Sunday, July 26, 2009

The application process begins

So I have started looking for the next path to take in my life, a.k.a. looking for another job. I am using and attempting to find something at one of the many national parks. I missed the big hire for winter help at Big Bend (sad), however there are many other jobs that i can choose from…they are all pretty much located in the west or in Florida.

One other place that I have been looking for jobs is in Alaska working as a US Marine Fisheries Observer. This would entail me going out to sea for a few months at a time and recording fish takes, depths, method and other data. It pays really well and it is contracted work in three month increments. I can do this during the winter and then come back here to Acadia during the summer. Not sure what to do, the money is a big dealio, and I am pretty sure I would enjoy the work, and if i didn’t then I would only be stuck for three months.

Decisions decisions. Both my wife and I realize that i would be away from home quite a bit, but I think that I need to go to where the money is, and if working a fishing boat in Alaska is where i need to go…Then i guess I had better get used to some wicked cold weather.

Let me know your thoughts.

and so we go!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Beaver Fever!

This past week was dedicated to moving a family of beaver to a new home. We had to move these beaver because they were affecting the Carriage Road they were setting up house near.

Trapping beaver is interesting because when you frame it with a gov’t schedule it falls way out side the ‘normal’ work schedule. By this I mean, we start at 0700 to go check the traps and then go about the business of the day. Then we go home at the end of the day for about three hours and then head back out to set the traps for that night. we usually go out around 1930 for about one to two hours setting everything up. The reason for the late night is that all the areas we trap are in very close proximity to the public. So we set traps late to reduce possible conflicts that can arise from a difference of opinions.

We were successful we got an adult female and two Young of the year. Here are some photos from the experience.






This week also marked, I am pretty sure, completion of several GIS projects that I had been tasked to do. Now all I have left is creating the metadata for the things that I created.

That is all for the week. And so we go!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Weekend of Friends and Camping

This past weekend I went to Isle au Haut. Where and what is Isle au Haut you may ask yourself, well here is a map of where I am and where I went.

Isle au Haut

It is a two hour car ride to get to get to Stonington, which is where we catch the ferry. The ferry is a bit pricey, especially on a budget. It was a great weekend and thus worth the money.

The people who went:

Adam My roommate -


Maddie the ‘Intern’ & Jack the Cousin -


Mo the Trails girl -


Bernie the Sister -


What a cast of characters this was… Mo and Bernie have never been camping before so this was their first experience at anything approaching a camping experience. Maddie and Jack had been camping before so had Adam. This is the cabin that we stayed in, called the Eli Cabin:


It is a great place to go for a get away…there is no running water except for a stream out front, No electricity and there was a wood burning stove. There is also a view of the Ocean from the front porch. We slept six at the cabin, the sisters slept in the loft, I had the bottom bunk, Maddie had the top bunk, Jack had the tent on the porch and Adam had this Taj Mahal of a hammock that he slept in, her is a shot of us putting it up:


Bernie thought it was really cool and was the first person in it:


so after we got things settled around ‘camp’ we went down to the water and watched Huck Mo and Tom Bernie try their hand a rafting:


and then they tried it separately which was funny:


Unfortunately even solo the raft was a little tinsy weensy unstable:


Both sisters eventually gave up and just started ‘swimming’ with the raft.


Bernie and Mo came in and Jack wanted some of the action too so he tried his hand at the raft:



After we were done playing around at the water we went back up to the cabin and took shifts in changing in to some dry warm clothes and the cooking commenced. By all accounts I made a very delicious stew.

John Isle au Haut

after sitting around and talking for a while we all bedded down for the night, couldn’t even tell you what time it was but it was dark.

Then next morning it down poured early we had a tarp over the hammock where Adam slept but it filled with water and dumped on top of him right at sunrise. he came walking in to the cabin and said' ‘ I got wet’ we all sat up and said ‘oh no’ and then promptly fell back to sleep. We finally rose after sunrise and started cooking breakfast.

When we finished breakfast we went out to hike it was still wet from the rain and there was a fog hanging around. We decided to go to Long Pond, found the trail and started. By the time we made it to the pond we were all soaked through. This was because the trail in a great many places was covered by blueberry bushes which were covered by rain. When we got to Long Pond we stopped for a swim in the fog. It was very … Bracing … aka COLD! At this point Mo and Bernie took off to head back to the mainland. They needed to go to church on Sunday but had to leave Saturday in order to make it…so we parted ways at the pond. so that left Maddie, Jack, Adam and I for the rest of the trip.

After we were done freezing…swimming…we took off again and finished our hike which included a 1.5 mile ‘shortcut’. needless to say we were all tired so we went down to the waters edge to hang out for a while…by this time the sun had come out and blessed us with a great day…We just sat on the beach and relaxed in the sun for a few hours, basically basking on the rocks like iguanas.

That night for dinner we had chili with hotdogs. Mo had made the chili the night before camping and had us bring it out. It was delicious and the four of us devoured all of it. we were stuffed.

