Journal archives for June 2020

June 21, 2020

William (Bill) Turnock

I've been meaning to write this for some time. Bill Turnock was another one of the scientists I worked with, although not extensively. He could dream up some amazing studies. He wanted to sample flea beetles across a canola field, presumably to see if there were more on the edge than in the middle. I was drafted into this scheme. It involved sampling at the corners of a canola field, and then across the field. Great idea, but carrying it out was another matter. Basically it involved strapping a gas lawn mower engine to your back. It ran a large vacuum sampler that had a net in it. I, and another person (I think her name was Chris) would go out to a quarter section field, strap the engine on our backs, sample around set points on the field corners, and then set out diagonally across the field. It was early to mid summer, the canola was thigh high, and the temperatures in the mid 20's C. We had a lawn mower on our backs. It was not fun. To his credit, Bill came out to see it one day, and stopped the project.
Bill was a red headed, bearded man, full of energy. When I saw him, he always seemed to be talking. The only other concrete memory I have of him was in regards to a trip to Swan River, to sample either Bertha Armyworm, or flea beetles. There were four of us, and for some reason there were four small trees at the back of the Suburban. The next day, while his main technician Bob Bilodeau, was driving, Bill remarked that the Suburban handled differently without the trees in the back. Bob gently reminded him that all the gear we had was no longer in the back as well. Bill accepted this, and moved on to another matter. Bill could be difficult, but essentially he was a good person. Apparently, he died in 2008 -

Posted on June 21, 2020 20:57 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0 comments | Leave a comment

My microscope.

Ag Can lab

The microscope on the left was 'mine'. This is a photo from the 1980's of Gord Ayre's lab. The microscope was a beautiful German Zeiss or Leitz (I can't remember which), probably made in the 1950's. Binocular, it was not a zoom, but had three fixed lenses for magnification. It had wooden arm rests for working on the stage. I don't know what I was doing that day, but the light was separate, and was hot. Later the new microscopes would be equipped with a ring of fibre optics that stopped the heat from getting to the stage. I actually found the heat was beneficial for some things.
Anyway, while I was there, these microscopes were declared surplus, and we were able to bid on a batch. Garth Bracken arranged for a group of us to make a bid, and I joined in - I wanted to own that microscope! We submitted it, and were just short of the winning bid. I don't know who got the microscopes, but to this day I regret not having this microscope. No one's fault - just fate. But goddamn, I love that scope!!

Posted on June 21, 2020 21:49 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 1 comment | Leave a comment