Monday, December 14, 2009

Foggy Foggy Fog!

Today was my kind of a day.  I checked the weather before I left the house to find a fog advisory in effect.  Foggy days make photo days for me, and I took WAY too many photos.  I will have plenty of leftovers for my days off.  I make a list of the photos that I will use each day before I blog, and there were too many on my list after trying to choose sparingly.  I try to keep it between two and ten photos each day.  I had to go through the list again to try to take a few more off.  I got the list down  to eleven, finally.
I started taking photos when I was about two steps out of my front door.  It was warm, humid, and extremely foggy.  There was moisture everywhere!  The spiderwebs are just amazing to me when the weather is like this.  Most of the webs are empty, except for water droplets which make the webs so much more visible.  When I got to the office, I wouldn't let myself go wandering right away because I thought I might never get my paperwork done.  I dove into the paperwork first and got all of the daily and end of the week reports out of the way.  When I was done, I went over to the cabin to look into a project that I had left on the back burner for way too long.  A leaky toilet had become a long, tedious, and frustrating problem.  It is in a secondary restroom in the cabin, so it really wasn't a priority.  In the time that I had ignored the toilet, someone had locked the restroom door from the inside.  The old pocket doors on the restrooms do not have a way to unlock them from the outside so I had to take the whole panel off of the door latch to just get to the toilet of frustration.  While pacing back and forth between the cabin and the office for screwdrivers to get into the restroom, I saw this lovely Banana Spider (aka Golden Silk Orb Weaver) who was, like her web, covered in water droplets.

Once the door was put back together and I got our volunteer up to date on the toilet situation, I began to drain the rain barrels around the cabin.  Then I finally got to take my walk.  I started at the spring area because I saw some people come into the park and head that way.  I greeted them from a distance because they were already in the water and looked very content to just swim around.  They didn't seem to mind the somewhat tannic water.  On my way back up to the picnic area, I snapped several photos of the very few flowers still in bloom, and soggy spider webs.  The flowers were all bejeweled with water droplets and even tiny flies and one very small inchworm.  The spiderwebs and remnants of old spiderwebs had such fat water droplets hanging from them that it seemed as though the spiders had set up tiny strands of Christmas lights all along the walkway.

In the picnic area, I stopped to pick up a few sticks and I came across this little garden of Resurrection Ferns.  This grouping of ferns, growing on some bark, had evidently fallen off of the branch of a tree and landed here on the ground.  They don't mind.  They are epiphytes, or air plants, who can really grow anywhere.  When there is no rain, they begin to dry up and shrivel.  As soon as moisture is available again, they resurrect themselves and green right up.  These ferns have no shortage of moisture right now.

I passed the cabin again to head towards the river and switched the hose to start draining another barrel.  (I realize now that I am typing this that I forgot to move the hose to the last barrel... oops).  When I crouched down to attach the hose, I spotted a silvery Millipede who was marching along.

On my way down the hill to the river, it was hard to make much progress.  There were photos to be taken everywhere.  I don't think I ever put my camera back in its case until I got back up the hill a little later.  I was surprised to actually see a spider in a little web on the ground.  Most of the webs I had seen this morning were empty.  I also thought it was a little strange that there was some Poison Ivy wrapped up inside the web.  As much as I hate Poison Ivy, it really can be a lovely and colorful plant.

At the river, it was interesting to see that there was still a highway of fog above the river even though it had cleared everywhere else, including the spring.  That tells me that the spring is still mostly spring water as opposed to being completely overwhelmed with river water.  Right now, the river water is cold and the spring water is warm.  To be more precise, the spring water is the same temperature as it always is but the river water is now cold, while in the summer time it is warmer than spring water.

I finally pulled myself away from behind my camera and prepared to leave the park to do my Monday running around.  I stopped at the barn on my way out to hook up our trailer so that I could pick up some wood chips while I was at Ichetucknee.  I made my usual stops in town and headed continued to Ichey.  I dropped off my paperwork and then talked to one of the other rangers there.  He went to get their tractor to load the wood chips for me.  The electric company had come through a month or two ago to clear the power line right of way in the park.  They shredded the trees that they removed and were kind enough to leave the wood chips.  We can always find a use for wood chips.  I have a lot of erosion holes to fill in at Troy, so I plan to utilize as much as they will give me.  Free wood chips are much better than pricey fill material.  While I waited for the other ranger to arrive on the tractor, I snuck over to enjoy the river view for a moment.  I almost caught a photo of a Blue Heron, but it saw me before I could get a good shot.

When the trailer was loaded, we covered it with a tarp and I headed back towards Troy.  I made a couple more stops in town to the hardware store for some miscellaneous items and the gas station to fill up my truck.

Back at the park, I ate some lunch and straightened up my desk.  I dropped off the trailer, talked to my coworkers, and then headed over to Adams Tract.  The new volunteers were settled in and already cleaning restrooms.  Volunteers are amazing people!  I went over some more things about the camp in better detail than yesterday and left the camp feeling like it was in very good hands.

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