Along the Natchez Trace

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Taking Some Time Off....

We don't really work on a strict schedule here, but we're each supposed to donate 32 hours each week to offset the expense of our stay (electric, water, dump station, propane and laundry facilities).  Some refuges also pay a stipend, but that is taxable income so we choose not to take that.

The only full-time employee works Monday through Thursday, 6am to 4:30 pm, with a half hour lunch.  So both Bill & I start our workday at 6am each morning as well.  Working 10 hour days we almost always have worked our "required" hours early in the week.  Bill averages between 50 and 60 hours every week.  I'm a slacker...  only average 45 hours a week.

The back dam of the Bucky Beaver Pond....  6:00 this morning.
See the raindrops on the pond?  

I'm not writing this for pats on the back or thanks...  it's a life we love in a place we love to be.  Bill loves working with the "big toys" and is right at home on a backhoe, a bulldozer, excavator or in a dump truck.  My main job this summer has been mowing and trail maintenance.  We're loving every minute of it.

Ready to dive for breakfast.

On Friday mornings we drive the 18 miles or so to Presque Isle.  That's grocery shopping time as well as a stop in Caribou to run any errands there.  We seldom eat out and I love to cook, so grocery shopping is one of my favorite things to do.  The Graves Shop & Save is a treasure!  I can find organic veggies...  veggies locally grown...  I can find tasty cheeses and their deli bar is outstanding!  I've become addicted to the cream cheese stuffed peppers...  delicious!  They have bison, lamb, smoked salmon....  they have clam chowder, lobster meat....  they have a bulk food area where Bill buys bags of various cereals for his breakfast.  If it sounds like a trip to Graves is the highlight of the day, you're right.

Common Loon
He really does have a red eye... it just doesn't show up here.

Often when we get back from Presque Isle we'll go to work catching up on something we didn't get done earlier in the week.  Yesterday it rained off and on....  I finished the James Lee Burke book (Light of the World) I'd started last week and just kinda goofed off.  Kirk had given me several cucumbers from his mother's garden and I sliced them along with some tomatoes and onions into a bowl to marinate in some seasoned vinegar....  just things like that.

Great Blue Heron

Bill took the back hoe out to push a fallen tree off one of the access roads.  Later we went to the Visitor Center where he put up a coat hook rack that will hold back packs.  Just odds and ends kind of stuff...  nothing you'd count as hours worked.  We spent quite a while talking with Betty, the force behind the Friends Group.

It was a good day...  laid back...  quiet...
That's our motorhome in front of the old maintenance building.
Look at the goldenrod...  even the clover in the foreground is dying down and showing signs of autumn.

While we had thought we'd be here until after Labor Day, there's a good chance we'll be leaving next weekend.  Bill might have the opportunity to work for a week or so at another refuge on a special project that needs heavy equipment operators.  Bill's work here is really appreciated but the management here knows he'd like to work in other areas.  He's already put in over 700 hours in the less than 3 months we've been here, so if we leave early, it's with their blessing.  

We'll know more in a few days...

Meanwhile...  I'm enjoying my time off....  I might even think about getting the rig ready to roll again...  or....  maybe I'll head out to the photo blind to see what's there.

That's All For Today!


  1. A peaceful and productive kinda summer, I'd say.

  2. Think you have worked more than you share of hours, so a little down time is good.
    Relax a bit and enjoy whatever it is that you wish to do.

  3. Dang, and here I thought those were fish feeding off the top of the water in that first picture. . . I have been to a Presque Isle many times when I lived in Pennsylvania, but that, of course, was a different Presque Isle. I didn't know that there were more than one of them. Love your pictures, as always.

  4. It does sound like a wonderful way to spend your summer (as long as you don't mind some hard work). Too bad ya cahnt get theyeh frum heeyah.

  5. Possibly spending time at another refuge sounds interesting. I enjoy seeing different refuges up close and personal.