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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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:
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