Monday, November 23, 2009

Manatee Monday!!!!!

Today was another beautiful fall morning.  It was cloudy, so the fog stuck around later into the morning.  It also was just a little warmer than it has been for the past week or so in the morning.  I still had to wear a coat, but I wasn't cold.  I went for a walk as soon as I got to work.  The Dogwood tree was really getting pretty.  I took several pictures of the colorful leaves.

Near the river, I braved some very slippery clay covered ground to capture this image.

When I got back to the office, both of my coworkers for the day were there.  We made a plan for the day and then I got started on paperwork.  I am really grateful to have so much help around the park these days, but I do miss the leaf blower some times.  I finished up the paperwork and began to gather up everything that I needed for my Monday errands.  Our volunteer was working on replacing the pipe that split above the urinal.  He was trying to carefully saw through the new pipe with a hack saw to trim it.  He was getting no where fast and decided to switch to the reciprocating saw.  It turned out to be a two-man job, a holder and a cutter, and I ran the saw!  Its by far my favorite power tool, I was over missing the leaf blower.
I headed out of the park a few minutes later.  I made all of the usual stops, talked to my supervisors, and headed back home for lunch.  When I got back to the park, I made sure that the office was in order and then started to get ready for our staff cook out.  Another park worker helped me to move tables and displays around in the cabin so that we had a large banquet area.  I opened up the kitchen and cleaned the dust off of the counter tops.  While we were working, our volunteer told us that there were Manatees in the river!  We dropped what we were doing and hurried down to the river dock where we had an excellent view.  There was a mother and calf who were just resting right in front of the dock.  There were a few fishermen as well, but they were carefully avoiding the Manatees.  Manatees cannot survive in water below 60 degrees F, so in the winter months, they move from the cooler waters of the gulf to warmer spring water.  They spend the winter in the warm spring water munching on algae and water plants.  The Gulf is more than 70 miles away by river though, and there are several large springs between Troy and the Gulf, so it is certainly not a regular occurrence for us to see seem them.  I spent a lot of time watching and photographing and answering Manatee questions for visitors and staff.

I went home a little early in the afternoon to finish preparing everything for our staff meal.  An hour before we were going to eat, my boyfriend, Isaac and I loaded up the truck with food and drinks and cooking utensils galore and headed to the park.  I arranged the kitchen while Isaac started the grill and then we took a walk while the coals cooked down.  The Manatee were still there, but further down river and harder to see.  Isaac did get to see the baby surface for air though.  The sky was beautiful at the river because the sun was just thinking about setting and the sky was a feint pink.

Near the dock, I spotted this spider (sorry arachnophobes, its been a spidery month!) and her web.  I was impressed by the size and color of the spider and then I noticed its web.  There was a dark area inside and I had a hunch.  I touched the web gently and disgusted Isaac because the dark area started to move around.  This is a Nursery Web Spider.  She carried her egg sac around with her until it was time for them to hatch.  She built this web around the sac and the baby spiders will stay protected in the nursery until they are big enough to be on their own.

We returned from our walk and Isaac performed the grill master duties with the hamburgers and hot dogs while I finished arranging the buffet in the kitchen and unwrapping all of the salads and sides that I made.  When everyone had arrived, we started eating and I was pleased that everyone enjoyed the food.  We all work varying schedules, so it was nice to get (almost) everyone together at once to have a good time.


Lorena said...

Love, love, love the manatee!

Understanding Alice said...

manatee's they really are cool :)

Ranger Amy said...

I agree with both of you.