Expedition: September 2013

The cold frame gets a reprieve

September 2013 WMRC fall 13 005September 2013 WMRC fall 13 002This trip it was just one person, yours truly. No students this time, although I was coming to the White Mountains directly from Yosemite National Park where I had spent three days with 54 tenth graders. To tell the truth, I was going to take the cold frame apart and haul it to a landfill. After five years, the project is beginning to feel routine. We’ve proved our point with it.
When I got there and saw how well everything was going, I began to have second thoughts. After years on the mountain, the electrical system’s battery was up to +14.7 volts! That’s actually the highest we’ve ever recorded. The pump still works, even when it is run dry. The growth chambers were more filled with foliage than they have ever been. The Barcroft caretaker said he had taken “lots” of radishes out of it and he seemed to appreciate them. The herbs were doing well too. The carrots were not. The coat of paint we put on it still looked good. Nobody is calling the project an eyesore yet.

Maybe we can keep it going another year or two! I turned off the timer, drained the water tank and left it for another year.

Taking stock of our projects here: The cold frame is probably down to its last year or two, the bristlecone pines spiral grain project is completed, and the artificial hypoliths need to sit undisturbed for a few more years. We need a new project to keep us busy here, and maybe we have an idea for one. Bristlecone pine female cones come in two colors: purple and green. Purple cones are more common than green. Nobody knows anything except that; it’s probably “just genetics.” Maybe we should do a survey on that – are the ratios of purple/green the same everywhere?

We’ll be back.