Sept 19, 2013 – Guesthouse and Grounds

Dredge and Rainey Report
Guesthouse and Grounds

September 19, 2013

Summary of accomplishments:

  • No dredging
  • Bug-proofing the guesthouse

This report can be downloaded in PDF file format by clicking the Dredge and Rainey Report, Guesthouse and Grounds hyperlink.

Summary:  With C3 full, we took a break from dredging to concentrate on other Sanctuary issues.

Monday, September 16, 2013 – Guesthouse work

I left Baton Rouge at 6:33AM towing the 17-ft boat, the Avocet. I stopped at Stine’s in Abbeville for a few miscellaneous things for the guesthouse, then stopped at Winn Dixie for supplies. Got to the camp at 10:00 AM and Timmy was mowing the yard. I unloaded my gear and was working in the guesthouse by 10:30.

Figure 1. Karen working on the ceiling in the guesthouse.

I had to vacuum up thousands of bugs and wash out the shower before I could even think of starting on my intended tasks. I installed the rest of the ceiling strips and painted the mildew-stained areas again with a spraycan of Kilz. I glued support pieces to the counter for the end-piece, and walked to the workshop on the other side of the house to shape the formica end-piece.

Timmy was using the airboat to knock down the roseaucane (Phragmites) bordering the lake and got it stuck on top of the back levee. Using the 4-wheeler, he pulled it around until it could be run through the flooded yard. When this task was completed, he cleaned up and left after lunch to go to high ground for his mother’s birthday.

With him gone, I took the 4-wheeler with me back to the guesthouse because I could see the tide rising into the yard and I didn’t want to have to wade back. I glued the end-piece onto the counter and trimmed the edges with my knife. Since bugs were still getting in, I removed the old weather-stripping from the outer door and replaced it with new, but it still doesn’t seal properly.

The bathroom door did not close properly, and rather than waiting for Timmy, I decided to fix it myself. This involved partially removing both door casings from the latch side, removing the shims, unscrewing all attachments, and then re-screwing everything to the proper depth, replacing the casings and re-caulking. Now the door works perfectly. I packed up the tools and my stuff, loaded the 4-wheeler and splashed my way back to the house.

At 5:30, I took crawfish tails out to thaw, hopped into the Avocet and took a ride to the dredge site. The water level was at +6”ML (ML = “Marsh level”) so the site was quite flooded. Two Tri-colored Herons were reluctant to leave when I got there, and settled in the hidden pond behind Cell 5. I watched as a flock of about a dozen teal pass by high, heading north. The low afternoon light made the marsh glow.

Figure 2. One of the two Tri-colored Heron at the dredge site.

Figure 3. Low afternoon light shining down the length of our permitted pond, with the outer containment barely above the water line.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 – Clearing WCS

Today, I helped Timmy clear brush from the water control structures. This is important for many reasons, the first of which is to keep marsh fires, whether natural or prescribed, from harming the structures.

We loaded up the Goose with chainsaws, brush cutters, loppers, rakes, gloves and water and headed south. It was a long, hot, exhausting day. Timmy would cut, and I would haul and pile. The roseaucane and Baccharis bushes are extremely prolific plants, and Timmy had not been able to keep up with their growth this summer with all of the other activities where his participation was required. At the end of the day, we were both covered with dirt, plant shreds, ant bites and sweat. I treated myself to a long soak in the tub.

 

Figure 4. Timmy using the brush cutter to clear the last of the roseaucane.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 – More yard work

After a glorious sunrise in the marsh, Timmy worked to clear the lake edge. He started with the roseaucane he had smashed down with the airboat, and worked his way along the edge cutting down bushes. He was adamant that it be cleared before the birds started coming down for the winter, so that we could see all of the lake from the back window of the house where the spotting scope was set up.

I stayed out of his way and worked inside either the guesthouse or on the computer inside the headquarters house. I finally loaded up the Avocet and headed home mid-afternoon, trying to avoid rush-hour in the Intracoastal Waterway, or the Interstate. Watching the full moon rise as I approached Baton Rouge, I wish I could have stayed one more evening, just for photographs.

Figure 5. After a beautiful sunrise in the marsh, we got busy clearing more brush.

Figure 6. My trek home involved boat and car rush-hour traffic, with a rising full moon.

 

 

Karen A Westphal and Timmy J Vincent, National Audubon Society
Audubon Louisiana and the Paul J Rainey Wildlife Refuge
6160 Perkins Road, Suite 215, Baton Rouge, LA 70808
225-768-0921x202 office, kwestphal@audubon.org
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