Monday, April 23, 2007


Today is the fourth day off on a new work schedule and it's proving to be a day filled with sloth and observation. I drove down to Tellico Lake with the boat this morning to see if the bass were biting. I am not a good fisherman by any standards and expected to just throw lure's out into the calm water near the Fort at Fort Loudoun State Park. Much to my surprise I quickly caught four bass of the Spotted variety. I couldn't believe it. Another two hours produced two more. They all were returned to the water carefully and with respect. The wind picked up and the white caps appeared. Time to haul it in. Besides, I missed Douglas. On the way back toward home, I noticed a little brown half starved puppy along the road. I stopped but could not entice him to come to me.
When I left this morning, I forgot my camera and missed some great Sand Piper shots. They are in migration mode right now, according to Janet. Hopefully I'll see more when I return to the lake. Actually, I have returned. Douglas and Happy are with me and we are all three sitting on a hill looking down onto our boat that is beached and tied off on a tree snag.
I had always wanted a eighteen foot fiberglass center console bay boat. I thought and still do think they are the prettiest boats on the water. But I opted for the Lowe eighteen foot VPT 1860 semi Jon boat. This boat can travel over two feet of water and can be dragged up onto any beach. The fancy fiberglass boats would be gouged and scratched by now; and maybe worse. The 90 horsepower Mercury I opted to install allows rapid travel in as close to silence as possible. Four stroke engines are great. The big 90 horsepower engine is capable of pushing the boat at a constant 45 miles per hour with me alone. Add one Douglas and for some reason it's a chore to achieve speeds above 40 miles per hour. Well, he's a big boy.
Douglas has just come out of the water below me and is standing, head turned up, toward me, ears up and eyes wide. He seems to be waiting for some action from me that will allow him to react in some dog way. He is getting older now and his demeanor is starting to reflect a mildness he never had before. He will now lay down beside me here after a brief spurt of activity. Before, when younger, he would roam about constantly on the move. He still has "happy feet" but he stops them more often now. I love it when he stays by me. He does honer to me by wanting to be with me. It is his way of expressing total trust and devotion. I still am amazed by his strength and untiring energy. I find it difficult to believe that a body and frame of that size is able to house such dynamic forces and strength. I delight in watching him run. His huge paws strike the earth in perfect harmony with each other. The shoulder blades protrude vertically with his forward leg thrusts, then disappear somewhere within him. At full run his rear feet somehow can be extended all the way up and under his chest, paused for a split second there before hammering down onto the ground with solid thuds and finding purchase there for the mighty forward thrust that instantly follows. His golden body flows over logs and boulders. How can he navigate at top speed, over forest debris, ravines, boulders and streams without ever making an error. He plants four feet precisely on target each and every time. He is perfection. And he is young.
I have taken dog's for granted all my life. They were just---------there. Now, I literally live with dogs. Douglas, Happy and old Sigh share a 20X60 foot remodeled warehouse room with me. I installed a dog door so that they can come and go as they please. They are interesting to watch. Each is unique in his own way. They seem to do what I do. When I lay down to sleep; they all position themselves in their places and lay down to sleep. Shortly after the lights go out, their individual sounds can be heard. Douglas is a dreamer. He will make puppy sounds and sometimes his legs will move as if he is running. Happy has a shrill squeak to her exhale. She sometimes dreams too. Old Sigh makes all sorts of sounds constantly. She snores loudly all night. She makes snore sounds that remind me of a giant zipper being unzipped under water. I'm glad she snores. It lets me know she is content and happy. She deserves it. Her life up until two years ago was living hell. She was found by Janet at a rest stop down on route 411 South by Vonore. She was so starved she could hardly move. A quarter of one ear was torn off entirely indicating a hard fight had occurred at some point earlier in her life. The vet said her hips still have shot gun pellets in them. Her pelvis had been broken and her hip pops out of its socket from time to time. But she has been brought back to health with good food and a lot of care. She is fat and lazy now. Sigh likes to lay in the sun and sleep before retiring inside to the cool room ------------------to sleep. I do take her on dog outings with Douglas and Happy. She is a sweetheart.
Both yesterday and today have been perfect Tennessee days. I did not go to the lake yesterday because I do not like to deal with all the people. A calm mirror surfaced lake at seven in the morning on a Sunday is turned into wakes, white caps and froth by noon due to all the pleasure boat traffic. There is no peace on the lakes on a weekend. The boat ramp I used today told the story of yesterday. I backed the boat trailer to the water through enough trash to fill a pick up truck. I can not imagine how people can discard food bags and trash onto pristine areas and not feel it is wrong. It amazes me; even dirty baby diapers. I think what needs to happen is ----nothing. Leave the trash on the boat ramps and docks for an entire year. Let the litter bugs have to back their high priced boats through their own garbage. Today alone, at the Toqua boat ramp on Tellico Lake, I saw the above mentioned baby diaper, a half eaten chicken, napkins of all colors, Havoline oil cans, charcoal dumped on the pavement, countless McDonald's bags, old tennis shoes, a belt, a shirt and uncountable pop cans (the most common being Coke, followed secondly by Mountain Dew.) What is so hard about taking these trash items home? The answer is laziness. The second part of the answer is that they know someone will be by in the morning to clean it up. What happened to personal pride? But then, these are people for the most part, that haven't a clue what the Alamo is all about or where Vietnam is or what happened there for that matter. And guess what. Someday there will be a generation who will not have a clue what 9-11 is all about. And they will litter too.
Enough ranting and raving! I need to get my two friends on the boat and out of here. Well, maybe just a short hike before departure.
A Powerful Lunge
Happy the Bullet

