August 2007 Archives

Well, thought I'd just say that I am safely back in Washington after a nice long drive. We were slowed down by a flat from a nail and a screw stuck in my tire, at least one of which was probably picked up in Minnesota. Other than that, thanks for the great summer and good luck in school or whatever else you may be doing. Jennifer and I finally got to talk to one of the naked Finnish men on Lake Isaac and we obtained a few words of wisdom. The most important piece, which I think I ought to share, is that "taking a sauna with a swimsuit on is like kissing through a screen door." That explains so much.

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Here's a quick tally of the demography data that we took in the natural remnants this summer. I think we did a lot! We took a total of 5027 records. Here they are broken down by loc status...


This is just the first rough pass through the dataset. There is a lot of clean-up to do and mysteries to figure out. For example, of the 81 "good loc, diff tag no" records, 12 have no loc and 1 has no tag (gulp).

Flowering rates seemed to be high this year. 1700 records list one or more normal flowering heads and another 223 records had only non-normal heads. There were some big plants too: two plants had 11 flowering heads and two had ten! The greatest number of rosettes was 47 (that's good ol' plant #1540 at NGC.) We counted 9276 total rosettes.

The summer field season is done for me. We drove back to Illinois on Saturday. I'll try to post reviews of the datasets occasionally and maybe some photos too.

Jennifer is the only one still in the field. She is harvesting seedheads today & tomorrow, then returning to IL.

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Per requests, here's the recipe:

1/2 c butter
1 c sugar
1 egg
1/3 c molasses
2.25 c flour
2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
3/4 t cloves
3/4 t ginger
1/4 t salt

That's it. Usual method - cream butter with sugar, add egg and molasses, then dry stuff. Recipe says bake at 375 for 10 min, but Thomas advises 350 for a little less time to keep them softer.

It was fun feasting on cookies - these, Julie's and Jean's - with you all on Thurs after our soaking morning!

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Today was the last day of a great field season. We finished the the demography census of flowering plants. We surveyed all sites that needed it. We refound the last of the seedlings that we mapped this spring. And we organized our gear and put it away.

Here's a photo of Ian, Rachel, and Amy sorting flags...

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Georgiana May and I had a great day working with Amy M., Gretel, Ian, Jennifer, Julie, Rachel and Stuart. Though we had specially chosen Thursday as having the most promising weather, it was raining when we arrived at 9, but that didn't stop us from piling into the truck for the trip out to the beautiful prairie remnant at Krusemark's where we relocated previous flowering plants and collected demographic data on them. The water resistant paper kept the maps from thoroughly shredding, and we finished the job - but not before 1. Back at the farmhouse, water had been restored (after a break the night before) AND there were 3! batches of cookies - great reward!! After lunch, Gretel and Jennifer visited several remnants to relocate seedlings we marked in May. Amy, Rachel, Georgiana and I did the same at E. Riley - it was satisfying to see even just a few survivors! Stuart, Julie and Ian surveyed at Riley and E. Riley. All this, under beautiful, warm sunshine - what a difference a few hours makes! Georgiana and I enjoyed a look at Staffanson and Hegg Lake on our way out back to the TC's. It was a great summer working with all of you!! My best wishes to all of you. Ruth

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Hi Team,
I am safely installed back at home. The unpacking and laundry is done, and Costa Rica prep is in full swing. To those of you still in the field, I wish you steady hands on the surveying poles and expeditious dispatching of the demo maps. And to everybody, I wish happiness and good luck in life. It's been fun.
Take care, Amy

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Despite delays on the runway in Chicago due to rain and a well planned air show I did make it home. I apologize for the delay in posting, I've had a busy few days. Unpacking, doing laundry then immediately repacking takes it out of me. I hope that your final week(s) are as fun as the previous 9. I will continue to either blog or mass email about things that may or may not concern Echinacea.

A note: After looking at my mom's purpurea I'm very glad that we study angustifolia. There are about six billion rosettes and heads on each plant.

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Here's a map (pdf format) of plants in the common garden. A purple asterisk indicates a plant that flowered this year. The size of the asterisk is proportional to the number of heads produced. Download file

We harvested a lot of heads today & yesterday. It's early for us to be harvesting.

