Saturday, February 23, 2013

Catching Up

Saturday we went out in the field to help biology count "the chickens."  We were given a popular area, Lotus Pond, as one of our areas.  We left at 6:00 am and got back about 8:30 am as the activity dies down.  We had six cocks and three hens.  The hens are not interested...YET!!!  This is the first time out to do this with many more times to come.  The only bad part is waking at 5:15 am.

This fellow was right by the road as we left.  He just stayed there for me to get several poses.  He was not displaying though, but he had just ruffled, showing the air sac.  We were also supposed to get the leg band colors if possible.  Can you see them?

We can't get too close as you don't want to bother them.  These have been the best shots so far.  The drumming does not come from the air sac but from their mouths.  The sounds are produced by their lungs, which vibrate specialized membranes of the syrinx under control of a complex set of muscles.  The sound waves then travel through the trachea and glottis to the pharynx.  Much too technical.

Fire extinguishers are checked monthly and that has become our job.  There are 52 of them scattered about.  We shake them, check the gauge to make sure they are charged, then date and initial that they have been checked.

We drove in to town to buy lumber in order to repair an interpretive sign that John wanted put up.  Then it was installed roadside off the tour route by the recent prescribed burn (earlier blog).  All the wood was rotten and replaced.

Look at how pretty and green it became in just a few days!!!

One of our days, we drove over to Brenham (Bluebell Country) to dispose of accumulated recyclables.

The van was full.  Notice the Bluebell container...I wonder who put that in there!?!  The paper from all the files we have been working on goes to Sealy at the newspaper building along with aluminum cans.  Sealy is another trip later.

We finished the second plowing (crosswise) of one of the three food it is ready for the planer to level it out for planting. It has rained so much lately that we have to wait to plow the other two plots.  We have to be finished to plant by late March, but it will get done in time.

We have also been taking DOI tests for certificates for operating vehicles and equipment.

The grass garden is now finished and ready for the festival in April. The grasses are already greening up.  We put down landscape cloth, dug out yaupon (UGH), planted more grass, raked mulch, etc.

Notice it forms a C.

We have had two buffalo burger lunches during work.  There used to be buffaloes on the refuge, but when the last one started jumping fences and letting the cattle out, the rancher butchered it and gave the meat to the refuge. 

I contributed potato salad and a peanut butter log that I prepared.  Everything was delicious!!!

Darrell brought over a large piece of concrete to make us a patio, and a large propane tank to keep us in propane.  They are doing everything they can to make life grand...and they are doing a good job of it.

Rebecca's been busy with the bug collection.  We have gone out with her a few times for biology purposes.

Here she is with two of the interns, Alex and Chris.

Friday morning, Sealy had their library sale.  All these books for six bucks.  We don't have a seems we are the last to get anything technical.  We just did purchase a second cell phone!!!

We leave behind the ones  we've read when we move to our next refuge.  Our oldest son gets the Stephen King book.

My favorite cut of meet is the New York Strip and that is what we had for lunch today...and it did not disappoint!!!  Vegetarians we are not.

The Box Turtle is my favorite turtle.

The plastron is flat which is one way of telling it is a female, and it is hinged to enclose the turtle completely, saving it from predators.  I looked it over then let it go.

Wallace has been shelling pecans from our sons yard since before Thanksgiving.  I have made all kinds of goodies from them.  He got a new toy which makes the shelling a lot easier.

Hopefully, this has caught us up on our doings. 

Until next time...


  1. I've never seen the sacs on the prairie chicken so especially loved those photos. Looks like they are keeping you busy.. and with great projects! I'd like the insect collecting and classifying... But then, I think I'd like every project. What fun!

    1. Actually, there is only one sac. The bugs came from A&M. They are collected here on the prairie by sweeping with nets.

  2. Great 'chicken' shots! I'm envious. :)

    1. Hi Judy, hopefully there will be better ones to come!!! I have tried unsuccessfully to welcome you to our blog. Thanks for your input...I have been enjoying yours. We are envious of your going to National Elk Refuge. We want to volunteer there some day.

  3. Wow, ya’ll have been busy! I’ve really enjoyed your blog, it’s the next best thing to getting together.