Week 4

It’s Week 4 so we are almost to the halfway point of the program. This is crazy. There are still so many things I want to see and do while I am still in Oregon but we are running out of time! This past week has been, yep you guessed it, all about soil processing. We have over 200 samples that we are currently processing through the PSA machine and there are more to come! We are doing a last minute site next Monday to get 5 more cores (which could be about 50 more samples) so the entire soil process will re-start with those samples next week. I’m definitely getting myself some Tillamook ice cream. Since we have a better feel of how to get these samples done, hopefully they will be processed quickly. Then we can play with the data!

This is the PSA machine I've been working with. The water in the jugs feeds into the machine so the soil samples can be circulated easily.

This is the PSA machine I’ve been working with. The water in the jugs feeds into the machine so the soil samples can be circulated easily. There is a computer monitor to the left of the PSA machine (I couldn’t fit it into the shot) where you can control how it operates.

There are a lot of opportunities to stay active while in Newport. I hate running. So I try to get as involved in sports as possible. My mentor Jody, and a couple of other interns play ultimate frisbee every Monday and Thursday with some really awesome members of the community. There is also a pick-up soccer game that happens every Wednesday at noon outside of Hatfield. Even though Newport tends to be a bit cold for me, it is the absolute perfect weather for running around (unless it’s super windy, then throwing the frisbee can be difficult).

This past weekend, a couple of the interns at the EPA went to Jody’s house to make pasta! I’d never done anything like it before but it was actually a lot of fun. It took about 3 hours to make enough pasta for 5 people and it was pretty tedious work flattening the dough over and over again, but wow was it good. I put a picture below of all of the pasta we made. We had to hang it on a drying rack so the pieces wouldn’t fall apart or stick to each other.


We have our mid-summer check in this coming Friday where we have to give a small presentation about the work we have been doing so far and then we go camping! I’ll have more details about that next week.

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3 thoughts on “Week 4

  1. What is a PSA machine, exactly? Now all I can think about is homemade pasta…wait a minute: PSA = PaStA machine???

  2. I’ve always wanted to make pasta! And you being Italian I’m sure you were a natural at it. I’m glad you get to break up the data analysis/processing with days out in the field!

  3. Hi Sarah,

    A PSA machine is a used for particle size analysis. I wish it was used for pasta!! I would never get hungry at work it would be great! It basically allows you to take a subset of your soil sample and put it into the machine, which then sends a lazer through it and it then tells you the percent of sand, silt and clay in your sample. This is just a technique to try to figure out the characteristics of a soil sample.

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