Monday, June 30, 2008


Fire is a lot less dull once you start learning how to do things, and people trust that you are competent.

Then every spare moment is spent covering up and correcting your mistakes.

Then people assume you can fix their mistakes.

Then you turn off your alarm in your sleep, wake up four minutes before you're supposed to have a radio conference, and end up taking resource orders from a man way out in the wilderness while still in pyjamas and bare feet.

Then you stare at the toaster for seven minutes waiting for your toast to be done, before thinking to turn it on.

Fuck it all, I'm going to start drinking coffee.

And maybe kill my stay up late listening to loud music roommate.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Well, that's some comfort

Another Trinity County Moment: I'd just gotten a ceanothus thorn deep in my leg, and was having some trouble removing it.  The crew leader said "Don't worry, it'll fester its way out real quick."

All sorts of fires over the Trinity- I'm excited because hey, fire and money, but worried because Señor C's birthday is next Friday and I might have to work, like a loser.  I promised him my overtime in gift form.  Also, I have a job interview, but if I am on a fire, going to a job interview could result in my being AWOL.  Literally.  Like, the military term.  

Shauna has mistaken my iPod for a radio station three times now.  I think it's a compliment.  Or maybe her digs are too subtle for me.  Eh.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Trinity County Moments

"No, they ain't the Dyer's woad, them's the bitter lettuce things Sonia puts in her salads."
-Hayfork youth crew member, showing impressive botanical talent at identifying to family with no experience. Entirely wrong about genus though. It was Agoseris.

Also, someone from the trail crew showed up for a ten hour day of standing in the sun, pulling weeds. He brought a pack of cigarettes and an inhaler. And a Rock Star. That was his lunch.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Doddering Fools!

Cuervito sent me this video- he called it a botanical horror movie- I see it as defense against the tyranny of tomatoes.

If you wanted to watch a botanical horror movie, you could do something about the spread of Bromus tectorum into California in the 30s. Or Hypericum preforatum, if you want something with a relatively happy ending. The link is dead, long live the link.


I was power leveling my Odin Sphere characters, stuffing their faces with pear confit and crouque monsieur, when I noticed I was idly scratching my middle toes against the heel of my other foot. "Huh" I thought "That's how I scratch my toes when they have poison oak. Odd." I grew some more raspberries and shoved them down Gwendolyn's throat, musing on her trim figure and probable hollow leg. "It's not like I've been in poison oak..." I killed some demons from the underworld and used their souls to grow apples. "There was that little patch, but I was really careful to avoid stepping in it, and then I washed my feet later..." I told my father that he could have my engagement ring over my cold dead body, yet again. "Well, not so much washed as stood in a freezing creek several times, cursing fate. Still, I should be fine."

Three minutes later, Señor C found me standing in a icy shower, scrubbing my entire body with laundry soap. I was hissing "Unclean, unclean, all my toes have touched is unclean." He's not acting too startled- I think my pattern of erratic behavior has innured him a bit. Soon, my irrational freakouts will be notable to no one but me. Off to wash the sheets in Technu and revenge myself upon my future brother in law for turning me into a giant rabbit. (Not Conquistador Lord of the Undead Jr. y las tres princesas, in the video game.)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Wildlife count for week of 6/9

Monday: three deer, two separate bears sprinting out of the road.

Tuesday: five turtles! six deer, one snake

Wednesday: I stopped counting deer after seven. five turtles- three tiny ones! Swarming honeybees almost flew through our crummy. A mother bear and a nugget of a baby bear fled our approach. Coyoté off the side of the road. I accidentally cornered a mother quail, a father quail, and about half a dozen popcorn quail going back into the office. Mama booked it on foot, leaving her offspring to their fates. Babies hid so well that I thought they'd gotten into the office. Daddy hunched down, puffed himself up, and started advancing on me. I went around another door and started looking under desks for popcorns, and worked my way back to the door where they were encamped. There I beheld a bold rescue mission- Papa peeped encouragingly until a baby would emerge, and then escorted him past the door itself. Baby would then sprint to Mama, who would store him in the shrubbery. I startled them again- and Daddy decided that since I fled the first time he threatened me, he could try again. That is one awesome bird.

Thursday: We were in snake central, and actually had a bet going about how many confirmed snake sightings there would be. However, our most impressive wildlife was a multitude of caddis fly larvae. That means the low bidder wins, yay me.

Oh, and to dismiss the charges of animism, I saw Phacelia corymbosa, Senicio greenii, Minutaria rosei, Ericameria ophiditus, Cypripedium montanum (new site) Eriogonum libetini, three possible extensions of Erythronium citrinum var. roderickii, Lewisia cantelovii, and Sedum paridesium. Let me include a link:

Maybe I should put out some seeds for the quail.

