Field of Science

Monday morning random bits

FIELD WORK - There's a full schedule of field work this week to harvest biomass from our permanent research plots. At least the weather looks good all week, and although rain is needed, now hope it waits until the "harvest" is in. Biggest problem is a sore back; got to find some of those young student backs to do the heavy bending.
FIRST FROST - Came close to having our first frosts Friday & Saturday nights, but not quite cold enough to really frost things. Very light frost on 2nd night close to the ground so late pole beans survived.
CUCUMBERS IN OCTOBER - TPP picked a cucumber on the 18th of October!  Never, ever had them so late in the year and the reason is that the vines always die of a bacterial blight much earlier in the year. The blight is vectored by cucumber beetles so once they show up your vines days are pretty much numbered. Insect covers help, but when flowering starts you have to let pollinators in. So what happened to the beetles this year? Similarly the Japanese beetles were a near no show and June "bugs" were also near no-shows. And cicadas were not plentiful either. Was all the rain early in the season to blame either by drowning pupae or assisting fungi like milky spore? 
BEST NEW RECIPE - Apple, avocado, blue cheese, & walnut salad! 
CANNA RHIZOMES - The Phactors dug out a bed of landscape cannas, tall ones with purple foliage. Too bad these are not edible plants because the crop of rhizomes they produce is amazing. Oh, wait, maybe they are edible.  Who knew?
TRAVEL PLANS - Got our travel plans today for a rainforest field trip to Costa Rica. TPP used to do this every year with a class of students in tow. Amazing how much less stressful it is when the students become someone else's responsibility. Hope the el Niño weather does not result in a real wet field trip although having some rain is basically a given. Record for one 9 day field trip was over 400 mm.
FACULTY MEETING TO DISCUSS EVALUATION DOCUMENTS - Faculty meetings of any type are bad, but when the faculty are discussing evaluation it becomes especially dreadful. TPP stopped reading his yearly evaluations long before his retirement and became a much happier person especially when the money involved was too little to really matter. This is not recommended behavior for my younger colleagues. 

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