Noticing the soil - Lately I've been noticing the soil I walk on. Something that's so obvious that you overlook it completely. But without soil we would not be alive. A very precious resource that we should pay more attention to.
I have read several geology books but out in the field this paper knowledge is useless. Still I decided to experiment and research in my amateur manner. No preparation, no reading, no browsing. I bought a few cheap plastic containers in the graphic supply shop and immediately I felt very scientific.
Sampling - My first sample was taken on 4 december 2012 between Capelle aan den IJssel and Nieuwerkerk. A mole hill was very convenient. This was certainly local soil.
The second sample was taken on 8 december 2012 between Hogebrug and Oukoop. An extremely wet and sticky pancake of clay. Maybe it had been used to repair the dyke. But maybe it had been dredged up from the bottom of the canal.
The third sample was taken on 8 december 2012 between Hogebrug and Oukoop. This was just a random heap of sand. It was certainly not local. Probably it belonged to some repairs of the path.
Analysis - The three samples, from left to right: second (2), first (1), third (3). Of course this has no scientific value at all. the real source of the sample is unknown and there is no correlation with local geography. Still it feels very satisfying to bring a piece of the landscape home with you and to possess a physical sample of a place. An original souvenir, much more tangible than a digital photograph.
Sand - The sand seems to come from the seashore. Lots of transparent quartz and a few fragments of seashell, somewhat worn by the action of waves. The quartz grains still have some rough edges, they are not worn smooth. Impossible to determine what the dark grains in the sand are. Odorless.
Clay - Has dried since sampling and is very tough. Have to break the lump by force. No structure, no grains, just fine clay, like the clay used for pottery. No plant matter. Odorless.
Back to the drawing boards to study some theory. Already I have some new ideas. Step 1: buy a few sieves.
Sampling and Analysis of Soil
Simple soil, water and plant testing techniques for soil resource management
Four Easy Do-It-Yourself Soil Tests