Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It Is That Time Again...

Um, yeah...Hi.

Wow...what the heck happened to the past month?  The internet break was not at all intentional but I guess as much as I'm trying to ignore it, it's just that time again.  That time when I'm scrambling to get ready for a huge field project along with trying to deal with 6 or 7 (or 10 or 12!) smaller on-going projects that need some varying degree of attention before I drop off out of communication for the summer.  I find it interesting how everybody has this date in their head of when I'm unavailable...and so about 4-6 weeks prior to that date, I start getting 'Can you do this before you head out for the field' requests....ignoring that I've been available and more able to work on this stuff for most of the winter.  Because you know, getting ready for an intense field season with a brand new project doesn't take any prep time at all.  Are you feeling the sarcasm?  Okay, with that little rant done, let's move on, shall we?

While most of the break from this space and yours was related to work, I've also felt the pull of spring so have been spending 'free' time outside rather than on a computer.  And I've been trying to spend as much time with J as possible since we'll be about 1000 miles apart most of this summer and fall...working on separate projects in different countries.   We are hoping to get in a short backpacking trip into lower elevations before I head out.  Wish us luck that we can make that happen!  Otherwise, let's see...what have I been up to? 

1.  I was in Alaska for 2 weeks working on a project I've been dreading for months now.  The work itself was not fun...in fact, of all the things I do in my job, it's the thing I hate the most.  But with that said, I got to work with 2 really incredible guys that I've known in a professional capacity for years but rarely get to hang out with.  And I got to work with a pilot that I haven't seen in awhile...also a great guy.  And as you can see, I got to see some pretty amazing country both from the air and from the ground.  We spent a couple days working outside of Denali and a couple days working very close to Yukon Charley.  It was still winter up there and a shock to the system to go back to days in the 20's!  I was working on caribou and saw a ton of them, also quite a few moose, some ptarmigan, and came close to a brown bear sighting.  We found his den but not him.   I'll return for 2 weeks in October to finish up this project and will hopefully take more pictures (we were having to go such long distances in the helicopter that we were trying to take as little weight as possible...so next time I'll make sure I grab my light 'point and shoot' for the trip). 

2.  While in Alaska, I got to have a quick visit with the caribou 'kids' that I raised.  They are almost ready to have their first babies...so grown up!  I thought it would be fun to show a then and now picture.  This is Daphne as a 3 year old and then as a calf.  Just a note...the yellow thing around her neck is a 'key' for an individual feeder.  It's a pretty cool set-up for individual feeding which gives us a ton of information about intake and allows for a regression approach for feeding rather than a treatment approach.   For some questions, this is a much better design. 

3.  I've been biking.  Last spring, as a gift to myself for finishing up my dissertation, I bought a road bike.  I'd been wanting one for a decade but never wanted to spend the money.  I finally gave myself that treat.  And there it sat because I was in the field and then when I got back, it was already pretty cold and I can be a wuss when I want to be.  This spring, with the support and motivation of a friend, I've been remembering how much I love being on a bike...and learning how much fun a road bike is.  Now. I won't ever give up trails on my mountain bike but long rides on a road bike...so much fun!  I've logged in over 100 miles this past month which is pretty good considering I was gone for more than 2 weeks of that time.  This past weekend I went for a 25 mile fairly strenuous ride in an effort to add on mileage for an event I may or may not do.  In 3 weeks, there is a ride to raise money and awareness for domestic violence...70 miles.  It's crazy even considering doing it given my schedule (I'm gone one of those weeks and leave for the field a week later) but I'm seriously considering giving it a go.  That would be the longest distance I've ever biked and I'm sort of itching for the challenge.  Add in a good cause and it is hard to resist.  We'll see!

4.  I have been knitting and spinning in spurts but honestly choosing fresh air and exercise over fiber most days.  But I do have one finished object to share later in the week (hopefully...if I make time to get pictures).

5.  I also spent some time in Pullman working through logistics for the soon-to-be-here field season with the graduate student.  And so I got to see the black-tailed deer 'kids' as well.  I have to say again that they are such great kids...super friendly and sweet!  While I'm still nervous of taking them to the woods, it'll be fun to spend time with them this summer.  And seriously, how cute are they (aside from the fact they are in shed-mode so can be a bit rough looking around the edges!)? 

I think that about wraps it up for now.  I'll try to squeeze in a few more posts before I head to the field on June 10.     

How have you been?  I'm so behind that I'll likely only make it around to the most recent of your posts...so let me know if I'll miss something important in doing that.  

_ _ _ _ _ 

Now playing:  Ritual by Adam Hurst



Denise | Chez Danisse said...

Hi, Rachel. Amazing to see Daphne change. Wow. Good to know you are enjoying the great outdoors during your free time. I hope you are able to fit in your backpacking trip. Take care, Denise

Lindsey said...

You've had so much packed into your schedule these past few weeks! Is it a good lead-up to the on-the-go activity of the upcoming field work?

Your biking is inspiring. Maybe I'll actually hop on my roadbike today.

Phoe said...

Nice to see you again. :)

The bike riding thing sounds great. Well done!

kristieinbc said...

I am glad you had a chance to check in on your blog. I have been wondering what you were up to! I hope you manage to sneak in your backpacking trip before your busy season starts up. Enjoy your bike!

lauren said...

omg BABY ELKS. They are so adorable. Nice to see you around again, too. ;)

Kim in Oregon said...

I love seeing the caribou 'gals' that you raised! Thanks so much! And how lucky are we with this weather this May? Will we pay for it in June?

Jacey said...

Hi! I'm so proud of your bike riding! I am feeling SO out of shape these days, but not sure how to best get started, or what type of activity will keep me motivated. Hopefully, I'll figure that out soon.

I'm glad everything is going well, although busy, for you. I'm sad we missed each other, but there will be another time to meet, I just know it!

Oh, and I finished my first washcloth! And I'll definitely be making more!

elizabeth said...

I don't think I know anyone who does as much as you do! Enjoy your time before you head back into the field, I'm so impressed with your biking! I really want a bike but have the same "buts" that you did. Thanks for the inspiration!

Carrie K said...

Countries apart? Oh noes! I hope your summer goes well! Aw, the kids all growed up.

melissa said...

i know you've been busy - but thank you for making time to share pictures of all your beautiful animals, etc...
sending you a big hug that you can get everything taken care of before you leave for the field!

Rue said...

Those knobby knees in the last shot just got me. There's something delicious about knobby new knees on a young creature, isn't there?

I hope life was pleasantly full (as opposed to overwhelmingly so) in your last weeks before heading out for the summer). I know you probably won't read this for several weeks still. But I'm sending you good thoughts out in the middle of the Internet-free wilderness.