Monday, June 30, 2008


There is no way that it has been four weeks since I first arrived here.
This I refuse to accept.
If this month of uncertainty went by fast, how fast will the month of tons to do go by?

I am once again at the visitor center using the nice Gateway laptop. What am I doing here? Well, I'll tell you. I am oind nothing. But this is a much better nothing than the last nothing that I was doing a few weeks ago. This nothing is a concious I probably should be making that powerpoint on bird migration, but I would rather do this.

I feel a lot better about being here today especially since I pretty much have this week all figured out. A first for me.

But first, a little update. So you heard all about my adventures with the plovers and terns. Now prepare youselves for the horror, the wonder, the complete and utter not-that-intresting-ness of...

There I was face to face with the beast. It's leafy head reared in rage, it's berries puckered in deffense, it's braches twisting and writhing in a vain attempt to escape. The motor of my weapon hummed in anticipation it's three blades quivering. I wasted no more time. Gunning the throttle of my large and intimidating weed demloisher I advaced. With several loud buzzing noises and the smell of sawdust, my foe lay in three defeated bundles, the three arms of its trund severed. A grim smile passed over my lips. It was all to easy.
Suddenly to me left! My right! They were everywhere! Deeper and deeper into the woods they retreated. Beckoning, taunting. They were armored in their best deffense. Ropes and ropes of briar twining through their branches and around their leaves, throns flashing. My engine stuttered and faltered. My eyes widened. How was such a formidible foe to be defeated? There was only one things to do. I clenched my teeth and squared my shoulders. Who was I to be defeated by a bunch of plants?
Hours later, with an empty gas tank, exhausted body and several fresh battle wounds I retreated from the fray. Fallen plants lay all around me. The carnage was unimaginable. I wiped my brown and lay down my weapon surveying the damage I had done. large hole was all that was left of what used to be an army of honeysuckle. It seemed that there was no way there were still plants that were alive. But as I gazed past the remains of my foe, I saw the impossible. Hiding behind their fellows and sheilded by a large overgrown cherry tree were more plants!! The huddled behind their shields hoping to avoid detection. But I saw them and there was no way I was going to let them get away. I rushed back the the maintenence garage and grabed the only weapon I had left. A hefty pair of loppers. Weak and battered I jumped back into battle. I chopped and lopped with as much strength as I could slowly reducing the size of my foe. I removed the bodies of the defeated from the area and threw the into a pile. This I did for the next wo hours. Lopping and piling and manuvering through al he briar. But still, they went on. Back and back into the woods they went. Never ending. When the rain started, I reluctantly raised my white flag. Today was not a day for victory. Many had been slain, but many more still stood. A fight for another day. For many more hours, I hauled the carcasses to a landfill area where they would find their final resting place. Weary, broken and wounded, I made my way home. They may have avoided elimination for today...but there is always tomorrow.
Just to clarify, my sounds weren't all that bad. It just looks like I got in a fight with a clawed cat. My arms were extremely sore and I was sweaty and gross. I don't know if there was a time that a shower has ever felt better to me. This was my activity on Friday. Thursday was the same, but I did less. I was supposed to go out with Corey and find all the ivasive plants I could and irradicate them. At this point the only invasive plant that I could readily identify is swallow wart and thats because i spent two days staring it down and pulling it up. Also could identify barberry...a pokey bush. But I had no idea what bittersweet looked like, or the olive that is invasive here. I also at the moment had no idea what not flowering hneysuckel looked like. So I was wandering around with the loppers cutting down plants I thought were the ones that Corey had pointed out. I probably killed a bunch of innocent natives. I am a horrible person. It wasn't until the end of Thursday that I could identify honeysuckle by it's slightly fuzzy leaves that are spaced oppsitely along the branch and it's berries. By the end of Friday, I could identify the honeysuckel by it's bark. There were some dead plants with no leaves that I had to cut down. Plus when you can see the leaves it is sometime hard to see through all the underbrush where he trunk starts. This is where knowing what the bark and the habit look like is useful.
The problem with working with invasive is that now I see these plants everywhere!! When I would have normally ignored the plants, I now see honeysuckle and barberry and swallow wart all over the place and I want to pull it up. But I can only pull it up on Rhode Island Refuge property. Some people actually WANT honeysckle in their yards I guess.
The weekend was dull. Many of the interns went home for the weekend. I actually cleaned the trailer without being told to! I had nothing better to do.
Life is starting to fall into place. I have a tenative schedual for the next two weeks. I still have no money and I hope I will be able to afford everything I need. I miss home and I even miss Bob Evans a little. I miss Sunday dinners. I miss my iPod. I miss all the CoMO and St. Louis people. I miss having money to see all the summer movies that I want to see. I miss TV. I miss Trissie. I miss knowing exacty where I'm going when I'm driving around. I miss Sonic...oh boy do I. I also miss Bob Evans onion petals and the BLT&E. I miss late night Steak N Shakes. I miss the university ward. I miss my bigger bed. I miss El Maguay...good mexican places in general. There don't seem to be any out here.
Okay thats enough of the I miss list. It' only making me feel a little down.
A toast! To knowing what I a doing for the whole week. To seedless grapes. To cool storms and crazt fog that comes from no where. To baby bunnies and other little animals. To not having to battle honeysuckle this week. To working on the 4th of July...oh wait, I don't want to toast that.
Farewell my friends. Until our next meeting.


Julina said...

Yeah for Sarah vs the honeysuckle and not being (permanently) defeated!

Yeah for nature walks in dusky fog with the froggy symphony.

Yeah for cell phones and free weekends!

Yeah for having a schedule...

Yeah for sisters :-)

Have a good week

emily said...

this was awesome and THOROUGHLY entertaining to read.

You are awesome. You are growing in ways you can't even begin to see yet, but I promise you it is happening.

So cool... Before my very eyes!!

Steven said...

Wow- who knew honeysuckle could be so...Alfred Hitchcock?

And I'm drawing up plans to mail you a Sonic sometime in the near future. Not just food, but the WHOLE RESTAURANT!!! Problem is, I'm gonna have to ask you to cover the shipping charges. Sorry.

Peeser said...

for such a "non-interesting" topic, you sure made it entertaining...
unfortunately, i have to concede a sympathy for the enemy here because gosh darn it, honeysuckle smells so seductively sweet- i can't help but feel lighter, freer, when i inhale their luscious fragrance...
and perhaps this is horrible to say to a conservationist, but wouldn't invasive species simply be a part of natural growth and natural selection? For example, species which we might consider as being "native" simply because they were here when the colonists started to arrive might actually be invasive, having been brought over by earlier explorers (e.g. Nephites, Jaredites, Mulekites, etc.)- my point is who are we to determine the "native" species and the "invasive" species? Just a question... (of course, I'm not going to consider you a honeysuckle murderer just because you are doing your job and fighting for the rights of the more native species :)

and btw- while i know you hate not having spell check readily available, it sure makes reading some of your posts even more entertaining :D

glad to hear you are doing well and getting things figured out.
love ya!

Julina said...

P.S I sent an email to your MU account - I don't know if you check it very often (or if you even can), so let me know if I need to send it to a different address, or relay the info by phone...

Love you :-)

Jeanne, the mom and grandmom said...

I never used to think honeysuckle was all that bad until it started popping up in my flower beds unsolicited. How on earth did they get there???? Bird poop?

I actually see poison ivy everywhere. I spotted it on Ruth Marshall's tree this afternoon. Totally out of the blue.

Good narrative, by the way

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