My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Stupendous Day

Last Wednesday was possibly the most awesome day of work I've done here. My boss, Gracie,  paired me and a new volunteer friend, Barbara Kramer, up to roam together. I suggested we roam on our bikes but she couldn't carry her big camera so counter suggested we get the little electric cart so loved by Judy Bell, another blogging volunteer friend who has worked here in the past.

Here are my reasons for choosing it as the best workday of my stay here.

Reason One - I got to enjoy Barbara's enthusiasm.  She is way into birds and flowers.

Barbara taking her turn at driving the cart

Reason Two  - I got to appreciate Barbara's passion. It comes through in conversation with our visitors and with me.

Reason Three - I got to delight in Barbara's humor and the back and forth between us.

Reason Four - I got the benefit of Barbara's knowledge. And both of got to learn new things. And take LOTS of pictures.

Reason Five - We had a ball driving the electric cart. It also let us get better views of wildflowers trying to hide out of view of the drivers along the auto tour. And we got to talk to a lot of the visitors passing by in cars.

Me driving the cart

Reason Six - I not only got lots of pictures of a Bachman's sparrow, but caught it singing. This is a very elusive bird who very quietly skulks among the saw palmetto fronds and is seldom seen.

Bachman's sparrow singing 

Reason Seven - We met several local families out with their children during spring break and enjoyed helping them see snakes, frogs, a racoon, and a red-shouldered hawk. We also explained the long-leaf pine ecosystem to other visitors. And we showed and discussed a moma racoon out foraging at noon along the boardwalk.

Nursing momo coon foraging at midday

Reason Eight - for the first AND second time, I finally had my camera when a Sherman fox squirrel was close enough to photograph and sat still for a few seconds. I got the same squirrel at different times of the day.

Sherman Fox Squirrel

Sherman Fox squirrel

Reason Nine - Barbara and I found the first of the year  Lady Finger Lupine (Lupinus villosus) blooming.

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Reason Ten - We got to get closeup views of the staff doing a controlled burn.

Controlled burn near the maintenance area

If Barbara hadn't had to leave at four, we probably would have had a hard time getting back by 7:00 P.M., although we usually are back around 4:15 PM. Stopping work is definitely harder than starting it.

I'm completing this blog on my next to the last day off before I leave here, if all goes well and I get packed up.   I'm just back from three wonderful and busy days, having fun with my new friend, Laurel who lives in South Carolina. (have material for a few blogs) I have four more days of work, then hopefully a visit to one of my new friends, Julie.  I'll leave a from her house and go see an old friend, Hulin, in South Louisiana.  I should get back in Galveston a week from this Thursday. I have a few parties to go to, a few doctor visits, and some adventures with my friend, Natalie. I'll migrate north in early May.