We sat up late into the night chatting I also taught Maddie and Jack how to play euchre. it was a great ending to a really good day.

The following morning we had pop tarts for breakfast and began the laborious process of cleaning up the cabin and packing our things up to leave. there is a pack it out rule meaning you take out what you bring in…It was a lot of shit that we had. We had two miles of back breaking work to get all of our things back to the dock. and we barley made it in time.

One really cool thing that i have forgotten to mention, in the cabin are a set of journals that have been kept by the transients that have stayed at the cabin. It now holds entries by Bernie, Mo and Myself. the journal started in September of 1987. It has some interesting reading within those pages.

Here are two last image i will leave you with on of Jack recovering form the hike on the deck chair fo the ferry and on of Maddie and I sitting just in front of Jack.

20090719-IMG_1632  Jack is 18 and Yes he is starting Harvard in the fall.


And so we go!

Tomorrow I will get together some stuff from today's work list and yesterdays and post about them.

Till next time

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Citation time

Just to clarify…

“And so we go” is a phrase that Bobby Pendragon uses in books that are written by D. J. MacHale and published by Aladdin Publishing. Don’t want to get into trouble but I do like the phrase.

The rest of the week

So most of the last week was spent on the USFWS fish antenna arrays…I am beginning to dislike these arrays. They are causing us no end of trouble. for instance, at lower Stanley Brook the number one array was forced off its foundations and restraining post after our month long rain in June. it was knocked off by a huge tree stump that was washed down the swollen brook. not good. so we have been out now four time to try an repair this thing but can’t seem to get all the parts together at the same time to make it work. One of the things that is sort of holding us up is getting the correct size anchors and drill bits to drill out the granite to sink the anchors into…never thought it could be so difficult.


We also continued with a vernal pool survey…what a fun time…you basically wade around a vernal pool and sweep net for tadpoles and salamanders and count egg masses.  Here is Maddie out showing us how it is done.

Maddie looking for tadpoles and salamanders

We also completed some stream crossing surveys that started two weeks ago.

Bruce carrying around the surveying rod and maddie in the background with a handheld level taking the measurements

I got to be the recorder for these streams…I had to draw a picture and write down all the data yelled at me and it came fast and furious…this particular stream is in the middle of a golf course so we got a lot of strange stares

Finally last week ended with two days of GIS, I believe that i have finally finished all the vernal pool maps that Bruce wanted and i am about done with the beaver map, probably not we have a few more things that could be changed but it is a vast improvement over what we started with. Since i finished the vernal pools maps I started the next set of maps, Eagle nesting sites. This will be a long project, I am creating an overview map of the jurisdictional boundaries of ANP and displaying the nest located with in the boundaries. once this map is created I will then create detailed maps of all the nest sites showing current (2009) and historical nest sites. Primarily this will be sites located on islands. This will help the boat pilots, private landowners and us to quickly develop plans to access these sites quickly and efficiently to increase productivity while on the water. It also works for explanations to land owners to show them where we need to go so that we can gain permission more in a speedy fashion.


So that was the remainder of last week…I did end the week with a high note…I got to go camping on Isle au Haut this past weekend with some really good friends from the park. It was a glorious weekend, except for the packout…I will explain later…I am trying to stay awake and finish this for posting to night. I will get to the Isle au Haut trip tomorrow…Hopefully.

Miss you all…and so we go!

Monday, July 13, 2009

What the Heck do I do

So another week has ended and I am not sure what it is I do with all that time. I am so Thankful to IES for preparing me for the ‘real world’ and probably not in the way they figured. I went through two years of waiting, disorganization (with a purpose), late meetings, moved meetings and a concept that not everything needs to be ready in order to move forward. In other words, how to work in total chaos and get the most out of it. That is my job.

I literally spend the majority of my day trying to figure out what it is that i am doing that day, once it is settled it then promptly changes. I am truly learning to embrace this style of work. It makes for an interesting day.

so what did I do last week…

On Friday I worked for the entire day in the office on GIS…It was glorious. I felt so accomplished I completed the work on the next draft of vernal pool maps and got a huge chunk of the beaver maps done I tried starting on the eagle nesting maps but ran into a snag with the data that was provided. I think what will have to happen is a lot of GIS gymnastics. I will wait a bit before tackling that one.

I also went out for a hawk survey last week finishing our second round of surveys.  I heard one Broad-winged hawk along the survey route. Not a really good turn out.

In all honesty I can’t tell you anything else about last week.


This week

Today I was supposed to work on GIS again and make some changes to the vernal pool maps that i created on Friday. As soon as I plugged in the iPod to my ears I heard one of our net work guys come running in to the main room yelling ‘Oh my God, Boyd! (network guru) the server room is 105 degrees!’ I thought that sucks! they had to bring down the entire server farm. so that meant no GIS for the day…I can’t say that i was sorry to hear that. that meant field work for the rest of the gloriously sunny day. right after they made the announcement that all servers would be brought down Erica came around the corner and asked what i was doing for the day…I told her ‘Not GIS!’ (lol)… She asked if she could go out with us for the day, I was like no prob let get some waders and go.

