Happy Spring! The weather is great and I am loving festival season. Arizona gets a lot of crap (rightfully so) for being batshit crazy, but there are also a lot of good people here.
March is the beginning of outdoor season as you can tell from our recent pictures. I am also practicing vegan cooking in preparation for Earth Hour this Saturday. Good times.
Initially, I chose my major because it was interesting to me and very flexible. I’ve always had this thing about not being caged in or tied down with limited options so I wanted a bio degree that would let me travel, be outside, and generally screw around. Well, be careful what you wish for.
Now that it’s time to find a real job, narrowing decisions is tougher than expected and I’m not as willing to leave AZ as I was before. This is due to DH’s education, as I have posted before he can only take so many credits at a time due to our financial situation and I would hate for him to take time away from it or get screwed over by credits not transferring to another school. Many of the interesting jobs are located elsewhere and though we would love to get out of this state it isn’t looking so great right now. I have an interview with an environmental lobbying group coming up but this is not my preferred route. Field work would be awesome, but not like Game and Fish Biologist, out-in-fraking-Denali-for-months work (though I have it on good authority they have a lot of fun and mess around all the time, such as “sampling” fish stock on the clock). Another opportunity is with the EPA but they aren’t interviewing until April. I would like a crack at this! Yet another thing is these fancy jobs are great for new grads but require a 2 year committment. Do I just not say anything about the possibility of DH not being able to stay? So I might go the consultant route which sounds fun and dangerous for nerdy biology types but could potentially be a soul-sucking-sellout thing if you have to make a bad company look good.
For example, one opportunity I passed on was as a private wildlife consultant for a defense contractor in Sierra Vista AZ. They basically wanted fresh meat to write a nice little statement saying their plans to remove desert tortoises would not negatively impact the species or its habitat. So not gonna happen, those vulnerable little guys are my homies! And you know what else? I do not feel adequately prepared in NEPA knowledge, much less EIS writing. On top of this, to get certified in these things usually requires 3 years working in the field. How am I going to get a job to get experience in NEPA if you have to have NEPA & EIS experience to get a job?
So for now, one step at a time. My sweet mother-in-law insists the right job will find me. I’m not so optimistic but she means well. I could always study sloth migration patterns…
Lots of stuff:
Oktoberfest traditionally takes place at the end of September and runs through the 1st week of October, but in AZ it’s freaking hot so we get a late start in attempt to beat the heat. It is still 108°F here in Phoenix, so we keep our daytime celebrations inside. DH and I are excited to start the German Beer season as we usually get 3 weekends packed with different city-sponsored events!
We did start celebrating last night, with a German-inspired sausage, cabbage, and potato salad dinner. We will also make pretzels sometime this weekend, so stay posted for that recipe.
Class starts tomorrow. New (and last) semester, new job, and a new case of nerves. Blackboard says the genetics recitation scheduled for Friday August 20th is cancelled. Go ASU! The first assignment for soil ecology is already posted and has me on edge. Question 1:
Carbon dioxide partial pressures in the soil atmosphere are usually much greater than in the general atmosphere due to organic matter decomposition and respiration by living plant roots (CO2 partial pressures: 0.00035atm in the atmosphere and up to 0.035 in the soil atmosphere). What happens when CO2 dissolves in water? Write balanced chemical equations describing this process.
More importantly, how long ago did I take organic chemistry? Did I retain any of it? Derive the exponential decay equation describing this brain rot process. Any biologist worth her/his grain of salt can tell you the ocean is a carbon sink and when CO2 is dissolved in water you get carbonic acid. This is why increased burning of fossil fuels leads to increases in ocean acidity. So why do I start to sweat the moment anything quantitative appears?
This past summer has been fun; DH and I spent a lot of time together and we had the opportunity to try a lot of new recipes. I got to post daily. But it’s time to be almost-adults again, we both have work and school. His physics lab will run until 10 pm one night a week, so goodbye dinners those evenings. It isn’t nearly as bad as some people have it (hell, some couples are in separate countries!) but it is enough for me to dislike it. I know I’m being a big baby. As we both work for schools in some capacity or another we will have the weekends which, again, is a lot more than other people have. I don’t know when I became so selfish with my time.
Anyhow, I will miss wasting time observing flowers and bees ecological processes in the garden all day.
Seeds went into the ground around June 21st, though we had to re-seed a few times because of bird damage. If everything had gone according to plan we would be about 1.5 months away from harvesting squash and nearly 2 months away from harvesting pumpkins. Re-seeding put us about 3-4 weeks behind so I think we’ll harvest around late October/early November. I hope the pumpkins are ready for Halloween, but this might not be the case. Either way, there should be plenty of pumpkin and squash for Thanksgiving!
Seeds of Change provides high quality seed from non-GMO plants grown organically. When you eat produce grown from this seed you really feel that connection to the land and respect put into developing quality plants in an environmentally friendly and people friendly way. Here’s more info for those interested:
The Safe Seed Pledge: “Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms, poses great biological risks as well as economic, political, and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, to genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems, and ultimately to healthy people and communities.” –Seeds of Change (from the Council for Responsible Genetics
They are certified organic through Oregon Tilth.