Borrego Springs, CA

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why do I keep coming back here?

I received a thought provoking, for me, email today from one of the readers of this blog.  I’ll include a portion of it here:

Hello Judy,

Mice, mosquitoes, wind storms, few visitors at the VIS, wet, cold and dreary days. You really don't make Anahuac sound like a nice place. Yet you have returned 5 times! Is this all part of your plot to make it sound bad so that no one else will go there and you will always have an open spot? :-) Seriously, why do you keep coming back?

I can assure Grant that it is not a plot to turn people away from volunteering here.  Each refuge, or national park, or state park or hatchery that I have volunteered at has its own set of challenges for volunteers to overcome, but these challenges have never detracted from the overall enjoyable experiences that I’ve had at each assignment. 


                                                       (I took pictures of the neighbors today)

Mice?  Yep, I’ve had an influx of them this year and the year after hurricane Ike.  Would I prefer that they didn’t get into my rig?  You betcha!  My thinking is that the draught coupled with the mowing/tilling of surrounding fields were the reason this year, and Ike was the cause the other year.  That means weather which, try as I might, I can’t control.  It seems to me the folks in Arizona are a little chilly this year as well.


Mosquitoes?  That’s just about a given at any refuge along the coast with marshes and wet areas.  Kind of an occupational hazard.  They make me itch, and I complain about them, but they don’t keep me away from the grandeur of everything else.


Perhaps I’ve explained away some of the drawbacks, but more important to me are some of the pluses.  Stephanie is a great volunteer coordinator and understands my need to have a variety of things to do.  Anahuac is one of the few refuges I’ve been at that truly matches the strengths of each volunteer to their assignments.  Bird surveys, photography, tour leading, public interaction, and education are my strengths, and I spend the vast amount of my volunteering time in those areas here.  In my five times here, I have only spent two days in an office situation (which I hate), and those two times were because of emergencies. 

_MG_5238 _MG_5235

This post could probably go on for pages about my other reasons for returning, but I won’t go into those.  The above is the most important to me.  Will I return again?  Probably, but I’m really going to try to stay away in 2012.  Smile  When I started out, my plan was not to return to any assignment, but things change with different experiences.  Now, if you’re still reading, here’s something on a lighter note:


It’s a little quiz.  Remember those pictures from your youth where you had to find things?  Let’s see how you do.

1.  How many cow tails can you find?

2.  Can you find the red-tailed hawk?

3.  How many cow faces do you see?

4.  Where is the cattle egret?

5.  How many of these cows have horns?

6.  What breed(s) are these cattle?   (Click picture to enlarge)

_MG_5232                                                                               THE END!!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy


  1. Always enjoy your "The End" pictures. :)

  2. Have you firmed up any plans for 2012 yet (or did I miss it somewhere along the line)? I must admit I have no idea what breed the cows are.

  3. With all the little things that make up your days, I enjoy seeing your pics and hearing about what you are doing -- the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in-between! I saw about 7 tails, the hawk, 5 faces, 3 sets of horns, the egret and have no idea what breed the cows are!

  4. I knew the answer as soon as I saw the title.
    She keeps coming back because she loves it there in spite of everything.

    Oh dear, the quiz. Tails, hawk, faces, horns.
    I saw them all but I have retired from quizes. :-)


  5. Mice, mosquitoes, wind storms, wet, cold and dreary days - sounds like the complaints I often hear from RVers in Arizona, Texas, etc. Everyone copes with them at some time or another, and it's the price we pay for the beautiful events and sights. You just can't get out and see & photograph a beautiful bird such as the one in your header and not have a down side to being in that place. I think you are one of the best at maintaining a positive attitude, maybe because you are so aware of the rewards.

  6. Let's see...seven faces, thirteen tails, four with horns, egret and hawk sixth picture, Hereford and angus are some of the breed. I enjoy your trips anywhere you go glad you didn't ask how many Mosquitos as I'm sure there was some around.

  7. I see 10 -11 cow tails
    Red tail Hawk..next to last photo in the bare tree
    7 Cow faces
    Egret..next to last photo on top a cow:-)
    5 have horns..I think
    Breeds?hmmmm Black Angus, Texas Longhorns, Herefords...what ever..lots of steak.

    You love it because that's who you are..and that's what I love about you.

  8. Hey, no fair! This is a trick quiz! Some of the cattle are pictured twice (at least?)..... I love it all. Why? Because YOU make it lovable! Thanks Judy!

  9. This is an interesting post - Even some of the places that weren't my favorites (I'm not a volunteer) I'll probably go back to because they had something I liked, location near a city, good boondocking area, 1/2 price with senior card, beautiful greenery, the water nearby - lakes, rivers, ocean, good walking areas for me and Katie.

