Saturday, March 19, 2011

A new hobby

My birthday present came early this year... ants! I always wanted an antfarm, and this birthday I got one.

It came in a big box,

here are the little beasts, a nice fat queen and 14 workers,

a bit of assembly required,

halfway there, the farm packed and the arena ready to be decorated,

the arena set up with thermometer and hygrometer, water and feeding troughs. Notice the white line painted just below the lid... that is the escape proofing, a kind of teflon you paint on (ptfe),

some final touches to the arena, a home fit for a queen... hopefully,

 and RELEASE!!

and the whole Saturday evening we sat and watch them venture out hesitantly, slowly, unenthusiastically and then... they started blocking up the entrance to the test tube! Not to worry though... this, apparently, is normal behavior, it can take weeks and even months for them to leave their 'cozy' test tube to move into their lovingly prepared new home,

so hopefully within a few weeks we can report that they decided to move her majesty to the nice humid, dark antfarm and rewarded us with some nice tunnels.


Good French Food

During my visit to France I realised something, it is not just a cliche that French people know about food... they really do. Here are some examples of the bait I brought back,

 Really good cheese that we bought from a cheesemonger at the morning market and saucisson (a type of French salami)

Foie Gras, a guilty pleasure - but what a pleasure

and then... a recipe recommended by the French people that visited the market with us,
you buy this particular cheese, I think its a type of Brie...

it is specially packed in these wooden boxes or the more expensive ones in a type of ceramic, that you can put in the oven,

you make a whole in the middle and put some garlic and white wine on,

and bake in the oven till brown,

and then you dig in...

it was recommended to be eaten with potato,

really, really good   :)


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Visit to Grenoble, France

Our research group has a colaboration with a group in France and the past week we visited them in Grenoble. Grenoble is a beautiful city in southeastern France at the foot of the French Alps. The city is also known in France as the 'Capital of the Alps'. The city is overlooked by a fortification, the 'Bastille', which is built on/inside the mountain slope and dates from the middle ages. Although we had quite a crammed work-week, our group took the opportunity to climb the slope to the Bastille and enjoy a wonderfull French dinner of
foie gras, duck, and some good wine at the restaurant on top. The next day we visited the morning market where we bought very nice Saucisson and French cheese (with names that I never heard before) directly from their makers.  :)

Here are some pics.

The Alps from the streets of Grenoble

The Bastille from below

The view from halfway up to the top of the Basille

Looking down

The cable cars known as 'Les Bulles'

The view from the top

A beautiful sunset


Next morning at the market checking out the cheeses


p.s. next week more on the food from France

Friday, March 4, 2011

Busy, busy, busy...

The last few weeks have been quite busy. For no clear reason we had loads of extra work. In addition Carina is taking a course in statistics which requires some extra time spend preparing for the lectures and are going on a work related trip to France next week which also requires some preparation. Our Swedish course has become reasonably challenging and the amount of homework has doubled. We also needed to finish a number of applications for conferences and grants for various projects during the last two weeks. So we were quite busy.

Next week I will on my own  experience the very slow increase of temperatures (also finishing some of the Swedish assignment that Carina needed to do earlier). Not much is planned otherwise but I am sure that Carina will have some interesting things to share after her trip to the land of wine, bread and cheese…