Sunday, May 30th: Had to take Chelsea to the airport in Orlando today so that she could fly back. I certainly had a great time getting to see her. I decided that since I was about half way there, I’d head up to Gainesville for the night and pay my rent. I dragged a TV and my old
Tuesday, June 1st: Took advantage of the day off in Gainesville yesterday to sleep entirely too much. I finally headed back to Kenansville around 1500. Today, I got to go check Wood duck boxes. This usually means going out on an airboat. However, right before I got back to the office after checking bluebird boxes, the law enforcement guys came and took our airboat as usual. Grrr…This meant that I got to drive my trustworthy four wheeler to the boxes. The box locations were loaded onto my GPS and I was given a mirror to look inside. Most of the boxes are only about 7ft tall and have a hinged door to peek inside. The first box I was to check was right on Jackson slough next to the water’s edge. I plowed a path through the bushes and reeds to get to in via the four wheeler. Upon arriving at the box, I noticed that it wasn’t 7ft tall, but closer to 11 or 12. To make matters worse, the box’s door was on top, not on the side. I cut down a small tree, and went about tying the mirror onto the end of it so that I could peer inside to check for eggs. My choices for material to tie with were limited to spanish moss and orange marking tape. I chose the marking tape and sure enough, the mirror came off as I was trying to peek inside and sat precariously on the edge of the box, threatening to fall inside and crush whatever was below. I decided to head back to the office and figure something out.
I’m sure I looked quite ridiculous riding down the road on a four wheeler, carrying a cut down tree and a ladder, but I needed them both to do this job. I hauled the ladder up to the box and after only an eternity of looking for a place that wouldn’t tip the ladder over in the mud, I retrieved the mirror and looked inside to find 3 duck eggs. It’s a good thing the mirror didn’t fall in.
The rest of the day didn’t go much smoother. The second box was even more difficult to get to than the first. It required me to cross a bog, losing the GPS again in the process. I’m either getting very lucky or more skilled at finding the GPS in the four wheeler tracks. I found it after about 40 minutes. The brush approaching the second box was actually so thick that I couldn’t drive the four wheeler any farther and had to walk it in my hip waders. The box was of course, the same brilliant design as the first with the top-opening door, and it was a chore to balance the ladder in the reeds to peek inside. Overall, the second box took close to 2 hours to take care of… only to find nothing inside.
Later in the day, I opened a box to find a screech owl staring back at me. He seemed rather upset that I’d disturbed him.
The box numbered “Box 3” was rather interesting. I got within about 30 yards from it before I looked at it and just turned back to the four wheeler, laughing to myself.
The final box I checked today was yet another pleasant nightmare. It was in a creek surrounded by cypresses, literally in the water. The person designing these boxes was obviously some evil genius as it was, again, another top opening box with a latch securely placed on the side facing the deeper water. Climbing a ladder in thigh deep water is something I certainly don’t do every day and I hope not to again.
After work, I drove over to a cypress dome and hiked out to it to set my crawfish traps. They’re placed pretty deep inside, but I’m hoping to at least catch something. I’m using some old, shriveled Vienna sausages for bait, the crawfish’s natural food of choice.