Saturday, November 14, 2009

Basking To Get Warm

It was nice to get back to work today. After being sick and then taking my days off, I had been away for 3 1/2 days. It felt like an eternity. The park was in good hands though. I could tell that it was slow, everything was immaculate. There were very few leaves in any of the mowed areas or paved surfaces. Every building was very clean and straitened up, inside and out. A few projects that I had requested were done. I also continued to admire my thoroughly cleaned truck today. Its nice to know that the park is well taken care of when I'm gone.
My day started with a drive through the park and then opening the gate and putting up the flags. I wondered if all of the critters would still be hiding in the flag box. I opened the box and didn't see the spider. I hope it left on its own accord. I didn't see the frogs either once I had carefully removed the first two flags. I returned to remove the third flag and found two chilly little frogs. I think that their colors are darkening, maybe from the cold.
I headed to the office next and decided to get the paperwork out of the way and hope that it would warm up outside. Once that was done, I took a walk around the park. It wasn't really all that warm yet. I opened the cabin and then headed towards the restrooms to make sure that there were brochures in the rack. I spotted a group of turkeys and was able to walk behind the restrooms to get pretty close before they decided to waddle back to the woods.
I walked down to the spring next and enjoyed the buoy-free view of the spring run while it lasted. Hopefully it will be warm enough outside tomorrow afternoon to coax me into the water to replace the buoy cable. The buoy line really is necessary to keep swimmers and the Madison safe from boaters, but its nice to see everything natural too. The fishermen were already hard at work. They had some company soon after that. Half a dozen fishermen and two free divers were all the visitors that I saw today.
I drove out to the entrance station to add honor envelopes and brochures. I found this little, tiny spider perched on top of the iron ranger or the metal drop box for payment. I guess the spiders were on gate duty today. There was also a Daddy-longlegs on the front of the iron ranger. I swatted it away. I don't want to hear the excuse that 'there was a big scary spider so I couldn't pay'.
Because the park was so quiet today, I needed some things to do. I didn't want to get too involved in anything in case we did get busy later in the day, but I was ready to be back to work. I decided to get started on a potential eagle scout collaborative project. I have always wanted some interpretive panels on the long walkway down to the spring. Interpretive panels are expensive though so it was really out of the question. A scout from one of the groups that camped with us recently wants to start working on an eagle scout project to help the park. I mentioned my idea and they think that they may be able to raise the funds for the panels and to install them. The project is still a long way out and not completely set in stone, but I will do my part of the work and it will be done if and when the project is ever picked up. I am really looking forward to it. The panels will give people a reason to slow down and notice the life around them and in the busy summer season, they may be the only interpretation about the park that some visitors will see.
I started by thinking of some topics for the panels and an overall theme. I also looked through my photo files to see what I had to support those topics. Next, I headed out with my trusty rusty measuring wheel.
I measured the walkway and each of its sections. I also drew out a crude map of the walkway so that I could add notes about which panel should go where. I want to make sure that the panels are appropriately spaced to keep them interesting. I made notes about where the Persimmon Tree is on the walkway for a potential panel as well as the most popular corner for frogs and toads. On my way back up the walkway, I was finally feeling the warmth of the sun. The lizards were feeling out the possibility of soaking in the sun too.
Content with a good start on that project, I moved on to the cabin. I filled up the fish tank and resolved to return with some fish tank cleaning supplies from home at a later date. I also filled the brochure rack and updated a display about the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail. The catfish in the aquarium usually hides under a rock whenever I am in the cabin. I have to hide behind a display after I feed it to watch it swim. Today, I guess it got used to me being there and it swam around the tank quite a bit. It was pretty cool to watch it so active. At least the fish tank was active, because the park sure wasn't. Hopefully tomorrow will be a little busier.


Lorena said...

Are you sure that's not a plastic glow-in-the-dark spider?! ;p

Ranger Amy said...

LOL! I saw it move.