Sunday, April 15, 2007


I was informed about this auction just yesterday. I tried to upload the article to this blog but I guess the only thing I can upload is pictures. In essence the article says that on May 5, 2007, a rare treasure in Tennessee will be offered to the public in a real estate sales event. Telliquah was established in 1736 in the heart of a vast Cherokee nation that stretched from northern Alabama to southern Ohio. The Cherokee called their lands Shaconage, "Land of the Blue, Grey Smoke," believing it was the first place the Creator made in all the earth. Telliquah was sanctuary, a place where no one was permitted to spill blood. The Cherokee passed along the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma and the Cherokee Removal created a land rush in the mountains. Among other treasures the Cherokee left behind was a rudimentary iron foundry in Telliquah. The foundry was acquired by James Bradley and Michael Carrol, who formed the Tellico Iron Company. General William Tecumseh Sherman visited the town at the start of his march to the sea. Sherman, accompanied by a large detachment of Union soldiers, encamped at Tellico Plains on December 10 and 11, 1863. He had come to destroy the Tellico Iron Works because it was producing material for the Confederate Army. The works were destroyed, but after learning the owner was a Yankee and a Union sympathizer, Sherman had a change of heart and left the mansion house intact. It was said that Johnson was a most hospitable host and lubricated Sherman with some of his whiskey. The mansion stood overlooking the river until a fire destroyed most of its roof in the 1990's. The mansion site and 24 adjoining properties will be sold in an auction sales event with no minimum and no reserves. This collection of properties is as rare and unique as their history and will be easily recognized as heirlooms to be passed on from generation to generation. Each site is fronted by the pristine-free flowing Tellico River and backed by over two million acres of National Forest land. The land is being auctioned because in selliing real estate over a prolonged period of time, the cost of maintaining a sales office and staffr, plus advertising, interest expense, maintenance, and other related costs all of these expenses are added to the price and passed along to the buyer. The speed of auction process is so quick that the seller can save on many of these costs and pass the savings along to the successful bidders. Much of the above was copied by myself from the article as it was written. Now then. Note the high-lited area above. Read it again. Note where it says "rare and unique". "Heirlooms to be passed on from generation to generation." What's wrong with this picture? Its an auction! An auction! Anyone can bid! The people who win in land auctions on property like this are rich developers. Why in the world would the state of Tennessee or local government for that matter, allow this rich piece of heritage to go to auction? Its unthinkable! I'll tell you what will happen to it. It will end up being a "Rarity something of other". What in the world is wrong with Tennessee government. Are not those people elected to be stewards of the land? Is it possible, or thinkable that something of the past is worth hanging on to in the name of history, and to honor and respect those who came before and struggled? Is this state so broke that money can not be found to purchase and protect this property and add it to protected status? Of course it will create jobs if sold. Ya, thats it. Why not open up the Smoky's to developement. Great Scott!, Think of the income possibilities. Dollywood could expand and Pigion Forge could even add another lane through town they'd be so rich. It would be like a gold rush for real estate agents and prospective land buyers. Hey, why not sell the Alamo too? Thats over. Been a long time ago. No one cares. Ask any high school graduate what the Alamo is all about. You'll get a dumb look. Don't even bring up Vietnam. Is nothing sacred here in East Tennessee? Must it all be sold? Does history and heritage count for nothing? Evidently Tennessee government doesn't hold much value in heritage. I think they talk the walk but don't walk the talk. Their all just good ol boys proud of their past----------until theres a dollar to be made. Sickening!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 14, 2007


I launched the boat today in order to go check on the Bald Eagles I promised to photograph. The parents were nowhere around and there was no use in photographing the nest again. There should be chicks in the nest by now. I will keep an eye on it. So off I went in search of other interesting fare. The little girl directly below caused me to stop the truck and allow her to cross the road to the boat ramp. She was in no hurry. Her appearance reminds me of the turkey I saved along the road last week that hit a car while flying too low. These are magnificent birds. Loons are also magnificent. I find them fascinating for some reason. Maybe its the challenge they present when photographing. Digital cameras leave a lot to be desired while using digital magnification (zoom). But they are wonderful cameras. After all; I'm not a professional photographer. But my photos satisify me. I can check them out on rainy nights and be reminded of the wonderful things I have seen.
Amazing bird. They are holding onto their mating colors fairly long this season. They all soon will be totally brown. It's interesting to note that the Loon has evolved a body where the legs are located well back of body center making it impossible for them to walk on land. They spend their lives in the water. If they loiter too long on a pond in the winter they can become trapped as ice closes the open water. Loons also actually fly under water. They dive and reappear hundreds of feet away. An absolutely amazing and gorgeous bird.
The colors on this bird are spectacular! They are so difficult to photo in the wild that luck is needed to get a good shot. Luck or a 35 millimeter camera with a 500mm lense.
Very elusive and difficult to photograph. This one is still in his colorful plumage

Thursday, April 12, 2007


I have been very busy this spring and am having trouble getting it all together. The job at the Harley store keeps me hopping and my animal friends are doing a good job of taking time too. I did get an enclosure put on my boat. This will allow me to be on the water summer and winter in any kind of weather. I can and will put a kerosene heater on board in colder weather. There is a catch I discovered, however. A strong wind blew up and pulled the left side off the snaps. I called the person who made the enclosure and suggested they sew a six inch strip of canvas around the bottom of the enclosure and attach fastex buckles and straps. I'll run these straps through eyelets attached to the gunwhale and cinch them down to take pressure off the snaps. This is a neat top and sides with plenty of vision. There is a back enclosure also. The pictures do not show it. I haven't tried it yet as I want the modification done with the straps before I hit the water with it. The good old rain suit will have to do till then.