When you do field work on public lands you need permits and there are all sorts of rules and regulations, blah, blah, blah… But when you work on private lands, the situation tends to be a little more relaxed and come with benefits. Private landowners often invite you to eat with them, offer you cold beverages after a hot day in the sun, help you with tasks, and let you borrow equipment.
This month doing our vegetation survey of a property near Ardmore, we had a couple of these field work perks. We had to postpone put field work for a couple weeks in August because of heat advisories and minor illness within our crew. To avoid the worst of the heat, we started at sunrise, walking to our sites, as the morning was mostly cloudy. The little ranch dog, Franny, was our assistant all morning helping us with our work. She stirred up the fire ant hills, barked at the deer, and evaluated the vegetation cover of our plots.
After our early lunch break in the shade of the ranch house porch, we were offered one of the ranch ATVs, which we happily used now that the sun was high and hot. Franny didn’t want to miss out and hopped in with us, lounging on the seat in the shade while we did our “work.” Our little canine ranch hand was the most amiable field tech I have worked with.