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Forrester's adoption page photo shoot. Picture by Suzie Wolf Photography.

Forrester from his adoption page photo shoot. Picture by Suzie Wolf Photography.

Last weekend we returned to Raleigh, North Carolina for a long weekend to celebrate my Ph.D. graduation on May 10. I’ll have a post on that later once we get all of the pictures from those that had cameras. However, in addition to the big celebration, we also came home with a long time friend. Forrester was our foster dog for over two years with the Triangle Beagle Rescue of NC. We really enjoyed him as a foster dog, and we had hoped that he would eventually find a forever home after we moved away last December. Unfortunately, nothing worked out so Stacy and I made the decision to adopt him and bring him home with us to Seattle. He’s too good of a dog to be a foster dog bouncing from foster home to foster home in his golden years. Here are some pictures we have of him, mostly from his time with us as a foster dog.

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The rescue knew that we had to pay to fly him back to Seattle, and because he had been with the rescue for so long they decided to wave the adoption fee for us, which was much appreciated. He handled the flight back to Seattle like a champ (with some help from some “doggy downers”). Overall, flying with a dog was pretty seamless, despite a delayed connection flight. He and our other beagle, Maisie are very familiar with each other, so they adjusted to living with each other again pretty quickly. He still has great hearing, great eyesight, and healthy joints, despite being a 12 1/2 year old dog. It’s too bad more people don’t consider adopting senior dogs like him. We are happy he’s part of our lives again.

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Hello all! We’ve had a very busy last few months, so I apologize for not posting too often. However, lucky for you we have our annual Groundhog Day card and letter for you to read to get you all caught up on our adventures.

GroundhogDay2014Final

Happy Groundhog Day everyone!

It’s that time of year again when giant rodents all over America come out of hibernation and predict the change of seasons for all of us based on the sighting of their own shadow. That also means it’s time for us to reflect on the last twelve months, which have had some ups and downs and big changes in our lives.

Shortly after our last Groundhog Day card, Stacy’s father, Gene Schacherer passed away on February 4. We came home for the funeral and to be with all of our family. There were a lot of sad and happy moments as we reflected on his 69 years of life. There was a very large turnout for the visitation and funeral – a testament to how much of an impact Gene had on everyone who knew him.

In June we celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. You can see Stacy with her anniversary flower bouquet on our Groundhog Day card. Also in June we went back to Iowa to celebrate Colby’s brother, Matt’s wedding. Matt and his bride, Amber were married in Altoona, Iowa, Amber’s home town. It was a fun wedding, and a great opportunity to see all of our family again. You can see Colby and his brothers all dressed for the wedding in the top-right picture on the card.

In late June Stacy’s mom, Carmen, and Stacy’s brother, LeRoy and his family came to North Carolina to visit us. We showed them around Raleigh and explored NC State’s campus, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and tried out some great Carolina-style barbecue. We then took a day trip to Wilmington, NC to tour the USS North Carolina battleship and hang out on the beach. We also took a trip to Beaufort, NC to see a different part of the coast. The surf was up while we were there, so we didn’t get to go in the water. However we still got to walk the beach for shells, see some dolphins, tour the Maritime Museum, and tour Fort Macon–a Civil War fort that guarded the Beaufort inlet. When it started to rain we toured the North Carolina Aquarium. It was a busy weekend, but everyone had fun.

In August Stacy returned to Iowa for the centennial celebration of her home town of Wallingford, Iowa. She was home for a week and was happy to see all of the Schacherer clan. Colby stayed in Raleigh so he could continue working on his dissertation. He finished it during the fall semester and successfully defended his dissertation on December 18. Everything is now complete for his PhD except for the official commencement ceremony, which will be held in May 2014. His dissertation is entitled “Dynamics of Phosphorus Release from Wetlands Restored on Agricultural Land”. If you have insomnia and would like to read all 232 pages, let Colby know and he’ll email a link to where you can download it.

