Counting down the days…

Yeah that’s right, eleven days left in Bismarck for me. It has gone by wayyyy to fast. I swear we were just pulling into the Walmart parking lot to rest for the night last week, not two months ago! I definitely could stay out here for a few more months, that’s for sure. I have fallen in love with this place. And the people are all still completely amazing.

Megan and I volunteered at the North Dakota State Fair last Thursday-Sunday to help out in the Game and Fish’s shooting booth. It was so much fun! First of all, growing up as a 4-Her I absolutely LOVE fair life and all that’s associated with it. I was like a kid in a candy shop walking through the livestock barns the moment we got there, and everyday afterwards. The fair took place in Minot, about two hours north of Bismarck. Meg and I were both assigned to teaching kids (and adults, but mainly kids) how to safely and properly hold, aim, and shoot little Crossman pellet long rifles. We had kids as young as 2 years old and all the way up to senior citizens in the shooting booth, some with tons of hunting and shooting experience and others who have never even seen a gun before in their lives. Like, I said it was a great time! And probably one of the best parts is we had to spend 7+ straight hours with the other Game and Fish people (including all the guys from Bismarck who never said more than “good morning” to us before), which forced conversation, which then lead to great new friendships. Unfortunately all this happened at the end of the summer. I wish we had had fair at the beginning so then we would have had all these great people to hang out with for the whole summer. But this week has been fun now that everyone is friends and I know our last week next week will be even better. I guess this just means I have to come back and visit again real soon. Darn, that really sucks (note the sarcasm).  One of the guys from another NDGF location who was helping in the shooting booth and I started talking about where we were both from. Turns out he grew up about 20 minutes away from where I grew up in a part of Maryland that I use to hang out in all the time. In fact, we shared many of the same friend groups and have probably hung out before. Talk about a small world, eh? Crazy. He is currently back in Maryland to visit and we plan on meeting up when I head back that way.

  

We’d also get a tad on the bored side, especially during the hottest part of the day… well that’s when we discovered that the Trapping booth had water guns! Oh yeah. It was on. Boredom doesn’t seem to have a place when there is an epic water gun war on the very edge of breaking out at any minute. Even the kids visiting the booth would get involved and were more than happy (hmm, maybe a little too excited actually) to soak their instructors. Or kids that would pass by and try to sneak a peak of the shooting area prior to taking the required firearm safety class that was mandatory before being allowed to enter the range area and pick up a pellet gun (yes, even the experienced hunters still had to sit through these classes). Needless to say – we had a great time.

Meg and I even went on the 250 foot, 100 mpg bungee ride. It was so cool! We did it at night so went it shot you up you felt like an astronaut heading towards the stars, and then as you peak at 250 feet you turn and get a beautiful view of the fair all lit up before plummeting to the ground before the bungee lines catch you. Amazing. From the rooftop of the shooting building we got to watch Blake Shelton put on one heck of a show! Seriously, if you ever get the opportunity to see him live, I highly recommend it. He is an extraordinary entertainer and is just so full of energy. Every night we got to enjoy fair life as we grilled out by the exhibits and watched as the fair emptied and eventually closed before we headed back to the hotel right across the street. Sigh. I miss being a 4-Her. This little tease of fair made me make sure I calculate at least a few nights in at our county fair back home before I hit the road to Missouri and then onto Pittsburgh and then finally Frostburg where I’ll be for the next few months. Plus it is my nephew, Christopher’s first official year as a 4-Her and I have to watch him show!!

As far as work has been going, we’ve been finishing up and have spent the majority of this week in the office recording and analyzing data. We are still getting in a TON of mail-out surveys from the waterfowl community and are always excited to see what new data they bring in. Dr. Serfass should be here within the next few hours to meet up with us and see how things have been going. I probably write again soon to give you the “official” update as to the ending of our summer season. Oh and Dr. Dan just sent me a note that they will be doing a moose necropsy tomorrow morning and I am hoping I will be able to jump in on that! I am still just in complete shock that it’s already the end of the season. I can say that over and over but I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet. It probably won’t until after I am settled in my house at Frostburg and missing everyone back here.

Well I will get back on here soon to let y’all know how this weekend is going to play out!

Oh wait, one more thing. I am not sure if I have mentioned this yet or not but I have registered to run in Tough Mudder on September 9th in Frederick, Maryland. It’s a 12 mile INTENSE obstacle course that supports the Wounded Warrior Project. I am helping to raise money for the WWP until my run date. If you are interested in donating in this incredible organization you can donate at this link – https://register.toughmudder.com/fundraising/donate.aspx?event=9389&fundraiser=r5670129 (my personal goal is to raise at least $150). Thanks guys! Also go to www.toughmudder.com to learn more about how crazy I actually am.

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