Winter field work

I’m very pleased to report that the flu has finally passed and I am healthy again, or as close as I’m likely to get until Spring anyway.  I am definitely a warm-weather person, and I tend to struggle a bit as soon as the weather turns cool and damp.  That said, I can appreciate a brisk, frosty day, like those we had at the end of last week.  This is good news, because my PhD revolves around the DIRECT project, which includes quite a bit of winter field work.

Despite still feeling pretty rough, I was out last Friday collecting soil moisture measurements, adding fertiliser to our nitrogen addition plots and setting up the winter rainfall addition treatments.  This took most of the day and would have taken a lot longer if not for the help of a fantastic technician and friend who offered to lend a hand.  With his help, we managed to get it all done and even had a reasonably good time, despite cold fingers and toes and my lingering lurgy.

When we first started in the morning it was still freezing, with frost clinging to the grass, the posts denoting the plots, and even the spider webs between the posts.  It didn’t reach much above zero all day, but it was dry and clear and bright.  I prefer the site in the warmth of summer when the grass is tall, flowers are blooming, birds are singing and whole area is buzzing with insects, but there is no denying that it was a beautiful morning with that wonderful sense of stillness that only occurs in the cold.  It was also good just to be outside after nearly a week in bed.  I hope we have plenty more of these crisp, clear days this winter, and not too much of the cold, grey drizzle that makes winter field work so much less pleasant!

frosty webfrosty webweb2

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