Summer on a Shoestring

Life in a Little Red House
August 1, 2016, 9:03 pm
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What is life like in a small red house? Well first off there are snow shoes and sleds on the wall so that’s pretty neat. There’s two comfy couches and a pretty sweet back porch (our favorite place to eat dinner). There’s also a LOT of wood paneling, the most that I’ve seen since pictures of my parents in the 70’s. There’s a pretty spacious kitchen with a GAS STOVE!! I NEVER EXPECTED IT’D HAVE A GAS STOVE!!!

Besides the neat décor there’s a whole bunch of interesting people who are/have been living in this house for the past 8 weeks. It’s been an interesting group of rotating researchers and students. Each with their own quirks and quarks. Throughout the summer we’ve had a huge rotating schedule of things to be done in the field. Every week is different from the previous week and we always know that the next will also be different.

Food. Food is major portion of our life in this little red house. Not only does it give us physical sustenance and energy to continue carrying on with the great scientific endeavor on which we have embarked. It is the time for us to get together and recharge our mental batteries as well. We have spent many hours eating and talking on the back deck about topics far and wide.

Living in the Red house is pretty sweet. Previously I’d only been up here in the winter to go skiing, but this past summer has opened my eyes to the beauty and variety which are available in the White Mountains.


Does this even need a caption?



Grassy Green Glory
August 1, 2016, 5:29 pm
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The following is a stream of consciousness that materialized as a result of a morning meditation session in the backyard of the red house.

The first green arrived on the scene around 2.7 billion years ago and this powerful verdant force created a hospitable atmosphere for life approximately 0.4 billion years later. Millions of years after this event and the evolution of terrestrial land plants, a floral component provided a niche for the evolution of our first primate ancestor. The radiation of angiosperms, flowering plants, occurred around 60 million years ago, which is around the same time that the first ancestor of primates, Plesiadapiforms, evolved. Some hypothesize that the fruit on terminal branches are what facilitated the evolution of grasping hands, which is a characteristic inherent to primates. Angiosperms enabled the evolution of Homo sapiens who then domesticated lineages of our benevolent leafy companions giving rise to agriculture around 10 thousand years ago. A population boom and the establishment of cites followed. In every conceivable way, our history is inextricably linked with that of plants.

Plants not only dictate our history, but our daily life and future prospects. Humans breathe out and plants breathe in; plants breathe out and humans breathe in. Flora captures noxious gases that are released from our bodies, cars, and coal plants. It then uses that carbon dioxide to create beauty with a functional purpose—leaves to capture the sun’s energy, flowers with a nectar reward to entice pollinators, honeyed fruit to attract seed disseminators, and all the while yielding oxygen as a by-product. This splendor is pervasive and awe-inspiring: a blissful summer day with sun-ripened berries and the thick, sweet smell of honeysuckle; an unforgettable fall with fiery leaves carpeting every surface; a heartwarming winter with a dusting of snow coating fragrant pine needles; a luscious spring with wildflowers exploding across hillsides. Plants provide food and shelter for our beloved birds, invertebrates, and mammals (ourselves included). We live in trees, eat on trees, sleep on trees, and will likely be buried in a tree. We owe our very existence to the green world around us, embrace and respect it.

-Laurel Brigham

High with Fists in the Air
August 1, 2016, 5:11 pm
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I had no flipping clue how long and intense the Mount Adams trail was going to be when i decided to go along. 

Name’s Sosa, and I have short flipping legs. This made the climb a lot more challenging and the hike felt like forever. Though ironically, time was not on my mind as my goal was to survive, literally. Why literally? The story is that at the beginning of our hike the trail got so intense that my breathing problems got in the way. Luckily someone had an inhaler. Thanks Caitlin. 

But, the trail was beautiful and the stream/water breaks were so satisfying. We had Craig’s pup, Meatloaf, come along and he was the cutest as he jumped in the streams. It was a good laugh when he would start attacking the small falling streams. He gave me life. We miss him ♥

Anyway, after 5 hours or so, the group made it to the tippity top (~5,800 ft), past the trees and into an area of rocks on top of rocks. We got there in one piece with no quitters. ‘Cause momma ain’t raise no quitters. 

Wet shoes and socks, leg cramp, butt cramp, two asthma attacks, sore paws, headaches.

All worth it. 

PC: Shiyi Li, Ben Lee 

(P.S. Everyone was so sore the next day and still went out for field work)