One of the first things I had to figure out was how to get some kudzu seeds. I did not want anyone to connect me with what I was going to do, so I really could not just go in and ask for some seeds. I couldn't volunteer to work on that project because it already was someone’s project and again, I did not want to connect myself to the kudzu.
So that left stealing the seeds. I couldn't go out and collect any on my own because it was the end of winter, hence no plants had made any seeds yet.
I wished I had the popping power of that guy I saw on TV because then I could just pop into lab and grab some. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I may have access. The lab is just one of several that are connected to the greenhouses on campus. In fact, the lab where I was working is connected to Greenhouse A, or GH Apple as I call it. This is the biggest one and has several dwarf apple trees. One of the things I’m working on is apples. I’m working on ‘creating’ an apple that is crisp but sweet and is resistant to disease and pests. Yes I know, not probable but also not impossible. I have to be careful to wear gloves all the time I’m “officially” around any of the plants here at school. My “other projects” don’t call for the gloves. Maybe I’ll tell you more about those later.
Back to the stealing of the kudzu seeds. I could go through the greenhouses to GH-C and see if they left the door to their lab unlocked.
Now everyone is use to me being in ALL the greenhouses because I’m constantly taking pictures and uploading them to my blog. Yes I have a plant blog with a whole ten subscribers.
So I began to go take pictures at different times, even during the night and found ways to talk to the two students who worked in the kudzu lab. I had four weeks to figure out how to and grab the seeds. I really didn’t want to get them too early since I did not want to accidentally make them grow too soon. Getting on and off the plane with seeds would be much easier than with plants.
Mark Graffon and Sandi Piper were the two students in the lab. They were graduate students working on their Phd’s. So me asking them questions was a normal occurrence since I was an undergrad and it was what we were supposed to do. I actually found myself fascinated with all I was learning about kudzu and that just increased my motive for what I was going to do. Or at least TRY to do. It was a fascinating three weeks and all my questions paid off. See sometimes a grad student will want to ‘show off’ for an undergrad and show off she did. The whole lab! Which included the freezer where they kept the seed. They had POUNDS of the seed. I knew then that the few dozen I’d be taking would never be missed at all. I also learned that at 7:00pm every evening, the lab was left unattended for supper time. And that while the door was locked, the windows were not.
I guess I should explain a bit about how the labs are laid out. Each lab has three rooms; the first one being the ‘entry’ and this has windows about six feet up the wall. And one of those windows is ‘in’ the greenhouse. They open but I doubt anyone ever opens them. I think I’m the only one that ever does in my lab, though that is only on especially gorgeous days. And my windows have screens, the kudzu lab’s windows don’t. The second room is usually storage for all the equipment and supplies. The third is usually for secure procedures or isolation of specific organisms. One usually has to follow specific protocol to enter into this room. Hence the nickname: “proto-room”. I’m currently using mine for some not so “official” experiments.
I have to tell you that NOT many undergrads have this opportunity to work in a lab. Most who are invited find they don’t have the time. And usually ONLY those in their senior year (aka: close to graduation) ARE invited to work with a professor.
I’m not trying to say I’m “special” but … I am. Hahaha!
At least that is what Professor Hill has said. The lab is his lab and he is just working on the apple trees and when I asked if I could do some side experiments in the proto-lab, he said sure since he wasn't using it.
Ok, ok, I see I’m rambling a bit and getting side tracked. Let me explain how easy it was to get the seeds.