Monday, June 11, 2012

On being a semi-reluctant weekend researcher

This last weekend, while millions of Americans were enjoying the beautiful outdoors in a pleasant, relaxing way via farmers' markets, minor league baseball games, and walking their cats (or at least, this is what my overheated, slightly grumpy brain was telling me), I spent mine tending the Operation Pollinator sites.

Not that I don't love my OP sites.

I just don't love them quite as much on Saturday mornings.

Fortunately I had a helper this time around.  I had to bribe Boyfriend out of bed and into the field with the promise of Waffle House, and even then it was a tough sell.

Here he is.  High point of the morning.  Epitome of happiness, because he knows waffles are on the way.

Later, a barely-disguised look of total disgust.  The waffle-induced euphoria has passed.  What is he doing with his life?

We spent Saturday prepping my sites for the bee bowls which will go out later this week for the first sampling set EVER for Operation Pollinator.  A bee bowl is a passive way to collect pollinators (not just bees!).  It is usually a brightly colored bowl (often in fluorescent yellow or blue) filled with soapy water, which has a much lower surface tension than regular water.  Pollinators are attracted to the color, and fall to their doom in the soapy water, where I collect them after the bowl has been out in the sun for a few hours.

Most bee bowls are just set on the ground, but I am elevating mine so that they are at the approximate level of the wildflower bloom, which is also where the pollinators are.  In order to elevate these suckers, I've made a relatively simple contraption, mostly consisting of PVC pipe and gorilla glue, which should be mobile and easily removable from the site when I'm not actively sampling.

It looks like this:

My Paint skills leave something to be desired.

More to the point--you see that purple/brown bar at the bottom of the elevated bee bowl?  That's supposed to represent an 18 inch piece of half inch diameter rebar.  You see how it's 6 to 8 inches in the ground (this should be obvious, given the precision with which this diagram was constructed)?

Yeah.  That's what we were doing.

The tools of the trade:

We pounded the hell out of that rebar.  We showed it who was boss.  And we put in eight rebar stakes at six different sites.

The end product:

Aw yeah.  Rebar never even knew what hit it.

It was me.  With a sledge hammer.

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