Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Happy holidays

Today I finished my marking from Autumn term. I love teaching but hate marking. I'm sure the students don't enjoy my assignments either. There must be another way....

Still good to have got that done. I also managed to clear my inbox and pack my office ready for our move to the new building week of Jan 4th. So all told I think I'm ready for Christmas.
No emails! A rarely seen gmail screen

The visually attractive green wall on the front of our new building

Kirsty at BES in Edinburgh talking about earthworm - plant communication
Last week Kirsty and I were at the British Ecological Society annual meeting, held in Edinburgh this year. I really enjoyed it, some thought provoking plenary talks and I met some interesting people that I didn't know previously.

The week before we finished the earthworm sampling - generally the weather held although we did spend a little time working inside when it was drizzling.

Working inside in the Diary building kept us warm and dry at times   
But in the sun it was warm enough for   

lunch outside

Miranda and Omar taking soil measurements
Now we just need to identify the earthworms - over to David Jones for that.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Back in the field

We were back in the field on Friday sampling earthworms for SoilBioHedge. We last sampled in April. We're back sampling to look at any seasonal variation in the earthworm distributions between the hedge and the centre of the fields. But also, now our ley strips have been established we can start to see if they are effecting earthworm distributions.

An arable ley established in pasture (Sub paddock field)
Sorting through the soil using the truck as a work bench

Happiness is a pile of sol and earthworms!
Sampling at this time of year is always a lottery. We were supposed to start on Thursday but the forecast was heavy rain so I cancelled. Needless to say, it didn't rain much, at least in York. Friday was chilly but fine and we got a fair amount of sampling done. Spring sampling involves sitting in sunny fields, winter sampling standing up and working off the truck so we don't get rheumatism! We have Monday and Tuesday pencilled in to finish this tranche. Weather is forecast fine so far - it might even feel slightly warm!