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Ranger Dan's
Wisconsin State Park Diary

September 27
"I'm always a Park Ranger"

[tools] Ben and I started the day working at the beach house. He's the maintenance person who works at the park from April to October. Being a retired airplane repairman, he sure is handy to have around when we need something fixed.

Since nobody wants to swim anymore (it's too cool this time of year), we have to close up the beachhouse and take out the swim buoys at the beach before the lake freezes. We worked hard to drain the water out of all the pipes in the bathrooms so that they don't freeze and break during the winter since the beachhouse isn't heated. That means we take apart every sink faucet and valve, that's 35 total, and blow air into the pipes to get the water out. I guess I was a plumber today.

[prairie photo] This afternoon, I took the local fourth grade class out to one of the park prairies to collect flower and grass seeds. They always help me collect seed so that I can plant prairie plants in other areas of the park. You should see the rainbow of colors during the spring and summer when the prairie plants are in bloom! Those kids sure did have a lot of questions about the plants and animals of the prairies. I'm glad I took classes in wildlife and botany in college! I was a plumber and a naturalist today.

While I was seed picking with the fourth graders, Ben raked leaves in the picnic areas. We have about 200 trees there; which means we have [leaf pile] at least 10 times that many leaves to rake. Luckily, we have a huge leaf blower that we use to pile the leaves, so they're easier to pick up. We also use our big riding lawn mower to chop-up the leaves into fine pieces on the lawn so they get used by the grass next year for food. I helped Ben with the leaves after I was done with those fourth graders. I guess I was also a lawn care person today.

The last thing that Ben and I did today was to get our tractor ready for tomorrow. I changed the oil in the engine while Ben cleaned the air filter and greased the fittings. While we were working on the tractor in the shop building, a park visitor came in to ask some questions and asked to buy a park sticker. He wanted to know what the ice fishing rules were. I gave him details about the rules and joked to him that he might want to wait until the lake freezes before he goes ice fishing. He agreed. I guess that means I was also a mechanic and fishing guide today.

Tomorrow we're going to take our boat launch piers out of the water.

This ends my diary entries. Now you know more about my job and that even though I have many duties; plumber, naturalist, lawn caretaker, mechanic, fishing guide, tractor driver; it's all part of being a Park Ranger.

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