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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Picnic Day 2009

Every year at UC Davis there is a big open-house, party type event across campus called Picnic Day. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the school and the 95th anniversary of the Picnic Day celebrations.
This year I worked at the Soil Art table. We had paper plates that the kids (and some adults, too!) could decorate however they watned with glue, glitter, water color paints, and a variety of soils in different textures, sizes, and colors. It was super fun! I even made one that looks like Davie. His beard, eyebrows, and hair are made of soil...hahaha.
Around noon Dave and his dad showed up (they'd gone to a beekeeping store in Sacramento in the morning). We went inside my building to eat our picnic lunch in the peace and quiet. I made chicken salad sandwiches on pimento cheese rolls (um, YUM!), jars of apple sauce, bananas, and string cheese. Last year Dave and I were far from impressed with the selection of food. There's probably a lot to choose from but all we'd found was the hotdog or hamburger with chips stand in the middle of the quad. This year's lunch was much better.

Then we headed back outside towards the entomology building. John has several dozen orchard trees (plums, apples, apricots, cherries) so he's always on the UC Davis website looking up the latest technology for getting rid of pests. He's also an avid beekeeper and was as excited as a child to get to talk to the entomologists about his bees. He bought himself a t-shirt that said, "To Bee or Not to Bee...That is the Question." The sales lady asked if he kept bees or just liked the shirt. I laughed and said he was a hobby bee keeper...if you can consider 30 hives a hobby. John cut in and said "No, no. Six hives is a hobby. Thirty hives is a helluv a lot of work!"
So we spent most of our time in the entomology building, looking at specimens of all the native bees and bark beetles (John also talked to a graduate student about these critters since he's a certified logger and has to deal with the pines these bugs destroy). I had no idea how many types of local bees there are around here.

Here's John talking to all the entomologists about his bees while Dave looks bored:
We also looked at the nifty glass beehive on display and did some honey tasting. There was one flavor collected from a hive that harvested its pollen exclusively from a redwood forest. It was strange how it tasted exactly like you'd expect--earthy like a forest. Our favorites were orange blossom and raspberry vine.

Then we headed over to the IM sports field to get a snow cone and watch the frisbee dogs (Ruby and Potatoes were better than some of the dogs there...) and see some of the sheepherding trials. ALL of the dogs in the herding trials were border collies (!!) and they were so beautiful. We talked to the announcer lady for a while and got to pet her Potatoes-look-alike named Jigs. She told us that she's worked for several counties' animal control offices; she and her dogs are dispatched regularly to move livestock off of lands during the summer fires--it is unsafe for the firemen in their big trucks and bulldozers to travel through the thick smoke when there could be huge animals like cows wandering around. I'd never really thought of utilizing a herding dog for the purpose but it totally makes sense.

We took the bus home because it was super hot--nearly 85 degrees--and I really didn't want to walk. John hadn't been on a bus, he said, since he was drafted into the Army about 40 years ago.
You can't read my shirt, but it says CARBON SEQUESTRATION EXPERIMENT on the belly. I'll take a proper picture later. =)

1 comment:

Mimi mouse said...

Days out are fun and honey is delicious!