The scene is sketched from the same spot as yesterday’s, but now facing northwest instead of southeast. The Meadow at Malibu Creek State Park won’t be green for much longer; it was lovely to enjoy its verdure for a whole weekend.
Just back from a fabulous Field Ecology Weekend, camping with the Malibu Creek and Topanga State Park docents, and learning from a wide range of teachers. I have many pages of notes to review and digest, and new areas of interest to pursue. Obsidian knapping and animal tracking were highlights!
We have a lending library for docents at MCSP, and yesterday I discovered this treasure: Field Book of Western Wild Flowers by Margaret Armstrong, published in 1915. It’s a small, thick book, filled with 500 black and white illustrations and 48 watercolour plates, and the most delightful plant descriptions. Example (Easter Bells, p 28):
“A patch of these flowers bordering the edge of a glacier, as if planted in a garden-bed, is a sight never to be forgotten. Pushing their bright leaves right through the snow they gayly swing their golden censers in the face of winter and seem the very incarnation of spring.”
Makes me want to gayly swing my golden censer 😁
You can see the text here on Gutenberg, but of course holding the hundred year old book in one’s hands is an infinitely more special experience. I’ve borrowed it, and I’m already feeling sad about the day I need to return it to the shelves.
I did my first stint in the MCSP Visitor Center today, where they have a lot of taxidermy animals and birds. This sketch was done from one such specimen. Learn something new every day!
Working on my Docent homework 😊
Something I learned in MCSP Docent School this week: our native woodrats build large dens in coast live oak trees; dens can reach five feet in height and eight feet in diameter. They have separate rooms for sleeping (lined with chewed up bay leaves to keep away insects), food storage, nurseries, and protection. Woodrats live in a matriarchal social system where females choose mates, and boot out the males after mating. They are similar in appearance to the common rat species Rattus rattus and Rattus norvegicus, but with larger ears and eyes, softer coats, and furred tails (i.e., they are cuter!)