Monday, November 23, 2009

Botany Joke of the Day

I offered my Plant Biology students a rare opportunity - extra-credit for botany related jokes. Some of the students pursued this with gusto, and so I have a nice list of botany jokes. Not all good, but still fun.

Why are plant capable of consuming cars?
Because they are auto-trophic.

And just for fun, a cactus from Puerto Rico (Melocactus intortus) from Guanica dry forest on the south part of the island, which was my favorite part of the trip.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Relaxing Saturday

Steve and I had a great day yesterday.

We went for an early morning walk . . . really early, like 5 am.

Did some shopping for the upcoming birthday/holiday season. Got my nephew a book about
Knights and Castles for his Birthday.

I knit while watching "Arsenic and Old Lace" - if you haven't seen it, you should.

I knit some more later while watching football. The football was on more for the background noise.

We went on a short bike-ride.

Also went to the Habitat for Humanity Restore, just to check it out. We found a beautiful piece of granite, but since we have no clue what we would do with it, we left it there.

Cooked dinner together, which was a lot of fun.

Went out to the Plaza, where he bought me a new knitting book as an early birthday present.
"Knitting New Mittens and Gloves" by Robin Melanson.

He has some big plans for my birthday on Tuesday - I am really excited to see what he has come up with.

Snapshot of Puerto Rico Part 2: Unknown Red Flowers

One of my goals while in Puerto Rico was to learn some of the flora.

I have never felt so over my head. I have never been botanizing in the tropics. I did mess up by forgetting important field equipment . . . oh how I longed for my hand lens. The books available to me left a lot to be desired. Sure I had the 5 volume Flora of Puerto Rico to key out plants. This book, however, did not have a family key. No family key????? I was completely lost, and felt completely spoiled by "Flora of Missouri". The families you find in the tropics are completely different than what you commonly find in Missouri. Very few mints, roses, scrophs, milkweeds, asters, or buttercups. Lots of Melastomaceae and Lauraceae (which we do have here, but not a family I am overly familiar with). I have been able to work through some of the plants that I found, but there are still a lot that I have no clue.

So here are some of those plants that I took photo of, but still don't know what they are.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Snapshots of Puerto Rico: Part 1 The Canopy Walk

This August I spent two weeks traveling around Puerto Rico with my friend and colleague, P., who has conducted research at El Yunque National Forest for about 10 years. My hope is to get involved with research on Puerto Rico and take students down. P. was a great tour guide through the different habitats found in Puerto Rico.

It was an amazing trip and between us, we took over 300 photos a day. I have decided to share this trip as a series of snapshots of some of my favorite photos and experiences. Not the detailed travelogue I had originally envisioned, but hopefully you will enjoy it nonetheless.

On the first full day wandering around the jungle, we visited the canopy walk at El Yunque National Forest. It part of the El Verde Field Station, which is not open to the public. I don't remember how high up we were. Hope you aren't afraid of heights!

The view from the canopy walk.

ooking down on top of a palm tree.
Another view looking down showing the rigging we climbed up.

P. at the other end of the walk.

The little Anolis who is eating the termites that hitched a ride on P's backpack.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Long Time No See

Been looking back over my blog, and I love being reminded of things I had forgotten about. For example, this post on snowman diversity. Or this one.

As such, I have decided I need to put time back into my blog, for myself, though I hope my friends and family will return to reading this blog and hopefully enjoy it.

So, what do I have to say for myself today. Not much it turns out, or perhaps to much to recap. I am viewing this post as starting new. There is no way I can recap everything that has happened since, what, June. So, I am not even going to try.

One fun thing this week - we completed the natural dye lab for my plant biology class. We used three dyestuffs: madder root, brazilwood, and logwood.

Here are all the yarns together - the brazilwood gave the pinkish colors, logwood the dark purples, and madder the orangish tones. I am looking forward to knitting this all up.