2010, I hardly knew you

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I last updated.  Thank you, WordPress, for hanging onto the blog while it languished.

Vox Hortus has its own domain now, so you can find it at www.voxhortus.com or at the WordPress address.

So much has happened in a year.  I’ve finished my third field season for my research project, I’m writing my thesis and looking for a job.  I graduate this spring, into an economy that is, as we know, underwhelming.  I remain optimistic.

In 2010, I stomped grapes for Chardonnay, drank a good amount of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, read a metric tonne of journal articles, wrote some papers, took a few classes, went to Idaho, went to Washington, went on one date, took up birding, dropped the ball on knitting, took up spinning, identified 4,150 insects, learned and forgot a bunch of statistical whatnot, sat through 5 successful graduate defenses in my cohort.  I’ve made great strides in getting over my fear of arachnids.  It’s been good.  Strange, but good.

Vox Hortus is 5 years old!  There are new features in the works and lots of ground to cover in gardening, insects, science, and the natural world.  The blog has a new theme and it’s all new from here out.  Welcome back!

Century Egg


See that black and green region on this plate?  Century egg.  Why is it that color you ask?  Well, because it’s rotten.  Why is it on a plate instead of in the trash?  Because it’s a delicacy.  You will eat some, and you will like it.

And I did, and I did.  It’s got an earthy flavor and creamy texture, and you only taste the “offness” of it a few seconds after you’ve swallowed it.  I split it with 2 other people, and we pretty much ate it with great relish and exclamations of bravado.  The tofu chaser next to it makes everything okay again.  Follow with white fungus soup and a steamed pork bun.  Yum!

I expected to have stomach distress of various kinds in Taiwan but it never happened.  In fact, the relative richness of food back here in the states after being on a pretty clean diet for 2 weeks caused the most distress.  The richest thing I ate was fried duck – served whole, of course, so we could make meaningful eye contact while I dined on his innards with a nice guava nectar.

Run in Circles, Scream and Shout

I always feel this way by the second week of school: like something heavy is sitting on my chest. And it’s not my 13-pound complete volume of Flora. There’s a plant ID midterm this week, another weeds quiz, a club meeting, a statistics assignment, a weed specimens collection, more red clover to count, club activities to plan, places to go, people to see. And I have psychogenic fatigue.

Evidently I’m not alone: more students are using the psychological services we pay for each term, and that’s a good thing I think. I choose coffee.

Here’s a nice photo to calm us down. Weeds can be so lovely.

So I have a tremendous amount of statistics to cover this evening before I retire; I’ll just be excusing myself now.

10.2 megapixels of Nikon Goodness

It’s true: you take 100 pictures, and one of them is what you hoped for.

This peeling bark of Prunus serrula was captured with my lovely new Nikon D40x. It’s been difficult to blog about plants and not be able to photograph them; my 3.2 megapixel point and shoot did not cut it. For two years I’ve pined for a digital SLR.

The Pacific Northwest being what it is, the arrival of rain perfectly coincided with my picking up the camera. I took advantage of this beautiful cherry and the brief sunbreak today on a field trip.