates, was pretty much a bust, as the water is very swift, full of large rocks, and has very little shoreside vegetation.

The  "rise" of the Popo Agie, Sinks Canyon State Park.

The “rise” of the Popo Agie, Sinks Canyon State Park.

After hitting a couple of sites n the river, I happened upon Central Wyoming College’s field station, just off the highway.  The Popo Agie runs through the station, but there is also a sweet little “seep” creek running through tall grasses on the property.  After swinging the net for a few minutes, I managed to capture two species of meadowhawks there, Sympetrum obtrusum (White-faced meadowhawk) and Sympetrum pallipes (Striped meadowhawk), both of which I believe are county records for Fremont County.

S. pallipes

S. pallipes

S. obtrusum

S. obtrusum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I then hit a small creek crossing the highway, about halfway back to town and there found several specimens of the damselfly Ischnura perparva (Western forktail), as well as another meadowhawk Sympetrum semicinctum (Banded meadowhawk) in a nearby hayfield.  All the bugs were found at 5400-5600′ altitude, awfully high for this Louisiana-born geezer.

Ishnura perparva

Ishnura perparva

Sympetrum semicinctum

Sympetrum semicinctum

The following day, I decided to range further afield, passing by the previous day’s collection sites, heading higher into the beautiful Wind River Range of the Rocky Mountains.

Climbing higher into the Winds, still only about ten miles from home.

Climbing higher into the Winds, still only about ten miles from home.

DSCF3615

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside the Shoshone National Forest, I found a lake, Worthen Meadow Reservoir,  In a small arm of the beautiful lake, kinda semi-marshy, with some pondside vegetation, I managed to grab four beautiful male Lake darners (Aeschna eremita), at 8871 feet above sea level, by far the highest altitude I’d EVER attained.

Aeshna eremita (male)

Aeshna eremita (male)

Same bug, dorsal view.

Same bug, dorsal view.

 

 

Isn’t that a FINE looking fellow?

 

 

On the way home, stopped back at the field station and grabbed a couple more of the previous day’s meadowhawks.  Later in the day, I grabbed Amanda and Susan, taking them back out into the field and up into the Winds, where I showed them Worthen Meadow Lake, and we explored another lake, Fiddler Lake, which lies at some 9400′ altitude.  Felt like I needed a couple of Sherpas and some supplemental oxygen.  Our apartment is at about 5500′ and I’ve not noticed any headaches or ailments in my first days as a Wyomingite, although I DO tend to get sleepy about ten o’clock in the morning.  Very dry, too.  I’ve lived my entire life in humid climates, and this is a BIG change.

As always, all my odonate specimens have been posted to Odonata Central (www.odonatacentral.org), and I’m grateful to Jim Johnson, one of the northwest’s premier “bug guys” for confirming the identity of the species.  I got about 75% of them right on the first try, which is GREAT for me.  Bob DuBois’s Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Rocky Mountains and Dennis Paulson’s indispensible Dragonflies and Damselflies of the West are gonna get a BIG workout here.

Come see us.

The Great Adventure Begins!!

In Expeditions, Uncategorized on July 27, 2013 at 9:35 am

The house looks even messier than usual.  I’ve got all my books packed away and lugged downstairs.  Pulled out all the drawers in the rolltop desk and burned about half of the junk I found inside.  Got 95% of the camping/hiking/kayaking/fishing/water quality monitoring equipment boxed up from my “Man Closet”.  Cleaned  out all the tools and junk from the pumphouse/toolshed.  Sold all the big and bulky stuff I won’t be able to use in a Wyoming rental house  (beehives, tiller, chainsaw, cinderblocks, etc.).  Threw away lots of mismatched socks, ancient underwear, and quite a few pair of shorts that seem to have shrunken somewhat over the past six years.

It’s Saturday morning, and I’ll probably put in a little bit of time lugging furniture downstairs, taking beds apart, and such.

On Monday morning, bright and early, I drive down to the U-Haul dealer, and drive away in the biggest truck he’s got, with one of those “tow dollies” attached behind, bearing my banana-yellow Jeep Wrangler.  SUPPOSEDLY, a couple of burly guys are gonna show up at 9 AM, contracted to lift and tote for four hours.

The Wind River Range, just west of Lander.

The Wind River Range, just west of Lander, Wyoming.

Guess we’ll probably have to sleep on the floor Monday night.  Then, as soon as I get up and fortify myself with coffee, we’re On The Road, with 1200+ miles ahead of us, and Douglas (Booger) County, Missouri, in our rearview mirror.  I’m not looking forward to a pair of back-to-back 600-mile days, with a couple of days unloading and arranging to follow (once we find a place to rent!!!).

The Popo Agie

The Popo Agie

The Great Adventure begins!  Can’t wait to get settled in and learn what cool, new bugs I can find at 6,000-12,000 feet above sea level in the area around Lander, Wyoming, the Popo Agie River, Fremont County, and the Wind River Range.  I’ll keep you posted.

If you happen to be in the market for a new, four-bedroom, three bath house on twenty acres, deep in an Ozark “holler”, I’ll make you a good deal.

At home in the Ozarks.

At home in the Ozarks.

Looks Like We’re Getting Close!!

In Expeditions, Uncategorized on July 12, 2013 at 11:54 am

After over a year of planning and preparation, it looks like we’re getting VERY close to our relocation to Lander, Wyoming, and the “Popo Agie River area”.

Amanda’s job will require her to be there by August 1, and we’ve been madly packing, selling unneeded (or un-MOVEABLE) stuff, and waiting for her “moving check” to arrive.  As soon as it does, we’ll be heading north.

Guess I need to go out and dig up all my carrion beetle traps, pack them securely away, and HIDE them amongst the packing boxes, as I’m sure she’ll decide that they are dispensable and should be left behind.  For her sake, I WILL dispose of all the carrion I’ve been collecting for bait.

‘Twill be hard to leave our (unsold) house-and-twenty-acres here in the Missouri Ozarks; however, I’ve located a friend to “house-sit” for us while we wait, pray and hope for a buyer.  In the meantime, we expect to be living in rented digs in Wyoming, learning about all sorts of neat and new stuff, and trying to look cowboyish and stay warm.

I’ll admit that the prospect of leaving has given me quite a roller-coaster ride; however, faith and a steadfast reliance upon legal pharmaceuticals has got me looking forward to our Great Adventure.

Once we get settled in, hope to be providing you with a closer look at the “Bugs of Popo Agie”.  As we’d say in Louisiana, “Y’all come see us!”