Sunday, September 13, 2009


Its not clouds keeping people out of the park, its football. The light bulb came on today when I heard one of the only two groups of divers in the park come to the surface of the water and say to his buddy, "hey man, we've seen about all there is, we gotta go, games gonna start." Oh yeah, that's why the weekend was quiet... really quiet. I saw five vehicles come in to the park today and one boat. Compared to last weekend with over 120 people each day, it was a drastic difference. I couldn't rely on park visitors to keep me busy today, I had to find some work to do.
I was finding things to do as soon as I left my driveway this morning. Almost 1/2 inch of rain fell last night and I actually thought that it was still raining when I got up this morning. I let the dog out and I thought I heard rain. When he came in and felt dry, I realized that the noise I heard was just moisture in the trees working its way to the ground. The rain brought branches down, as usual. I played pick-up-sticks throughout my whole drive through the park before opening and my walk through the park once I got to the office. I took some neat photos of epiphytes (air plants) that were growing on some of the branches that I picked up, but they didn't make the cut today. I took way too many photos today and some will have to wait for a day off. I also missed taking pictures of some deer. Unfortunately, they always wanted to be where I was headed next this morning, so I ended up scaring them off. From what I could see through the bushes though, it was a mother with her yearling and a new baby who was just loosing its spots. Two other workers at the park and my boyfriend had seen this little one when it was still small and spotty. Until now I had not spotted it myself. I wish we all had been positioned differently this morning.
The park was still very drippy during my walk this morning. The raindrops, once again made the Morning Glories irresistible.
One of my tasks today was to walk around the park with the garbage pickers and a bucket to find any garbage laying around. There wasn't much at all in the main parts of the park, but I was able to get to areas on the river bank that I haven't been able to reach since the flood. The water level is finally dropping again. On my way to the river, I talked to a family that had boated in to the park. The mom was actually reading a book... she probably didn't even know that it was Literacy in the Parks Weekend. The dad and son were fishing and they let me photograph their catch, one Mullet.
After talking with them, I moved down river along the bank. I came really close to ending up in the river when I slipped on some clay on the bank. I managed to stay on two feet and move along to a place where the river flooding had dropped a lot of garbage. It was all of the usual Suwannee River stuff, beer cans and bottles, Gatorade bottles, chewing tobacco cans, fishing bait cups, and storage containers. I filled my bucket and then some and had to head back. I will work a little further down the bank another time when the clay has dried a bit.
On the way back up towards the office, I spotted this beautiful beetle sparkling in the sun. It was crawling on Morning Glories and I took one photo with a flower in the shot, but I think enough is enough with the Morning Glories already. I will try to show some restraint. This beetle can shine on its own without the help of a flower.
Next, I emptied my bucket and headed to the other side of the spring. I love the view from this high bank, especially when there are divers in the water. It looks like much more than a big dark hole from up there.
Further down the bank, I saw that the Madison was showing up well from shore today. The sun had decided to come out for a little while and the water was still because there was no breeze. The glare on the water is a little distracting, but focus on the dark lines in the water and you will see the wreckage.
On the way back, there were butterflies fluttering everywhere. Most were moving too quickly to photograph and they were all butterflies that I have shown you all before. This little moth was the only one still. It was so pretty and white. It just happened to be next to ANOTHER Morning Glory! They really are blooming ALL over the park right now, I don't just seek them out.
Another project today was to finish up my fish tank maintenance. I topped it off with water and worked on scrubbing more algae off of the glass. The snails that I caught and added to the tank yesterday have already started on their new jobs as algae eating machines. I hope that they keep up the good work. I wonder if the little Catfish enjoys the company... he ate his last companions.
When my evening relief came in this afternoon, I headed over to Adams Tract. I will have to keep up with the maintenance and water testing until the new volunteer arrives. Upon first inspection, the camp looked like it was in great shape. I tested the chlorine and made a slight adjustment and then went on to check the restrooms. WOW! It caught me a little off guard. The first restroom had a toilet issue that I battled for a good long time. I have not encountered a toilet that gross that put up such a fight since my Ichetucknee days. I actually took a break from plunging to check the other restrooms. One was locked, someone evidently did not unlock the door when they left and locked their towel and sunglasses inside the restroom. The style of door knob used in the construction of these restrooms frustrates me so much. It is too easy to lock yourself out. I have made signs asking people to remember to unlock the door, but I took photos today to try to make a better sign. I will show what position the lock mechanism needs to be in for it to be unlocked. I think part of the problem is that the handle moves freely on the inside and it feels like its unlocked when it isn't. Maybe a graphic will help. Someday, when it starts raining money, I will think about replacing all of the knobs. I was a little nervous to check to see what was behind door #3 after the first two problems. It was good that I had braced myself. I walked into a mess of cigarette ashes and beard trimmings in the sink. When I turned the cold water knob to wash the sink, nothing happened. I flushed the toilet to see if there was water coming in. The toilet was fine. I checked the knob under the sink and saw that the water was off. I turned it on and once the water was running into the sink, it was also running onto the floor. Someone had broken off the U-shaped pipe under the sink and sloppily tried to reattach it. I cleaned the mess and locked the door. I will add plumbing to my list of things to do this week. With the last two restrooms out of the way, I headed back to the first one and plunged with all my might. I was finally successful... but then I had to clean up the mess as well. Aren't you glad I didn't take pictures of that! Here are some nice images of downstream and upstream from the Adams Tract dock to represent my time there. After that exciting adventure, I emptied some garbage cans and headed home.
The excitement wasn't over yet though! I encountered a cow standing next to the dirt road about halfway back to the park. It was directly across the road from a pasture full of cows, so it evidently did not go far on its runaway from home. It also was not looking like it was planning on going anywhere else. I considered driving up the driveway to notify the homeowner, but most of the houses on this road also have big mean dogs that appear out of no where when a stranger drives down the driveway. I continued on my way after snapping some photos. This happens all the time in this neighborhood. I have been called in to the park before because there was a cow in the park drive. Oh, the joys of rural Florida!
Hello Cow!


Anonymous said...

Football does seem to leave its mark on a lot of areas in our lives these days. As for the trash left behind by those who come to visit and experience outdoor activities--- SHAME ON THEM!! What they carry in weighs more than what they leave behind, so what is so difficult about taking trash out or depositing it in the proper containers? I just don't understand. I doubt these people would spend their recreational time in a landfill, but they treat the recreational areas as if that is what they are visiting.

Still love reading your blog!!

Lorena said...

Augh! It just kills me that people would leave a bathroom like that. Don't they grok that a living breathing person has to clean that up?! I mean... even if they're embarrassed, if it was an accident, couldn't they... I don't know... leave you tip, or something? Anonymously send you cookies? OK, that might be a little creepy. But still! I agree, SHAME ON THEM!

PS. Love the cow. :-)

Ranger Amy said...

It all boggles my mind too. I can't take it personally though or let it upset me. Messes that other people make are a part of my job that I have just learned to accept. What we don't often get to see, is when a park visitor picks up someone else's trash. We don't notice the evidence of that, but it happens.