Monday, August 23, 2010

Grey Day

The sky was dull yesterday morning when I was out with the chicks, but the world was beautiful.

Rainbow skin on top of the orange water

Rainbow spiderweb (before Ricotta stepped on it)

Chicks in the mist

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Floating Mats

Some of the marshes have developed in a peculiar manner. Strange mats of floating grass and mud create endless hours of fun for both the birds and the costumes.

When I step on a mat, it sinks so one foot will be high while the other is still low on the bottom, creating a perpetual step-aerobic workout with the added pleasure of doing it in viscous, muddy water wearing steal-toe hip boots. I have discovered it's much easier to avoid stepping on the mats altogether.

When the birds step on a mat, they may get lucky by finding a mat secure enough to support their weight, creating the perfect resting place that is safe from predators while additionally providing them the perfect predatory vantage point above the water. They may not be so lucky, finding the mat is nothing but a floating glob of grass that wouldn't support the weight of a dragonfly. It's a bit of a gamble, but they persist in trying to stay on top of the water. Please enjoy the video I've taken of Nacho's natural grace in navigating the treacherous floating mats.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I am Awkward Crane

My good friend, Emily, asked a very pertinant question in response to my last post. I thought I would take the time to answer it here, for everybody.

Emily asks, "What is it like to be so close to an animal and have it not know that you are not like it? One of these things is not like the other..."

I think about this a lot while I'm out there, but I haven't quite put a one-word label on how I feel...

I feel protective of them, responsible for teaching them how to be cranes, but most of the time I feel like I'm "Awkward Crane."

I'm constantly stumbling over stuff I can't see under the murky water. My boots sink in the mud, so I move slowly and awkwardly forward while they're passing me on the left and right. If you've ever lost a boot in the mud or in the horse pasture, you can remember how you looked when you're desperately trying to keep your boots on your feet but move forward at the same time.

I only have one "wing." Try as I might, I'll never leave the ground.

I want to forage with them, but sometimes that water is really gross. I don't want to stick my hand in it, so the puppet generally stays out of the water unless I can steal myself up to the bacteria-ridden task.

Since I wear hip-boots, I squeak as I walk, I can't run very fast, and walking gracefully is out. I more often just stomp along when we're on dry land.

When I look around, I try to imitate where I look with the puppet (as though the puppet is really the head of the body), but sometimes I'm sure it's obvious that the puppet is not looking where the body is going.

Yet they still seem happy to see me when I arrive and hang out with me when I'm around. I think they've figured out that I'm not quite a crane, but they haven't figured out what I am.

It's amazing to be so close to a wild animal and even more amazing that it likes me. It's a once in a lifetime experience and I am still enjoying my job even though it seems like I've been doing this forever. I wish everyone could do this.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Living Situation

Since we've moved to Necedah, the 3 of us girls have been living in a trailer home. It's nice enough and the refuge has been generous to provide us with all the living necessities. We even have an enormous turn-around driveway.

Other than the mosquito population explosion over the past week, I've got nothing to complain about.

Sadly, though, our trio is about to become a duet! Brittani is going home. We're sending her off with a good-bye bash at a vegetarian restaurant this weekend.

It'll be just Kari and me until Richard decides to hire someone new. Kari was thinking we should do the interviews because we could tell the applicants what to expect...

- can you handle standing in the hot, hot sun for hours wearing a burka? Yes? good.

- do you have a lot - let me emphasize this: A LOT - of patience when dealing with animals? Yes? good

- do you like mosquitoes? trick question, no one does.

- do you enjoy either eating only vegetables/what you can obtain from the Kwik Trip or driving 30 minutes to the nearest grocery store? Sorry, no other option. your opinion doesn't matter.

- do you enjoy drinking yellow-but-still-safe-according-to-Wisconsin-minimum-standards water? I do. It feels deliciously cold after standing in that sun.

- can you handle 2 roomates who cook all the time, possibly using all the dishes in the house in one day? I hope you do, because what we cook is delicious and nutritious.

- finally, can you stand living 20 yards from an internet connection, yet still have to drive into town to be able to connect to the internet? If you can handle that, you can handle anything they throw at you.


Little Devils and other such telling Photographs

Wing/Leg dual stretch!

Where's my mommy?

Interlocking cranes

Goat gets clean in the delicious water

Gouda is such a little devil