Look who came to visit!

Old friends are the best! You don’t have to explain things to them. So many things are not even possible to explain. But St. Louis is in the middle of the country, making drivers likely to visit. Rick and Therese were on their way to Omaha, Nebraska, and stopped by for a quick visit. We had an amazing meal at Niche, full of surprising textures, memorable flavors with unusual combinations. Toasted wheatberries crunched in the celery root soup. Caramel corn came with blueberries. Tiny dots of panna cotta with other things I forget. There was even a true foam on the wild mushrooms. We went to The Museum of the Dog, more art than anything, though there was a room of heroic dog memorabilia. I recommend giving this one a miss.

Best of all was simply sitting around the house talking, inside, outside, sharing coffees, beers, wines. Learning about green living, talking about biking across the country, and about what plants we should put in our backyard prairie and pond. We heard about their goats, and caught up on their blog, Houston Naturally.

We went to the most magic place around, the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, right out on the point. We were not alone. An older couple, dressed in red flag-bearing shirts beat us there. So had Lewis and Clark, though their expedition faced a different confluence, a few miles back from this one. We looked at the plants, discussed which would be good for our backyard prairie, and which were toxic. On the handicapped parking sign was another invasive species, our much-loved Italian wasps. It was late in the summer for them. Males were on the nest. Some went into holes in the fencepost. There was even a dead male on the back of the nest. Apparently this species, Polistes dominulus, came to the US in Boston, around 1980, probably on a ship.

In reading the 29 June Science before giving it to a friend who had an article in it, I discovered that the eruption in the Phillipines of Mount Pinatubo in 1992 and the resulting cooling is credited with the Mississippi flooding of 1993.

After visiting the confluence, Rick and Therese drove on. I checked to see if Cin-Ty had updated his blog, and he had, a lovely post about watching terns for the umpteenth time at Bolivar, and introducing his nephews to nature. If you aren’t reading his blog, you should be. For us, we’ll keep in touch with our old friends as we slowly make new ones. We’ll also have to think hard about getting back to Houston for Rick and Therese’s winter solstice party.

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About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
This entry was posted in Environment, Rivers, Texas, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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