Let me explain, with the limited knowledge I have, what Erica does. She works on the other side of the cubicle wall from where I work. She is the only one who works on that side. So basically she is isolated from everyone else. She sits in her cubicle and works on a project for law enforcement concerning jurisdictional boundaries. She is an intern for the summer, so she basically is unpaid. she is a college student with three semesters left until graduation. She is a double major in music and environmental science. she has already had one orchestral piece debuted at her school and has been commissioned to created another piece by the all-American orchestra which will be her graduation work. So in other words she in not a cubicle worker at heart. she jumps at the chance to get out.

So Bik, Maddie, Erica, Bruce and I all headed out to work on a slew of projects today. We cut down aspen trees for beaver bait, which according to Bruce is the beaver’s ‘ice cream tree’. we then had some equipment to install at both of our fish monitoring stations. Neither one was completed due to equipment failure. we then went out to sample a vernal pool near HQ, which did get completed.

Here are some photos from today’s events.

this is Bik, my cohort in crime:

I had just got done mumbling a question and he was turning around say 'what?' when I snapped this photo

Maddie. She  needed some photos for her work this summer.


Erica, The Isolated:

happy not to be in her cubicle

Ok I am going to write more tomorrow about my weekend which was fabulous! with a lot of hiking.

and so we go!

Home for the 4th

For those of you who don’t know I came home for the 4th of July weekend. It was a really spur of the moment thing. I jokingly said to Regina that i should come home for her fifth of July party and the next thing I know I am on a flight home…It was a great weekend. I didn’t get to see Regina much, she worked the whole weekend but I did get to hang out with the boys and that was AWESOME!

I also got to have fun at the 5th of July party with my BIL, SIL and my Parents. My Mom and Dad didn’t know i was going to be there so when i came walking out of the house to greet them, they were, needless to say, VERY surprised.

Sorry to all of you to whom I didn’t get to see while I was home. I will be Home in September and make the rounds properly.

Here are a few images from the weekend.

A balloon from the festival at Coney Island, I belevie it was called Balloon Glow

Another balloon, I thought it looked like an alien looking down on me

this one had just inflated to where it could float.  


 Then we saw some fireworks



We had a family get together:




Mom, Erin & Aunt Donna

Uncle Lester, Simon & Erin...Erin was really popular with her laptop Fruit Pizza! Yummy!

Me and the Boys played on the last day i was home:



Now I am going to go write about other things and post those soon

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I am back!

Sorry for not posting before now I have been busy…

I am going to start where I left off last time, or as close as I can remember.

Bruce, the Boss man, left town for annual leave and left Bik and I in charge of, taking care of ‘bid-ness’, not that anyone I work with would say Bid-ness but it is funny.

On Monday the 29th I had the pleasure of escorting around a Science Communication Intern, her name is Sara and she is from Tennessee, studying something that is not science communication related. How do I know this? Well, she and I went out to help Elliot, my roommate. The help was logging the disturbances that occur in the intertidal zone. In other words I went birding for a few hours at ship harbor :) while we were there Sara and I discussed the project, why it was happening and what we, as the park, hoped to get from the research. She was very interested in the work and said that she enjoyed the field aspect of her job. It was a cold and windy day, and we were socked in with fog. it was all in all a pretty miserable time, Glad i had somebody with me to chat with or it would have been intolerable.

Tuesday the day before Bruce came back Bik and I went out and finished scraping our macro-invertebrate bags.

--Side Note--

Donna, Thank you for the great measurements class…I can’t tell you how much I have used since I have been here in Acadia. that class has served me well and I am sorry that you are not teaching it anymore… Miami’s loss.

--Back to the story--

So Bik and I spent the day out in the streams cleaning rock and putting them back. Took care of administrative duties and called it a day. Here are some photos of the process of ‘cleaning’ rocks:

the bag...after finding it again...finally strainer buck it position...ready to catch the sneaky bugs that jump off

Post capture

What is left after carefully cleaning the rocks off

see we even got one :D

A sample of sand...and some bugs

This week has been…..FREEZING!!!! it was all of 55 degrees F today… it is freaking July for gods sake… Hopefully summer will start soon, I can only hope…and the rain stopping soon would be nice too…


Sorry…I am tired of rain the cold is …different but tolerable.

This week I have started looking for Beavers and trying to determine family size of the different family groups…haven’t seen a beaver yet but I have seen fresh dams and lodge buildings, so i know that they are not just a myth…As soon as I see them i will have photos. also this week I was able to work on GIS for more then an hour. so I am a step closer to finishing at least one project there with another three in the wings waiting.

We have a volunteer for the next six weeks, her name is Maddie and she attends Oklahoma State University and is majoring in wildlife management. So she will be a new yet temporary player in this story. Tomorrow I am continuing the Hawk survey and will report anything from that tomorrow. Ok all I am off to bed and dream land..


And so we go…