Wahoo

Wahoo

Wahoo

Euonymus atropurpureus (eastern wahoo, burning bush, bitter-ash), a deciduous shrub native to the Midwest, has it’s blossom pictured here. It was photographed last month, at the Shaw Nature Reserve. It is a pretty little flower, but I just like its name, Wahoo, it rhymes with Yahoo and sounds to me a lot like yodeling.

Yesterday, I literally was that crying little baby that had I linked to then. I spent the first two hours getting not one, not two, lets just skip to the chase, five separate account’s passwords reset. I couldn’t for the life of me remember what any of my at work passwords were. All of which I had used two-weeks ago. It must have been a better vacation than I realized. Pat, my friendly neighborhood IT person, told me that this was National Password Reset (NPR) day.

Anne snagged a long-term substitute position, three months. It’s second grade. The regular teacher is on maternity leave. This happens a lot in the elementary school. So much so, that some think that there must be something in the water.

Flying Checkerboard

What You Looking At?

What You Looking At?

What you looking at? If I want to beat my head against a tree all day and then eat bugs that’s my business. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I’m outside all day, while you spend forty hours in a cube. I’m fly! I rock the woods with my checkerboard look and my drum solos. No dull camo for me. So, what you looking at now? Me!

Mother Nature

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker

I asked Anne what is it you want to do today. She said, “We could bicycle in the, after it warms up a bit.” I then suggested that we could go to the Shaw Nature Preserve and she was dressed and out the door in a flash. We haven’t been there for a year and missed the highway exit. We circled around back via old Route 66. We passed a few smashed armadillo corpses on the road. They look like smashed pumpkins. I was hoping that we might see one at Shaw, because a friend had post an encounter with one there last week, but had no such luck. Anne was in her element as soon as we got there. This really was a good way to spend the day. We spent several hours hiking and photographing the flora and fauna in both the woodlands and savannas of the nature reserve. The Red-headed Woodpeckers on the Overlook Trail were the highlight for me. Afterwards, we stopped off at the Pacific Brew Haus for a late lunch. It was a little underwhelming, but I learned that Pacific was named for Union Pacific, the railway company that once ran this town.

Shaw Nature Reserve

Shaw Nature Reserve (formerly Shaw Arboretum) is part of the Missouri Botanical Gardens.  It is located 35 miles southwest of Saint Louis, along I-44, in Grey Summit.  It was founded in 1925 when coal smoke was killing the living plant collections housed at the Garden.  Now the 2,500 acres of the Shaw Nature Reserve are dedicated to preserving the natural Ozark landscape and the indigenous plants.

Anne and I drove to the Shaw Nature Reserve on Saturday.  Being Garden members, admission was free.  It was warm, 88 °F was Saturday’s predicted high.  We enjoyed the shaded portions of the reserve, endured the sunny parts and quickly moved through them on our way to then next shady section.

The reserve doesn’t have the manicured perfection of the Gardens, but it is still well-tended.  There were plenty of wildflowers in bloom.  Milkweed and Cone Flowers are pictured with this post.  There was a lot more wildlife at the reserve than you can find at the Gardens.  I photographed a new bird species, the Eastern Phoebe.  I saw several more birds that I have not yet photographed.

We basically walked down to the Meramec River and back.  This walk took us through quite a few ecosystems and we didn’t have to retrace all of our steps.  We cooled ourselves by wading into the Meramec.  We saw floaters floating there, vultures circling the thermals and a rather cut kayak.

In past visits to the reserve, some family members have brought home unintended pets, pets of the eight legged variety, not to put to fine a point on it, ticks.  This time we checked for ticks throughout our walk and after.  We didn’t see any and I attribute this to the trail improvements that have been made, a wide gravel trail is not tick friendly.

It has been more than a few years since I had visited the reserve.  Anne had an internship there, so she had been there more recently.  I like the place, there is a lot to see and we did not see it all when we were there on Saturday.  The place is not particularly bike friendly.  All of the interesting trails are closed to bikes, but for a bike-hike exercise it could be made to work, there are roads that link the trailheads that are closed to cars.  Once we gain some familiarity with the place, we could hop, skip and jump from one bird paparazzi place to the next.