Wednesday, July 8, 2009

7/8 post from Brandon Finegold


We are right into the daily grind here in Santa Maria, where we travel each day to coffee farms and take data on the productivity of the farm. Each farm we select 30 coffee plants to record the height and width, the number of trunks, and number of productive branches on each tree. Then on 5 branches on each trunk we count the number of coffee beans that are growing. I have gotten as many as 170 beans on a single branch, though I am a lot happier when I have a branch of 1…

While we count the coffee plants another team digs soil samples, estimates ground cover, and measures soil density. The soil samples basically fill a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. I have not done soil duty yet but I think tomorrow will be my day. I have helped out cleaning the dirt though. You heard me right, we clean the dirt of all its sticks/rocks/living materials. I am pretty sure this is the job Joe Millionaire had before he got on tv… and probably what he’s doing now as well.

Some things I have come to appreciate during our trip:

Cleanliness: Seriously, I have never loved being clean so much as each night we return from the farms and get to shower and change clothes. I have worn about 5 pounds of dirt back with me every night. The owner of our cabins does the laundry for whatever price we think she deserves. With the clothes I have given her, I might need to take out a small loan…

Showers that don’t electrocute you: Our shower has an extra large head attached to two electrical wires. When the water enters the head, it is electrically fried into hot water before being pushed out onto you. If you don’t see where I am going with this, let’s just say I know what 120 Volts feels like travelling through my left arm.

Flushing toilet paper: Our t.p. has to go in the trash can. Imagine the possibilities.

Thankfully, we do have…

Coca-Cola: A taste of America!

Anti-insect measures: I would say the insects here are about as bad as they come. In the morning, I cover myself in Deet, duct tape the ankles of my pants closed, and put my trained pet praying mantis (named Diablito- the little devil) on my shoulder. Ok, so I have not been able to train a praying mantis, but until then we have all been relying on Benadryl anti-itch gel.

Ok, so I have a feeling soil duty is ahead of me tomorrow. Once I have cleaned my hands well enough, I will write again. Until then…

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