Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Busy Busy Bee

I took care of a lot of small projects today. This week is really flying by because I have been keeping so busy. In some ways, that is nice but lately my To Do list stays full and I keep running out of time. Nothing is too pressing, so at least I am not getting stressed.
I saw one of the owls again this morning. I think it might have been the one that likes me more... or maybe the other one is just getting used to me being around. I really wish that they would wear name tags... I do, its only fair. On my morning drive, I noticed that there was some garbage on the ground around the entrance. I also needed to add honor envelopes to the pay station. After I finished the paperwork, I went for a drive on the John Deere Gator with my handy dandy garbage picker-upper things. I dropped off the envelopes and went on garbage patrol around the entrance. The items that I found the most where the receipts from the honor envelopes that people have to display on their rear view mirror to show that they paid the entrance fee (thanks, but we don't need them back!) and keystone light cans. I picked up at least four cans, but I bet if I looked harder I could have found the whole six pack. The beer cans were outside of the park, but no doubt where left by park goers. Grrrr.
After my Gator ride, I loaded some tools and supplies in the truck and headed to Adams Tract. I had several odd jobs to take care of there. I started with the mailbox that was mysteriously found on the ground with a broken post. Fortunately the post was not buried very deep so the broken part was easily pulled out of the ground. I didn't have to go digging for it. I did, however, replace it with a bigger, stronger post so I still had to do some post hole digging. It was all sand though, I didn't hit any lime rock so it went quickly. I set the post and attached the mailbox. It was a pretty quick and easy project. Opposite the mailbox, near a farmer's fence there were several beautiful Partridge Peas in bloom. This is one of my favorite native plants and there aren't many at Troy. The little yellow flowers are so bright and they bloom for a long time. Partridge Peas are sensitive plants, meaning that their leaves move and react to different stimuli. It is not extremely obvious with the Partridge Peas, but their leaves do move faster than most plants in reaction to the sun or touch.
Next, at Adams Tract, I picked up bags of garbage to take back to the dumpster at Troy, I dropped off some oil and picked up an empty gas can. Then, I went to work on an electrical outlet that reportedly did not work. I checked it out when I got there and the 3 light switches around it worked, but the outlet did not. I foolishly assumed that the circuit breaker was fine because the light switches worked. I used the power cut off at that spot and removed the outlet. I replaced it with one I had on hand... it still didn't work. My next step was to check all of the wire connections in the boxes between the outlet and the cut off switch. I went to turn off the breaker and saw that there was one switch off. Frustrated with myself for not checking that first, I re-installed the original outlet and checked to see that it worked just fine. Apparently the light switches are on one breaker and the outlet is on another. Now I know.
I wrapped up that project and headed to town to fill up all of our gas cans. We go through several cans of gas every couple of weeks for mowers, blowers, chainsaws, etc. When I was at the gas station, I spotted a beautiful Sphinx Moth on the gas hose. I took some photos as soon as I saw it in case it flew away, but it stayed there the whole time I was there. I even used the hose it was sitting on! I wonder what was so appealing about a gas pump hose to this moth. I'm sure that it was nice and warm, but you would think that the fumes would make it less than ideal.
When I got back to Troy, I spotted a red-shouldered hawk. It let me take only one photo before it flew away. At the office, I put the tools away that I had used at Adams Tract. I also caught up on e-mails and phone messages. I even sat down and got a bite of lunch only a couple hours late. Next, I headed out to kill some plants!! What? Park Rangers don't kill plants! They were invasive exotic plants, invasive meaning that they spread quickly, unchecked and exotic meaning that it is not native to Florida. My targets today were some Mimosa sprouts that I have been eying for months. Mimosa has a pink fluffy flower when it blooms and many neighbors to the park use them as an ornamental tree in their yards. The roadsides are covered with them, reaching their ugly tentacles out of the forest to soak up all of the sun. They grow quickly and will choke out native plants for soil resources. Like many invasive species, if it is cut down or hacked up, it will grow back with greater force. Our method of removal is to treat each stem with an herbicide. It is an oily substance that is applied directly to the stem of the plant so that no other plants are affected. The plant will absorb the chemical and it will kill the whole plant so that it won't re-sprout. I took GPS coordinates at each spot that I treated and returned to the office to fill out paperwork on the number of plants treated, their location, and the amount and type of chemical that I used.
When I left the office, I intended to head to Adams Tract to drop off a can of gas. When I passed my house I realized that it was after 4:00. I decided just to go home and take the gas over tomorrow. I didn't stop there though. We have been having some water pressure issues at the house. I tried to adjust the settings on the well months ago, but found that the contact switch was badly corroded and the nut I had to turn had rusted to the post it was on. I had another switch in the shop that I picked up this morning so I thought it would be an easy project. Someday I will remember to plan around the fact that EVERY plumbing project requires at least one more trip to the hardware store. The section of pipe that the contact switch sat on had also rusted/corroded to the contact switch. I had to run to the local hardware store to get a new one. A few minutes and a few dollars later, I was on my way back home. I got the new switch in place, but the water pressure still is not what it should be. I'm concerned about the air bladder inside of the tank, but I need to do some more reading on the whole set-up.


Carmen said...

Yes, typically, the outlets and lights are run on different circuits. In case you need to know in the future, major appliances should be on their own circuits as well. Of course, the 'typical' layout isn't always how it's done. I've seen some shotty electrical layouts.
Also, in my experience, a quick plumbing project is much like a quick trip to Wal-Mart... it just doesn't happen like that.

Ranger Amy said...

I currently know a little bit about a lot of things. I strive to know a lot about a lot of things. I learn a little everyday. You are so right about plumbing and Wal-Mart!

idyllicchick said...

I have partridge peas all over my yard, but I never knew what they were called. So thank you! Love them. So happy and pretty.