Along the Natchez Trace

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

John Deere Yellow and Other Happenings....

Happy Birthday USA!  Here it's a rainy one...  I hope it clears up before the fireworks that are scheduled in Limestone this evening.  I know a lot of the US has drought, fires and other weather related things going on, but here it's in the 60's....  maybe 70's by now...  and raining.
That's John Deere Yellow in case you aren't familiar with the green and yellow colors of that brand of farm machinery. And that's my left hand after painting a couple of gate posts yesterday...

 It wasn't raining yesterday so Bill and I took the opportunity to take the bush hog over to the Ouellette Addition of the refuge so he could mow the walking trail and I could paint a couple of fence posts that were new this year.  That's the first coat of paint.... it took 3 in all....  and I didn't have to paint the gate because it's galvanized and won't rust.
Here the end result...  posts (one on the other end) are painted bright yellow, and I put strips of reflective tape at various spots along the gate.  

While I was painting, Bill unloaded the tractor and worked on the trail...
Let's see...  is he unloading or loading the tractor in this picture?  Notice that he has to back the rig onto the trailer?  You might remember that I once wrote that I can't back up with a damn...  and with a bush hog on the back... HAH!  Needless to say, Bill does it quite well ....  no matter what the size of the machine he's moving around.

He's done mowing and loading up to go home.  
It's one thing to be able to drive some of these machines, but quite another to know the safe way to handle them... whether that be loading them, transporting them, unloading them, or operating them.

Bill has hauled huge pieces of equipment on all kinds of trailers all over the USA.  He's never had an accident yet.

We were at the Ouellette parcel of the refuge, about 10 miles or so from the main headquarters.
A couple of years ago Bill built this kiosk.
Looks like it's holding up pretty well.  That post you see at the left is the other post I painted that John Deere Yellow.....  Now the entrance is done and the new trail has been mowed....  bring on the visitors!

We had a lot of rain recently, and between the rain and Bucky Beaver's work, one of the ponds along side the road was starting to overflow into the road.  Bill took out a small part of the dam one day last week in order to prevent more damage.  On Sunday evening, Bill was grilling out and saw this little guy walking around under our motorhome.
 Cute little guy, isn't he?
We think he got through the washed out dam and had about a quarter mile swim down to our place.  He sure seemed healthy and was quite lively.  But what in the world could we do with him?

After finally catching him, we put him in a paper bag and I drove him back up to his own pond...  

I turned him loose and can only hope that he found his mom and siblings again....

I watch various broods of ducks and geese hatch out and grow up on that pond.  Often a brood of 10 chicks will dwindle down... day by day...  until only a couple are left.  Too many predators for such a vulnerable critter.  

The merganser brood that started out with 8 chicks seems to be down to 2 now.

Life is pretty hard out in the wild....  it's gratifying to see any species raise their young to adulthood.

One last Photo...
There were dozens of these tiny butterflies flitting around a waterhole over at Ouellette yesterday.  I don't know what species they are, but there were so many, they would fly up in a cloud as I'd pass by.  

A couple years ago, Bill & I took a tour of the Monarch Butterfly migration area in the mountains of Mexico.  Thousands and thousands of the monarchs were hanging on trees, hovering over damp places, or just flying around in the air.

That was one of my favorite places to visit, and even though those in the above photo are tiny and there were just a few dozen, they reminded me of that trip.

We got back from Ouellette before noon yesterday.  In the afternoon we took 2 groups out on a refuge tour.  The first was a group of 7 and I really don't think they were very interested in the refuge or anything we had to say.  In fact, Bill said he had a man in his vehicle that pretty much wanted to do all the talking with his own version of the place.  The 2nd group was a family of 4, which included 9 and 11 year old girls.  They were so attentive...  asked lots of questions...  wanted to get out of the vehicle and actually see things...  and the kids were very polite.

We love giving tours...  we love hearing what our visitors have to say and if they have any personal history here.  But I have to kind of smile and shake my head a little of how different each tour can turn out.

That's All For Today!


  1. Aw, quack! Takes me back to my downy days. Thanks for rescuing him!

  2. I thought you were supposed to put the paint on the post?? :)

  3. Sure hope he survives. We had baby ducks at the pond in Florida but they kept disappearing because of the alligators. You're right, nature is hard. I'm glad the girls were interested in the tour. So many of them at that age resent doing things with their folks and keep dragging out their cell phones.

  4. Sweet little duckling, I'm thinking he's got a huge chance for survival thanks to you ;-)

  5. Sure hope the little duck makes it. That's quite the John Deere mower Bill was hauling around.

    Happy 4th of July - hope the rain has stopped for the fireworks.

  6. Seems it ain't easy being a duck. Hope he makes it.

  7. Please tell us how Bill became certified to operate all the machinery for the government?? Poor little duck--life is tough in the wild--magpies are eating the baby robins around here! YUK!

  8. Cute ducky rescue..I hope he is not someones snack.

  9. For someone who doesn't like to paint, you sure look happy doing it! Must be the wonderful environment you're in.
    The refuge is VERY lucky to have you two!
    Loved your photos - especially the 'duck in a paper bag' photo. He sure is healty looking. Hopefully he can stay ahead of trouble!

  10. I think that you may have a group of European Skippers there. There are only a few skipper species that far up into Maine, and that is the one that we saw most often last summer.

    LOVE the little duck!! You did a good thing...


  11. You and I have a couple traits alike. I end up with paint all over me even though I enjoy painting, and I can't back up very well. Loved the pictures and how cute that little duckling is. Enjoy your tour groups, no matter how they turn out. You meet a lot of interesting people out there.