In December we packed up our apartment in Raleigh and started our move to Seattle, Washington (more on that in a second). Stacy’s mom and Colby’s dad came down to Raleigh and were incredibly helpful in getting us ready for the move. They stayed for almost a week to help box up our stuff and get our apartment in ship shape (so we could get our deposit back). While they were here, Adam and Marissa Howard very kindly hosted a going away party for us. It was a lot of fun, and made for a great send-off from all of our close friends we’ve made in Raleigh over the last five and a half years. We later shipped our stuff to Seattle in a “U-Pack Relocube”. We had to shed a bunch of our larger items (gas grill, couch, bed, etc.), but we got most of the rest of our stuff in the container. We sold Stacy’s car and drove Colby’s loaded-down Ford Fusion back to the Midwest for the holidays. We stopped in Illinois to celebrate Christmas with Colby’s Mom and her husband, Buck. We then moved on to Estherville to celebrate the holidays with the rest of our families. After the New Year we started the second half of our 2,800 mile drive. We stayed on I90 for two and a half days. It was a beautiful drive, and despite a lot of wind the weather was favorable.

On January 6 Colby started his new position as a “postdoctoral researcher” at the University of Washington Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is still doing soil and root research, but has switched from studying phosphorus to studying methane-a potent greenhouse gas. He has also switched from Carolina bay wetlands to Alaskan bogs and fens. Colby will be headed up to Fairbanks, Alaska for most of the growing season (June-September) to study methane at a “Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) station”. He is working on some laboratory experiments on campus in Seattle in the meantime. The picture of both of us on the center of the card is on UW’s campus near Colby’s new building.

Seattle is beautiful so far. It’s is actually as warm as or warmer than Raleigh in the winter, and isn’t nearly as rainy as everyone says. It is surprisingly hilly though. We haven’t explored the area too much yet, but we’re working on it. Our new mailing address is 6189 Radford Drive, Apt. 1911, Seattle, WA 98115. We’ll keep our current cell phone numbers and email addresses.

We had to leave our foster dog, Forrester with the Triangle Beagle Rescue when we left Raleigh. We had him for almost two years, and he was featured in our Groundhog Day card/letter last year. We’re missing him, but hopefully he finds a permanent home soon. Our beagle, Maisie is doing well. She handled the road trip to Seattle well (with the help of some meds from the vet). She’s adjusted well to Seattle, and is happy that there is a dog park across the street. The park goes all the way down to a beach on Lake Washington, as shown on the card.

In other news, both of Colby’s grandmas are now in the Good Samaritan nursing home in Estherville, IA. They both have Alzheimer’s, but seemed stable and happy while we were home over the holidays. They both have great men taking care of them too, so they’re in good hands.

That’s it for our news since the last Groundhog Day. If you are interested in visiting Seattle, give us a heads-up. We hope you and yours all the best.

Happy Groundhog Day!

Stacy, Colby, and Maisie

That concludes our Groundhog Day 2014 letter. Now that we’re caught up we’ll try to post more frequently with pictures and stories from our adventures in Washington and Alaska. Thanks for stopping by!

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Hello everyone,

Source: Wikipedia
(c) University of Washington

As all of our friends and family know, I’ve been working on my PhD in soil science at NC State for a while now. I’ll be finishing up in December, so I’ve been in the midst a thorough job search over the summer and the beginning of the fall semester. That job search is officially over now as I have accepted a position as a postdoctoral researcher in the University of Washington Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. I will be working with Dr. Rebecca “Becca” Neumann. I will be working on a project studying methane oxidation in the rhizosphere of wetland plants.

Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 20 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than CO2. Methane is produced in wetland soils. Plants can act as both a route for methane to move from the soil into the atmosphere, and as a way for oxygen to enter the soil and oxidize the methane in the rhizosphere (the zone of soil immediately surrounding roots). The objective is to put a number on the percentage of methane that’s oxidized in order to refine climate change models. We also want to predict how that number changes with different plant communities, and how those communities might change as the climate warms. The field site is about 40 minutes west of Fairbanks, Alaska. The field site has two types of wetlands – a bog and a fen. It is called the Bonanza Creek Long Term Ecological Research Station. I’ll be in Alaska for their growing season (June-September), and in Seattle the rest of the time working on laboratory experiments.

