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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Vernal Pools!

We walked among vernal pools today!

We toured vernal pools this afternoon. Vernal pools are small seasonal marshes that form each winter in the little that’s left of native prairie in California’s Central Valley. The pools lie in poorly drained areas, so the pools are ponds in the winter, and slowly dry out in the spring. As the pools dry out, some beautiful plants seen nowhere else pop up.

The tour was led by the California native plants Society. Our docent was a youngish graduate student who is specializing in studies of invasive vegetation in vernal pools. He appears to be very focused in his advanced studies. I had to prompt him when he couldn’t remember the latin name for the California poppie, eschultsia sespitosa. Who could forget an official State flower whose name brings to mind imaged of the underside of an outhouse? He certainly knows his vernal pool biota, however.

When we first stepped out into the grassland, we could see the vernal pool culverts in the distance. They can be recognized by the blue downingia or the beautiful yellow flowers.

Those who demand facts from respectable sources can get the official story about vernal pools here.

The local vernal pool society publishes photographs of plants in the pools we visited. Latin and common names are included for the botanical minded.

Today’s weather was sunny and very windy. The blustering wind provided clear views in all directions. I could see the Sierra summit to the east, and Mount Diablo to the southwest. We don’t often get such fine views.

We went with three of our neighbors, so we had tea and tea sandwicheds after the trip. One of our neighbors (the very same neighbor who lives with maximon, the Guatemalan God-idol) just loves cut-out and fussy British tea sandwiches, so we acquiesced and made some. A good time was had by all.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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