Wednesday, August 19, 2009

On The Go

I opened the park as usual and headed to the office this morning. My co-worker arrived minutes later and started on his morning routine. I took care of the paperwork and chatted with him for a little while. We walked together around the park and picked up a little bit of litter by the river. On the way down to the spring, I spotted a beautiful little flower that I have never seen before. It looked dressed for a formal event. I wasn't able to find it in my wild flower book, but I will keep looking. While I was photographing the flower, we heard a hawk call above us. It was RIGHT above us on a branch. I snapped a picture while it kind of gave us a warning that we should move along or it would... it did. At the spring, there were at least fifteen turtles at the surface of the water, enjoying the peace and quiet. I wanted to stay and enjoy the peace and quiet too, but I had work to do. We headed back to the office and made a list of things that we needed. My co-worker loaded the empty gas cans into the truck for me. It was errand day.
Every quarter I have to take water samples from the well at Adams Tract to be tested at the Department of Environmental Health. They check to make sure that the well water is still clean and bacteria free. I take three samples. One that is from the first part of the well, so that it is raw and untreated. The other two are from the far ends of the system (faucets far away from the well) which are treated with chlorine. We measure the chlorine in the system twice a week, to make sure that it is strong enough to kill any incidental bacteria, but low enough to be safe to drink. When I take the last two water samples, I have to check and record the chlorine levels again. The black plastic device in the photo is what we use to measure the chlorine. It has one control bottle on the left of water from the tap. The bottle on the right is also water from the tap, but it has a reagent in it that will make it turn pink in the presence of chlorine. You can see the pink water in the window on the right. The window on the left has a spinning disc with shades of pink on it. I spin the disc and when the two windows are the same color, I read the amount of chlorine in the lower window. Once I have taken the three samples, I put them in a cooler full of ice and take them to the Health Department in Lake City, about 25 miles away.
While I was at Adams Tract, I saw a lot of butterflies. I didn't have a lot of time today to chase them and get photos, but I did get one! It is a stunning Gulf Fritillary. I saw so many of them while I was there! I also happened to notice a tiny blue flower too. I think it is a Day Flower, but I am not entirely sure.
I noticed something new while I was at Adams Tract. My boss e-mailed me last week and told me that a boy scout troop that camped at the Tract had such a great time that they wanted to donate some fire wood. I knew that they had been out to drop it off, but I was amazed at how much they brought. It was a really generous effort. I am sure that many people will benefit from their gift, especially when the weather cools down. The benches and fire ring were also added by another scout troop last year.
Once I dropped off the water samples, I stopped at Lowe's to pick up a few supplies that we needed for the park. On the way back, I stopped to fill the gas cans. I was surprised to see a caterpillar that I have always wanted to see in person right on the ground by the gas pump. This is beginning to happen regularly, its funny. The caterpillar is a Saddleback Caterpillar. I have only seen them before in photos. I vaguely remembered that they might sting, so after I took its picture, I scooped it onto my gas receipt with the help of the screwdriver that I need to open my tailgate (gotta love a park truck). I moved it out of the main drive of the gas station and into the grass... yep, people were staring. When I got home, I confirmed that they do have a nasty sting. I was glad I was careful. I also learned that they turn into a rather boring brown moth. At least they get to look cool for the longer part of their life.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Wow, that is one great looking catepillar! Your brothers will remember that they used to encounter another caterpillar in Florida (I think it was black) that could give a very nasty sting. Glad you were careful.