Seed Collecting Adventures, Episode VII: The One with the Doggo

Hello everyone,

A lot has happened since I’ve last written to you. From my perspective, the past few months have mostly been an ongoing cycle of making seed collections, trying to determine what kind of seed I just collected, entering data, and packing seeds into bags and boxes. So seeds are kind of my life I guess. I feel like people who read this blog are mostly botany-enthusiasts and plant-lovers, so hopefully this is a safe place to say things like “seeds are my life” and not face judgment. Because when I say that to my friends in real life they definitely look at me kind of weird.

In my expert opinion, the best thing about seed collections is that they take place in fascinating and unique locations. I’m a big fan of traveling. Our most recent seed collecting trip took me to a really remote part of Nevada. Well really, all of Nevada is pretty remote. But we went to the Desatoya Mountains, which are *really* remote.

We made thirteen different collections over the course of this trip, which is pretty average for us, I guess. We also found (and collected, sort of) an abandoned dog, which would be more dogs than we typically collect on average. I think every seed collection team should have a dog that they travel around with. It would be a great morale-booster. The SOS program would probably see record increases in the amount of seed collected, I bet. It’s probably at least worth a try. For those wondering, we took a detour from our trip to bring the dog to a shelter, which Annika later drove back to and adopted him from. He’s living with us for the week, and he really enjoys having his ears scritched.

Annika + dog

Annika + dog

One thing I’ve observed while traveling throughout the Sierra Nevada/Basin and Range, is that the cooler plants always are found at higher elevations. So I was pretty glad to arrive in the mountains and start scouting for seeds. Two of the collections we made were roses and stinging nettle, which are both pretty painful and awful to collect. But we also got to collect oceanspray, which I would have to say is probably one of the best-smelling plants I’ve gotten to collect this season. Like, if I were to make a definitive ranking of the best seeds to collect, based on smell, this one would at least be in my top three, I think. We also got to collect alumroot, which smells pretty normal, but I enjoy it because it grows mostly on vertical cliff faces.

Another cool non-plant, non-dog discovery we made during this trip was a towering waterfall that was tucked back within the canyons of the Desatoya Mountains. The Great Basin isn’t exactly known for waterfalls, so it was great to find this hidden gem.

After camping near the waterfall, we made a few more collections and then headed back to Carson City on the next day. The season is winding down, so this seed-collecting excursion is likely to be my last. It’s been a treasure to explore our country’s natural areas, and to collect seeds that will be used to grow and sustain those areas. I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading about my adventures as much as I’ve enjoyed having them!

Until next time,

Sam S.

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