Thursday, November 30, 2006


Seems it always rains when I go to Melton Hill Lake. Thats OK. Today is a gentle rain and its just a good day to putt along at a brisk fifteen mile per hour and cruise the shoreline and look at Wild Turkeys and Deer. The 90 horsepower Mercury engine is whisper quiet and disturbs nothing. This lake always provides an atmosphere where one can reflect and ponder. It might be about what the next year will bring, or what am I doing here? Still and quiet, the lakes waters provide total relaxation on these quiet days. But the potential is there for nature's enormous lake storms. Those occurrances provide for great adventure! Douglas and I will see days like that in the future, I'm sure. Makes for a good story....... ___________________________________________________________________ This is the Melton Hill boat ramp at the Melton Hill State Park facility. The Melton Hill Lake Dam is just to the right of the photo out of view. This is my favorite launching site in the Winter as there is never anyone around. And this is the end of the lake that is wilderness. Actually Melton Hill Dam is really the Clinch River in an impoundment. Summer is a different story. Too many people! Douglas, as usual is at the point looking for something different. He's such a good boy on the boat. Never trouble. Always good companionship. The shower can be seen pelting the surface and disturbing the mirror finish of the lake. Minnows and Shad are breaking through the surface feeding. The Shad eats the minnow and the Bass and Muskie eats the Shad. So it goes..... The reflections of Fall can be seen through the gentle rain on the quiet waters

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


The old Chevy pickup pulls into the boat launch area slowly, it's occupants casually looking for a place to stop. The driver steps out and utters "come on boy" and a beautiful Golden Dog moves briskly from the seat to the ground in one fluid motion. He is a seventy five pound Golden Retriever named Douglas and he has been with the driver since the days the driver was a uniform for TWRA. They are closer than friends. Each of them knows what the other will do before he does it. The morning is young and sun is just coming up. A Heron is in a tree close to the truck and squawks loudly at the disturbance below. The interlopers can not be tollerated any longer at it bends its long legs and thrusts itself out into space on outstretched wings, squawking continually throughout the entire process. All is quiet as the driver unlatches all the teathers that hold the boat to the trailer. Many times in the past he had done this on the government boat that had been assigned to him by TWRA. This process was a daily ritual. He wore a uniform in those days. The entire preparation took about three minutes and the boat was backed down the ramp and on to the water. The Golden Dog followed the truck as it pulled the empty trailer up the boat ramp and into an empty parking space. Water dribbled off the trailer and carpeted bunks and trickled back toward the lake across the parking lot. As the driver stepped out of the truck and noticed the water trailing back toward the boat ramp and the lake; he thought "that is the path we all must take some day". He walked slowly down the boat ramp and lingered on the dock area before stepping onto the deck of the eighteen foot Lowe boat. Many memories flashed through his mind. A government boat, a huge bay, snow squalls on the lake, towing broken boats in to shore, a golden dog energized with the passion of young life, and a man in a uniform---------A man in a uniform sitting on a grassy bank who had just completed his last official run in the government boat that he operated every day. Those thoughts filled the drivers mind briefly before he got on the boat. He is a driver now but was a uniform then and he loved his daily tasks. Those were sweet days---- A sweet part of life. He pulled his hands out of his pockets and took a step toward the boat and said "get in the boat", like he has said a thousand times when he wanted Douglas to get on the government boat. The Golden Dog instantly responds by bounding onto the deck with one leap and takes his place at the point of the bow. The driver steps on board and sits behind the console with a groan. He feels just a little older than he used to. The engine comes to life. And a new adventure is under way on the Tennessee River. Like a little old man, the Heron sits and watches vigilently all that occurs below. It is early and he hasn't started his day yet. He doesn't know it yet but he'll have to deal with a pesky Golden Dog shortly.


Caves have always mystified me. The temptation to enter and explore is great. But it's best to ere on the side of caution. I travel alone on the boat and an emergency while in a cave would be less than ideal. You can see the normal water line on the rocks. I can imagine being in there when TVA has a major water release. This deserted stretch of beach on the Tennessee River is a quiet, lovely place. The Golden Dog is bounding through the woods now but will not go far as he will not let me get out of sight. Soon he will be back down here swimming and running full out to release all that pent up energy that has accumulated through the week waiting for me at home while I'm working. The Golden Dog is in his element here. His eyes get even brighter and his senses heighten when he steps onto the boat. I stop frequently and let him run it off. And he has more energy than one can imagine. He brings in any drifting wood from the lake and then starts running happy laps up and down the shoreline. He's fantastic.. The Golden Dog (Douglas) sits and listens to a pack of coyotes down stream yelping their hearts out. Wish I could get into his mind. The scenery is beautiful on the Tennessee River. Quiet!

Monday, November 27, 2006


The face of contentment. Its hard to believe that someone turned this beautiful animal out. She stumbled in on the property in a near starvation condition. She could hardly walk. Lots of kitten food high in carbs did the trick. We all weren't sure she would make it. Her hair was missing on her paws and on the back of her neck. A trip to the vet for tests proved she did not have feline leukemia. She gained weight fast and her coat grew shiny. She is healthy and happy. And she is a welcome addition to my life. Sea Foam; its the eyes! Sea Foam; A wonderful addition to my family of Homer and Douglas What a beautiful face. Innocence Ah, nothing like waking up to a nice warm exhaust fan from a computer So who's this sleeping next to the computer?

