this dreaded thing called…

Last week I was asked by a friend if we are honeymooning.



See, there is this dreaded thing called field work. It’s the little child of Karsten’s PhD. And the reason why we haven’t had any summer vacations for the last years. To be honest, Karsten and I have only had one proper holiday during our whole relationship so far (if you don’t count christmas at our parents place) and that was in 2010 when we travelled around Tanzania. Apart from that, we had 5 days in Rome once, and a long weekend in Stralsund. Oh, and the days on Spiekeroog…which were supposed to be a whole week, but then Karsten had to leave earlier to attend a workshop. Like on our civil wedding when he had to leave right after the wedding dinner.

Instead of going on holiday, Karsten spends his summer days on his field. Two years ago, I joined him as an intern (maybe that almost counts as working holiday – it sure added a whole new dimension to our relationship. I mean, who can openly admit to regularly kiss one’s boss?). If you wonder how the field looks like: it’s huge. And by now full of plants. And all those plants have to be taken care of. They have to be planted, watered (if necessary), measured, re-planted, cut, you have to weed and to cut the grass and and and. And that’s just the outside-part.


Imagine the following summer day scenario: blue sky, the sun is burning, red kites are circling above you. You find the first blooming research plant in the first row of the first plot. Diligent as you are, you start counting the leafs. Counting the stems. measuring the circumference of the stem. Counting the flowers. measuring the height. Deciding on a habit between one to ten. After 10 minutes, you are done. A feeling of efficiency and satisfaction takes over. This is going well!

Until you look up. And you see that there are 9 more plants in the row. And 36 more rows, each with 10 plants. And your view rises and you look over the field and discover that there are 11 more plots. Each with 37 rows. Each row with 10 plants….Now do your maths, dear reader. How many plants have to be measured? The red kites suddenly resemble vultures. Your back starts hurting after the third row. You feel thirsty. And you remember that you forgot the sunscreen.

IMG_1524-001 IMG_1522-001

So, no, we are not honeymooning. But this is the last year with field season. Next year, Karsten has to write everything up. But he can do that everywhere as long as he has internet access. Maybe Sweden? Scotland? Tuscany? Or Canada? One day we’ll have a proper holiday!

About erdhummel

Familial entropy - that's an insight into our current life which has been fundamentally changed last summer when our daughter was born. Having studied in Cottbus, Germany, and worked/studied in Edinburgh, Scotland, we momentarily live in a small town in Switzerland where Karsten is trying to save the environment and Freddie is trying to save our sanity. Since there is not much time for elaborate, long emails while doing that, we thought a blog might be a good option to smuggle ourselves into the lifes of our friends.
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5 Responses to this dreaded thing called…

  1. Poor Karsten:-)) I hope all this work will be honored some day!!

  2. eingehirner says:

    How I feel with you 😉 We HAD some proper holidays, though, but planning them was always like this: “Let’s go in May, Greece is not too hot in May.” – “No, we have to plant the potatoes between April and June and we have to collect wireworms. They come out only for a few days but then we have to be there!” – “OK, then let’s go hiking in July!” – “No, we have to check the potatoes every few days and the wireworms need attention.” – “October?” – “No, we have to harvest the potatoes.” – “Snowshoe hiking in December?” – “I have to write a paper somewhen and it’s too cold” and so on and so forth… My dream was always to some day have a small cottage with a garden and to grow own vegetables there but I’m rethinking it since this experience… Being a farmer must be a nightmare when it comes to taking a few days off!

  3. Karsten says:

    I have to say while I agree on the inconveniences mentioned above, one should also notice that we lived in four different countries since we are together which beats vacations there! 🙂

  4. Pingback: welcome to the Pinot Noir region | familial entropy

  5. Pingback: holiday countdown | familial entropy

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