Our Wildflower Garden
Field & Berry Groups
May 7: Bill Anderegg brought us up to date with his study of Aspens in the Colorado Rocky Mts with his title "Returning to the Land of Trembling Trees." A grove of these trees is essentially a single clone because of a shared root system. Thus studying water stress or carbohydrate reserves in a very few trees can be extrapolated to the entire grove of trees. One line of experimentation he intends to carry out this year is to measure the effects of defoliation and recovery at different times during the growing season.
Tasting: Bill brought two large plates of chocolate brownies. He told us the ingredients were identical on both plates except for one added to one of the plates and asked if we could tell the difference. Naturally, it was necessary to taste a lot of these delicious bars to be sure, but we finally were able to guess correctly that one batch contained powdered coffee (two tablespoons Bill admitted).
May 14: Lena Perkins spoke to the title "Energy Analysis of Torrefied (Charred) Woods: Copra plantations in American Samoa." She plans to study how coconut palms may add to the energy sustainability of South Sea Islanders. These ubiquitous trees with a useful lifecycle of 30-36 years can be processed in situ to provide both fuel & food.
Tasting: Lena brought about seven bottled drinks made from apples (one pear). These included three draft ciders with 5% alcohol and one Hard Cider with 6%, and two juices (filtered & unfiltered). All were purchased at Trader Joe's.
May 21: Carolyn Snyder gave a practice run of her PhD Thesis defense talk. (The actual defense will be on May 27.) "Key uncertainties in the risks of future climate change: Insights from a probabilistic analysis of climate change over the past million years."
Tasting, Carolyn provided six varieties of popcorn all from the same brand: 94% fat free, 50% fat free, Butter, Movie Butter, Extra Butter, Kettle Corn. There were several conversations about how the different varieties varied in the oils and other ingredients. People liked the 94% fat free as a snack, some really liked the Kettle Corn (but others found it boring), some liked the Extra Butter, and some liked the Movie Butter (which had a different consistency, yet similar ingredients). There appeared to be no consensus. People ended up taking a variety of kinds home.
May 27: Carolyn Snyder defended her Dissertation to her parents, faculty, & many friends. She has collected a large amount of data about temperature and precipitation using different proxies over the past million years and organized it in such a way that useful estimates of future changes may be anticipated.
May 28: Lee Anderegg presented his ideas for summer research. Lee is a Stanford Undergraduate and will be working with his brother, Bill on the Aspen Project in Colorado. He is particularly focused on the water relations of these trees and hopes to measure the influence of drought on sudden Aspen decline (SAD). Tasting: Lee brought several differently flavored containers of humus (ground garbanzo beans).
Editor: Click on photos to enlarge them.
Jan Brown, email@example.com