Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Life is good

Life is good when you're making progress.

Yesterday, I went out with a friend from church (they have some pasture land) and cut a ton of red cedar for the allelopathy study. Also, the last bit of equipment I needed arrived (stands for the Cone-tainers I am using).

This morning, since it was Assessment and there were no morning classes, I went out and collected 4, 5-gallon pails full of soil.  Each probably weighed close to 50 pounds. (I know "a gallon is 8 pounds" but that's milk, and I think soil is denser than milk). I always feel invincible after successfully doing fieldwork on my own (I had told people "This is where I'm going, this is when I should be back, if you don't see me back after such-and-such time, send someone after me" and I also had my cell phone.)

I do worry a little going out alone - the most realistic worry being "what if you step in a hole and badly injure an ankle" though having a cell phone would mean I could call for help and also I am determined enough that I would probably drag myself back out of the field site even with a badly injured ankle.

Less realistic but not totally paranoid worry is running into someone who wants to harm me. (And we are not immune from the "scary clown threats" that have become a thing; a couple schools in the area shut down for a day because of vague threats. My SUSPICION is it's either stupid copy-cats or else it's a kid who gambled and won about getting a day off school. I hope if they catch the issuer of the threat that he or she is in Big Trouble). People ask me about if I'm afraid of "wild animals" when I go out in the field and my response is "Only the two-legged ones" because, honestly, deer, coyotes, and even bobcats run the other way when they see a human. And if you treat snakes and bees with respect they won't bother you. (Wild hogs, all bets are kind of off, but I've never seen any in the sites I go to. Same thing with sow-bears that have cubs, but I've never seen any black bears around here)

But anyway. I got the soil, got it back here, hefted it up the flight of stairs (I could have gone around back and put it on a cart but that would have taken longer and anyway I take a certain perverse pleasure in being strong enough to do things like carry 50 pounds of soil up a flight of stairs).

Got the set up together - had to make another marble run. (With Cone-tainers, they have a big hole in the bottom where the soil will run out of you don't put something in to block it; when I used them in grad school the traditional thing to use was marbles). I miscounted how many Cone-tainers I would have and only bought one box of marbles, which was too few. So I took a quick run to the Walgreen's, which I knew had them.

(And, I confess: picked up a couple more blindbag ponies. Because I deserve it! Doubtless they will be ones I already have or just slight recolors, but still. And yeah, I admit even as I gripe about "overindulged children" who get a treat every time they go out somewhere, I kind of overindulge my inner child that way. But then again - I work pretty hard)

So now the whole set up is ready to have the soil put in, which will probably begin in a few minutes and maybe be concluded tomorrow. And then tomorrow I will do the planting and the final set up.

I got a colleague to help me heft the light-assemblies back into place and hooray! all the gro-light bulbs still worked, so I won't have to make a run to replace THOSE this afternoon.

I also feel a little less "I have no idea what I'm doing" because my colleague asked me about the experiment and when I described it to him, he said, "Wow, that's a nice tight design" and this is someone who's published a LOT, so if he thinks my experimental design is solid, then it probably is.

It feels really good to finally start this. I had been having anxiety dreams about it.

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