Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Welcome Back!

Today the spring opened!! Today was the start of summer for the park, and it felt like it! The day started out with a beautiful foggy mist in the air, leftover from yesterday's rain. I gladly took down the "Spring closed for swimming and diving due to flood conditions" signs on my morning drive around the park. I snapped some photos of the fog on my rounds and the spider webs along the way too. They look like tiny strands of pearls when there is so much moisture on them. I checked e-mail when I got to my office and got the final details for the fee increase at the park. I was creative with cutting and reassembling the patch stickers that I had to make the signs accurate... it was a challenge, but I think it looks fine until we can order a replacement. (It looks fine but maybe not good enough to have a photo of it critiqued online, thanks). Once the park was open and presentable, I settled into my desk chair to complete monthly paperwork. I have 8 different monthly reports to fill out on the computer, I also have to compile vehicle log reports and gas receipts for the park truck and tractor. All of this is in addition to the normal daily paperwork that I do.
I briefly met with my co-worker to talk about the changes in the fee schedule and some projects that need to be taken care of in the park. Then I headed out to Ichetucknee to turn in paperwork and pick up some new tools!! Surprise gifts from the district office came just in time. About two weeks ago I broke our weed eater. It was a freak accident in which a tiny pebble shot from the mower and managed to break the choke switch off of the weed eater but caused no other damage. The choke switch was very important. Not only was it necessary for starting the weed eater, but the on/off switch has not worked in years so the choke was needed to turn it off as well. I was looking into repair or new purchase possibilities the other day when my boss informed me that I had a new weed eater/pole saw waiting for me. I love it when things work out that way! It was a good day.
After I left Ichetucknee, I headed to Adams Tract to replace the tire that I had repaired for the lawn mower. I dropped off new tools for the river camp as well and then saw a beautiful pink moth. I grabbed a quick photo and headed back to Troy. I got back around 2:00 and people were starting to drift in to swim. I was DETERMINED to get in the water today! I said goodbye to my co-worker, met with the person who was working the closing shift and went over some new details with her. I tied up loose ends in my office, crossed off several items on my to-do list and changed into my swimsuit! I took a shovel, a long scrub brush, a hand-held scrub brush, my beach bag, and my camera (complete with underwater housing). It was probably kind of funny looking. There was a really nice family at the spring dock when I got there. They were definately as happy as I was to be in the water today. I scrubbed both sets of steps and shoveled sand off of a landing between steps. I scrubbed all of the railing going into the water and had it all looking pretty nice. THEN I WENT SWIMMING!!! The two rock photos are the same clump of rocks. The photo of the rocks peaking out of the water was taken early this morning. Today was the first time they have surfaced since the flooding. Throughout the summer, people jump off of this rock into the water. The underwater picture shows the base of that rock. The rock at the very bottom of the picture that has small bumps is usually just at the surface of the water when we are at our normal water level. The water is still slightly silt-colored but it has improved so dramatically from this. The water is clear in the deep spring area and out for about 3/4 of the spring run. I wanted to take a photo of where the dark water and the clear water mixed, but I saw a stick that looked a lot like an alligator and I chickened out.... maybe I will try again with some company with me in a few days. I did see some mullet though. Not the redneck haircut, the fish! They are silly fish. They jump out of the water for unknown reasons (we have lots of theories but nothing is proven.) They are vegetarian, algae eaters and they even have a gizzard! They will live in fresh water and salt water. In fresh water, people fish for them using a little bit of algae on a hook. They put up a good fight when they are caught and they are a tasty, flaky fish. In salt water, people cast net for them and use them for bait. The mullet in the photo are scouring the bottom of the spring looking for algae. They will have more to eat when the spring clears up too, the sunlight will reach the algae more easily and cause it to grow. The mullet will be more prevalent, then all the fishermen will return... its the circle of life at the park.


Miner Fan said...

Is the spring still on the green side, or is that just the tint of the camera?
Im glad to hear you decided to wait for a few more friends, even if it was just a stick!
I would have never thougth of cleaning off the steps in the water. Im sure the park visitors will aprreciate it. I know I would.

Ranger Amy said...

The spring is still kind of greenish yellow. It will clear up a lot more, but it always will have a bit of green tint to it because of the excessive algae growth in the spring due to nitrates... I guess we'll save all those details for another post when all the algae comes back. Cleaning the steps while they are still wet is MUCH easier than cleaning them once the mud has baked in the sun. The only difficulties are the buoyancy of the brush and myself... Its hard to apply pressure when you are floating.

Ranger Amy said...

I want to note that I found a name for the moth if anyone was curious. I had part of it right, but I wanted to look it up to be sure. It is a Rosy Maple Moth. It looks like its name should be Rosy, doesn't it?