What The Muck?

Part I  2013



My walks during the week take me through what may be considered to be mundane terrain.  I traverse a practice soccer field that this year flourishes with white clover and coarse fescue, a typical mundane field.  However, on one end of the field, away from actual play, there exists a somewhat shaley, sparsely vegetated area that is depressed sufficiently to allow for periods of wet and dry.  When dry for fairly long periods, a black crust develops across the area.  After rains, with standing water, the same area greens beneath the water’s surface and tiny bubbles can be seen covering the greenish mat.  I plucked a few pieces of the black crust during a recent dry period and placed them into a clean, clear glass jar.  After I added water, the jar set overnight.  The following morning the patches had again been transformed into a green, bubbling mat of activity.  After several days, an oily slick appeared on the water’s surface, either the products of cell metabolism or degradation.


before adding spring water

coming soon



side view


new_set_up            new_set_up4g

 New set up













Part II 2013

Part II

what _the_muck_1

Another section of my walk overlooks a small creek that has been diverted into a culvert, which during moderate to heavy rains, will clog and cause the creek to overflow onto the surrounding mudflats.  The frequent heavy rains this year have caused the mudflats to undergo frequent inundation.  During one period of drying, I spotted, from the walkway above this area, a region of intense green in the mudflat. I cut a small square of this mudflat with what I believe is algal growth and placed it in a clear plastic container.  I have kept it hydrated and it resides in our greenhouse where temperatures frequently exceed 100 degrees F on sunny days.