Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A day on the water.

Yesterday Judy and I got a rare treat.  We assisted biology tech, Gina, with water quality testing on several lakes in the refuge.  Being out on the water allowed us to see the refuge in a different way.

Judy and I all dressed up in our gear and ready to go.   We are making a fashion statement. LOL
Can you tell Judy was having good time? 

Gina used a GPS to arrive at the correct testing location.   When we reached our location Judy lowered the anchor while Gina asssembled the equipment.  Judy assisted Gina with the bottles and I recorded the data.  

Gina used a long PVC pipe to retrieve water for testing. 
Some of the water is poured in to smaller plastic bottles with sulfuric acid added to one of the bottles to kill any existing organisms. 

Once that is accomplished she uses a sonde to measure temperature, PH and turbidity. 
Here is Gina with the sonde.  I was amazed when she told us this piece of equipment cost around $10,000.00. Wow!  Hold on tight to that. LOL 

The next step is using a secchi to determine water clarity and to measure depth.  The secchi looks like a large metal plate with a tape measure attached to it.  

Gina is about to drop the secchi into the water.  

Gina packing up the test samples. 

In all we assisted Gina with five lakes.  Judy and I both agreed this was better than being stuck inside all day. LOL   A big thank you to Gina for taking us along with her.   

Laugh everyday.  Happy trails.  Stay safe.






Friday, August 22, 2014

Volunteer Recognition Picnic

Yesterday we attended the Tamarac Volunteer Recognition Picnic at the refuge.  The picnic is held every year as a thank you to all the volunteers who give their time to the refuge.  The festivities began with a social hour then an awards ceremony and ended with a catered barbeque dinner.   The theme for this year's the picnic was Safari.



Janice (our volunteer coordinator)

Our friend Judy was recognized for over 800 volunteer hours at the refuge.  Wow Judy that's a lot of hours. 
Judy receiving her award from refuge manager Neil.


Ron receiving his Volunteer of the Year award.  He had over 4000 hours.

John and I have accumulated over 400 hours each since we have been here.  Wow.  It seems like we just arrived yesterday.  The time has really flown.  I have enjoyed working with Judy and will miss her when she leaves next month.  So glad I got the opportunity to work with her.  Thanks so much Judy for sharing your knowledge of the refuge with me.  I have learned so much. 

Laugh everyday.  Happy trails.  Stay safe. 







Thursday, August 14, 2014

Buffalo still in the refuge.

Tuesday I worked with John on one of his clearing projects.  It was on the Blackbird Wildlife Auto Drive at one of the overlooks.  John's job was to clear out trees and brush blocking the view.  He cut, chopped and sawed trees, limbs and bushes.   As he finished an area I pulled limbs to the top of the hill and piled them on the trailer.

John at the bottom cutting. 
The completed job.  A nice few of the lake area.
Another view of the completed job. 

This is the first time I have worked with John on one of his projects at the refuge.  As we were finishing up I got something in my left eye.  I tried washing it out but nothing helped.  When we got back to the RV Judy loaned me a couple of eye cups to try.  Nothing worked and my eye really started to hurt.  To make a long story short.....I ended up at the eye doctor's office.  The doctor removed a piece of a leaf stuck under my eyelid.  It was very small but it felt like a boulder. 

Yesterday Judy and I worked on the Purple Loosestrife Project.  We checked several trails.  As we were leaving the Omegash Trail area Judy spotted a patch of Purple Loosestrife on the side of the road next to a ditch.   Check out Judy's Blog.

Here it is.  Very pretty to look at but sadly it can take over an area rather quickly if not stopped. 
This is a picture of a group of Purple Loosestrife.

Judy checking out an area on one of our stops.

We are always on the look out for wildlife and have our cameras ready....just in case.  On one of our stops we were treated with the sight of five loons on a lake.  We watched them take flight and sing their beautiful song.  I think they are my favorite water fowl.  I wish I could get a close up picture of them but they were too far away. 

We saw this Broad-winged Hawk.  Sorry the picture is blurry.  My camera can only zoom so far.  I think I need a new and improved one.

You know the old saying, "stop and smell the roses"?  Well, we stop and snap a picture.  It is so interesting how the trails change from week to week. 

Monarch

Bee on thistle.

Jewel Weed
This is a plant I haven't seen here before.  I looked it up and I think it is a Swamp Smartweed.

After our lunch break Judy and I returned to check more trails.  Just when we thought we weren't going to see any wildlife ..... we see buffalo!   These are the ones that have been running loose for a week.  The wildlife officer and the owner had herd of them cornered in this area.  They were hoping to get them to cross a bridge but I don't think they were successful. 



Oh well, at least we got some cool photos. 

Today, Judy, John and I were invited to have fajitas with fellow full timer RVers Janice and David.  Their way of thanking us for volunteering, much appreciated.  They are staying in the area and toured the refuge today.  We really enjoyed meeting them and sharing travel stories.  Thanks Janice and David for the hospitality and a delicious meal.  We wish them safe travels and hope to see them again down the road. 
Judy, Janice and David.

Laugh everyday.  Happy trails.  Stay safe. 




Monday, August 11, 2014

Raccoon Invasion.

What started out as a very slow boring day at the VC became very lively after lunch.   First, we received several calls from people traveling in and around the refuge reporting buffalo sightings.  There is a buffalo farmer with property adjacent to the refuge who reported that several of his buffalo had escaped and he was looking for them.   Then around 3:30 a family of six raccoons wandered up to the back of the refuge right outisde the bird viewing area.  Of course it was a great photo opportunity.


This little guy stopped to look at us through the window.

After checking out the trough and finding it empty they moved on to the hanging feeders.



After several attempts to reach the top of this hanging feeder, and failing, they moved on to the ones next to the building.
This one, the mother raccoon, made it to the top and reached over to the hanging feeder with peanuts in it.

She tried to open it but couldn't.
After losing her grip she decided to leave it alone.  
One of the babies had followed her up and they both climbed back down and moved on to explore elsewhere. 

The group circled around for a little while before giving up and leaving the area.  A very interesting afternoon.

The bird feeders are taken in every night to keep the wildlife from damaging them.   We never know from day to day what we will see while working at the VC. 

Laugh everyday.  Happy trails.  Stay safe. 


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Judy smoked us again.

Today was a work day for us.   John and I both worked at the Visitor Center.   It started out to be a slow day but after lunch business picked up.  We had a total of 52 visitors and 25 attendees for the two o'clock movie.  Pretty good for a Sunday afternoon with rainy weather.

I can't believe we have been here since May and I haven't posted pictures of the VC. 
The counter at the entrance. 
Gift shop area. 
Bird viewing area. 
Exhibits




The view from the other side of the gift shop area.
Auditorium

After work we had a special treat.  Judy invited us for dinner at her place.  
Judy prepared grilled chicken, sausage, creamed cucumber salad, cornbread and sliced tomatoes.  Yum Yum.  Thank you Judy for a very tasty dinner. 

We were sitting around the table after enjoying the meal and I asked Judy if she had ever played 10 Penny.  She said no so John got the cards out and you know what happened next.....yep.....Judy smoked us...again.  She ended the game with a low score of 25, I came in second and John, well..he was dead last with a score of 345.  


Judy after her big win.  

Laugh everyday.  Happy trails.  Stay safe.