If I am not responsive to y’all, please know that it’s not because you’re annoying (you’re never annoying), or that I’m too good to acknowledge you (we are equals and I love you), it’s because my personal life has been profoundly stressful for the entire year and it is catching up with me while simultaneously becoming much worse.
In short, I have to find a new job before next summer, but preferably ASAP, because my employer is moving to Massachusetts (*clutches my sub-tropical caterpillars*), and they have not been good to me so I’m not going with them. The tricky part is the more advanced your education and experience, the fewer the job openings and oh boy do I have masters in engineering.
On the off chance any of you have connections that may benefit somebody looking for sciency/educationy/engineeringy/project-managey work in Austin, TX, please help a human out.
If you do not have connections, I will also appreciate photos of bugs and mushrooms and weird plants, and/or stories of fun things you find outside, because your joy in and love of nature is honestly the only thing that brings light to my otherwise dark and bleak days.
I have recently discovered Plants. Did you know: if you find a plant you like, you can just… collect its seeds? Or, you can dig it up and plant it somewhere else?? OR (now this one is crazy but stick with me) you can take part of it and grow it into a new plant?!?
Amazing! First, I started small: I noticed some milkweed was spilling floaty seeds everywhere, so I borrowed a couple, planted them, and several months later I had so many Monarch and Queen caterpillars I had to give some away.
Next: I noticed a baby morning glory vine had popped up in my side yard. I didn’t want it in my side yard, so I dug it up, put it in my brand new flower garden, and several months later it has taken over the entire back half of my yard.
Then: my coworker brought in some lemongrass cuttings she’d done, and I planted it in my yard. It exploded and it’s the most massive lemongrass bush I’ve ever seen.
Now that I’ve done my “hands off” experiment with the back yard (conclusion: invasive grasses will completely take over and prevent any natives from taking root), I am ready to become the master of my realm. But I’m still broke as heck. So!
Milkweed vine (Matelea?) and Monarda seeds nabbed from the field at work!
Every mango I ever eat ever again! (Three germinated, started #4 last night)
Ruellia simplex which I *cough* may have borrowed from a park. I took five because I didn’t have scissors or a knife and I didn’t trust my ability in making cuttings but ALL FIVE ROOTED and some are starting to bud!!!
Red yucca from the parking lot at work
It’s contagious! My coworker went for a walk in her neighborhood, and saw a strange tree with these 15 inch long seed pods that look like giant string beans. So of course she took one to give to me. It matured over the weekend, and today I popped it open and LOOK AT ALL THESE SEEDS!!! It’s a Catalpa tree, which is native to the eastern and southern US states. It makes HUGE F-ING flowers which it drops everywhere, making a huge mess. They get TALL. And I have a HUGE HANDFUL of them. What am I going to do with 100+ Catalpa trees?!?! My (not very large) yard is already filling up with trees (though I eagerly await the total consumption of my house into thick wooded forest in the middle of my housing development). I’m thinking Bonsai 😂
September 11, 2018
Mad scientists and backyard horticulturists have a lot in common actually
You know those little things that keep bread bags closed? Well, the internet would like to tell you about them. If you’re not doing anything too important right now, I think you should visit HORG (that’s the Holotypic Occlupanid Research Group) and explore a beautiful, obsessive, hilarious taxonomy of occlupanids.
Phylogeny is such an artificial fucking hot mess, I love it. I love it all.
Oh hello. In case any of my followers haven’t caught on yet, I’m… uh… a little weird?
Above: me and the Monarchs (look at the little turds about to pupate!!). Also, my occlupanid collection. I have some arguments regarding the above proposed phylogeny, particularly that it is missing several key species necessary to delineate the natural progression of anatomical features.
I took a moment to quickly sort out the varying species in my collection
(that’s less than half the pile to the right)
Let’s look closer
As I sorted these, I was focusing on the external features, while the proposed phylogeny focused on the internal tooth structure. I would argue that the similarities in internal anatomical features merely represents several instances of convergent evolution, and a more meaningful taxonomy can be derived the shape and textural structures of the outer edges.
In conclusion, I applaud the authors’ efforts in revising the taxonomy of this particularly understudied group, however I feel some of the relationships proposed are the result of an incomplete dataset, and urge a more thorough study of extant species to provide an accurate representation of this interesting taxon.