Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Paulette Bunyan

It was a pretty quiet and uneventful day at the park.  There were only two park visitors all day.  We did accomplish a fair amount around the park though, and we kept ourselves busy.  After opening the park and tackling my normal morning paperwork, I wandered around to check on the water level.  I got the same two shots from yesterday, the cabin porch and the river dock views so that you can see how much the water has come up.  It did rise another couple of inches, but the change wasn't too drastic from yesterday.  The tannic water is covering the Madison in the spring run, but it hasn't crept in much further.  There are still a lot of Gar both inside and outside of the buoy line, and there were plenty of turtles as well.

Our volunteer is working on a new storage box for our gas cans, and he spent much of the day working on that project.  I did some work in the office this morning so that I was nearby to lend a hand when another one was needed.  When I had finished all of my office work, I headed out on the nature trail with the pole saw and trimmed back all of the vines that were wrapped around the tree that fell yesterday.  I got it all cleaned up so that it would be easier to deal with.

Around lunchtime, I went for a walk.  I headed down to the spring area to get some photos.  I wanted to get over to the far side of the spring before the water was covering the path over there.  On the way down the walkway, I saw countless cautious lizards poking out, hoping for some warm sun beams.  These lounging lizards had several other friends who were a bit camera shy.

The lizards weren't the only ones hoping to catch a few rays.  The turtles were struggling to cover all of the rocks on the side of the spring... that is, until I came along and scared them all into the water.

I enjoyed the peacefulness of the far side of the spring for a little while.  I watched all of the turtles who were watching me and hoping I would go away.  I also saw a few birds.  A Spotted Sandpiper was probing his way along the spring bank, too far away for a clear photo.  Also a Kingfisher tormented me, like they always do.  They are a very noisy and conspicuous bird.  They are absolutely beautiful, blue birds with a bright white collar and a tall blue mo-hawk.  I always know when they are around, but they have a real talent for moving as soon as I get my camera focused on them.  I got one blurry image of one today that only looks like a Kingfisher because I have willed it to be so.
On the way back up, I met with my evening relief.  She and I played a game of pick-up-sticks in the picnic area and then moseyed back to the office.  On the way we found a big mess left behind by a park visitor on a picnic table.  A squirrel was apparently feasting on a mushroom until it got scared or full and ran away without clearing its place.

When our volunteer returned from lunch, we got to work on the tree project to finish it up.  We loaded a chainsaw and a long chain into the bucket of the tractor and drove it over to the trail.  I brought the pole saw and headed over there.  The volunteer lifted me up in the bucket of the tractor so that I could reach a branch sticking out of the limb we were pulling down.  I cut the branch so that it wouldn't catch on anything else as it fell.  Then I wrapped the chain around the limb and was lowered back to the ground.  We fastened the other end of the chain to the bucket of the tractor and pulled.  The limb dropped in slow motion, breaking lots of small branches on its roll to the ground.  It fell perfectly.  We cut it into three long sections and placed it on the side of the trail.  Mission accomplished!

While the tractor was out, we also filled in a few holes in our service road.  We came close to finishing up the gas box.  We got to a good stopping point though, because it was getting late and put all the tools away.  Tomorrow is another day.

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