Sunday, August 14, 2011

Run for the border

We headed out to Pennsylvania a couple weekends ago to take the Yuengling brewery tour.  It's the oldest American brewery and they still bottle beer there during the week.  It was also nice to see a functioning brewery rather than the remains of one like others I've visited.  Although I want to go back when beer is being bottled.  I didn't take any pictures since it's hard to capture something in the dark (in the dank caves below the brewery) and when there's like 50 people on your tour. So I enjoyed the tour and took the above pic in the tasting room where you get your one free beer.

On the drive there, we saw signs for Cabela's and I was excited that it was the same exit as Yuengling. I arm-twisted my driver and we took a quick trip there.   Sidebar - I had planned on a hot, sunny, and humid day and I had dressed according to this including suede ballet flats. Turns out it was rainy and cold so I spent most of the day miserable.  Cabela's was freezing inside to add insult to injury.  It was packed with people and I want to go back and spend more time there.  But it was as I expected....full of stuffed critters.  The river otter stood out as it was giving the death glare. Not the cute and happy live otters I've seen.
This was a hodgepodge of familiar critters. Everything from leucistic deer and droptine deer....all with huge racks of course.
Then there was a jam-packed African safari scene.  Note that the elephant was shot by Mr. Cabela himself in 2001 in Zimbabwe. I guess trophy hunting is unfortunately still happening.  They had a sign saying that lions, leopard, elephants and rhinos are the deadly four in Africa, but I'm pretty sure that hippos trump at least lions on that list.  They are territorial and one bite from them....well it would be game over.
I'm pretty sure the below scene really takes place in water, not on dry land, but I give them credits for trying to include as many animals in one scene as possible. Nevermind that zebras, wildebeasts, and friends all apparently line up to drink.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Some like it hot

    This summer we've been extra busy with field work. We have a few high profile jobs that require us to be environmental monitors for construction for a variety of reasons. It's making sure that trees that are threatening power lines are safely removed without disturbing rare turtles or their habitat or making sure that a major construction operation doesn't injure any rare turtles.   Both of these operations continue no matter how hot it gets even when it's record breaking.  Above is a pic I took of my mobile weather instrument taken in the shade one day.  It did get hotter but I didn't feel like doing much of anything aside from snapping pics.  I was surprised to see a couple painted turtles fully basking on the hottest time of the hottest day. I guess they don't mind short spans of the heat as much as I thought.

Most of the time it's pretty boring work out there.  You have to find a way to pass the time until you are needed.  Plus you have to keep out the way of the massive construction equipment that are swinging around large trees into massive dump trucks. Last time I was out there I was checking between the two silt fences to see if any critters needed rescuing.  Low and behold I spotted this guy.  I suspect that he came from the very close river and somehow climbed the fence.  I ended up babysitting him for a couple hours in the hot sun.  I tried to block him from direct sun, gave him some baths in the river, and came home burnt even after applying sunblock. Long story short is that he's now free albeit with a radio transmitter and seems to fancy the area he was originally found.