It has been a while since I have posted, so I am going to try to make up for lost time. Things have been fairly consistent over the course of the summer. I have been doing juniper clearances for most of the summer, interspersed with with setting up bat detectors and a couple of days of building fences. I got to explore some of the farthest reaches of the district in search of bats. Along the windy dusty roads I drove my old chevy for the last time and broke in my new Ford-150. Parting is such sweet sorrow, but I have gotten to like my new Ford F-150 with its new car smell and USB charging cord.
I have continued with my juniper clearances and have actually made great strides. I managed to finish huge section that I was assigned over a year ago, only to be assigned to help design the next one. No good deed goes unpunished eh? Finishing this lifted a weight off my shoulder and now I can start doing small clearances on a project by project basis instead of having another massive workload hanging over my head. Some highlights of the juniper clearances include walking miles down a slow babbling brook. It was a beautiful warm fall day with the fall colors finally starting to come into their own along the river. I finished all of the clearances I had in store and got to eat a relaxing lunch along the stream. Other clearances have yielded numerous sheds (in this case mule deer antlers). The best day I found three as you can see from the pictures below.
Besides juniper clearances I have continued to deploy bat detectors. This brought me out to the far reaches of the district and to some real beautiful hidden gems. I also got to head out with some of the range staff to help construct a fence to protect a post-fire restoration area. Although I am comfortable working with my hands and with tools, it was great to have the opportunity to go outside my comfort zone and tackle a new challenge and learn a new skill. We quickly got things started with a nice flat section of fence that we finished quickly the first day. The second day proved to be much more of a challenge as we were working down a steep hill. We also had some technical difficulties which arose due to the very sandy soil. IT ended up being a long exhausting day, but we managed to finish the fence up in the nick of time. I really enjoyed my time with the range staff building fence as cross-training is always valuable and it was enriching to see another perspective on the problems that the Prineville office faces. It was also a great break from the day to day grind and it is great to accomplish something tangible instead of completing a project with an immaterial or delayed result.
I currently am finishing up for this field season with a lot of time indoors both due to work load and to poor weather. I am going to be headed home for the holidays for an extended period of time and cannot wait to spend time with my family.