My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Good Week's Work

I've really gotten to do a lot of fun and interesting things here at the refuge this week. I did a wondering docent job Saturday and Sunday, went to Boise on Monday, then got my stuff together to plant willow saplings on Tuesday and cut sixty-five of them.  I stopped early so I could go into town and get the fixings for Cajun Slaw to bring to our Wednesday luncheon to recognize all the volunteers and interns.  I made the slaw on Tuesday night so it could have lots of time to marinate.  So Wednesday, I had to plant the trees. Then, after eating until I was ready to burst,  I finished planting the trees. 

I cut willow branches around three feet long and trimmed any top branches

The tip of a willow slip

I took a broken bulb planter and had maintenance cut it to just a rod and T, then made holes with it

Then added the slip and closed up the hole while listening to an audio book

I stopped for the Volunteer Luncheon and enjoyed fish and a hamburger and other great food
 The luncheon was delicious and all the volunteers got recognized.  I was most happy to hear a letter sent to Tim Bodeen that mentioned how much the writers had enjoyed my Power Point show about Malheur NWR.

As  I was staggering home after having to plant about thirty trees on a full stomach, Linda, the fish biologist, asked me if I would like to go collect bees with her.  Of course, I perked right up and we jumped into her truck and took off. The refuge collects bees in an attempt to figure out all the species that live here. They are keeping a couple of each species for a future educational exhibit and sending others to a bee researcher who works in the refuge system. But this day was not going to be a bee collecting day.  Almost as soon as we started out, the clouds got dark.  Linda decided to just give me a tour on dirt roads around Mud and Harney Lakes. That was fun and got a little exciting a few times when she had to work hard to keep us from getting stuck in the mud after we ran into a couple of rain showers. We didn't get back to my house until around 6:00 P.M.. I volunteered to both collect and pin bees. And on the trip, I volunteered to help her technician, Kris - same guy that lost the keys to his truck in Boise - set out fish traps. They had 20 square nylon nets that needed to be attached to fence posts driven into the Headquarters Pond for an experiment.

So Thursday, I got to haul the posts and traps while Kris got to drive the posts and attach the nets and  lids. We started around 8:30 A.M. by collecting 60 fence posts.  We both were in chest waders. Then we stopped and both struggled with a big box of nets and lids and hauled everything to the pond.  After Kris figured out the best places to stake out the nets,  I hauled two loads of fence posts - I could only carry three at a time - and then a load of two lids and two nets. After several loads, I realized I didn't need to be in waders so went back to land clothes. We got twelve done before we broke for lunch which was leftovers from Wednesday's luncheon..  Linda got back from her dentist appointment just in time to eat lunch with us.  She volunteered to help us but I told her she would have to find another person, as well as other equipment  because I could stay ahead of Kris, unless she started helping him.  Then I would need someone to help me or everyone would be standing around. So she did other work while Kris and I finished up. We got caught in the rain for the second time of the day but this time we got wetter. And the temperature dropped several degrees during the storm. We sat it out in the truck, running the heater.  But we were still wet when we went back out into a howling cold wind. Within  minutes I felt frozen through.  I had all the hauling done but I should have picked up our mess and other trash stuff.  But I was so cold, I had to come home where I jumped under lots of covers for a couple of hours.  Hopefully Kris fared a little better.  But he probably needed another layer or two on the top. And he had to work at least another half hour after I quit.

The finished trap set-up. This will be used to learn whether various native fish eat carp eggs

Kris and I were going to set fish traps today to catch the fish needed for the experiment.  But he called last night to say he was taking today off. So I may not get to help with putting the fish in the traps since I'll be working for Carey the next four days. But 'll keep up with this project and let you know more about it as it progresses. It would have been a really cold job to set the traps as the morning temperature was 21 with a wind chill of 13. And we had a little snow last night and winds up to 32mph. Winter is definitely hanging around.

Krumbo Reservoir opens at dawn tomorrow. I'm going there really early to look for birds and walk the short trail. Then I'll hang around and see if people need any information. I've also asked Carey to give me a list of FAQ and answers since I know NOTHING about state fishing regulations and our special regulations.