Saturday i prepared for Meeting for Business and chipped and chopped. I cleared the dog fennel from the meadow before it could set seed. Dog fennel (Eupatorium capillifolium) is in the Asteraceae. Wikipedia says 2 meters tall, but the ones i cut down are much taller than i can reach, easily 3 meters. They are one tall sunflower-like stalk covered with fennel or dill like foliage and then topped with a feathery plume of tiny green-white flowers -- the flowers are not really visible. The stalks are woody in the way of many asters, and are probably used in the second year as homes by bees and other insects. I leave other stalks around for the insects to nest in (The bearsfoot (Smallanthus uvedalia), for example); the dogfennel went through the chipper nicely, and i suspect the greenry will help provide nitrogen for speedy decomposition of the tree branches that i also chipped.
I used the manual pole saw to do some pruning: i am so glad i did not get a power pole saw because my skills for aiming a thing at the end of a ten foot pole are poor. On the other hand, there were some less than tree friendly cuts i made wrestling with the saw and the limited leverage clipper.
I cleaned up and took my niece a drive in youth theater performance. I had thought we'd take the pickup truck but a quick consult about batteries led to taking the car and gassing it up. The performance was at the covered loading dock of a school near Silk Hope, out in the middle of the county. I thought i wouldn't run the engine during the pre-performance entertainment, but i left my lights on and killed the battery within 30 minutes of arriving. I didn't know how to get the FM broadcast of the performance on my phone, and there was no signal. So we listened through open car windows. We were surrounded by three Prius and a Leaf: none of them were running their engines, so that was quiet. Other cars had similarly drained batteries in previous performances, i was assured, and -- indeed -- there were others needing jumps that night. I had cables so as soon as the hybrid and electric cars moved away, someone offered to give me a jump.
Just like when i teared up during a news story about the progress on a vaccine from the point of view of scientists an academics (clearly reportage designed to help allay rational concerns about the rush by establishing confidences in the capacity of large pharma to logistically handle huge trials), i teared up a bit during some of the dialogue. Not that i heard the words clearly, but the tone and energy in the kids' voices really seemed to communicate the authentic experience they've had this year.