north florida - wild florida - 9/11

By: marsHen , 12:49 PM GMT on September 11, 2013

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06:40, 72F, clear. gold skies in the east. a dozen large flocks of cattle egrets fly north over the lane, barely clearing the old pines that survived but were damaged by the 1950 hurricane. the egrets shine pink and gold in the first sun rays. heading either to the dug-up peanut fields or the dairy. guardian in sheep barn shows up at gate when I whistle. she and pup have a wrestle in the lane.
on this day, 2001, I was with a crew sampling the fishes of the suwannee delta with the big seine. we caught a lot of fish that day and it took a while to work them all up - identifying, measuring, counting.. someone remarked on the lack of air craft. it was blissfully quiet. we returned late to the lab and had not turned on the truck radio on our way back to CK. the boss was with us and after we parked the boat in the boatyard he went upstairs to check his e-mail while we unloaded and washed the boat down. he reappeared shortly, eyes wide, and out of breath. "we're at war." he told us..
not, but later we were for the wrong reasons.
late that afternoon, my son, a jr. in high school, drove back to the farm with me after long-distance practice and narrated the events of the day as he saw them on the tv at the CK school library where he had gone around 09:00 to return a book.. it seems that our crew was probably the last folks in florida to learn about the events of that awful day.
10:30, medium tide falling at CK. a roseate spoonbill flies over the lab when I am parking, its wings hot pink in the morning sun. east wind, 12 knts. 80F. sunny. white and brown pelicans and a few cormorants hanging out on exposed shell bar by #3 bridge.
cat glad to see me altough he'd already been fed. dragged a new 70 ft. bait seine out of the box, measured it, and strung it on poles for use tomorrow. one new bait seine left which has to last us a year. we have 3 ready for use but the 3rd seine is not long for this world being heavily mended and getting rotten. sun, salt, fish slime, mud, etc. take their toll on these nylon nets. they get washed, dried, mended, and put away in the shed after we finish sampling each month but are heavily used and oysters, barnacles, and the elements wear them away and break their fibers down. almost done with mending the hole the tarpon busted through in the big seine but had to put it aside to get a boat ready for trawling tomorrow, which included unloading a newer 600 ft. seine out of the boat's net well to make room for the trawl.
16:10, medium tide rising at #4 bridge. hot and sunny, 86F. heat tempered by an ENE wind, 12 knts.
17:00, 90F at the back door. house a cool 82. guardian met me at gate. walked pup. 3 deer scooting through the donkey woodlot. got 3 eggs. brought home some pasta clams. will steam them after the sun goes down behind the trees in the donkey woodlot.
19:20, 80F, partly cloudy. copper sky heralds sunset. pretty. pink clouds overhead. fed sheep and donkeys. watered marigolds. clams were delicious.
21:10, 79F, a mist. waxing horned moon above sheep fold. hazy stars showing. pup stirred up a wasp nest during our evening walk. I got stung. both of us scurried down the lane to get away from them. turned my headlamp to red bulb and eluded the dive bombers. think she got stung too since she did not hesitate to move out. guardian with sheep. dixie prowling back yard. good night wasps..

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About marsHen

marine biologist around the Suwannee River delta. Raise Cracker sheep on an old Cracker farm ~ 12 mi. (as the crow flies) from the Gulf.