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Borrego Springs, CA

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A new mystery to solve

Before I get to the latest mystery I’d like to solve, I thought I’d talk about one of my other assignments on the refuge.  This one doesn’t involve bird surveys or hunters.  It involves upland prairie restoration.  I have a fairly good knowledge of birds, but I don’t know very much about plants.  My job will be to take a small part in growing native prairie plants that will be used to restore the prairies on the refuge that have been degraded over the years by development (ranching and farming and such) and natural occurrences such as hurricane Ike.

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I had my choice of seeds to work with, and since one of the few plants I know and like is the cone flower, that’s what I chose.  Each of these seed heads was collected last fall to be propagated.  Every one of those spikes is a seed.

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My first step is to rub each seed head with my finger to make the seeds fall off.  They come off very easily for this species, and I gathered them in a bag.  It didn’t take long before I had hundreds of seeds.

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Next, I fill each of these cones with potting soil.  See those big bags of potting soil in the back of the picture?  Last weekend, I found them behind the hunter check station building in a pile that was just rotting away.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to carry those big bags to a more convenient location, so I put my thinking cap on. Who me?  As a group of five young muscular hunters came in to check out for the day, I asked them if they could help me out.  I heard a resounding, “Yes, ma'am!”  (I’m always pleasantly surprised with the politeness of young people in Texas and the respect that they show for their elders.)  The uneven terrain that they had to trudge through carrying those disintegrating heavy bags was more than they bargained for, but they kept up a lively banter and got the job done.  I sure appreciated it.

Anyway, as I was working the check station this morning I thought I’d start filling those cones with potting soil, and get the planting started.  It turned out I only got dirt in twenty cones this morning, and no seeds at all.  Every time I started on it, another group of hunters would come in and I’d have to stop.  I’ll just have to go back one day next week and just work on it when it isn’t a hunting day.  The nice part about this job is that I sit outside and can enjoy all the ducks, geese, and other little birds as I fill those tubes.

As I left the rig this morning to go to the check station, I stopped at the locked mailbox at the end of the driveway to see if I had any mail.  I found a small package inside, and the mystery for today began.  I opened one end and recognized the box inside, so I continued on my way to work.  I thought I knew who had sent it.

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Perhaps some of you remember in a post I made a few weeks ago about how I liked Tweed perfume.  At that time, I also mentioned that it wasn’t easy to find anymore.  After I got home from work, I fully opened the package and found this note inside:

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What’s this?  I took a look at the package wrapping, and it came from Marceline, MO!  I don’t know anyone in Marceline.  Oddly enough, I had visited the small town of Marceline in 2009 while I was volunteering at Swan Lake NWR.  This small town in Missouri is where Walt Disney lived for a time when he was a little boy.  I remember visiting their Disney museum there, but I can’t think of anyone I know from there. 

Who ever you are, I thank you.  You can bet that I put a little bit of that spray on this afternoon and basked in the fragrance!  Another one of life’s little mysteries…

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

27 comments:

  1. what a kind, thoughtful thing for someone to do. You deserve it. Enjoy!!

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  2. So now you'll smell better after all those duck guts you get into! :c)

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  3. I wish I was there to help you with your cone flower project. I love to plant anything, especially from seed. It is such a wonder to watch it grow.

    What a wonderful treat. How thoughtful one of your fans is.

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  4. Oh how wonderful! A Tweed Treat!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

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  5. Love the cone flower project. You do get some fine assignments. I've had two mystery packages come to me and both were during a time when we were in one place for two months. It is just amazing that anonymous people want to make others smile enough to go to that trouble. Maybe I should think more about staying put for longer periods of time! :-) Or better yet, who could I send a mystery package to???

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  6. Great post. Looking forward to the new seeds. And nice job from your thoughtful reader!

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  7. What a nice surprise!
    Wish I were there to help with the planting....that's one of the things I miss from not having a bricks and sticks home! I love working in the yard/garden. I had lots of cone flowers and oh how the birds loved them!

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  8. What a lovely gesture to send you the Tweed perfume. There are many kind, thoughtful people in this world, and it's good to hear of them, even if they remain anonymous.

    I think you are so fortunate to be able to take part in a different side of the refuge. With every post you write I am increasingly impressed with the NFWS.

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  9. great surprise! and a mystery to boot.... what fun. and it's good ol southern manners... glad to read that... ;)

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  10. Nice surprise. Some young kids are really well mannered. It really warms your heart to run into them.

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  11. Somebody out there is a sweetheart and you're the lucky recipient. I think your surprise it much deserved. You have a great volunteer position, I like that you have such a variety of duties, how fun.

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  12. What a nice surprise. Now you can be the Tweedy Bird Lady of Blogland!

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  13. After emitting a big groan from Donna K's comment ;-) I'll add my own.... the young people... we've had the opportunity to "live" in quite a few of the lower 48..... and the southern youth are invariably polite and mannerly... ma'am.... yes sir...... so much more than in any of the northern states.

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  14. Enjoy the seed project. It looks like it could be very rewarding. Hmmm, Tweed, what a nice surprise gift. Are you going to wear it everyday? If you have it on the gift-giver may 'reveal' him- or herself! Enjoy.

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  15. Nice mystery ... you'll remember your anonymous giver(s) each time you spray a bit on yourself.

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  16. We have collected native seed before but never planted them. At Santa Ana NWR, they have a huge planting program. What fun.

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  17. How nice to get the anonymous gift! Isn't blogging fun?

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  18. Now I'm thinking I should write in my blog how much I like chocolate covered donuts! Who knows? Always nice to receive a surprise, anonymous gift!

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  19. How many seeds are you going to plant? I would plant them in a flat smaller container like an old cake pan with holes poked in the bottom first and then cover the pan in plastic wrap and put it in a warm spot and then after about 40 days (just guessing I would have to look it up) when the tiny seedlings have four true leaves or six total leaves I would transplant them. The germination rate is probably about 60% maybe less. Native plants sometimes have low germination rates.

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  20. I suppose that is a mystery that really smells:)

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  21. What a great surprise! Whoever was responsible will probably read your blog and smile because they were able to make you smile.

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  22. Such a neat seeding project!
    Glad you got a Tweed package!

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  23. hahahahahaha...Tweedy Bird Lady of Blogland...I LOVE IT!!!!

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  24. We have coneflowers reseeding all over all by themselves...wish I could just send you those plants we're pulling out every summer!

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  25. We re-planted the native plant garden at Alamosa NWR two summers ago, and it was such fun to go back last year and see how well it was doing. We planted three Purple Coneflowers and at one past this past summer had about 60 blooms at once.

    I agree with getting the young men to help with your heavy lifting. I've had a couple of occasions where I needed to move something heavy and found that I needed only to ask one or two teenage boys to get it done!! They are pretty much indestructable...

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  26. Nice post.Thanks for sharing this in your blog

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