Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday Monday

Today was a very full Monday.  It definitely felt like a Monday though.  My brain always felt like it was a step or two behind what I wanted to be doing.  After our morning staff meeting at the shop and our Monday morning administrative staff meeting, I went to my office to get some work done.  I just wasn't as focused as I wanted to be.  I still was able to take care of the things that I needed to though.  I checked e-mail, approved time sheets, tracked down the people who had not yet submitted their time sheets, and made an appointment with a duct cleaner to have the dining hall stove exhaust cleaned.  I worked out some scheduling issues with my co-worker... sort of, I did some paperwork on the honor envelope payments collected at our other park entrances, and wrote up an incident report from this weekend.  By noon, my thinking skills were pretty well used up... Monday was winning.  Then I heard that we were going out to lunch.  That was the break that I needed!
I enjoyed lunch at a restaurant that was new to me and had a nice time with some of my coworkers.  When we returned, I made another visit to my office to see if there was anything that I missed doing.  I wrapped things up there and prepared to head to the Environmental Health Department in another county to pick up water sampling bottles for a well at one of our distant properties.  Before I left, I was called to the ranger station to open a lock on the cash box.  While I was there, I was told that the printer had stopped working.  It was crumpling up every sheet of paper that we tried to put into it.  I opened it up, pulled out some crinkled shards of paper and snapped a roller back into its proper place.  With the printer up and running again, I headed out to find the Health Dept.  I made it there successfully and only made one wrong turn on the way back.  I got home a little late, but I realized that I had not taken a single photo.
I walked around the house and was happy to find some fun stuff to photograph.  A tiny spider, right outside of the back porch door caught my attention right away.  This is an Orchard Orb Weaver and its smaller than a dime.  I have photographed them before at Troy (third photo down) but they are hard to photograph because they are so small.  Today I used my macro lens and got a nice close view of it (sorry anti-spider people).

Also near the back porch, I found some bright red flowers in bloom.  I had to settle in and sit right in the middle of them to steady my camera on my leg to take the photo.  I was running out of light and had to keep the camera very still to avoid a blurry image.  When I sat down in the flowers, they had a very strong aroma.  I found out later that it was Tropical Sage.  It is an herb in the mint family.

There was a very young Garden Orb Weaver who had spun a web between the Tropical Sage and the outside wall of the porch.  I disturbed it when I first tried to take its picture and it darted to the other side of its web's stabilimentum (the dense area in the middle).  It makes a very good visual shield which the spider uses for protection from predators.  I soon realized that I didn't want to eat it and came back to have its picture taken.

The next flower that I came to was stunning.  I had noticed the plant along my walkway and wondered what flower it would produce.  I was pleased with the outcome!  It is a native Lantana.  I have blogged about the non-native before.  I like the solid yellow much better than the multi-colored version.  This is again, taken with the macro lens.  The flower is the same size as the non-native that I had photographed previously.

As my light was finally almost gone, I hovered over an ant mound.  It was under construction and it was fun to watch the little ants carry out the balls of sand from down below.  There were also some ants carrying pieces of Sage and Honeysuckle blossoms into the hole.  I tried to get some close photos, but the ants were moving too quickly and blurring the image.  I decided to try a video so that I could still share the experience with you.

Thought of the Day #45
One of the people who lived in this residence before me planted native plants in gardens surrounding the house.  There are butterfly and hummingbird attracting flowers all around the house.  Most of them died off during the unusually frosty winter.  There were a lot of tall, brown skeletons of plants around the house when I moved in.  Slowly but surely, they are coming back to life.  New green growth is rising from the ground and it seems like I am surprised with new colors in the yard every week.

1 comment:

idyllicchick said...

To me, Lantana has always just been Lantana. How do you tell the difference between native and non-native?