Thursday, December 4, 2014

A month? Already?!

Actually, we've been here well over a month. We were really excited to come back to Florida, for many reasons - not the least of which being that since it is our second season here, we don't have to work as hard at learning everything. Then, we got here...

…and found out that one of our supervisors, who moved to a new place last May or June, has not yet been replaced. And our boss is interim for her boss, so not around our office much. So the supervisor for the other environmental education site is doing three jobs – and we’re helping out. Thank GOD we are nearly all returning this year. Less pressure to learn the ropes and do extra work all at once.

The situation should be remedied by January, so this is temporary, of course. It’s busy now, but we’re still basically keeping up with it all. We even have camp nearly ready to go.

Setting up tents. It only looks tough – once they’re up, they’re up for the season, so we’re golden now!
This requires some flexibility and dexterity – but I’m not talking figuratively, I’m talking literally. This guy greeted me as I was getting out of the car to close the gate to camp. Reflexes and dexterity are all that saved my life.

Ha! He didn't rattle, so we’re good.

Really, though, we've been finding plenty of time to have fun. One thing I like about this job is that we have real evenings and real weekends, where we typically don’t have anything we have to do for work. (Imagine that, teachers? Crazy talk.) We have pretty cool parties, like our Halloween shindig.

Smurfette and Gargamel
Crazy cat lady and Virginia creeper
Indiana Jones and Medusa
Plain old crazy lady and... actually, I don't know. Researcher on a weekend?
We get out a good amount, taking full advantage of the kayak we bought on a whim last year. A lot of people who live down here have boats, although many are not fancy – but a fancy boat would get beached out here anyway.

Chillin' in the slough.

There are a few wild foods to forage, like cattails, although they aren't that calorically helpful – but that’s okay when you’re desperate.

We paddled hard on this particular trip, but it was often too shallow, so we would sometimes have to slog through the water and pull the boat. But it was lovely anyway.

Once we were back to the car, though, the siren song of laziness got us. Our car rack can only hold one boat (ours), so we tied our friend's canoe, on its wheely cart, to the car.

To make sure the boat didn't get damaged, or the boat didn't damage the car, they had to run alongside.

Very efficient, I tell you. No pulling wheely carts by hand for us!

Really, though, we’re here because this place is absolutely incredible. It isn't the place of mountain valleys and crazy tangled geology. It’s flat, and many say boring. But those who are willing to look deeper will see an incredible coexistence of ecosystems, with amazing adaptations of plants and animals for survival in this strange and wonderful place.

And it’s in the 70s all winter. That too.