Birding Update

The past month of field work has been crazy busy! Most days started at 5:20 in the morning, when I’d set out with the team to conduct birding point counts at local parks. Some days were exhausting, and required wading through swamps and climbing through walls of laurel in order to reach a randomly-selected point on the GPS. Other days included more welcome discoveries, like a field of blackberry bushes or a den of playful fox cubs. Now that we’ve finished up the birding surveys, I have been helping out the veg-crew with their work, and will soon start cleaning up and analyzing the bird data.

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Tackling Kreymborg’s Extensive Oeuvre

For my second installment in the three-part post for this month, here’s an update on Kreymborg’s work that I have read so far.

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Post 1: DNA Extraction

Hi All,

I realize that June is almost over and I haven’t posted any updates about my research. June has been a very busy month for me.  But, the bulk of my work has centered around the extraction of bacterial DNA from the 0.22 micron filters that are used to collect the bacteria from Lake Matoaka on a monthly basis. So far this month, I’ve extracted nine months (and counting) worth of DNA from filters that have been stored at -80 C for almost a year now. 

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Shockingly, Ennui in France

I’ve now finished five of the six novels I prescribed myself for this project. 450 pages of La Cousine Bette are all that stands between me and a mental break. I am profoundly disturbed by how weird Zola can be (seriously, just one normal relationship would be great. Just write one book that doesn’t involve cheating, incest, rape, necrophilia…) In the room where I’m staying, there is a bookshelf with a few classics that my host sets aside for her American visitors and the temptation of Jean-Paul Sartre’s Les Mots keeps me motivated through the 50 pages of Balzac I aim for each day. I love Sartre, but I think I’m particularly drawn to him at this moment because of the affinity this project makes me feel to his Roquentin.

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Placing a zoning map on my wall, and other accomplishments

As of today, I feel accomplished.  As of two days ago, I did not.  I have learned this vacillation in fulfillment characterizes the research process.  Some days I go to bed feeling as though I have accomplished nothing, despite the fact that I have trekked across the city and buried my nose in pages detailing the original Moravian settlement at Bethlehem from morning until evening.

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