September 30, 2010

More summer pics...

The moon and lighthouse of Great Duck Island
Great Duck and Great Black-Backed seen from Little Duck

Lots of Angelica lucida on Little Duck

One of many Bald Eagles on Little Duck
Life this summer... (Photo by N. Rajakaruna)

Matt and I on Mount Desert Rock at the end of the summer. (Photo by N. Rajakaruna)

September 26, 2010

The Giant Puffball

Calvatia gigantea is what I found the other day. A friend told me they had seen a puffball mushroom behind one of the buildings on the COA campus. I soon went to check it out, finding a very large and conspicuous organism.
Unfortunately.... upon cutting it open, most was yellowing and soggy with a repulsive odor. I saved what I could of the mushroom--perhaps more than I should have, but it was impossible not to feel pity for the pieces of yellowing marshmallow-like substance. To save my guilt, I deposited the semi edible pieces in my refrigerator for a future day I could devote to the delicacy.

Yesterday I found another one--smaller, but also much whiter, dry, and without the smell. This morning I knew what had to be done.  First I peeled away the tough outer layer of the puffball since I heard it is very hard to digest. A friend from school recommended that I dip the slices of puffball into egg, then flour, and then fry them as one would do in the case of traditional grilled cheese.

Indeed it was a great success. Very delicious. I'm glad I was finally able to try this mushroom.

I still have to think about the unfortunate pieces of the first puffball that are still in the door of my refrigerator... I have a feeling they will end up aiding the compost.

September 23, 2010


The last two weeks have been really busy with school starting plus all the extracurricular botanical fun I've been having. One of my classes is on GIS--Geographic Information System--using ArcGIS software. For those unfamiliar with GIS, Wikipedia has a good site describing the subject. Essentially it is a system that allows someone to create dynamic maps in which every shape, point, or line has tables of data associated with it. This allows one to view data in a spatial way--something essential for understanding ecological processes. It has opened up a new world for me in this way. I knew a bit about GIS before taking this class thanks to my exposure to it in high school, but I never fully grasped the potential that it offers.

For a Little Duck Island update:
I am currently in the stages of uploading my GPS--Global Positioning System--data from Little Duck Island and beginning to process it. I am also working on computerizing the data from the beat-up Rite-in-the-Rain notebooks. Finally I am almost ready to send out my soil samples for analysis. More on this soon.

Finally, here are some pics from the summer: (Click on them to see them bigger)

Waves on Little Duck Island
Great Duck Island to my left
My wonderful field assistant/imaginary friend Matt Dickinson

Collecting Fragaria virginiana!
We filled ourselves on these in June
Working on a plot on the south end of the island (note Great Duck in the distance)
Our camp sweet camp
Plant presses provided a nice reading table in our room
One of out last nights on the island (note Mount Desert Island on the horizon)

September 2, 2010

Back from the field!

...and ready to start posting again. I will soon post some photos and entries about the work this summer. Looking forward to some cool weather.