The Bottle Gourd Experiment, Day 1


After two years of harvesting a handful of tiny carrots/kohlrabi/potatoes and bitter lettuce I decided to try something different in 2015: bottle gourds. The seeds arrived a few days ago; today I put three of them in some water to prepare them for germination. Tomorrow I’ll let them dry and plant them into some moist soil on Monday.

I have not yet decided whether I’ll try to keep them all inside our kitchen or whether I’ll get the courage to ask our landlords aka church people if I may use the handrail of the side entrance stairs as a ranking aid.  At the moment I’m thinking about keeping one or two inside and the other one or two outside next to the stairs. As I want them to produce nice, round calabashes they’ll need a ranking aid. So for the one(s) in the kitchen I’ll have to sacrifice the old loft-bed ladder I’m using to air (or store) once-worn but still clean outer wear like skirts in our small bedroom.  With some tweaking and pushing it should fit between the wall and the kitchen counter (the side with all the other plants) so the gourds will be able to grow next to the window. It’s just an east window, but our kitchen is pretty warm in summer and should provide the right climate!

As for a planter, I own a plastic basket which became jobless today (it used to be our waste paper receptacle, but we found a bigger cardboard box at the grocery store); lined with a plastic bag or something similar it should be a suitable home for at least one of the plants. For outside … there is a seemingly abandoned crate I might nick for that purpose.

Yay for bottle gourds! If this experiment succeeds it might make some people very happy. 180 days of waiting …



My soul is a wolf.

My soul is a wolf, running over winter hills, traces in the snow, starlit;
aurora crowning me in green and gold and blue, ancient star-fire

– running with the storm, the clouds, towards a blood-red moon, dipped in gold and drops of silver,
running, running, breathing icy air, lungs on cold fire,
going, going, keep going, running through nights,

dark and starry velvet curtains parting like nowhere found in city walls, not anymore,
and the wolf keeps running.


Listening to Heather Dale while looking at pictures of beautiful stars, nebulae, and northern lights makes me feel my inner wolf again.

Have a Toothless doodle


I’m frustrated right now, like this: (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻        (╯°□°)╯︵ /(.□. \)

But looking at the Toothless doodle I made this noon makes me feel better. Drawn without reference on the backside of a sheet in my notepad. Last real class at university. But my master’s thesis sucks, according to examiner #2. One month left and I’m supposed to do everything different than I do now and blah blah. So yes …  *looking at Toothless again*

And obviously I suck at drawing wings in perspective.

Sounds like a plan …

I need some motivation for the final month of my master’s thesis (and preparing the presentation for tomorrow), so here’s my plan (or at least one possible plan) with ideas and goals for the next few years:

  • Step one: finish the thesis.
  • Step two: find work as a paid intern or something similar, for 3-6 months approximately, while preparing for step three by writing applications
  • Step three: enroll as a PhD student (in a programme with a paid half-time position as a research assistant), finish in 3-4 years
  • Step four: work in research somewhere in Europe; I’m thinking about moving to Scandinavia – there are more/better postdoctoral positions available in my field than here while the people are nice (Darling likes the laid-back Scandinavian attitude as well). The universities in Norway have some nice positions open right now – and I’d really like to live somewhere with northern lights for a while! (And there are capoeira schools both in Oslo and in Bergen.)

My priorities may seem a little weird; but if the idea of seeing the northern lights while being able to follow my other dreams helps me to focus on the task at hand and working harder, why not. I can use all the sources of motivation I can get!

Favourite Friday: Body Hacks

How to swallow big pills more easily: Instead of tipping your head back (the most instinctive course of action for most of us) let it hang down after putting the pill in your mouth and taking a sip of water – the pill will sort of float on the water and find its way with less problems than usual. I had problems even with medium sized vitamin pills all of my life until I found this trick only recently! I haven’t tried it with the really big capsules yet, but I’m happy that I’m able to swallow some magnesium pills now!

Reduce motion sickness related symptoms like dizziness, breathlessness, and disorientation during plane take-offs and landings: Instead of looking straight ahead or out of the window, look up! Again a trick I found somewhere on the internet and tried it when travelling to Ireland; and it really helped. Not perfect, but much better than expected. If you want to look outside, do so only for short moments at a time. (Especially when we were inside or above the clouds already the perceived speed difference made me feel uncomfortable when looking out of the window for longer than a few seconds.)

… and there are many more body hacks on the internet; these two are just the ones that have helped me most with really annoying problems.

And suddenly I remember why I like to study.

Every now and then I feel like I know again why I chose to study, to go to university. Suddenly I remember how it feels to find an interesting phenomenon and see how things fall in place, the silent adventure of words and a curious mind. It’s like solving word-search puzzles, crosswords, and match-the-pattern-to-the-row for a living. It can be tedious, boring, but every now and then exciting again. It may be hard to pull myself together, to open the book, the file, to get started; but then the ideas flow freely and I see the beauty between cardboard covers and the tiny pieces of paper forming  a string of conclusions and open ended questions.