Biochar and Birthdays

IMG_2723 BIOCHAR! It's created by pyrolysis of biomass---the finished product pictured above is biochar made using bamboo in a 55 gallon steel drum. Biochar is a soil amendment that has a lot of potential for soil fertility, water retention, and it is the ultimate value added product if trying to clear bamboo off one's land. If you haven't heard of biochar and you are in the world of agriculture, I definitely recommend you turn to your trusty pal, Google! I will be doing a more in-depth post on creating backyard biochar in the future, so I'm keeping it brief. Also, Bamboo biochar production will be part of my work during my two years of Peace Corps service, which I am ecstatic about, so there will be plenty of time to get into the nitty gritty science.

Biochar isn't actually an ideal drawing medium, but I thought it would be fun to make a quick self portrait to celebrate my last days of being twenty-four. I try to draw a self-portrait every year! I don't have a scanner yet so this is just a cellphone picture...but I wasn't really going for a masterpiece here. If anything, this is my first drawing in my new house and I am trying to make this the year of art, here in Jamaica, so more to come---as well as more years on this glorious planet, I hope!

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I tried to capture a typical Melissa face, as seen below:

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Whitney, a fellow volunteer, lives two taxis away through lots of sharp turns and over many potholes. Also a May 30th baby, her host family was throwing her a birthday party. We don't live too far apart and decided to celebrate our birthdays together. So, several volunteers traveled to her house and we hung out with Whitney's new family/neighborhood friends for an afternoon of cards, dominoes, and her host mom's home cooking. However, I didn't get any flour thrown on me, so was it a true Jamaican birthday? After traveling back home, I collapsed into a sugar coma and felt grateful for another joyous year of life.

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Until next time!