I posted this image to Instagram Wednesday morning to see if anyone could guess where I was headed for the day... well, nobody tried to guess, so I suppose I'll just tell you anyway...  I spent my day doing fieldwork!


My parents are both plant pathologists (in layman's terms, they study sick trees...), so occasionally I am enlisted to assist with field work... tromping around forests recording data.  It's all standard scientist stuff:  How many trees are there?  How big are the trees?  Are the trees sick?  Are the trees dead?  And samples are taken and the data is entered back at the lab and they draw various conclusions about forest health.  I don't mind it much, and it is awfully good exercise!  Of course, the uniform includes the standard issue orange vest (so authoritative!), a large sunhat, and gators to keep the ticks and thistles away.  You'll have to excuse my slightly dazed face in the first picture... it was before coffee!  The giant pole I'm carrying (everyone's favorite piece of equipment to ask us about) serves as an external antenna for an older GPS unit.  We originally designed them for use in dense forests, and they extend much higher so that we have some chance of getting enough reception to get a good location reading.



Fieldwork also includes a picnic lunch of standard-issue field sandwiches:  Homemade wheat bread, cheese, and veggies.  Sometimes there is hummus, too, and my parents used to pack some densely calorific and very chocolatey field cookies, but my mother has refused those lately.


Unfortunately, the last location of the day had us wading through chest-high star thistle!  Extra care had to be taken to avoid accidental impalement.  At least the sunset was pretty... and we'd had chocolate milkshakes beforehand, so we were well-fortified to take it on. 

I realize that plant science is a bit of a far cry from what I've decided to pursue in life (music! art! vintage!)... did you follow in the footsteps of your parents with regards to career and interest, or did you run screaming in the opposite direction?