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August 26: A special appearance…

Today marked our third day without Stuart. But our arrival to a Stuart-less Hjelm house was made brighter by the appearance of a tiger salamander! (In Roxy’s absence, we’ve noticed quite a bounty of wildlife roaming the area.) Katherine, who has known since the age of 8 that the majestic and bafflingly cute creature is her favorite animal, was especially excited. After an extended photo op and cuddling session, the team finally managed to set the salamander back down and get on with the day’s work. We all agreed that he was an upgrade from Ricky.

Katherine holds her first tiger salamander! Obvious soulmates.

Katherine holds her first tiger salamander! Obvious soulmates.

We spent most of the morning doing demography at the Rileys. Despite some grief and hardship caused by the abundance of mowed plants, we finished strong and well before lunch. Back at the Hjelm house we set to work cleaning and organizing, dealing with clutter that had been neglected for too long. Things got really exciting when Amy dug out the label maker. We spent lunch dreaming up big plans to label everything in the Hjelm house–in between fighting off the hornets.

The Hjelm house is looking pretty good.

The Hjelm house is looking pretty good.

After lunch, Will and I collected tissue samples from the Cirsium hillii at Hegg (that will be used to determine if the plants are distinct or actually one large plant) while Abby and Danny collected tissue from the angustifolia plants nearby the pallida restoration. Meanwhile, Katherine, Ali, and Amy stayed back to touch up the paint jobs on the heads for q3.

Our work done at Hegg, we headed back to Hjelm and packed away the tissue samples to dry out. We printed labels for the samples, but unfortunately the label maker ran out of paper before we could get on with the rest of our big labeling plans. Oh well. We’ll have to continue to do our best navigating the house with its very average level of labeling.

Heads for q3 wait in p1 to be harvested.

Heads for q3 wait in p1 to be harvested.

August 21: Last day on the Job

Today was my last day of work for this summer. It was also Hattie and Per’s last days. They go back to school next week! It’s crazy how much this summer has flown by! To inaugurate my last day we started with rechecking demography records. We then had our last lunch with the Wagenius’ as a whole. They are headed off towards Chicago where Gretel, Hattie, and Per will be staying for the fall (Gretel will be back and forth). The afternoon became warmer and the sky cleared up. The rest of the team got trained in on how to harvest Echinacea heads in P1. I stayed behind to finish up some work on my independent project. At the end of the day Abby and Will left without saying goodbye (I wish you both good luck in the new school year and hope that excellent times come your way). But out biggest trouble was figuring out what to do with Ricarda/Ricardo/Erica/Rica/Ric/Rick/Richard/Ricky. We debated whether to let him go on the grape vine outside the Hjelm house or to bring him back to town hall. We ultimately decided to let Ricarda/Ricardo/Erica/Rica/Ric/Rick/Richard/Ricky go on the grape vine outside of the Hjelm house.

We then headed home for our usual Friday night pizza making session! We made wonderful veggie, sausage and green pepper, and pineapple pizzas! We then went outside to watch the sunset through the smoke from the wildfires in Montana and Washington. The sun was a beautiful orb of orange as it set over the soybean fields to the west of K-town. Then someone put Kent in the shower.

Well hello there Kent!

Well hello there Kent!