Work 2013

logo_aphis_ppqIf it isn’t obvious (because I have actually begun writing stuff and making posts here on old Wak’s Blog again), my seasonal summer employment has ended. And, no, not because the Griefstriking Obfuscating Perverts enacted their wish and shut down the U.S. federal government (even though, as a seasonal employee of the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Protection and Quarantine, the feds are my employer) — because I was already (or almost) on hiatus status before the Grumbling Obvious Prevaricators pulled their stunt pointlessly (but politically) amending the continuing budget resolution with unrealistic but base-fiddling amendments that in no way were or are seeking “compromise” of any kind.

In fact, I removed my last trap during the morning of Tuesday, September 3, then cleaned and restocked the GOV and stopped earning salary — except for the year-end return of vehicles, supplies and equipment on Monday, September 23. (So if I were really industrious, I should have been able to present many posts by this time. I didn’t, however, do so.) There was a special drive to let the office acquire my actual vehicle (so it could be sold, evidently) in exchange for an empty Jeep that I finally returned later. And we all had one last packet of training to complete as well. But, excepting a few hours and just a few pence, work for 2013, for me, ended with the start of September.

Gypsy Moth (image Wikipe

Gypsy Moth (image Wikipedia)

This past summer, as I noted in advance, I had a much vaster emerald ash borer region to trap. But with only 95 traps, even spread over nearly twenty counties, most of my work with the EAB program was driving, and I could accomplish the whole circuit in just about eight days. What kept me busy was a, more or less, new program (for me), trapping for Gypsy moths. (I had assisted with GM both summers I had already worked, but all that assisting only added up to about eight days altogether.) And although I only had two and a quarter counties to cover, my GM traps totaled more than 300. So my job shifted hard in the direction of Gypsy moths. (I even caught one. Yes, just one.)

The summer was exciting for me, though. And the excitement lay with the EAB, which is now definitely spreading into Iowa. (It had already done so, into one county, Allamakee, the summer I was hired, and two more beetles were found there in 2012.) I do not get the credit for spotting the new outbreaks because I didn’t find them. The bigwigs of my own organization and the state pest control had already determined that trees in Burlington and Fairfield were infested, but I was ordered to drive down there (three times in the end) to check the purple traps those important folks had set. I found my first catches of emerald ash borers from both trees, in each city!

I realize I shouldn’t be excited about such bad news (including my one-and-only Gypsy moth, discovered on my penultimate trapping day of the entire summer), but it did stir my blood to find what we are looking for (but hoping not to see).

Otherwise, the big news from work was Sequestration furlough: we each had to take two weeks off without pay (thanks once again to the Glory-sucking Officious Politicians). This season was also shorter than the past two, thus diminishing my earnings in the first place (four months rather than nearly six).

So The Lovely One may (in reality, genuiney does) have visions of me finding a job for the colder months ahead…

©2013 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

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