Borrego Springs, CA

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I should have guessed....

...the morning was going to pose challenges right off the bat.  When I woke up, I was surprised to see that it was 7:00.  I haven't slept that late in many moons.  It also meant that I only had a half hour to get everything done before I headed for the VIS.  Putting things into high gear, I dressed before taking Emma on her morning outs. (not that I'm usually naked when I take her out, but I generally just slip on a pair of sweats) She was very cooperative and took care of business in under ten minutes.  I wolfed down a bowl of cereal, put Emma in her crate, loaded up the van with binos, camera, and computer and drove the ten miles to the VIS by 8:00.  Phew.... Once inside the VIS, I started the free coffee to brewing, did the cash register opening checks, did the same for the charge card machine, and stepped outside to put up the banner that is strung between two poles when the VIS is open.  OK, now I was ready for business.  In the winter, visitors usually don't show up before 10:00, but today was the exception.

Around 8:30, while I was outside checking the skies with my binoculars for birds, a car pulled up, and the man driving wanted to know if he had to show his Golden Age Pass (now called the America the Beautiful Inter-agency Senior Pass) to enter the refuge.  I told him that all he had to do was register in the VIS, and followed him inside.  I seldom get cranky visitors to the refuge, but he was one of the few.  He ranted away about how there should be signs to explain all this.  Then he complained that there was no way to know this was a visitor's center.  I calmly told him that there was a large banner outside indicating such.  He then said "Well, it's upside down!"  Uh oh!  I told him I did that to get people's attention. :)  He did not think it was funny. :(  I plied him with a map and directions of where to drive, and he and his wife, who remained silent, were soon on their way.  I made sure to quickly turn the banner right side up!

A short time later, I resumed my scanning of the skies, and accidentally stepped....

right into a fire ant hill!  That's not a wise thing to do.  If you look closely, you can see all the ants swarming around after being disturbed.  They have a very nasty bite, but I was lucky and escaped that experience. 

The rest of the day calmed down.  A group of Boy Scouts arrived at 10:00, and Stephanie, Tami, and I took them on a bird tour in the van around Shoveler Pond.  They were working on their Bird Badge, and needed to identify 20 different bird species.  That was easily accomplished on our drive.  They all left happy and the subsequent visitors were all in a good frame of mind.  I had about $160 in sales today and everything balanced at close up time.  A good end to a shaky beginning today.  I locked the door of the VIS for the last time, and headed home.

Tomorrow, I'll do the last salinity testing and bird survey before I leave.  By the afternoon, fellow Escapees and NWR volunteers will arrive at the pads to visit for a day.  I've known Linda and Ron on the internet for several years, but tomorrow we'll get a chance to meet.  I look forward to that.

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later,  Judy

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