It is a lovely early fall day. The sun is shining and it’s not brutally hot. The calendar has rolled past the third week of September, so it is time for that annual botanical adventure, checking up on the rare Navasota False Foxglove, Agalinis navasotensis that the human female discovered. We are all headed to the outcrop in the next county over to see how many there are and how they are doing.
(a bit later)
Things actually look pretty good. There is a lot of grass this year, since the summer was wet. The human female and two other plant nerds have counted over 100 plants in flower.
A good year, if not great. The usual fall flora is in evidence too. The blue sage is open for butterfly take-out dining.
Or is it dine-in? Except the lepidopteran is not sitting down. How does it work with bugs anyhow?
It took a bit of looking, but we found the little cacti again.
The plant nerds have located the endpoint stakes of a sampling transect that was run in 2006 and are going run the transect again so they can compare results.
That’s the human female up there at the top of the outcrop. If you could see her any more clearly you might be turned to stone. You’re welcome.
Ugh! This science is tedious! Every half meter along the line, we have to note what is touching the line between 0 and 0.5 meters, between 0.5 meters and 1.0 meter, between 1.0 and 1.5 meters, etc., all the way up to the canopy. I think that at most of the points along line we are going to have…grass. It’s not in flower, so we won’t be able to write down what kind it is. Grass. Grass. Grass. And we have thirty meters of this to do? The plant nerds will be at this all morning and I will die of boredom. Time for a little excitement!
And here it comes! I’ve noted before that, while I cannot really control the weather, I can certainly nudge it along. (You don’t grow up around my stoopid brother Thor without picking up a few tricks.) So I think I will take advantage of the forecast “chance of precipitation” to see how dedicated botanists conduct a transect in the pouring rain.
Vera quaestio est quousque perstent antequam cladem agnoscant.
Norns’ nighties! They are actually doing it. The human female is crouched under a car windshield sunshade, trying to keep her notes dry, her partner is completely exposed, holding the height pole, and a third intrepid plant nerd is marking a GPS record of groups of Agalinis plants. Everyone is soaked to the skin and I am laughing so hard at the human female slipping in the mud that I almost fell down myself.
Sigyn and I, of course, are under a magic umbrella spell and are perfectly dry.
The botanists and all available paper being sodden, they have decided to call it a day and not set up a second transect. Farewell outcrop! We shall see you again in the spring, perhaps.
This is what the human female’s notebook looks like–after drying out a bit!
The notes themselves are barely legible.
I am grudgingly impressed, though. Her cheap little ballpoint did a pretty good job of not running.
When all typed up, the transect results look like this:
Prope est ut si quid agerent sciebant.