How ironic that I haven’t posted anything in over a year, and yet so much time has been spent sitting at this dusty thinkpad. It hasn’t all been clickity-click and tappity-tap but there has been a lot of that the past few months. I should back up though. A solid chunk of last year was spent just working my way through the 1648 specimens and 18,206 photos. “Spring break” was spent not in Baja on a road trip with my brother and Green Tortoise (though it probably should have been), but in the UC Berkeley Jepson herbarium pulling marathon 12 and 14 hour days keying plants and utilizing that world class resource to compare my specimens with those of the herbarium. I am thankful to have such liberal access to that obscenely large repository of knowledge. I am also thankful to have been able to knock on various people’s doors there in order to get some second opinions on things. There are some truly amazing botanists down their in that basement, quietly and continually pushing the frontiers of science even while the Cyrus-swinging-on-a-ball caliber shenanigans carry on up above.
Given that it’s Thanksgiving, and it just so happens that today, after two and a half months, I finally finished the bulk of building up the database for the field guide app, I would like to give thanks for that too. The effort has been hard fought. That is to say, I have worked my way through over 1200 of the most common trees, shrubs, and perennial species and now have compiled key identifying information and geographic data on all of them into a database from which a more user friendly app can be derived. The next order of business though is to dig into the ethnobotanical side of things and gather knowledge on edible, medicinal, and other uses on as many of these as I can. If anyone has sources they’d like to recommend I am all ears. I am thus far working with Facciola (Cornucopia), Elliott (Handbook of Edible and Poisonous Plants of Western North America), Moerman (Native American Ethnobotany), pfaf.org, and of course personal experience…the best source out there to which we all have access.
From there? I guess it’s polish and publish? I am in conversation with a company about publishing the app, but no contract as of yet. Stay tuned…