The Golden Ratio

Some people will tell you that the golden ration is a/b=1+b/a. This is lies. The golder ratio is Q=C/B
Where Q is quality of Jane's week, C is time spent with Señor C and B is time spent with my boss. Ah, those halcyon days where the ratio was close to infinity. When will we see them again?

Well, since she's off fighting the ecological ramifications of improper fire extinguising for two weeks, soon enough. Soon enough.

I've just spent fifteen minutes trying to spell halcyon correctly. Eventually, I asked Señor C, who got it right off the bat. And I had a dream where there was a shark in our living room, and he punched it out. He's pretty awesome.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Apologies to Dr. C (no relation to Sr. C)

I had a very talented professor who I consistently disapointed for my entire stay in college. One of the many excellent bits of advice she passed on was "Keep your textbooks. Keep your notebooks. You never know." Well. She was right, as always.

I was trying to figure out the mathematics of the weeds we're pulling- factoring in the whole basal rosette stage, and the number of seeds, and the germination rate to find the expected time to population reduction- and luckily I had another talented professor (in plant ecology) who was obsessed with this stuff. I pulled out my books and notes this weekend and found that we would have to kill something like 99.95% of the weeds every year for twelve years to stop the spread. Then, with the seed bank depleted, we could relax our vigilence slightly, if more seeds were not constantly coming in on hay trucks. That's only another 500 acres to go over with a fine-toothed comb.

My poor quasi-supervisor thinks that killing 75-90% will make progress against the invasion- I thought she was just better informed that I was, but in fact she is just wrong, wrong wrong. What I am doing is pointless to the extreme, which is unfortunate, but I feel somewhat mollified for four reasons.
1.) When I thought "some weed work" would be chopping down sattelite populations when we ran accross them and eradicating tiny pockets of the hot new invasives, science was on my side. I just assumed that the planning and research was better than it was. Ho, ho, easy mistake to make!
2.) My desire to use herbicide does not mean I'm lazy. It means I want to be effective.
3.) I know I'm a better botanist than my minion. I know my training in plant taxonomy is better than the rigid understanding of my actual supervisor. But I thought my quasi-supervisor was a better botanist than me in every respect. Now that I know this is not true, I like her a lot better. I have ego issues.
4.) Damn, I was smart to not take Plant Ecology from the usual professor. Thanks, Dr. C! Thanks, empathetic affirmation of my choice from Cuervito! Also, nyah nyah nyah nyah.

Okay, off to find eggs.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


We had our family meeting today at work- we're all one big happy family, with members who don't bother to show up and most younger people sulking in corners, waiting to escape. It was like Thanksgiving, but with more talk of noxious weeds.

Anyways, there was a video from the Washington office head honcho, Gail Santiago. It discussed climate change. We in the forest service have a three pronged approach to fighting climate change: Manage (or spend more money on fire), reduce consumption (use florescent bulbs), and research. I was pleased to recognise a photo of the Bishops and their mountaintop research about five slides into the research montage. Their work is consistently awesome. However, the next photo was of their plot system, and then their minion, and then all of them, from a distance, squinting at a plant. Then there were four photos of birds, and the montage was over. I can only conclude that the Forest Service has only three global warming projects. Awesome.

I thought it would be constructive to make a list of all the things that my boss has mentioned I should stop doing in the last couple of days:
1.) Don't always sit in the front seat of the car.
2.) Don't sleep in the car.
3.) Don't sit upright with eyes tightly closed participating in the conversation in the car.
I assume I'm also not supposed to puke, but I'm not sure, since after the last one I went back to sleep as violently as I know how.
4.) Don't ask the driving instructor all those questions about driving law.
Boy, we're going to have fun working together.
5.) Don't leave the barracks such a mess.
6.) Hey, remember when I heard from someone that the barracks were a mess? Yeah, they shouldn't be a mess.
7.) Did I mention that you should never leave a mess in the barracks?
I'd think she was making a point, but I check every damn time to see if a new complaint has been made, and it's the same one. Every time. I know I live in filth, but in the barracks I'm in permanent guest mode. I had six magazines on the table, dishes in the sink, and a swamp of dirty clothes on the floor of my room.
8.) You forgot to chock the truck
9.) Don't chock the truck like that.
10.) Don't get out of the car, we need to go. What do you mean, don't forget the chock?
11.) Don't leave the plants there, put them where I told you to put them.
12.) Where are those plants you misplaced?

Between that and the twice daily squeals of "Omygod, you used to be only this tall! I'm so oooollld, now that you're an adult. Jesus, you used to be a baby!*" I"m really enjoying working here.

*Innappropriate response: "As did you"