Monday, September 27, 2010

Cannon Rocks

First night of camping was at Cannon Rocks, about 125 or more km east of Port Elizabeth. We left the conference mid-afternoon and arrived at our campsite just after sunset. It took us a bit longer than normal for that distance because we drove the back roads. We stopped to watch some secretary birds and to do a bit of birding along the way. That was lovely - I have five new life birds from this casual travel.

The coast line here is lined with sand dunes, which is the perfect habitat for Hyobanche robusta - the aim of this bit of field work. I'm going to explore the dunes near our campsite before we head over to Boknesstrand, where I've collected previously. We'll visit one other site that I've collected and then just mosey on over to Storms River mouth to camp tonight. After these two nights on the coast line, we're heading up to Anysberg nature reserve in the Little Karoo. We'll have three nights there to camp, which gives us plenty of opportunity to explore the area, looking for Hyobanche rubra and H. glabrata.

The weather is a bit blustery on the coast line. All night long the tent was flapping in the wind and it was a lovely bit of white noise with which to fall asleep. I awoke at first light and wondered where Chirri and Mingmar were with the tea - I don't think camping will ever be the same again after having done the Nepal trek last year.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Association of the Woodturners of South Africa conference

I'll not be able to post a long note about the symposium, but it's one of the most interesting ones I've attended - primarily because the format is dramatically different than anything in my experience. It's a much smaller conference than one would think for a national symposium - only about 120 folks here, including spouses, I think. It's very well organized and the support from the school staff (it's held in a school for disabled children)is absolutely amazing.

I have lots and lots of pictures to process and some really fun videos to post when I have time and internet access. So many stories to share, so little time. I am having a wonderful time here with the South African woodturners. I'm glad I was able to attend this weekend! The big plus to this development is that I will be able to do some collecting along the coast of the Eastern Cape before heading into the Little Karoo.

One story that will be fun to elaborate upon is the auction that was held last night. I can't wait to post some videos of Izak Cronje in action as the auctioneer. Stay tuned - lots and lots of fun stuff to come!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Time for a road trip!

I'm heading east this morning. The Laidlers and I are going to a wood turning conference this weekend and then will be making our way back to Cape Town via the Little Karoo. The Landrover is loaded and ready to go. We'll be camping in nature reserves in some interesting mountains where there should be plenty of Hyobanche to collect. I've not been in the part of the Little Karoo, and so I'm pretty keen to collect there.

BTW - I tried to upload part 3 of my little video series, but it failed to load overnight, so it will be awhile before I can put it up. Internet connections here are iffy at best. Oh well - I'm making lots of videos, so they will eventually all go online.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

South Africa video blog - 2, part 2

The wind wasn't quite so bad in the shelter of the sand dune. In this episode I excavate Hyobanche for collecting the host roots that are attached to the secondary haustoria (organs of attachment) along the rhizome. Hyobanche is a holoparasite, which means it relies on its host plant(s) for all of its water, mineral nutrients and carbon. It's the only parasitic plant I know that has haustorial attachments from leaf bractlets along a rhizome. It's quite an interesting little plant.

I'm so amazed, every time I see it, how much biomass there is underground. All you see above ground is the inflorescence when the plant is flowering. However, there is probably 100X or more of the plant underground, which is not seen until an excavation is done.

BTW - the primary host for this species is Metalasia. I said Elytropappus in the video, but that's because my brain is still on east coast time in the states.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

South Africa video blog - 2, part 1

20 September 21010 - part 1: First day in the field for this South Africa field season. Louis Liebenberg found a population of Hyobanche that I will be describing in my monograph on Hyobanche. He sent the image to a researcher at Kirstenbosch who referred him to me. Louis was kind to take time out of his day to guide me to the population. We had a very interesting conversation about a book he is writing, and the site was absolutely beautiful. The lagoon near the dunes where this Hyobanche occurs had avocets, stilts and flamingos - stunning scenery! The Hyobanche is also quite beautiful.

I wasn't sure I was going to be able to go to the field today. The weather turned very blustery overnight and the wind was really strong plus it was raining very hard at Kirstenbosch when I awoke. I called Louis to find out what the weather was like on his side of the peninsula and he assured me that it was much better. So, it was a go and I'm really glad I went to this site.

Monday, September 20, 2010

South Africa video blog - 1

My first ever video blog - not sure if I want to do this again - seems kind of awkward from this end. You'll have to let me know what you think.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Zandvlei sunrise

19 Sep 2010 - a day for photography around the Cape Peninsula and in Cape Town. Nick Laidler, one of my South African adoptees, took me on a photo safari. We started before sunrise and capture a beautiful one on the east side of the Cape Peninsula.

Here's another image from the early morning: Beach Houses at St. James

Beach Houses at St. James

Saturday, September 18, 2010


One of my favorite flowers from South Africa. I photographed this at Kirstenbosch botanical garden this morning.

Claude Lethiecq's Chinese Ball display at the 2010 AAW symposium

Here's a video I put together from the 2010 AAW symposium where I interviewed Claude Lethiecq about his amazing work.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Morning walk Sept 8, 2010 part 2

Part 2 includes an interview with one of our neighborhood friends. Steve has some typical goofiness to share in this segment of our walk, too. Feedback is welcomed.

Morning walk Sept 8, 2010 part 1

This is my first attempt at doing some video blogging. I'm getting ready for a field season in South Africa and I want to try something new this year - adding videos of some of the work I do on Hyobanche and some of the interesting things I see and do while in South Africa.

Let me know what you think of this first attempt. Constructive criticism is helpful. I'm new to videography.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

That time of year

That time of year, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

I took this photo yesterday morning while on a walk with Steve. We were on the bike path that goes through the OSU cornfield on our way to west campus. This image symbolizes the end of summer for me. The field corn is ready to harvest, the temperatures are fluctuating wildly from fall weather to high summer, and there's just something magical in the air as the leaves are starting to turn and the sun is moving toward the equator in the sky. I love the lighting of autumn.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

A late summer rose

A summer rose, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

Summer is winding down, but there are still some beautiful roses at Whetstone Park of Roses in Clintonville, Ohio. The Park of Roses is one of our favorite places to walk dogs or to do some photography practice.

On a walk around our neighborhood this evening I noticed that many of the trees are starting to show some autumn color. There were a lot of leaves dropped on the sidewalk as well, which crunched under our feet. I've also noticed the quality of the light is changing as the angle of the sun changes as we approach the Autumnal equinox in the northern hemisphere.

Autumn is a magical season. It kind of makes up for the end of summer, I think.