Thursday, May 6, 2010

O is for Office

It was another office day for me today.  I had a lot of little things to take care of today.  I got through most of what I needed to do though and only had a few things that will carry over for tomorrow.  Because of the end of the month, I had to complete my time sheet and approve most of the ranger's time sheets.  I also had to complete and submit my vehicle log for April.  I completed an online training and sent an e-mail to the rest of the park staff informing them that it has to be taken and how to find it online.  I did some application reviews, some interviews, and hired a part-time employee today.  I also prepared all of the paperwork that the new employee will have to fill out tomorrow.  I typed up the remaining incident report that I had to do from the exciting weekend that I had last week.  I spoke to the leader of a volunteer group and faxed her the forms needed to volunteer in the park.  I finalized an expensive order for a part for one of the firetrucks, and received a call about an incoming donation for almost the exact amount as the part.  I called a person that I have been trying to get a hold of for weeks and again, waited in vain for a return call.  I made some copies of the best map that we have of all of our trails and service roads and made a folder to be kept at the ranger station in preparation for the next missing person.  I also refreshed some fliers in the campground advertising our Wi-Fi survey.
The day sped by because I stayed so busy.  Today had a nice flow to it, I hope that will continue through the weekend.  I enjoy being busy, just not being stressed.  I realized at the end of the day, that I had not taken a single photo.  When I went to the campground to hang the new fliers, I looked around for some pretty things.  I found some lovely little Daisy Fleabane.  It is such a simple and common plant, but a closer look makes them something special.

A true bug of some sort thought these flowers were rather attractive as well.

My next discovery was much more exciting.  I didn't see them until I was really searching for something to photograph.  Once I spotted them though, I realized that they were EVERYWHERE!  This stunning creation is a Purple Passion Flower.  It is also called Maypop.  I don't think that I could imagine a more beautiful or interesting flower.

After taking several photos of the Purple Passion Flower, I moved on.  I was amazed that they were in bloom all along the road and it took me so long to notice them.  I stopped again when I saw several butterflies hovering around them.  I was dreaming when I thought that I would catch a beautiful butterfly on one of these flowers, but I did find something.  I noticed a bright orange, spiky caterpillar on a leaf of the Purple Passion Flower.  It will one day become a Gulf Fritillary Butterfly once it eats enough Passion Flower leaves.

I found these caterpillars in all stages of growth, there were small, medium, and large ones.  This medium one was posing in such an interesting way, just opposite a Gulf Fritillary egg.  I didn't even notice the tiny, yellow speck when I took the photo.

Thought of the Day #49
You have likely heard the story about The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  While its true that caterpillars eat A LOT, they do not usually eat things like apples, oranges, cake, or ice cream.  They usually have something specific in mind.  The Gulf Fritillary caterpillar only wants Purple Passion Flower leaves.  Monarchs only want Milkweed leaves.  Some caterpillars will be a little more flexible to include foods from a family of plants.  For example, a Black Swallowtail will eat from the carrot family which would include carrot, dill, or fennel.  These specific plants are called host plants and the adult butterfly will seek out the right kind of plant for its egg.  That will ensure that when the young caterpillar hatches, it can get right down to business... eating.  The adult butterfly will drink from any number of different flower types for nectar, but the caterpillar is picky as can be.

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