What's on my mind.

26 March 2009

Field Gear

I don't have a picture handy of what I look like in my field gear so I'll follow Geotripper's (et al.) lead and just describe it. What I wear/carry in the field varies a lot, depending on what I'm doing but somethings remain the same.

Hair: Somewhat unkempt. Now that it is short, it's just under a hat (baseball or straw) or tied back with a kerchief. When it was longer it was pulled back one way or another and under a hat. At field camp it would start out a down in back, then in a pony tail, then braided by the 3rd day without washing.

Sunburned Peeling Nose: Sure hope not. That's what the hat and sunscreen are for.

Beard: Can't seem to grow one, which is just as well because waxing ain't cheap.

The Ever-Present T-shirt and Logo: Depending on the weather and location the T-shirt would be sleeveless and covered with a long-sleeved light weight shirt (the better to keep off bugs, sun, and prickers) or long-sleeved and under a sweater or, rarely, a flannel shirt. Every once in a while I do wear just a t-shirt by itself. Most of my long- and short- sleeved tees have logos/slogans on them the tank tops don't. Favorites LS tees are the volunteer fire department and crab trap clean up (OK they are about the only LS tees I have); I don't have favorite SS tees too many choices. The GSA one is OK. The big seal on the back and dark green color make it a bit warm in the summer, besides it disappeared after the second time I wore it.

Belt and Buckle: Pants fit o.k. but I need something to hang my Brunton on. I have a big tool belt that I wore over my pants at field camp with a hammer holster and field pack; I don't usually wear that anymore because I'm never that far from the car.

Deep Pockets: (not in the legal sense; geologists are often poor) Keys (if I'm driving), inhaler (if I remember to get it out of my purse), cell phone (if I remember...), and occasional small sample may be in my pockets. Other stuff (water bottle, camera, Brunton, purse, tape, extra padlock, colored pencils,...) are in my backpack and/or camera bag. I usually carry my field book and a pen in my hand or shove it in the back of my pants when I need both hands. This habit has lead to my field book almost disappearing completely in one day when I wore slightly loose pants.

Assorted Scars and Bandages: Actually I can't think of a scar that is geology related.

Rock Hammer: for specimen collecting, fighting off deer flies, self-defense, installing Li-Cor collars, beating stupid computers senseless, etc.

Muscular, tanned legs: Tanned? My legs are always covered with pants. I don't like bites, sunburns, thorn pricks, or random scrapes when they are easily avoided. Therefore they are about as far from 'tanned' as possible. (And I come from northern European stock, too.) Muscular? I don't know about that.

Shoelaces:I still have the original laces that came with the boots. Guess I'm lucky or sit in my office too much.

Cool Socks! And not just for field work.

Boots: for traction on rocks, mud, and snow (hah! like anyone in Alabama would go out in the field in snow). I have two pair. My favorite are a pair I got from LL Bean 11 years ago (obviously I sit in my office too much). I also have a pair of Timberlands I bought a few years ago in an emergency (packed for a society field trip the night before, taught the next day, and ten halfway to the hotel I realized the only shoes I had were the flats I was wearing.). I need to get some steel toed boots but keep putting it off because I can think of other things to spend my money on.

Ironclad Bladders: (not pictured) I usually don't have to go far to the field but bathroom are not terribly close to the research site so this is useful. (Go before leaving the office, at lunch, and upon return). I knew all those long car trips would come in handy one day.

Brunton Compass: to determine strike and dip, fault orientations, and locating next collar location (if we ever get the access agreements signed). We also use GPS receivers to get exact locations.

Full of wisdom...yeah that's it. And behind glasses. I love my Transitions.

Brain: (not pictured) Dehydrated, half-baked, freeze-dried, but enjoying every minute.

Other stuffs: There's a lot of things that are task specific, but some common things not covered above are: safety vest during hunting season, bags (sample, grocery, Ziploc), extra sharpies, work gloves, rain-gear (when the weatherman says maybe), survey tape, bug spray, sunscreen, measuring tape, hand lens (around the neck), WD-40, large pocket knife.

I'm either lucky or unlucky in that I spend most of my time in an office. (And most of the "rocks" I look at in a well log.) When I do go in the field it's usually only for a day or two at a time and come home every night. I can usually find decent food nearby (especially if I'm out with my boss for whom this is a necessity). Since I've been at the Survey most of my field time has been spent of two particular projects. For one I and two co-workers were out collecting cores which had been drilled by a local mining company. For the other, I and a grad student were, and will be again soon, going out every week and getting soil CO2 flux measurements (this is why I have a spare padlock and WD-40 in my bag). For those days in the field, gear was fairly light. I get to do some 'regular' fieldwork, like last Friday (when I didn't take my camera, damn it.) when more of stuff is needed.

1 comment:

Garry Hayes said...

Thanks for jumping in on this mini-meme. Unlike you, all of my scars are geology-related, usually because I prefer short pants in summer, but go blundering through the thorny bushes anyway....