It’s been so long that I don’t know where to start… so I decided it would be easiest by showing you a houseplant update.  Don Juan, the cutting, we’ve had for more than a year floating in tap water in a pickle jar, is showing new signs of growth–the first since we left Denver more than a year ago.  I was debating planting him in soil a few weeks ago and just didn’t get around to it, but two weeks ago we moved to a different apartment with a much improved ambiance (much more sunlight, better air quality, possibly better water) and there are now two little leaves coming out of both sides of him.  I guess I’ll let the pickle jar experiment continue…

Don Juan on 08/07/2013

Don Juan on August 2, 2013

Jesús, took a hit last summer when we couldn’t move into our previous apartment and he ended up frying in the backseat of the car (100+ temps will do that).  I pulled all the dead plant out and hadn’t planted anything new when we saw one little leaf sprout out (thus the name–he resurrected).  Jesús had some growth during the last year, but it was very limited and it stopped until two weeks ago… again, there are lots of factors that could be the cause, but I’m just happy to see the plants are just as happy in their new homes as we are.  (Thanks again to our CO neighbor, Elizabeth, for the original cutting; we’ve got a living recuerdo with us in Iowa!)

August 2, 2013

August 2, 2013

Daisy is still struggling.  I learned a few weeks ago that I shouldn’t have cut off the dead leaves last fall, because the tube-like stems are more susceptible to fungus… which is what it looks like she’s got.  She flowered once last fall, but has grown some since we moved to this apartment.  She definitely likes the full day sunshine on the balcony and seems to be more green and leafy.  (Honestly though, I’m just impressed she’s still alive.)

Daisy--August 2, 2013

Daisy–August 2, 2013

Pamela, the small palm, is the other houseplant we brought from Colorado.  She’s doing well, a new palm frond is about to open and there’s another shoot on the way.

August 2, 2013

August 2, 2013

Pamela is now “the small palm,” because upon moving to Iowa my parents decided they were tired of caring for my Iowa houseplants (that never made the trip back to Colorado–I’m apparently a state-hopper) and we added “La Abuela,” who loves Ames, my first houseplant/long-leafy thing-that-refuses-to-die (still nameless), and big palm (also still nameless), who is currently wearing Marx’s chains of oppression (I took classical sociological theory last spring).  Both are enjoying the new digs and added attention.  We’ve also got some basil, chives, and arugula.  Note: Japanese beetles LOVE basil.  In 30 hours they ate both of my basil plants to the stalk, luckily, we’ve been getting a lot of basil in our CSA bag lately, so we’ve replanted and are keeping the basil indoors until further notice.




This summer is flying by; it’s almost painful to recognize that tomorrow is August.  Growing up in a house with a school teacher it’s clear that August = School/End of Summer.  In some ways I’m glad classes are about to start, I’m ready for some structure, this summer has been crazy.  I didn’t end up going to Guatemala to do pre-dissertation research, but traveled to Buenos Aires for a biofuels conference in May, went from there to my partner’s graduation in Denver, CO, apartment/house searched for a week in Central Iowa, then spent ten days in rural El Salvador, and finally a week in Guatemala (exploring research topics and spending time with family–including our new nephew, Adrián).  Since then I’ve been getting caught up and working on my part of a cucurbits research project based here at Iowa State University.  (And we moved into the apartment we found post-travels.)  I’m currently interviewing cucurbits growers (cucurbits = cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, and melons) in Iowa, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Ohio (by phone).  If you’ve got any growers in mind, let me know–we’re using snowball sampling and would love to include as many perspectives as we can!

That said, I should probably go back to transcribing interviews, but I’m going to make the effort to jump on here a few more times before my coursework starts up and the real craziness of being a grad student/research assistant kicks in.  I’m stuck in researcher-mode right now, so I really can’t think of anything super interesting to share off the top of my head, but there are a lot of interesting happenings in the food systems/sustainable agriculture-worlds.  I hope you’re all having a good summer and enjoying the sunshine!

Greetings from Guatemala!

Greetings from Guatemala!