I’ve been told the UW campus is really nice. Here’s a flyover I found on YouTube. It’s looking good so far!

My start date is January 6, 2014. The current plan is for me to defend my dissertation in December. We’ll ship our stuff from Raleigh to Seattle via a U’Haul “pod”. We will drive from North Carolina to Iowa for Christmas, then drive from Iowa to Washington after the holidays. My official graduation date will be May 10, 2014, and we will be back in Raleigh for the commencement and hooding ceremony. All of our friends and family will be welcome to attend. There’s a lot to do between now and my start date in January, but in the mean time Stacy is making plans for the move, and I’m working on finishing my dissertation on time.

Stacy is starting her job search now. The company for which she currently works has two hospitals in the Seattle area. She’s looking into transferring within that company for now. I know some of her family was a little sad we weren’t moving back to within driving distance of Wallingford, Iowa. On the bright side though, this is a temporary position that is renewable, so I should be able to work in Seattle for a few years until the perfect position close to home opens up.

The position is exactly the type of postdoctoral research position I was looking for in my job search, so I’m really happy I got it. Stacy and I are both excited to see what the West Coast is like, and we now have an excuse to visit Alaska. I think my brothers are already planning big game hunting trips in Alaska, and Stacy’s siblings are already planning road trips to Seattle. I’ll try to post here a few times between now and the move, but we’re really busy so we’ll see.

Thanks for stopping by,

Colby

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Hello all,

Stacy and I sent out our annual Groundhog Day card and letter last week to family and a few friends. Since I’ve been a little too busy with grad school lately, I haven’t really updated this blog as often as I should, despite there being a lot of big news in the last 12 months. I’ll repost our letter here. Consider this our “catching up on blog posts” post.

The 2013 Moorberg family Groundhog Day card.

The 2013 Moorberg family Groundhog Day card.

Happy Groundhog Day everyone!

It’s that time of year again when giant rodents all over America come out of hibernation and predict the change of seasons for all of us based on the sighting of their own shadow. That also means it’s time for us to reflect on the last year. This last twelve months have been pretty busy for us. Stacy is still working at the hospital. She’s also been busy working on a variety of crochet projects, including some afghans that will be auctioned off to benefit the Relay for Life. Some other notable projects include an afghan wedding gift for Colby’s mom and husband (more on that later), and some bearded stocking hat Christmas presents for Colby and his brothers.

Colby has been busy with school and research. As you read this he’ll be just finishing up with his preliminary exams for his PhD, and will be preparing for the oral exam to become a “PhD candidate”. He’s also been homebrewing in his free time, making a bunch of different styles of beer and hard cider. Some notable recipes include the “10YR Amber Ale” (a soil science inside joke), the “Hot Mess Pale Ale” (included 10 roasted Anaheim peppers that were soaked in tequila prior to fermentation), and the “MoBro American Black Ale” which was brewed during “Movember” (more on that later) and  included five ounces of hand-picked hops from the Department of Soil Science’s hop field trial plot.

For Memorial Day weekend, Stacy’s sister, Brenda and her kids, and sister, Corey came to visit us. It was the kids’ first time to the coast so we took them down to Wilmington, NC. There we visited the USS North Carolina (picture on the card). We also checked out the North Carolina Aquarium, and then headed to the beach so they could swim in the ocean for the first time.

In June we took a trip to the North Carolina Zoo for our fourth anniversary. It was a really fun trip, and one of the best zoos we’ve visited. We also did some traveling out of the state for some big events on Colby’s side of the family. In May we flew to Iowa to see Colby’s brother Matt graduate from Iowa State University with his bachelor’s degree in Agronomy. It was nice to have a break and get back to Iowa at the end of the semester to partake in the celebrations. Congrats to Matt!

In September we flew to Wisconsin to participate in Colby’s mom’s wedding. Ruth married her husband, Buck in the end of September in an outdoor ceremony with the foliage at peak colors. It was a pretty wedding, and a great opportunity to see all of the Green family. Congrats to her and Buck!

