On my way to Indiana, I had to buy gas, and had to pay over $20 for a tank of gas for the first time (in the US). Also, on the way home, I saw a different station charging over $2 a gallon for regular -- a lot of stations had been at $1.999 but I hadn't seen one over the magic $2. Damn oil companies. Hope they can stay greedy long enough that people remember it in November. *smack* get back on topic.
I got to the center a little late -- almost 10:30 by the time I was ready to start actually doing things -- and a fair bit of the feeding and cleaning was already done, but there was still a fair bit to do. I cleaned a couple of cages; I fetched some straw; I filled some water buckets.
The most unique challenge I helped deal with was that one of the tiger cages had a big pool of standing water in it; Fallon (my best guess at spelling) and I had to try to figure out how to get through the jungle outside the cage to open up the plugged place where the water should drain out. They didn't issue us machetes, but we did manage to get where we needed to be without them.
I again spent a good chunk of time spraying water into a water tank from outside the fence while the tigers played with the stream of water. I talked to Karen, who's probably the most senior and respected of the regular employees, and she agreed with me that it would be a good idea to build some kind of bracket or mounting system so that more of the tiger's water tanks could be filled from the outside, without having a person actually stand there and hold the hose. Not only would it save employee and volunteer time, it would cut down on the time the cats have to spend locked out of the main part of their enclosures while water tanks fill, and most important, it would give the tigers the chance to play with the water more often. They really enjoy it, and any easy chance for more enrichment is always good. The hard part will be to convince Joe of the merit of the plan.
I got good visits with most of the cats that I'm friendly with, which left me feeling pretty good about the day even though I didn't get to play with any without a fence between us.
One of the highlights of the early to middle part of the day was the number of butterflies that were around. Butterflies often seem to be attracted to the minerals on the ground on some of the paths and work areas, and there were several red-spotted purples and tiger swallowtails today. There was also an unfamiliar swallowtail, and a completely unfamiliar butterfly (not a swallowtail, more normal wing shape, but fairly large), which had black wings with yellow borders.
In addition to just watching butterflies, I like to photograph them, and I like to try to pick them up and get them to sit on my hand. Sometimes I can do it fairly well; other times I can't. I have a notion that whether a butterfly will sit on your hand has something to do with how at peace you are with the universe -- I seem to be more successful when I'm feeling less stressed out with the world. I call this 'butterfly karma'. My butterfly karma wasn't too good today; I didn't get any butterflies to sit on my hand, and only one that really even came close.