Sunday, May 25, 2014

Fruits of my labor

Two days after arriving in Joburg, I set off on a collecting trip up north to see my favorite trees.

The red place marker shows Thohoyandou, which is the area just south of the three rural villages that I visit. This is in the Venda region of Limpopo, just south of the Zimbabwe border, which is about a 5 hour drive from Johannesburg. The upper star is Johannesburg, and the lower star is where Jonah currently is on his field trip. You'll hear more about that when they get back later this week.

The landscape along the N1, north of Louis Trichardt. 

Our first stop was the newest baobab type specimen: Adansonia kilima. It appears that Kilima is a Melema supporter.

My MSc student, Ronie, trying to collect a fruit from kilima.

Village "roads"...I had a lot of fun driving on these! 

The fruits of our labor...mostly Ronie's labor.

Baobab fruit variation is pretty remarkable.

Late one night, after enjoying a night of beers and Cards Against Humanity (Thanks Augs!!) with Tyler, Dave Green (!!), and Blair, we broke open one of my extra fruits. The white powder is edible, and is apparently an acquired taste. The seeds can be pressed to make oil. I'll have to bring some home with me the next time so you can all try Africa's best kept secret!

'Murika 2014

We had such a great time with family over the last two weeks in the good ol' USA! 
Here's a pictorial tour of our trip.

Matthew, Gabri, and Isa welcomed us home with these heartwarming signs.

And Whitney and TJ quickly put us to work in the garden.

Augie takes direction from the Union foreman

Sorry Brittani! All I got was a picture of your dog Roxy!

Kelsey and Tank have had enough!

Brenda shows off the fruits of our forest foraging: ramps (aka wild leeks)!

Kelsey, Joey, Haley, Tank, and Nick help with the ramp collecting.

Root people guard our pickled ramp supply.

Kelsey, Alix, Alison, Jonah and Charlotte at the Burnett's house, post Mexican food binge.

Lindsay, Anna Lynn and Kelsey, smilin'.

A quick visit to NYC to meet up with Will, Amanda, and Brian

And to eat at Tenzan, our favorite Manhattan sushi lunch spot

The view from Jonah's workstation at the American Museum of Natural History
(poor guy, don't you just feel so bad for him?)

Pterosaurs, the new exhibit at the American Museum

Eating soup dumplings with Amanda

Last lunch in NYC with Shaena at Kefi (octopus in foreground)

Back in New Jersey, it was time for Erin's wedding!

Carolyn, Kelsey, Katie, and Caitlyn look beautiful as bridesmaids

And the happy couple, being picture perfect in every way! (Photo Credit: MOH, Caitlyn Laurent)

Cinco de Mayo at Neil and Katelyn's house

The Wizard is getting all fancy like - wait Wizard, aren't you supposed to be drinking tequila?

Neil and Katelyn's dogs Gracie and Stella are all partied out

Cornhole, anyone?

We took a break from Jersey and headed north to see everyone in the Great State of Massachusetts:

Wormtown beer?! What have we been missing!

A quick trip to the Clarks left us wowed by how big (and chatty!) Dylan is, and how adorable Hattie is in every way possible.

The Berry's hosted us for a few brews before dinner time. Little Vincent is growing up (so!) fast and Joey is quite the charmer.

Do you have tickets to the Gun Show?

Donna finally got the daughters she's always wanted :)

We were lucky to spot a Barred owl our first night in the Hub. And a glimpse of the tethered Forest Cat! First prize goes to Ethan and Cara for spotting a bear, though.

It was surprisingly freezing in Mass, so Ethan built a proper fire. Outside.

The necessary tools.

Ethan getting going, with Forest Cat supervising.

Various methods were necessary to get an ember going...

...but finally, success!

Carefully transferring the ember to the stick pile. (Jonah obviously isn't writing this part...)


Encouraging flames....

Not only were we keeping warm while drinking beers, but we brought Donna a potjie and were helping season it for its first use.

After potjie seasoning, we went for a hike at Wachusett Meadow. Check out the avid hikers above. 
Am I stylin' or what? Anti-tick style.

The snow meter was high this year. I got to meet one of the sanctuaries newest arrivals. So fluffy I could die!

The wildlife abounded while we were up North...a female fox snatching a free-ranging chicken.'s what's for dinner.

Back in NJ....

We went for dinner & ice cream with this funny bunch. 
I had the Moose Tracks. Highly recommended.

No, I wasn't in trouble...more DHA paperwork! Stamps, stamps, and more stamps!

Me & my MorMor

Some of the Family the night before we left

Whit organized a Mother's Day brunch with the Farrell Family. Fox Hollow didn't know what hit 'em.

Someone had a little fun with the chocolate fountain...

Miss Brenda and her crew. We clean up mighty nice!

Neil, me, & Katelyn stopped by to see us before we headed to Staten Island!

Shake Shack! Not a bad send-off meal at JFK!

'Til next year, Murika...Stay Classy!