Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

Coastal waters brackish and gray
Home for the birds going to the south
And then back north 
a stopping point along the way

Our volunteer gig was a prearranged short time for Forsythe...they had had a cancelation and we were to fill in as the other couple was leaving shortly after we got there.  

We arrived during a storm.  The outer band of a hurricane was driving winds and rain across the pools so hard the refuge viewing roads were closed.  Our volunteer coordinator Sandy showed us to our site...only two RV sites here for rvers and the other taken.  We backed in beside a nice class a.  Near a large two story house with a basement.  This house was living quarters for refuge scientists, their offices and laundry facility for all of us.  Behind us there was a beautiful the fall took over it became one of my favorite places to photograph.  The staff parked in front of us so weekends it was pretty empty.  However, weekdays it was a bustling little area.  

Dog walks crossed the parking lot and followed a small roadway from the refuge into a small rural road.  Often Frances and I would head into the woods following the deer track or the sounds of wild turkeys.  One day, I found the mother load, a large shell.  Obviously an eagle or other bird of prey had brought dinner into the woods to dine alone.  I enjoyed hunting birds, small mammals, and of course mushrooms with my camera as the leaves changed colors in this beautiful wood.  I had an opportunity to learn more about photography from fellow volunteer, Ed.

Mean while our volunteer job was working in the gift shop with Donna Lynn and Jan and a few others.  We cleaned, bathrooms, provided birding reports and brochures, and acted as store cashier over the weekends.  Our supervisor, Amanda, still a friend,  loves birding.  She'd take us out and help us identify the myriad of water fowl and song birds.  When I explained interpretative roving we had done at Bosque Del Apache, I was supported greatly and was allowed to set up a similar program .  A lack of vehicles for roving ended the program when we left.  I'm hoping they get in going again's a great way to meet birders out on the dikes near the water fowl. We enjoyed manning the store and museum but loved watching the birds on both the fresh and salt water ponds.  Over 150 species of birds visit Forsythe through the year.  We were pleased to see  lucistic wild turkeys, wood ducks, and watch harriers hunt the fields. A wide variety of mammals also use the sanctity of the refuge include rabbits, deer, fox, coyotes, and beaver.  

The people of Forsythe were wonderful to work beside.  Our fellow volunteers both RVer and local not only cared about the lands and animals but were supportive of their coworkers and genuinely friendly.  

Our gig covered two important holidays; Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Holidays always bring people closer together. The Halloween party coordinated by Sandy had some scheduling issues; it almost ran into Thanskgiving, LOL...ok that's not entirely true but wearing a Halloween costume on November 11 feels a little out of place. I of course made a costume. I was working on a refuge so I was a bird.  A penguin to be precise.  Kathy was a fulltime RVer.  I considered making her a sign saying "will work for RV spot".  We attended a great party in a small cabin with several other volunteers. I helped create a murder mystery game during the party, something like clue.  The victim, a doll, was killed by a pirate. 

Thanksgiving on the other hand was a small gathering inside the staff housing next to us.  One of the tech guys cooked a great turkey while we made dressing, sweet potatoes and of course brought canned cranberry jelly, my favorite.  The neighbor RVer brought the pumpkin pie.  We all had plenty to eat and enjoyed the companionship throughly.

In early December our commitment came to an end.  We had served at four refuges in four flyways and were on to a different adventure.....but that's another post.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Washington D.C. Where the three branches of government unite?

During our whirlwind day is D. C. we decided to skip the National Mall and visit the Capitol, The Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress.  Of course, these buildings allowed us a glimpse at the White House too so, hence today’s title.  Enjoy the pics and the mini history review.

The Constitution of the United States divides the federal government into three branches to ensure a central government in which no individual or group gains too much control:
Legislative - Makes laws (Congress)
Executive - Carries out laws (President, Vice President, Cabinet)
Judicial - Evaluates laws (Supreme Court and other courts)

The United States Capitol, often called the Capitol Building, is the home of the United States Congress, and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government.  It sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The original building was completed in 1800 and was subsequently expanded, particularly with the addition of the massive dome, and expanded chambers for the bicameral legislature, the House of Representatives in the south wing and the Senate in the north wing.

The Supreme Court Building, located at One First Street, NE, in Washington, DC, is the permanent home of the Court. Completed in 1935.

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps, and manuscripts in its collections. The Library is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.
The Library preserves and provides access to a rich, diverse, and enduring source of knowledge to inform, inspire and engage you in your intellectual and creative endeavors. Whether you are new to the Library of Congress or an experienced researcher, we have a world-class staff ready to assist you online and in person.

Founded in 1800, the library is oldest federal cultural institution in the nation. On August 24, 1814, British troops burned the Capitol building destroying the Library's core collection of 3,000 volumes. On January 30, 1815, Congress approved the purchase of Thomas Jefferson’s personal library of 6,487 books for $23,950.

The oldest of the three United States Library of Congress buildings, the Thomas Jefferson Building, originally known as the Library of Congress Building. The Beaux-Arts style building is known for its classicizing facade and elaborately decorated interior from the 1800s.

We did not get a chance to visit the other two Library of Congress buildings; James Madison Memorial Building or John Adams Building.

The White House is the official residence and workplace of the President of the United States. It’s prestigious address of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., and has been the residence of every U.S. president since John Adams in 1800. The interesting thing is there is currently a loft with the 1600 address in the SE as well.  Wonder who ensures
the mail’s getting to the right place?

The term White House refers to the president and his advisers, as in "The White House announced that...".

Designed by Irish-born architect James Hoban in the neoclassical style, construction took place between 1792 and 1800 using Aquia Creek sandstone painted white.  In 1814, during the War of 1812, the British Army set the mansion ablaze. Reconstruction began almost immediately with the administration’s support for the building to become a national landmark.