In November Colby’s grandmother, Dorothy turned 90 years old. It’s quite the achievement! We couldn’t make it back because Colby still had class, but we were celebrating from afar and over the phone. Also in November, Colby’s dad came down to Raleigh to celebrate Thanksgiving with us. All three of us also had a blast that weekend at a NC State football game (two of the pictures on the card).

There isn’t too much news from Stacy’s side of the family, other than everyone is healthy, especially Stacy’s dad who is now three years cancer-free!

Our beagle, Maisie is doing well. She’s had a new buddy for the last twelve months though. Forrester (the tri-color beagle on the card) is our current foster dog with the Triangle Beagle Rescue, and is our sixth foster dog so far. He is a senior foster dog who is around 11 years old. The older foster dogs don’t usually get adopted too quickly, so we’ve had him for a while. If we still have him by the time Colby finishes his PhD, he just might end up becoming a permanent member of the family.

As usual, we’ve done a lot of cycling this year. We took part in just one charity ride though.  We rode in the inaugural Velo4Yellow bike ride in September which raised money for the Livestrong Foundation. Off of the bike, Colby also organized a team in his department for “Movember”, a charity that raises money and awareness for men’s health issues, testicular and prostate cancer in particular. For “Movember”, each of the participants, referred to as “MoBros”, grow mustaches during the month of November. The team of four MoBros raised over $760! Colby also helped out with his Masonic Lodge’s barbecue fundraisers that sell hundreds of plates of Eastern Carolina style barbecue and brought in over $8,000 for the North Carolina Masonic Home for Children, and the Masonic and Eastern Star Home.

As you can tell, it has been a busy year. During all that, Colby has also been feverishly working on his PhD research. He submitted his first paper for peer review last November, but is still waiting to hear any news on that paper. He’s also currently working on finishing up his three PhD experiments, which will be wrapped up by the end of the spring semester. The plan is for Colby to complete the data analysis and writing as soon as possible, successfully defend his dissertation, complete his PhD, publish his current research, and become gainfully employed by the end of 2013. There’s a lot to do between now and then though, as Colby’s PhD adviser would surely tell you.

We hope all of you are doing well, and we’re always happy to get news from home – whether it is over the phone, in a letter, in an email, or on a Google+ hangout. We’d love to hear from you! If you want to keep up with us, Colby posts occasionally on <colbyandstacy.wordpress.com> with big news, or interesting stories and adventures. Colby also has his soil science blog <colbydigssoil.com>, just in case you want to learn about soil science, or Colby’s research.

 Happy Groundhog Day!

Stacy, Colby, and Maisie

So that’s our news from the last 12 months. As it turns out, Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow, so he is predicting an early spring. However Sir Walter Wally, the groundhog from the North Carolina Natural Science Museum, did see his shadow, so apparently North Carolina is still a ways away from spring weather. Also, Foursquare offered a Groundhog Day badge.

Happy Groundhog day everyone!

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Hello all. Stacy and I recently signed up for Bike MS, a “charity” bike ride that raises funds to support people living with multiple sclerosis, and MS research. Here’s a short summary of the event from the Bike MS – Historic New Bern Ride website:

Bike MS: Historic New Bern Ride 2011 will be held September 10-11. Bike MS is a 2-day cycling event that raises funds to support people living with multiple sclerosis in eastern North Carolina and throughout the United States. Money raised through this event funds MS research, programs, services, and advocacy. In 2010, over 2,800 participants raised $1,628,256 to create a world free of MS. This year, our goal is to raise $1.7 million!  We can do it with YOUR HELP!

Bike MS cyclists enjoy two full days of riding through rural eastern North Carolina. Each day, cyclists can choose to ride 30, 75, 50 or 100 miles on fully-supported routes. At the conclusion of each day’s ride, cyclists are greeted by cheerful volunteers, a delicious, hot meal, ice cold beverages, and live entertainment. It’s a great time, you should join us!

And here is their public service announcement video:

We are both planning on riding the century ride (100 miles) on that Saturday. On Sunday, I plan on doing a second century ride, but Stacy is undecided on if she’ll do the full 100 miles or a shorter 50 or 75 mile ride. Regardless, it will be for a good cause and an equally good challenge.

