Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Big Sky Country

Here are a couple of photographs of where I was doing field work last week. Jealous much?

This is near the City of Dufur, Oregon, where I surveyed for Astragalus tyghensis (a cream-colored member of the pea family) and Ranunculus reconditus (a tiny buttercup). A thunderstorm flushed us out, and we had to drive through it on our way to Umatilla, another two hours' drive away. 50 mph winds and intense rain made for a very sketchy drive, particularly since we were driving on a flat tire unawares, going 80 to try to get out of the storm as quickly as possible, and I was fishtailing all over the fucking lane. Very scary indeed.

Here's the site in Umatilla where we conducted wetland delineations. "Wetlands in the desert?" you ask. The site was peppered with ephemeral, seasonal wetlands that were actually pretty easy to delineate. However, in 90+ degree heat I can't say it was a lot of fun. But first time doing fieldwork in a bikini, and I didn't get a single tick on me!

In the distance you can see the Mighty Columbia. I picked a lot of sage that day. Greta walked around GPSing the ditch that bisects the property until she started seeing stars. She got three ticks on her that day, but luckily found each of them as they were crawling around and didn't get the Lyme Disease.

Tomorrow I'm off to Roseburg to chip away at the hard clay soils and try to finish delineating the future quarry that I haven't been to since March, when there was actually hydrology. At least there's a McMenamin's down there.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Nigga You Are My Cornbread

So I have Sitemeter to see from where people have found my blog. That way I can add a stratum of vanity to this whole blogging thing, and it's more reliable than just obsessively checking to see if I have comments. What I particularly enjoy is seeing the random and fucked-up shit that people have Googled to have been accidentally directed to my site. The following is a list of some of the more hilarious search engine entries that brought you to me (and the order in which I was listed):

  • "nigga you are my cornbread" (3rd) This is the funniest, yet most "whaaaa.....?" thing I have ever heard, and I am going to start saying it ALL THE TIME.
  • "shellacked bones" (2nd)
  • "cat shit on carpet" (two hits - 1st and 2nd. I'm #1, bitches! I'm #1 of cat shit on carpet! FACE!)
  • "stare hard retard" (1st and 2nd)
  • "fwumpus" (2nd and 4th. I seriously thought I made this word up, but I guess it's catchy)
  • "ancient bulgarian tattoos" (3rd)
  • "you can have my husband but please don't mess with my man" (1st)
  • "castlevania curse of darkness pumpkin" (1st; probably not helpful to who I assume was some kid who wanted to find a cheat for the game, but I did write a review of it for f13.net)
There were a surprising number of referrals from France (I have a friend there, but she already knows my url) and a couple from England. I am hell of cosmopolitan.

Anyhoo, other news: mason bees have decided to set up camp in our bamboo windchimes. They are such cute and industrious little fuckers that I just let 'em. The interesting thing is that they've created egg galleries in only three of the six chimes, alternating with one empty chime in between a nested chime. I'm no apiarist, so I haven't a clue why they'd do that (even though I know what an apiarist is, and that it is the mason bee that creates a hive in a narrow tube).

Spent two days in Umatilla doing field work this week. I like to call it "OOM-uh-TEE-uh" so it sounds like an exotic Latin-American locale instead of just a shitty, phoenetically-spelled desert town in NE Oregon. Didn't see any snakes or bones, leading me to ask myself "what the fuck" several times. Our GPS unit crapped out on us, so Greta and I couldn't finish delineating our site and had to leave. The shittiest part is that we would've finished two days early and come home anyway if the GPS hadn't crashed, but now we have an additional 8-hour round trip for three or four hours' work. Pretty drive, though.

The "luxury" hotel we stayed in was jank. And the 'Desert River' sounded so lovely, too. The food was like something you'd send back if you lived in an old folks' home. I suppose if you live in the adjacent trailer park that place qualifies as the fucking Ritz, but I guess I'm just a high-falutin' city slicker that thinks marinara is not supposed to be fizzy. And the waiter kept telling all the customers (all four of them) that the "soup de jour" (sic) was gazpacho. When obligatorally asked "what's that?" he would tell them that gazpacho is a Mexican tomato soup, which made my blood boil. When he got to our table I gently corrected his mistake (that it is from Spain, not Mexico, and that yes, even though Mexicans speak Spanish, Spain and Mexico are in fact two very different places). Get this: he says "how do you know?" Well, there are a lot of Latinos in Umatilla, so touche, I guess. Touche, kid.

Tomorrow is another fun 12-hour day in Willamette Valley agricultural wetland mosaic hell, but I might actually finish two sites and have only, uh.... the rest of the summer to dread.