Rainy days in Northern California

This week I ventured out on to my first ever fieldwork trip in California! My research is mostly lab based but for the next few weeks I will be out and about in California collecting different species of mealybug.

We (our Post-Doc Isabelle and I) are mainly travelling around vineyards, nurseries and botanical gardens across the state to collect bugs and then processing them at host universities along the way (thanks to UC Berkeley, UC Davis and Claremont Colleges!).

Visiting all of these places means that I get the chance to see all of these amazing succulents – they are my favourites! I plan to make a terrarium when I get back to Edinburgh, I just wish we had the variety of succulents available here.

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The trip so far has been hindered by A LOT of rain (so much that the majority of the state is now out of drought status)  but occasional breaks of sun have allowed us to spend some time out in the vineyards.

I also got the chance to attend my first Pest Management meeting in Lido, thanks to Kent Daane (UC Berkeley). It was interesting to hear how the mealybug affects crops over here on the West Coast and just how much applied research is going on in association with companies such as Bayer to control the problem.

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At the weekend we managed to fit in a trip to San Francisco, which mostly consisted of visiting the Apple store to repair my phone. But the store is amazing and they have a grass wall so it wasn’t a complete loss.

Searching for different food places is one of my favourite things to do and we headed to Brenda’s Soul Food for some late brunch. We shared some Crayfish Beignets and I had Eggs Benedict with catfish while Isabelle had Shrimp and Grits. SO. GOOD. American portion sizes are a little on the large side so we ended up boxing most of it up and having it for lunch in the field the next day.

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There was also a Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown which was nice – I’d never been to a Japantown before so it was nice to see all the different food and entertainment. At this point my phone was being repaired so no photographs of this one.

Next week we head over to Fresno in the Central Valley area to collect more species.

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