Keston, K intro

This is the actual first day of the class, June 20th, and the second session seems to more often start in another week from now, on the 27th of this semester. It is nice to partake in classes that allow for creativity and outdoor immersive opportunities. In the past years, I spent time as a volunteer and seasonal cook at various hospitality venues in the Rocky Mountain area, the west coast, and now in Alaska. This is quite nice because I grew up in northern California and went to college where there was also a botany degree, that is Humboldt State University. The interest I have is more in the cultural aspects of plants, and agriculture, in particular, led me to study those subjects while working in the commercial kitchen directly with plants. There is a pride felt to know how to transform what is in nature into the edible form especially to present it with authenticity to have known its path to the plate. However, it is hard work, physical, and unpredictable with lots of urgencies, at times. The presence here offers me a chance to focus on summertime plant growth and emphasizes the importance of an herbarium so as to study what is available to the senses when it is colder and dark for half of the year.

The best plant for me is chamomile because it helps to calm anxieties, smells sweet as a spritz, can be the form of tea for warmth, and generally is safe for all ages to consume. It is probably full of nutrients, as are herbs in general, and so perhaps it is a place to start research about these therapeutic properties. It happens to be a great aroma, with flowers from the Asteraceae family, from the domestic plant but similar ones are wild and invasive, not to confuse those with this one from cultivation.

Here is a link about German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) from Wisconsin because it is a favorite state of mine:

On a botanical level, I’m not a strict vegetarian but I rely quite a bit on plants for nutrition and it has been an up and down path in life. The pros are closeness to nature, sustainable agriculture, and the familiarity with plants that affect medicine, climate regulation, and ecologies, but then the cons are physical ailments for lack of protein, omega fatty acids, and other nutritional building blocks, fewer options to source foods, and this difference from the majority of American people.

Fish is a foodstuff that is worth time to learn to attain in the wild and using humane means. It is the main meat source known as not from a farm, at least so it seems in Alaska. The gardening I do is minimal but I appreciate the small-scale farm communities I’ve met, especially those which include animal rotations for a local, organic system that mimics the wild far better than do monocultures. Last, no to the hunt, because other than protection from threats, guns are a no and the arrow is hard work. However, I’m ok with the animal husbandry concepts and past employers had to harvest or hunt animals who I still respect more than others.

Now the microscope I use is a camera that I had to purchase a couple of months ago to travel here from Washington. It has the option to 2x zoom and it works since I wrap up in EBOT100 this week and I had to take pictures and these came out stellar. Here is a link about the Nokia X100 that I plan to use as a microscope:

If I can comment on this platform, it is not the same user experience as Canvas and I feel comfortable over there after several weeks of practice. For instance, I cut and paste the link above and it automatically made an attempt to embed it. As someone who uses a Chromebook and never an Apple, this is not intuitive. The important point is to not lose work, so I better begin to use the Google Docs feature to draft discussion posts in the future. Thanks for your visit, have a nice week.


  1. Katia Keston

    Part of this post is to add pictures. While I do not have any of the favorite plant or myself, today I took a walk during a homework break when I found a hidden sign. Nearby plants strangely had a trend for the evidence of pests. While there was not the same in an herb garden, near the fence, or at the perimeter of a baseball field, what can be seen in this attachment was within a 5ftx5ft garden space.

    On that note, pictures from this camera did not upload since each one exceeds the limit (3mb)! What seems fine is to use the “Layout” app from Instagram to put multiple pics into one and keep the resolution. It works fine and can be a tip if someone comes across the same issue.

  2. Welcome Katia,
    sounds like you are enjoying many aspects of human plant interactions. I can appreciate that. I do love gardening and growing things, be it for the pure joy of raising all sorts of peonies for visual enjoyment, but also growing a variety of crops in our garden. Using the ‘fruits’ of our labor in cooking makes for some extra special meals.

    Thanks for your comments about the class website. I am trying to have the class open access so that students all across the country can access content, without the CANVAS “paywall”. The WordPress site should make commenting easy, thanks for the comment about the file size limits. You can also reduce the file size under settings for the image.

    Great images of the various plant disease manifestations in your neighborhood. I think the second one is due to leaf-cutting insects, and the two bottom images are due to gall-forming insects. The left one on a willow caused by the Willow Red Bean-Gall Sawfly (below a screenshot from the emerging grub), and the second one is caused by a Leaf Gall Wasp. Nature is so creative… thanks for sharing.

Comments are closed.