Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sparks May Fly

Today was primarily an office day, but it was an exceptionally busy one.  My coworker was off today, so I was administrative and field supervisor.  The field supervision was easy, there was almost no one in the park today.  Wednesday-Friday we usually have a full crew.  Today, however, it was a skeleton crew.  Two rangers had to take time off because they worked 16 hour days on Wednesday helping another park burn.  One ranger that was supposed to be in the main area of the park was helping the north field ranger with his duties because two people were necessary.  Still another ranger went to help another park burn.  Fortunately, it wasn't a busy day in the park and we still had enough people to cover the essential positions.
In the office, I had projects from yesterday that were waiting on phone calls or e-mails or decisions.  I realized partially through my day that very little was crossed off of my To-Do list, but I had accomplished quite a bit.  I actually added things to my list just so that I could cross them off.
Another challenge was added to my day because of computer troubles.  When I arrived at the office this morning, I found out that my battery back-up had passed away.  They don't die quietly though.  They put out an ear-splitting beep at a pace that is infrequent enough that you let your guard down and forget about it until it startles you with another yelp.  I unplugged it and turned it off and moved my computer over to an unprotected outlet.  I made a mental note to save often and requested that a new battery back-up be ordered.  The power surges that likely were the death of my battery back-up also took out something that affected our local server.  Most of my computer functions were just fine, but I couldn't access some files that I needed for several hours.  E-mail and the internet were up and down again, but I wasn't too affected by those issues.
All morning, I kept telling myself to take lunch early.  Something happens at noon everyday that makes me the center of attention.  I suddenly have calls every few minutes, questions from the rangers, things that I need to ask people or get from people.  Chaos happens everyday from noon-four.  I haven't found a way to avoid it yet.  I didn't get to lunch early, like I knew that I should have.  There was always one more thing that I was almost done with and wanted to finish.  I think I finally ate lunch around 1:30 or 2:00.  I did get quite a bit taken care of this afternoon though.  Despite a 3:00 shut down of all the office computers to allow the server issue to be solved, I was able to finally cross off almost everything that had been on my To-Do list and a few more items as well.
I must have been busy because it wasn't until around 3:30 when I was pumping gas and forced to stand still that I realized that I didn't have my camera all day.  I guess it didn't matter if I didn't even know it was gone.  I made sure to take a walk around the yard to capture some photos for the blog when I got home.  So here is what I found.
A new flower emerged from a giant clump of greenery that was growing behind our back porch.  I haven't found a name for it yet.  The color in the photo is a little deceptive.  The flowers were a pale purple even though they are almost white in the photo.

I found several very small Garden Orb Weavers around the house.  They are very quick, intelligent spiders.  The white, thumbprint sized area in the center of the web serves as a shield when the spider needs it.  When a human with a camera in hand approaches, it is able to quickly dart to the other side of the web and hide.  This was the third spider that I had attempted to photograph, this one was either trusting or stupid.  Either way, it was nice to get such a close image.

I revisited the Aloe that I had been waiting on for a bloom.  It was a little anti-climactic.  The blooms were not much different from the buds.  The end opened up and then the flower died... not very exciting, Aloe.  It is still a very beneficial plant for sun burns though, I won't hold a grudge.

Near the Aloe, I glanced at a Beauty Berry Bush was getting quite large as they are prone to do.  I noticed something that I had never seen before though.  They have very tiny, discrete flowers!  The berries that come later are so large, bright and conspicuous.  It was a treat to see the little beauties.

Thought of the Day #28
I have to apologize to my loyal readers.  This post is very late.  I was about 3/4 of the way done with this post when the food that I had put into the oven for dinner was ready.  I took a break to eat, but just as I was pulling the food out of the oven, my work phone rang.  How does it always know when dinner is ready?  A ranger was calling to let me know that she had driven by and noticed a power pole near our gate sparking.  I went out to take a look and it was steadily sparking and flaring up.  I had quite a struggle to notify the electric company.  I eventually had to contact the fire department because after an hour of calling and waiting on hold, I hadn't gotten any response from the electric company.  The fire department was able to notify the appropriate people and I was grateful that they relieved me of my post, watching the sparks.  By 12:30pm, after more calling and frustration, the problem was fixed.  A fuse on the pole had given out and it was evidently the cause of the power surges that we had been having.  We were without power from 10:00-12:30 and by the time the whole ordeal was over, I was headed to bed.  Thank goodness for the auto-save function on Blogger.  I still had the post that I had started.


stephanie said...

the flower looks like plumbago. i have a few in my yard but they are small and scrawny. I have seen 6ft tall plumbago bushes full of purple flowers- very impressive! not sure if it's a native but it's sold a lot in my area as drought tolerant, i think.

Ranger Amy said...

Thanks, Stephanie! I did some research and I believe that I do have Plumbago. It is not a native to Florida, but a good nectar source for butterflies (which is likely why its around my house). While it gets rather bushy, it doesn't seen to be invasive. I see it often on road medians now, I read that it is hardy and adjust well to miserable conditions on a Florida roadside. I guess I won't need to give it any special attention!