Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The last few weeks (June 1-21)

Today is the summer solstice! Happy Summer Solstice everyone! How exciting! I guess I haven't done very well with keeping this going (thanks Grampa H for the reminder). I was in the field for about a week and the week before that I was learning the ropes of my job before my boss, Mike took off to get hitched in Virginia.
During the first few days of June we had training with our new interns and ADFG. KNA is a cooperative unit with ADFG on a few projects out here, which I get to help oversee. Two of our projects are the George River Weir and the Tatlawiksuk River Weir. It really helps us to do some training together so we are all on the same page and it helps our techs and the ADFG techs get to know each other for the summer. For a few weeks the KNA bunkhouse was hoping with about 11 people (me being the only girl) and it was a lot of fun. I was also able to get to know the people I will be working with at ADFG, but I think there are a lot more for me to meet :).
During training I got to go on a run up to the George River Weir sight with James to drop of fuel for the coming season. We did this Saturday (the 11th). On the way up we saw a black bear and a moose and on the way down we saw a black bear swimming and two moose... so it was a pretty great day on the water. The George weir is about 3-4 hours up the Kuskokwim from Aniak and the Tatlawiksuk is about 3 more hours up from the George. After returning from the George on Saturday we finished training with First aid on Sunday and then Monday we did gun and bear safety. We talked about what to do if there is a bear attack and how to use a gun safely and then went to the firing range to practice. I don't remember the last time I shot a shotgun, but it was pretty sweet. I wasn't very good at first, but I was pretty great by the end... and that is what matters. Practice makes perfect, and who doesn't want to practice using a shotgun. The rest of the week I did a lot of intern scheduling with Mike and figuring out the things I need to do while Mike is away. Friday I got to leave for the field and help install the weirs at George and Tat! Yay :)
I really like that my main transportation around here uses the water system... it's pretty nice (even on a rainy day, it's nice to be outside). It's also great that I get to use the in-season boat with the 90 Honda... super sweet! (P.S. I love my job). We had two boats loaded with people and gear headed to George and it was great (we had previously sent 3 boats with people and gear on Wednesday, 6/8). Quite the procession up the river. The water is too low on the George River to take a boat with a prop up so we waited for the jet in Georgetown. Georgetown is a very small village with a few houses that are owned by the Vanderpools. Ann still lives there and she is 86 (I think, but I could be wrong... kinda spacey sometimes) and her daughter Connie has a house near her, which she uses during the summer. She is constantly having kids and grandkids spending time with her and the people at the George weir will call down to see if Ann needs help with anything. Ann loves having people around and likes it when we visit so anytime we come through we stop to see Ann and use her VHF to contact the people left at the weir to pick us up. Ann also calls us if she sees a bear because she doesn't really like them around. She is such a funny and sweet lady!
The George and Tatlawiksuk weirs are called floating weirs because the panels are made of PVC and cable and lots of other stuff... maybe I will post a report for ya'all to look at. Anyway so I was mostly on install at the George weir (if you want to see a progression of photos... be my facebook friend). So we had to put in rails, and apron (plastic mesh w/ rebar) and the panels... There is a lot to it and this year we had to replace the resistance board on about +90 of the panels... which was kind of a pain and took awhile, but we had so much help! We had the weirs fish tight by Wednesday (the 15th) and it was super super great! Hmmmm what else to say.. there just seems so much going on right now with everything, but I am loving every minute of it. I just like to be busy and going and enjoying every minute of it... and learning so much!
I must admit coming back to the office was hard because the weir sights are beautiful and the weather was gorgeous!
Oh! I almost forgot to mention James took me bear hunting with him and he got a black bear! We were sitting up in the stand for 3 hours before not one, but two bears came waltzing by to the bear-bait station. FYI James only had a bow with him and I didn't think to bring the shotgun, so he was not going to miss... but he was shaking pretty hard-core and I was hoping he wouldn't miss... well he got the first one, but only grazed the second... but it scared the second one enough to make it run away. So James skinned out the bear and is going to make a very nice rug with it... one less black bear. I still can't believe I got to be there, it is one of the coolest things I've ever done (and I didn't even shoot it!).
Well, Saturday and Sunday I went through a few emails, but tried to avoid the office and just hang out with fun new people and do some laundry... good times :) Now I've got some office time under my belt and feeling pretty good about it. Right now we are working on resupplies (for the weirs, etc), intern schedules and all sorts of fun budget things! Actually today Wendy (my college office intern) and I got together supplies for Kogrukluk, which meant we got to cut some lumber! We split some plywood in half and got it ready to go for a shipment out tomorrow. You should have seen us with our makeshift woodshop. I can't believe we found a skillsaw and there is no power at the KNA Farm (which is our storage area), so we used a generator I found in the warehouse. Then we found an extension cord, we definitely had a lot of fun, and got a lot done too. I think this has me mostly caught up! I know it might be boring to some, but I'm glad I can share with everyone. I love you all and miss you lots <3

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