It was back to work for me yesterday, and I began by picking up Bridget so we could go to our assigned area to patrol for purple loosestrife. Purple loosestrife is a non-native invasive species that can aggressively take over wetland areas and choke out natural vegetation. We’ve been assigned the northern half of the refuge to scan with our eyes, binoculars, and a spotting scope. If we find any, we have to document its exact location so it can be taken care of. One mature plant can produce well over one million seeds, so getting it removed before the seed stage is most important. That means we’ll have to be driving all the back roads of the refuge one to two times a week. Now this assignment is very much to our liking!
This is not purple loosestrife; it is Prairie Blazing Star and has just begun to bloom in the prairie areas of the refuge. We are training our eyes to zero in on anything that is purple. So far, we haven’t found any loosestrife. That’s a good thing.
We did find lots of green-headed cone flowers blooming also. Each week seems to bring new blooms up on the prairie.
I wish I could remember the name of this interesting wildflower. I think it’s a Canada something or other. We identified it on our drive, but the brain cells just aren’t remembering its name tonight, and I left my wildflower book in the truck down by the maintenance area.
This morning I took six people on a tour of the refuge. There were four young male YCC kids and an intern from Park Rapids, and one local woman. The young men weren’t especially interested in wildflowers, so I put them to work opening and closing the gates for me.
I took the afternoon off since I knew that my neighbor, John Hatch, was coming over to hook up my receiver, surround sound, and blue tooth DVD player to my new TV. My son Dan had sent what he thought were all the needed cables over the last few weeks. John did his best, but we’re not fully operational yet. It will take at least one more consult with Dan on Saturday. I do have the TV, DISH, and DVD operating, but no surround sound yet. After that, John’s going to figure out a way to stabilize the new flat screen so it doesn’t fly out of the entertainment cabinet as I drive down the road. It sure is nice to have a handy person living next door.
At one point this afternoon, I went outside to check on Emma and noticed some greasy stains on the picnic table that hadn’t been there before.
Those stains sure looked like footprints to me. It seems I had a visitor in the middle of the night, but what would cause the stains?
After looking at my Weber Q grill, I figured it out. There’s a grease drip pan underneath, and the rascally raccoon must have found its contents too enticing to ignore. That pan was fairly wiped clean. I’m surprised it didn’t figure out a way to just pull the pan out. It must have been the chicken thighs that I grilled the other night that made it irresistible. I’ve had the grill on the table for a couple of months now, and only the wind has taken an interest in that drip pan.
It’s back to working the VC tomorrow and Saturday… ho hum.
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy