Day: December 5, 2011

Monday, 5 December 2011

08:52 – Costco run and dinner yesterday with Mary and Paul. It was a nice break. Barbara and I had just finished building the final sub-assemblies for a new batch of chemistry kits, which’ll start shipping this week.

11:51 – I started the morning intending to write all day, but as usual I got sidetracked. I was writing a lab session that involved germinating carrot seeds, and I realized I might as well include carrot seeds in the kit. So, I went off in search of on-line wholesale seed vendors.

Now, carrot seeds are tiny, really tiny. Maybe an average of a milligram each, literally. Incredibly, one place was selling carrot seeds by number rather than weight. I could have ordered, 10,000, 50,000, 100,000, or 325,000 carrot seeds. Do they really count them, I wonder? Perhaps they count out a thousand, weigh them on a milligram-class analytical balance and then fill containers by mass.

At any rate, I found a place that looked to be a good source, and put half a pound (~225 g, or something like 200,000+ seeds) in my shopping cart. Then I got to thinking. I also need bush lima bean seeds for another lab, so I looked at that company’s offerings and added a pound (454 g) of bush lima seeds to my cart. But the lab with the lima beans also requires rhizobium inoculum, which this company didn’t offer. So I put my order on hold and went off to find another company that offered the rhizobium, thinking it might also have the seeds I needed. It did, but their prices were much higher, so I went ahead and completed the order with the first company.

Ah, but not all rhizobium inoculum is the same. Some works with clover or alfalfa, but not lima beans, or vice versa. In fact, there are a bunch of different varieties of rhizobium, each of which is optimized for a particular species or group of species, and works poorly if at all with other species. So I called the second company to tell them I needed a rhizobium inoculum to use with bush limas. They told me which of their products were suitable, so I placed my second order of the morning.

Of course, it’s not worth jumping through hoops to get wholesale prices, tax exemptions, etc. for small quantities, so I just put the orders on credit cards. But despite the fact that these were charged as “personal” purchases, they are of course actually business purchases. So that meant I had to go back and generate and print purchase orders and invoices for both orders so I didn’t lose track of them.

At least I’m finally back to writing.

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