We are riding for a couple of reasons. One is that one of my friends from graduate school and a fellow Soil and Water Conservation Society student chapter member was diagnosed with MS a few years ago. He organized the team for which we will be riding. We are also riding because MS is a disease that not that many people know much about, which results in research funding not coming close the research funding need. Lastly, both Stacy and I are most motivated to train (and lose weight) when we have an athletic challenge on the horizon (race, ride, etc.).

In order for us to ride in the Bike MS Historic New Bern Ride we have to raise over $200 each. We would very much appreciate your financial and moral support in our fundraising effort. If you are so inclined, you may donate on our behalf at the following links (the links are on the right side of the screen too under “Bike MS”).

Donate on Stacy’s behalf

Donate on Colby’s behalf

Thank you again for your support.

Also, if you would like to join our team, Pack Riders, let us know and we’ll send you the signup details. Thanks for stopping by!

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Some of the members of the Soil and Water Conservation Society at NCSU, and graduate students from the NCSU Dept. of Soil Science helped teach soil science to local Envirothon students at two different events in the last week. Envirothon is a academic “decathlon” for junior high and high school students through which they learn about aquatic ecology, forestry, soils and land use, wildlife, and current environmental issues. I won’t go into too much depth about the contest in which these students participate, but if you want to learn more you can ready my post about this event last year, or go to the Canon Envirothon website.

I On Saturday, February 26, six SWCS members and/or soil science graduate students helped train about 15 or so students at one of the research and extension sites of the Dept. of Soil Science. We six “teachers” took turns describing the 5 soil forming factors, redox reactions and hydric soils (I taught this), soil texture and structure, soil horizons, county soil surveys, and best management practices and soil conservation. On Friday, March 4, Stephanie, a fellow grad student, and I helped one of our soils extension professors, Dave Lindbo, teach more Envirothon contestants about soils. This time there was somewhere between 60 and 90 participants and it was held at the North Carolina Natural Science Museum. Stephanie and I teamed up to teach them about soil texture (the proportion of sand, silt, and clay) and soil structure (the arrangement of the sand, silt, and clay into discrete soil ped shapes). Both of these events were a lot of fun since we get to spread the good word about soil, how soil science applies to every one of us, and just how cool soil is… to us soil scientists anyway. Here are some pictures from the soils trainings.

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On Saturday, Stacy, some friends of ours, and I did the Krispey Kreme Challenge. In a nutshell, it is a 2 mile run from the NCSU bell tower to the Krispey Kreme bakery where you eat a dozen glazed doughnuts, followed by a 2 mile run back to the bell tower. The proceeds go to the NC Children’s Hospital. The running part wasn’t too bad. Eating the doughnuts was the hard part. For me, the most difficult part was forcing down the last 4 doughnuts of the dozen. I body literally shivered with every bite because it didn’t want anymore. I had to squash all of the doughnuts together to make them easier to eat quickly. I was told that if you take to long to eat all 12 then you’ll get sick before you finish… so I ate as quickly as I could. I registered as a challenger so I had to eat all 12. Stacy was registered as a competitor so she only had to eat as much as she liked, which was 3. We got split up after about the 1st half mile as I ran ahead. I couldn’t leave the bakery until I finished all 12 (which took a while) while Stacy passed me at some point while I was eating. I felt like crap while eating the doughnuts, but once I got jogging again I felt fine, but slow with the loaded gut. Eventually I caught back up to Stacy who had been walking ahead of me. We walked for a few blocks then finished strong.

There were 7,000 runners in the challenge; many of which dressed up in costumes. We saw everything from vikings to Spartans to footy pajamas. Watching the people was a show in itself. It was a very cold, rainy morning. We were soaked and shivering before the race started. It rained constantly until I got to the bakery. It then stopped raining and warmed up a bit. Luckily we had dry clothes in the car so we changed in my building on campus before he heading home for an insulin-high-induced, hour and a half, deep nap.

This was a fun event. We’ll definitely do this again, as it was fun (kinda), and goes to a very worthwhile cause. Here are some pictures (luckily we have a water-proof camera). Some are blurry, because I took them while I was running.

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