Monday, December 7, 2009

Candy and Carrots

One of the joys of the Christmas season for Josie and Lucy is... double desserts. I got them an advent calendar from Trader Joe's that has a small piece of chocolate with some Christmas image on it behind every door. So every night the girls get to open a door, split a piece of chocolate, and have their regular dessert (if they ate a good dinner). Lucy is pleased as punch at this arrangement. I don't know how she will ever go back to single dessert again.

Lucy is holding up her lolly pop which on this night was her "regular" dessert (in addition to the advent calendar chocolate). Note that in this picture Jo Jo is holding up her carrot which she is very pleased about. She just recently started eating carrots. I say, hey, whatever makes you happy as long as you're not hurting anyone. Happy Holidays!

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells

Mitch is forming his new rock band but all of the participants aren't sure whether they want to be in the band. Everyone was a fan of Mitch's rockin' rendition of Jingle Bells, however. The silver guitar may not be as pretty as the blue sparkly guitar to the untrained eye, but it is Mitch's current favorite. Say hello to the G and L ASAT.

Bed Time

This is what I found a couple of nights ago when I went to get in our bed. The dolls are better than the truck loads of sand that we frequently find between our sheets that has fallen out of the girls pants cuffs. When your house is only 900 square feet and it is dark and raining, it is hard to make any of the house that is safe for playing, "off limits". Thus we often find trucks, dolls, sand, and fake food in between our sheets.

Avocado and Khaki

After a month of replacing the fascia boards and two months of debating paint colors, we finally had a contract crew here for a week painting our house. When it was all said and done, a miracle occurred and all of the residents of 613/619 were pleased with the result. Lucy was a particularly difficult audience since she wanted the house painted rainbow colors. It really does look sharp. Now we just have to get the front yard in shape, finish the little house, and get the back yard fixed up... But not until after Christmas.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Offset This Baby!

I'm trying to figure out the best way to calculate the carbon offset values for all the plants we plant every year at our park. We typically plant between 10,000 and 15,000 coastal sage scrub plants (California sagebrush, purple sage, buckwheat, etc.) into degraded annual grassland. Our average acreage per year is pretty small, between 2 and 3 acres I would estimate. The park service is climate change obsessed these days and one of its obsessions is getting all its parks to be climate friendly (I say, "Howdy climate! How you doin?"). One of the goals of climate friendliness is to get to zero net carbon gain per park by some absurd year like 2016 (right around the corner people, right around the corner...).

So I thought I would try to do my part by coming up with some back of the envelope calculation for the carbon sequestration value of all of these lovely little plants that I plant each year. The complicated part is that it turns out that it is pretty darn tricky and somewhat controversial to calculate these types of values. Since people are going to pay for carbon offsets in many areas of the world (including ours) scientists and policy makers want these carbon sequestration estimates to be rigorous and not just b.s. Which is all fine and good except that all of the fully developed models are based on TREES (How many times do I have to tell you people that I don't live in a forest, SHRUBLAND I tell you, SHRUBLAND).

So anyway, I'm going to sit in my office for a few hours over the next couple of weeks and try to figure this all out or at least take a good stab at it without actually going into the field with a gas exchange analyzer. Wish me luck, and if you have any genius ideas (Sarah Otterstrom, I know you do this kind of thing for a living...), let me know. Right now what I have is some published dry weight data for coastal sage scrub and annual grasslands, some published soil respiration rates for coastal sage scrub and annual grassland, and a bunch of data on number of plants of what type that I have planted. I could also actually measure plants of different ages in the field since I know when I planted all my plants.

I know this is really exciting for all you non-scientists out there but I just had to share.