I am almost finished constructing my rhizotrons. Hopefully next week I will be able to start planting.
As I worked on the rhizotrons today I was reminded how different I look right now compared to last week. I have done most of the rhizotron construction in the Headhouse II garage, which is close to the PSU Creamery. While working I usually had the large sliding door open. People sitting at the Creamery patio or walking down the sidewalk were able to see inside the garage, and many people became a bit curious.
One of these persons, a middle-aged gentleman, ventured rather close to inspect my work last week. I nodded and said hello, expecting a question, but he just nodded and left without speaking to me. I thought nothing of it.
Then he returned today. He walked by the garage, then came back. I gave him the same nod and greeting. This time he spoke to me:
Him: What are these? (points to the rhizotrons) I saw some guy working on them last week, but I didn’t ask him what they were.
Me: They’re rhizotrons. I’ll be using them to look at root response to flooding.
Him: Oh. (leaves)
Hey, I didn’t say it was a meaningful or deep conversation. But it amused me, for he referred to me as “some guy.” I wanted to respond with a comment about the guy he has seen working, but I refrained.
I had another brief conversation about my rhizotrons soon after that. An undergrad stopped by and asked permission to check an experiment (the Headhouses and greenhouses are locked in the evenings and on weekends, so even though I had the door open she knew the building was technically closed). I let her in. On the way back out she stopped to say:
Her: Are those ant farms?
Me: No, they’re rhizotrons.
Me: Rhizotrons. They’re used to observe plant roots. I’ll be growing plants in them, then monitoring the root system as it responds to flooding.
Her: Oh, cool. (leaves)
Transcribing conversations is enjoyable. So many of them sound so awkward. Maybe it’s just my conversations?