> jumping into life.

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autumn is coming. the weather cooler, virginia creeper and canyon grape changing color, yellow aspen on the hills. last night the boys came over for dinner, and we made my favorite indian spiced potatos (with zucchini and yellow squash instead of the usual spinach) and a big salad. we sat around on the couch for a while, drinking either tea or soy white russians, talking. they're younger than me, eighteen and nineteen, but you'd never know it without asking; they all carry themselves like people who are interested in the world. that seems to be a theme here - people tend to act older than you'd expect, eighteen year olds with experiences that most people never dream of, everyone driven by something.

aside from getting wright silktassel and california buckthorn mixed up today, it looks like i know my native trees and shrubs. particularly exciting is being able to identify a new plant as a new plant, and have some sort of guess as to what it is, and being able to identify a more familiar plant in an unfamiliar growth-form. because that means i'm learning the ordering system and the underlying qualities of plant groups rather than just memorizing names. we've started adding vertebrates to our study, gotten a few more insect orders, and started talking about desert ecology in terms of energy transfer and adaptation. let me tell you: by the time this course is over, i'm gonna know everything about everything that happens ecologically in the southwest. and its gonna rule.