Update

Just some pics from earlier this week.

 

Podisus, aka Spined Soldier Bug, egg mass with a parasitic wasp!

Podisus hatching from egg mass to their 1st instar, or lifestage. They can be cannibalistic at this point.

The elderberry borer is an interesting insect. The larval stage tunnels through the base of the stem and the adult stage, pictured, feeds on the foliage.

More later…

Day One – Nashville

Today was comprised of an early morning and a long, slow trek to Nashville.

South Georgia, near Perry, took this out out the driver’s side window as I was getting excited about some changes in elevation!

As a representative of your average life long Florida resident, I managed to muster some excitement at the first sight of any hills north of Gainesville.

Lo and behold, however, even greater shifts in altitude were about to occur:

I’ve been to Yosemite once, when I was ~10 and I don’t remember much of that. So as far as I’m concerned, these are my first ‘real’ mountains.

Right on the Georgia – Tennessee border on I-24W

Of course, I have fairly poor multi tasking skills, so I’m a blurry shot when driving.

I should note here: The Insight is not the progeny of any mountain goats. The electric motor was constantly whirring and the ICE revving up at every opportunity. Somehow, the car still managed about 50 miles to the gallon, so there’s not much to complain about.

…while I’m one of the slowest ones one the road, gawking like a tourist

As much as I love tropical South Florida, this isn’t half bad.

In all honesty, I haven’t seen this much green outside of the Everglades. I-24 from about the Georgia-Tennessee through about another hundred miles or so is just plain gorgeous. Admittedly, I’d be willing to bet that it doesn’t look so nice most of the year, but for now, it’ll do.

These canyons were truly a sight to see: rock slides, caves, and all manner of natural features dot the landscape. Lucky would be the man who got to spend a few weeks (or longer) hiking around these woods.

Almost *exactly* like the level from Mario Kart 64

I’m cooling my heels at the hotel for now, but I’ll be headed downtown to take a look at what country music is all about in a few minutes. I hear Opryland is the thing to do if you’re only in town for a little bit.

I’ll still make sure to get off to an early start tomorrow, and likely be in Jefferson City by the early afternoon.

Next update to follow on Monday or Tuesday, as I won’t have access to the internet till I get to work.

Peace.

Intro

Hello World,

As some of you may know, I’m spending this beautiful summer of 2012 out in Jefferson City, Missouri. I’ll be doing some more work with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) through a lab located at Lincoln University. If this sounds at all similar to my work last summer out in Tallahassee with USDA, that’s because it’s pretty much the same job, and I got it through my work last summer, too.

So anyhow, I’ve decided to document my time this summer in a blog format. Why? Great question. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to take some great, thought – provoking classes recently. Environmental ethics, urban ecology, etc., etc. Along the way, I’ve discovered the tree hugger in me, and I’ll be experimenting with some of those things this summer.

First and foremost, I’ve got a new car. A hybrid. A 2012 Honda Insight, black on black. For those of you who know me as a gearhead, this purchase may be the most unusual happenstance, and trust me, I felt the same way. Fact of the matter is, there’s something funny about driving a hybrid. Doesn’t feel quite right saving all that gas, but hey, what the hell, helps the wallet. My experiences with this car will be one of the main foci of this blog.

Second, I’m mixing up my diet some this summer. While meat is already lacking in what I consume, I’m going to be extra careful to take the vegetarian, or even vegan option when possible. Additionally, I’m committing to doing my best to ensure that the bulk of what I eat is as ‘local’ as possible. I’m already planning on eating a lot of corn.

Third, and perhaps most interestingly, I’m limiting my usage of electricity by not signing up with the power company at my new apartment. I’m already used to not having a TV, never had cable growing up after all. On the other hand, the lack of internet is not something I’ve had for extended periods of time (no power = no internet if you haven’t made the connection). No hot water either, bummer. Now, I’m not completely withdrawing from society, or anything close to it. In fact, I’ll still be charging my laptop and phone at work, and I’ll be taking hot showers at the neighborhood gym. So while far from a third world experience, I’ll still attempt to limit my impact by cooking on a camp stove, lighting my apartment with only a small hurricane lantern, washing all my clothes by hand, etc.

In addition to these three main goals, I’ll keep a mind towards the small things as well. I’ll try and make sure to not drive more than ten miles per week (work, library, gym, groceries are all within three miles of the apartment so I should be able to walk everywhere).

Overall, I’m a bit nervous about this whole adventure. Missouri will out me about ten times further from the ocean than I think I’ve ever been; I’m never comfortable that far away from the nearest palm tree; heck, I even hear it snows in the winter (!). This blog will hopefully illustrate to my friends and family what I’m up to on a fairly regular basis. I’ll post some pics and some notes about my drive up there (I leave tomorrow morning) shortly.

For now, peace out. If you have any questions, or anything you’d like me to document during my trip this summer, please feel free to let me know.