Saturday, November 18, 2006


There is one character missing throughout today's blog. It is Douglas. It was such a great day and I wanted to really try to catch a Muskie down at the channel that runs to the steam plant at Solway. I just didn't want to deal with caring for a dog. How wrong I was! The day was shallow without him. No golden visions to catch my eye. I didn't get to enjoy him having fun on the beaches and in the lake. I didn't have him to talk to.. I didn't have his company. I felt ashamed to leave him at home waiting for me. And he did. He sat on the steps by the door looking toward the road as I pulled back in at home and parked the boat. He was sad. I'll never leave without him again. This was the first and last time. I may have pointed this out in another blog, but the sight always amazes me. Its a monument to waste. This neuclear reactor is a fossel from the Korean War days. It was never ever started. Yet it sits here as a testimonial to the richness of this country and our ability to just shove this pile of tax dollars aside. I mean, there is an endless supply of tax dollars! Why worry about this hulk that must have cost billions. Ya,, but think of all the jobs that it created. Oh man!!!! Located half way down Melton Hill Lake. Ring Billed Gulls are taking advantage of the calm waters to fish and be lethargic. Actually they aren't very still for long. Its the real world for them and its catch fish or starve. Just a gorgeous day in East Tennessee. Did I say it was Winter? Exhileration as the throttle is pushed forward toward home.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Today is the seventeenth and Douglas (The Golden Dog) has been nuzzeling my arm to go do something. We haven't been on a good outing in a while so off we went to East Coast Trail. He delights in romping through the woods, nose to the wind. It is amazing to see him change into what I call his "primitive state". His nose is constantly working and he moves along at a tireless gate well out ahead of me. He is not a "heel" dog. But a free dog. He will not go far without turning and taking note to my presence. If he can not see me he will gallope back to find me and off he goes again to repeat the process. I love him. It makes me so very happy to see him having fun and being happy. And he loves this trail with its up's and down's and watery views. This is one happy Golden Dog. Douglas enjoys this trail. He has access to the water of the lake and can range around through the brush at leasure. He is well supervised and is courteous to his woodland friends. A leash is advised for dogs not accustomed to deer, squirrels and other little creatures. I noticed a large tree that was cut with a chain saw and stopped to investigate. I have always liked to try to discover the age of trees. Trees are neat! Tree rings, Growth rings or Annular rings; whatever you want to call them, can be observed on a cross section cut through a tree trunk. The growth rings indicate the season changes. Thus, one annular ring would indicate one year. We can determine the age of trees this way. Interesting,, isn't it? Heavy moister years yield wide rings where narrow rings indicate draught or dry seasons. Annular rings are the foundation of historical dating which is called dendrochronology. There-maybe something new for ya.......... The Golden Dog crosses one of the many rustic bridges on the trail. Spectacular scenes like the one below are the usual. This trail is scerene and quiet. It is a way to get back to what's important Every bend in the trail offers new views.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006


The rain is pouring down. Its chilly out but no wind is blowing. This is the kind of day that holds promise for excitement. This is the day I have the entire lake to myself. No other human is out. Only a fool would be on an enormous lake in this kind of weather. Only a fool. This fool embraces it and is appreciative of the beauty that lies just "out there". The natural things are alive and moving today. This is business as usual to them. Its just another day in their lives. I wouldn't miss the opportunity to share it with them for anything. Time is precious and I use it up. All of it. I love the wilderness. I love the lakes. And I'm thankful I am healthy enough to enjoy them. ----------The water is cloudy this day due to run off. There's a lot of floating timber in the water washed off the banks and some trees have fallen into the water where they could no long cling to the eroding soil. All will float or settle and dissappear after the rain. I wonder where all the floating trees end up. It is cold and soaking. It chills to the bone. But I revel in it all. Its invigorating! The opening ahead is the actual cove where the Uniform and the Golden Dog sought refuge from a very hard storm. They drove to the back of the cove and found some cover under a overhanging tree. The story, "The Storm" is about the events of that day. This rain today is nothing compared to the tempest in the "Storm" story. Douglas doesn't care. He just stands at the point and goes head on into anything I drive toward. He's soaked. Rain it did and hard! Very peaceful and scerene.

Monday, November 6, 2006


I have received a few email's requesting more photos of Big Red. So here they are. She's fine and waiting for Spring. Big Red is a 2001 Road King Harley Davidson. She has carried me over many roads and will continue to do so for some time to come. She is family. Red only has 68,000 miles on the speedometer and plenty room for more.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Nature's Message

Frost covers the trees and fields. Leaves change to dramatic colors. The harsh weather causes change in the field and wood. Animals are burrowing and preparing for hibernation. Birds have either left or are preparing to leave on annual migrations. Many are returning from Northern Climates. As the waters become cold and the air crisp; the lakes are suddenly void of human use and it appears that nature once again has taken control of her territories. The thin skinned and frail humans are susceptable to the cold of winter and find it uncomfortable, preferring to remain indoors until Nature allows them the use of her offerings in the warmer times of Spring. But the strong winds and storms of winter are thrilling and exhillerating! They awaken the sprit and test the fortitude of mortal man. They are a reminder of who and what is really in control. Total control!!

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Ft Loudoun Park and Lake

My sweet friend finds his place in it all. He belongs here. He is at home in this vast beauty. He blends into all that nature provides. He is a blessing and a beauty to be admired. He represents all that is natural. He is nature himself. I admire him. He is my friend and companion and I am proud of him. Views across the lake are nothing less than spectacular. The results of the greatest painter of all-------------------Nature The rusty colors of Fall are everywhere and no better place to view them than where water kisses the shore. The crisp air and rustling leaves promise that winter is near. The path to the lake. Located at Ft Loudoun State Park on Route 360 South from Vonore, TN. The trail follows the edge of the lake after rambling through beautiful, bird filled woods.