Podunk, Texas

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Hi, yes this is me at work. Ah, don’t I look so in fashion with my PPE’s? (That would be OSHA lingo for personal protective equipment.) Wearing a helmet in the woods blows, but when you are walking around near big swamp buggies equipped with drill rigs, you might get hit by a tree or who knows what else. I learned today while walking through nasty, nasty thorns, pine tree saplings so thick they slapped you in the face, and beautyberry taller than me, that wearing an orange safety vest was important so that I didn’t get run over by four gigantic wheels or knocked in the head with falling trees. You cannot see through that crap. In geocaching terms, for my geocaching friends, it was a 5 terrain. For my ex-workers in Miami, it was your worst staking nightmare.

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As for the Podunk part of the title, I am so far east in Texas that we get Arkansas and Louisiana radio stations and political ads. The NPR station I listen to comes from Louisiana. There are chicken farms everywhere! And they reek. Something terrible. The first time I saw a chicken farm was outside of Dahlonega, GA on the way to Amicalola Falls State Park to start the AT. It was just like Food, Inc. if you saw that movie. The town I am in hosts a very tiny downtown where it seems everything but the NAPA autoparts is open after 5pm. A Brookshires is the grocery store, pretty good actually, and right next door to each other are Dollar General and Family Dollar. The Mexican restaurant in town is very so-so, edible but not very authentic, and we’ve heard just about everywhere else to eat is not good. The only place we’ve liked so far is a small pizza joint. So, not much variety. There is a grill that the company office (aka: hotel room) has for folks to use, but we only have a microwave for in room service. Looks like a lot of grilled items and tv dinners in our future!

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When you have a lot of time to wait on the drill guys you have a lot of time to look at things in the forest. I’ve seen several locust exoskeletons lately, a couple of skink looking lizards, a rabbit, two armadillos, one deer, two weird red bodied spiders, and various other bugs. I must’ve walked right by a rattlesnake that one of the drillers saw. Oh, that’s right, I did see a snake today, something grey/brown with yellow along the sides.

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I suppose one of the more interesting finds was this beautyberry. Slightly more lavender than white, but Chris found a completely white one the other day. It was ironic, too, because I asked the guy who trained me that day, a botanist by education and profession, if he’d ever seen a white beautyberry and we both talked that we’d only seen them in cultivation. Well, that afternoon Chris brought back a white beautyberry photo! Then, today I saw this one, so I am excited about the possibility of more in the forest.

Alas, we work from 6:20 am until around 5pm-ish. Long days and we are generally zonked when we get home (home sweet motel!).

More adventures in the forest later.


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