May 19, 2009

On Moving Back and Bayview

It's so nice to be spending my days outside again! Well, I say that from the warm shelter of my bedroom after bitching bitterly into 20 mph winds for about 3 hours today. Estimating the percent cover of grasses becomes a bit more difficult in such wind, especially on 25 degree slopes. Still, I'm learning a lot about plants, which makes this geek very happy.

With respect to other plants, the backyard is booming with veggies and natives. Almost all of my natives survived my absence. The ones that didn't are annuals that might not have returned anyway. I'm a bit sad that my Viola pedunculata failed to return, but whatever. We're growing 5 types of hot peppers, corn, tomatoes, beans, snap peas, broccoli, lettuce and fruit trees! As always, we're only using grey water for the garden. This could incite a battle between myself and Blake as he's focused on the food but I'm intent on getting my Ribes sanguineum through the summer without a total brownout.

Speaking of watering, I went to McLaren to visit the oak (Quercus agrifolia) and it's doing fairly well, though kinda leany. I think I'll have to go stake in some supports. Maybe next Sunday during the concert for Soupstock, a celebration of 29 years of Food Not Bombs. I'm looking forward to taking an afternoon off for this one!

I'm hoping that by then I'll be finished with plots on Bayview, one of the most diverse but underutilized parks in SF. This hilltop park hosts over 226 plant species on just 44 acres. When I go there in the morning, the rest of SF is still covered in fog, but I'm in full sun. Sunday I nearly drank a litre of water and had to leave anyway because the second bottle got too hot to drink. I'm sure I got poison oak as I could not be bothered to put on sleeves. Yesterday I watched the fog swallow Twin Peaks, then most of the financial district, then McLaren, then Bernal and I was still in sun when I left at 6:30. And then today I nearly froze in the wind. SF hills and their microclimates, amazing.

In the end, I borrowed a newer GPS and clinometer from SFSU Geography. I ran into one of my favorite professors, who encouraged me to go to grad school. Everyone there is so mellow! No swipy cards to access the map library or anything else. I love geographers. That's why I became one. Seriously, I was well into other subjects in the humanities but SFSU geography has the raddest people and it always felt like a good fit. I'm stoked for the annual picnic next week, when I hope to catch up with some of these folks properly. Maybe I'll take the clinometer to have someone can verify that I'm using it correctly!

Borrowing is definitely the way to go. I don't need a GPS of my own. I just need access to one. I sure as hell don't need a personal clinometer. It's weird enough that I have an anonemeter, though I use it whenever possible. I've also borrowed several grass manuals, field guides, and wildflower books, as well as one title known as "How Grass Grows". It's stimulating, I swear.

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