This has been the busiest two weeks of my life! My poor old brain has learned so much I feel like it’s oozing out my ears. The most fun of course, has been learning to work with the birds. It’s also the most stressful. What a responsibility. I keep chanting to myself “Count before you move” over and over when I am in the pen. The chicklets have gotten over their aggression with me and it’s fun to see their true personalities. #5 who was so aggressive is now just very curious and would really like all the grapes please.

It’s been a wonderful experience to learn and explore the CraneCam’s innards! After working remotely with the ‘Beast’ for four seasons now, all the names of it parts have faces to me. Mike Deline, AKA the Beast Slayer, is a great teacher, but I got as sweaty hooking it up the first time after Mike left as I do when I drive the camera during flight training. I was afraid my perspiration would drown it. Talk about a big sigh of relief when it worked. WHEW (sorry for the times it has not).

I have learned how to put up and take down travel pens. The most important part of that lesson was ALWAYS use gloves. Ouch! Another important lesson when it comes to travel pens is to always go through the ‘people gate’, not the back of the pen trailer. This seemed safer to me because one of the trailer doors cannot be shut from the inside. CraneCam viewers heard me try to get the trailer door shut for about an hour one night last week. I finally got the top bolt engaged, but my fingers were hamburger. I had to get David Boyd come and rescue me, because the bold was stuck and I could not get into the pen from the people gate either.

Geoff has taught me how to hook up a pen trailer to the Dodge/Arctic Fox RV, and from Brooke I learned how to drive it. By the second day (when I got lost in Madison) I felt like a pro. Former volunteer Gerald Murphy gave me some great driving advice and while you would not want to be behind me if you were in a hurry the experience proved to be not so bad.

I have learned about hoses too. For instance, never use the black water hose to wash a frying pan!! Liz was cooking dinner (Liz is a really good cook by the way) and asked me to go get the big frying pan out of the Sierra travel trailer. Joe grabbed it for me and pointed out that there was… ummmm… evidence of a mouse having spent time in it, so I looked for some Clorox but could not find any. I did find Fantastic, which kills germs too, so I sprayed it down with it and took it outside to rinse it off.

Richard came up, with a very concerned look on his face and asked me if I was going to scour the pan with hot water and soap, because the hose I was using to rinse was the one they use to empty out out the black water tanks. Eeeeeewwwww. So now I had mouse poo AND human poo in the frying pan. Off to look for more Clorox.

I finally found a bottle and Richard hooked up a clean hose to his RV’s water supply. I asked him “No more tricks right?” He laughed and said, “Nope.” So I filled the pan three-quarters full of water and dumped in the Clorox – which was way overkill on germ fighting, but after all this I wanted to be safe not sorry. But oops – what was in the bottle I thought was Clorox was motor oil!

I gave up. I threw the pan away and went to WalMart and bought a nice new clean frying pan. Understandably, the crew is still a bit leery of letting me do dishes.

What a start! What wonderful people to work with and what wonderful birds! This is going to be a great migration.

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