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KAP: KAP has not gone so well this summer. We went out to Staffenson last week, in an attempt to at least get a pretty picture to show for our troubles. The idea was also to get before/after photos of the liatris (liatrises? liatri?) blooming. We set up a 10m x 10m square near the boundary between East and West. Alas, due to unstable winds and our failure to bring more than one memory card, we weren't able to take too many pics. And, of those we did take, we only had one (ONE!) with three groundmarkers included and none (NONE!) with all four groundmarkers.

Today we went out again and, despite promising wind predictions, failed to get the camera up.

Team Bee: Amy is analyzing data

Team Video: Due to an encouraging article on BBC about time travel, Colin has decided to wait for this invention rather than watch the 1000 hours right now. He plans on sending back his future self to do the grunt work. Thus, when all video is reviewed, we will know that time travel has been perfected.

Team FA: Leaves and heads, done.

Demography: Going well. Gaining in speed and efficiency. However, many, many sites are left to do. Getting nervous about the end of the summer coming so soon.

Common Garden: FINISHED! Well, just harvesting left.

Hegg Lake
: Rechecks c. 1/3 done

Rachel's Sites: Almost done!

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I finally got around to completely updating my pictures on photobucket, so I thought I should post the link to the site on the blog. It's a mix of work pictures and others, or simply pictures from times I have my camera.

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My mom, who is quite the gardener, sent me some pictures of Echinacea she's had growing in our garden for the past couple of years (I haven't been home during the summer since I graduated high school, so I've never actually seen it). She has a purple variety of ambiguous species identity as well as a yellow and an orange variety developed in the local nursery.

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Purple variety, head status: indented

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Yellow variety

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Now you can get gallons of organic milk in Alexandria. I thought some of you would be interested

Ian and the blonde children

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It is one of my greatest failures that after four summers in a part of Minnesota where there are more lakes than people I still do not know how to fish. Therefore, this summer when I am not measuring Echinacea I can often be found on a lake trying to learn how to fish. I have been only somewhat successful in this endeavor (as you can see by the picture below). However, with the help of Ian, my dad, and my Kensington friend Clint, I am completely confident that by the end of the summer I will be a mediocre fishing woman.

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We were enjoying a delicious supper of curried chick peas and green beans in the RAJ mahal, relaxing in spite of the raucous shrieking of a gaggle of pre-adolescents in our usually peaceful backyard (e.g. the alpine glory that is Andes Ski Hill). We heard the tweens erupt into rapturous cheering and looked out the window in time to see Ian emerge over the crest of the mountain on his bike, reminiscent of Gandalf, back lit by the morning sun, boldly perched atop Shadowfax. After bombing down the black diamond, Ian cruised back to the mando with a hoard of teenyboppers hot in pursuit. In the throes ecstasy, celebrating their newfound hero, the aggregation of blond children called out eager questions to this mysterious stranger: 'Where are you from?' 'What's your name?' and yes, even, 'can I have your autograph?'

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With the influx of work related postings, I thought I would shed some light on the day to day goings-on of the Andes' condos.

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I thought I would spend some time comparing the 2006 and 2007 measuring of the plants at Hegg Lake. The Hegg Lake common garden is located on Minnesota DNR land and is approximately a 7.5 mile drive from the main common garden. In May 2006 3,941 seedlings were planted at Hegg Lake after they were first germinated and grown in a green house at the Chicago Botanic Garden. To learn about this large seedling growth experiment see">">

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How are we figuring out what goes where? In most KAP applications, the camera is pointed at the horizon, or slightly towards the ground from the horizon. It's pretty easy to get landmarks this way (trees, buildings, roads, stuff like that). Looking at the ground, however, it's not so easy. How do you get good landmarks in a sea of green?

Simple. Ground markers.

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Download file

This is a link to a sample survey sheet that is used for my research. It includes a list of some of the most common plants found in the prairie fragments.


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There may be a sudden influx of blog entries very soon because when we don't work, we get to flog. I was out at Hegg Lake when the storm rolled in today around 11. Jennifer heard the thunder and told us to finish our row and then we would consider our options. Before we could finish our rows, Jennifer looked up, noticed the clouds and thunder were almost overhead and said we should go back to the farmhouse. Everyone else was already in the farmhouse at that point because it was pouring and there was lightning, so they decided to scamper inside. Some pictures from today:

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