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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I'm Guelph's Leading Dispersal Agent

Burrs have been bothering me a lot lately. There just seems to be something about me that's absolutely irresistible to the bristly, clingy seeds.

Lately I've been working on a group project for my animal behavior class that involves setting up an experiment in the Arboretum. We're experimenting on chickadees, so we've been setting up bird feeders along the back edge of a forest where there is a lot of tall grasses, goldenrod and ragweed. The ragweed is the source of my problems; this time of year the plant is usually equipped with dozens of bristly seeds just waiting to catch onto an unsuspecting animal with the hopes of being taken to a new and better home.

I'm starting to believe that somehow these plants recognize me as the ultimate dispersal agent. I'm the one to get attached to. I could be walking through the field with all three of my group members, each of us walking in single file along the same path. Bam! I'm suddenly completely coated in burrs and yet all my group members are untouched.

Well today I took two trips to the Arboretum by myself to refill the bird feeders, and I had quite a horrendous experience. The first trip went well - despite forgetting the seed and needing to go home to get it - and I didn't even have a single encounter with any burrs. The second trip was awful. Somehow walking through the trail the second time I managed to get my sweater coated in the annoying burrs.


I took a picture because I found it funny and ironic that I could somehow get hit with the burrs the second time I walked through the field, but not the first. I even was happy enough at that point to look cute and smile as I took the picture. 

I refilled the bird feeder and then walked back through the path the way I came. BAM!
See, now here's a valid expression. I was not a happy camper after this attack.

I haphazardly removed the little devils from my sweater and tried brushing off all of the plant fibers that seemed to be stuck. That's when I noticed my neck and chest were stinging a little. I moved my hand over the area and felt little pricks of pain in specific locations - a clear sign that some sort of sliver or splinter was stuck in my skin. I didn't realize these burrs also gave you splinters!

By the time I got home I was hyper-aware of the fact that there were tiny splinter all over the right side of my face, neck and chest. After looking in the mirror I realized that they weren't visible; they must be really small and hard to see, because I can only tell where there's a splinter after putting pressure on the area.

So I did the only thing I really could do: take a shower, exfoliate, and wait it out. Here's the end result:

My face is clearly a lot more sensitive than my neck and chest, but this is the rash that is currently festering as a result of seeds. Seeds did this!

So long as an allergic reaction isn't possible, I'll be happy. 

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