We finished our territory, my partner and I, this week, wrapping up the last few “grids” in Clinton County (which we had skipped, thanks to floods and such, a few weeks ago) on Tuesday afternoon. We placed nine traps in nine sites in Dubuque County Tuesday morning and then drove south along the river (lovely drive that Highway 52 through Bellevue, so appropriately named) to tour the northeastern portion of our neighbor to the south for our final few traps.
Then I got to revisit the very southernmost portion of Clinton County (again) on Wednesday to actually put traps up on my own (my very first full day of that, and my one and only). During that visit southward, I met the Iowa DNR guy that noticed one of our very first traps had been placed (not my selection) in a hackberry tree (and which I removed to begin this past week). He was really pleasant and assured me that I had indeed selected an ash for the trap I was hanging as he drove up. An amusing farmer with a big mustache also hiked over to ask about the big purple trapezoids, wondering jokingly to himself if they werenʼt some kind of performance art.
Finally, on Thursday I did a heck of a lot of paperwork, particularly a chore I imposed on myself of transferring the dots which indicate our traps to the actual county maps (that I can read, unlike the special USDA APHIS PPQ maps that my partner has littered with her indications). I had anticipated about a half or two-thirds day of work, but instead spent several more than ten hours hunched over portions of maps and respective sheets on individual trap sites (although as I took eye-relieving breaks, I only counted ten). I also arranged my hotel and travel stuff for an upcoming week of work away from home. And the guys redoing our kitchen floor showed up to finish that job (sort of) while I strained over my maps and trap sheets.
Now I start to revisit those traps to check for bug corpses glued to the sticky exterior and attempt to figure out which (if any — pray not) might be emerald ash borers.
However, before I get to do that (on my own) I am transferred for a while (on the road again) to northeastern Iowa to help get the last 45 traps for a county up there done. Thus I get a new partner for a week and new scenery to enjoy, plus a few dozen traps that I will never have to take back down, too. And a few chances to visit with my sister, where she lives, as well.
The weather sounds unimpressive (both cold and rainy) for my extended excursion, but weʼll see (this past week was predicted wet as well, and I never had to don the raingear).
But first, this weekend marks our anniversary! The Lovely One and I will have been wed for twenty-eight brief and rapturuous years tomorrow/Sunday. So we intend to do a little celebrating (and, sigh, shopping). With that said: Time to go!
* or not, as the linked website instructs us…
— My apologies to Facebook friends, who have already enjoyed the joke this title repeats today.