Variety is the Spice of Life

Thursday, August 1, 2019 - 3:40pm


Ilinca Popescu

Raspberries, like many other fruits, are such a versatile food. They can go in pies, scones, you can freeze them for smoothies, make lovely jams, and even freshly pick them for a great snack. Last Saturday, some of the interns and I went raspberry picking in my supervisor’s backyard (with her consent, of course) and gathered a massive bowl in no time. Every time we would come back to a spot we had already scoured, there would be more berries peaking around their leaves in the thicket of twisted vines. Similar to raspberries, I too am feeling as though my versatility is shining through lately. This past week, I have been recruited for different jobs that I don’t usually participate in.

While driving to music on main, our Farms and Fish intern Caryn asked me if I could join her out in the field for vegetation, or “veg” sampling. Usually, I am knee deep in R scripts and maps of neighborhoods for my project about second home’s economic impact, as well as thousands of recreational photos for our Big Springs survey. I happily agreed to trade maps and code for barley, oats and alfalfa.  Caryn and I camped the night before in Pine Creek campgrounds, and promptly got up at 5:00 a.m. to watch the sunrise and get some breakfast before we got put to work.

We walked around in a field following a GPS to find specific plot points and would take a circular square foot of “veg” and put them in paper bags. Definitely not the typical farming work I am used to, but I enjoyed being outside in the sun, nonetheless. It was really cool learning about the different methods of planting vegetation and their different purposes like animal production and soil conditioning.


Monday, I accompanied our water quality technicians to continue the sonde automation project. Wielding multiple drills and way too many cords, we were able to install the first wooden hutch of the year that holds the automation hardware that wirelessly transmits the water quality data – dissolved oxygen, turbidity, pH, temperature—unfortunately, our rock drill was subpar at best and could not get any nails securely in the outcropping so I will have to come back with them to make sure that gets taken care of.

Today, I just got back from removing the PIT tag antennae with other HFF staff at the Buffalo Fish Ladder. It has been used for many projects in the fish ladder, but it has been at least seven years since it has been used. It was fun to crawl around inside the ladder beneath the metal grates and deconstruct the wooden frame that held it in place for so long, not so fun carrying it up the hill, though.

Experiencing and adapting to different jobs has been a lot of fun, and I am glad that I have plenty of variety here at Henry’s Fork Foundation. Sometimes though, the work day even when refreshing and new can still take a lot of energy to get through, and I’m glad I can return to a piece of homemade raspberry pie.