Sunday, April 29, 2012

Spring on the Palouse

I've been lacking in my updates, due both to being busy at work and not having internet access at my apartment. Today I'm updating from the Daily Grind in downtown Pullman, where students have taken over with laptops to prepare for finals. The internet connection is running slower than molasses in January. On top of that, I forgot to upload recent pictures before coming here, so you'll have to wait awhile longer for true, exciting, photo-filled updates.

I do have this one photo for you though, taken a couple of weeks ago when we were soil sampling at the Wilke research station, just outside of Davenport, WA. This particular research project has 48 plots, all of which had to be sampled for our bulk density and fertility analyses. We take 2 cores per plot, which are combined into one representative sample. The tractor you see has a Giddings probe attached to the back--it's a hydraulically-driven corer that allows us to sample as deep as 5 feet without the human strain required when using a king tube or push probe. Even with this mechanical advantage, sampling takes a lot of time and I've spent many days in the field. The sun has been shining--I've got the sunburns to prove it--and there are definitely worse ways to spend a day at work.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

New Job, New Address, New Phase of Life!

I don't think this will come as a surprise to any of you, but last weekend I loaded my belongings into a Uhaul and returned to Pullman to take a job working on a multi-state, agriculturally-focused climate change project. It's been in the works for quite awhile, and finally being in Pullman feels great.

My car began the journey to Pullman on Friday night, with my friend Kara taking on the task of driving it over. Alice and I followed the next morning in the Uhaul. I was incredibly nervous about driving the moving truck the roughly 300 miles between my new and old addresses, but things went great! Between my experience driving tour buses at the Zoo last summer and YMCA mini buses for the last few months, the truck was very easy to adjust to. The weather was even halfway decent for the trip over Snoqualmie Pass and the rest of our highway journey to Pullman.

Alice got to ride shotgun in her kennel and was a very patient passenger. I was a little worried because she had done quite a bit of complaining during the hour and a half long drive to Aunt Louise's house a couple of weeks before, and we were looking at 5+ hours for the move! Luckily, she spent most of her time curled up sleeping, waking just long enough to shoot me an unimpressed look if we hit a bump in the road too hard.

After arriving in town Kara and Keith and a couple of recruited friends helped unload the truck--it went so much faster than when my mom and I had been loading it on Friday afternoon! We spent much of Sunday relaxing and walking around campus, so it wasn't until this weekend (a week after moving in) that I got my boxes unpacked and put the place into a bit of order--it still needs work. I started my new job on Monday, and I find there are a lot of things I have to figure out and locate, but that shouldn't take too long and I'll soon be totally ready to kick some research butt.
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