    My two favorite places, maybe three, I probably won't return because they were too expensive, and I've found other places that are almost as good at half the price. Or no Verizon signal - that will keep me from coming back for sure.

    If you're getting what you need from a volunteer situation, you probably tend to overlook the things that aren't so good. And if they are weather related, you have no control over that.

    I didn't see much in the photo until I clicked on it, then I was able to see lots going on. Fun!

  10. Often times it is hard to discern in an email whether a person is serious or joshing. Being new to your blog, I see you as a very positive person and when I read about the mice and the weather I figured it was merely a down time for this particular place and when one is having to exist in bad weather with mice, one naturally has a bit of a gripe about it. These sorts of petty gripes have little to do with whether we really like a place or not.
    I personally wouldn't go there just because I don't care for Texas.

  11. I couldn't find anything so I guess I get a fail.

  12. 1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Yes
    4. No
    5. Yes
    6. McDonald's

  13. The black cattle are probably Brangus(Angus/Brahman) and the white face cattle are probably Brafords(Herford/Brahman). There might be one Herford. Most of the cattle raised in the coastal areas are some Brahman cross because they do better in that area.


  14. too late in the evening for me!..I guess I fail too!!..have a lovely day tomorrow!!

  15. Good post Judy. I am in agreement with your assessment(s) regarding volunteering. Generally speaking, I really enjoy volunteering at our national parks. However there are times when I second guess myself. But then I remember that I will have to interact with my fellow human beings elsewhere too.

    John and Ellen

  16. I am sure you, like most of us, see positive and negatives in every location you where you work or visit. But the big picture ..... isn't life great???

  17. Thank you for your insights. It is nice when you volunteer at a place where your talents are recognized and appreciated.
    As for the quiz, many moos are seen.

  18. Glad you having this discussion about volunteering. I volunteer for the adventure, to give back, to learn new things, to keep physically active, to meet interesting people and wildlife and to be most able to live in the moment. If I get enough activity, sleep and sunlight, I don't get depressed so I never do while volunteering. And helping people, plants, and wildlife give me joy.

    And mosquitoes are a big part of the food chain. Ditto mice. I fed so many mice to the local shrike at Anahuac that he came to complain when I didn't. And I loved the barn owl that patrolled our "yard".

    How does the quality of my life compare to yours? Try some local volunteering that matches your passion and see how it will enrich your life.

  19. ok why do you go back, after all I'm sure you could find someplace w/o mosquitos...ummm maybe alaska in the dead of winter...or bad weather...umm lets see, I think I heard the weather on the moon is pretty stable, other than that cant think of any place else...mice, of course we dont have them in missouri that's why Riggins and Sadie got into the poison.
    As the others have said, no matter where you are in the world there are going to be drawbacks no such thing as PERFECT. and from what I have gathered from reading your blogs you love 90% of what you are doing. Think you are like me in the fact that you have to be doing something, brain cells die when we vegetate. Hang in there we love your stories and your pictures.

  20. You don't get wetlands without rain, rain brings mosquitoes but it also brings those wonderful birds. Hawks eat mice- more mice -more hawks. All things come with some drawbacks- your visits to Anahauc have made it a "must visit" spot for us. We will also likely volunteer at NWR locations in the future.

  21. Oh no, test anxiety...ach!!! (just kidding) For whatever reason(s) you go back, I'm sure the coordinators appreciate you, and so do we. Our national parks and refuges are only made better by faithful volunteers like YOU!

  22. SIX

    I understand the appeal of a place that feels like home when you don't have a home...

  23. I'm glad that you talk about the not so great places and things as well as the wonderful places and things when you write. Otherwise, it just wouldn't be real. And some of those not so great places turn out to be pretty good when the sun is shining.


  24. Judy, you're a first class Grade A #1 volunteer worker, no matter where you are. People like you make people like me ever so glad to visit all the interesting places around this wonderful land. You understand so much of the details, and are so willing to share what you've learned with others. That's a rare and wonderful trait, so please keep it up! As for your quiz...I'm sure I got them all right, thanks!

  25. I really enjoyed reading this, Judy. Good to see all the good reasons for doing what you do. For the rest of us, your photos are justification enough to hope you keep doing it.

  26. I think by reading your posts the good things there by far outweigh the bad for you. I have to admit though I think I would not enjoy myself there enough to keep coming back but then I am a different person from you and that's what makes the world go around. Keep enjoying the good and the bad.


  27. Great pictures of the cattle, kind of hard to make them great subjects, but the surroundings don't hurt, right?