Sunday, November 30, 2008


click on photos to enlarge I finally got time to launch my new escape mechanism. I found out one important thing real fast; I am totally lost when it comes to canoe operation. I have read and studied all the canoe strokes and thought it would just be a matter of a few trial paddle strokes and I'd be streaming down the water ways. Not so. This canoe is an Esquif Champlain model in Kevlar. The light weight material makes the canoe very easy to lift onto and off the truck cap. It is a breeze to carry anywhere. I put it in the water and easily got in and positioned. Off I went with a strong paddle stroke. Good. Then two more strong strokes and the canoe started to veer to the right. I'm paddling on the left. I executed a "J" stroke at the end of my power stroke, which is designed to correct the veer to the right, and it still went to the right. OK; we'll practice this. We did for three hours. The wind picked up to a gentle, steady breeze and it blew toward right side of the canoe and I found that steady paddling without any corrective action with the paddle made the canoe go dead straight. Great! I can do this. Then the wind stopped. Correction is again needed because the bow of the boat is veering to the right again with every paddle stroke. I paddle slow and apply correction and I'm going straight. Good. Maybe I need ballast in the front of the boat. Ya; that's it. Ballast. Off I paddle toward the truck. Lets see; what do I have in the truck I can use for weight in the bow to offset my weight. So I pulled out an old trailer jack and a spare boat trailer wheel. I gently sat them into the bow of my canoe in order to set the front of the boat into the water a bit further. This gotta be it. Yep. This is the answer. Off I go again. This helped stabilize the movement of the bow when the breeze picked up. But it did nothing to help when I applied the correction "J" stroke. There's work to be done. Anyone seeing a canoe with a trailer wheel sticking out the front would think the driver was nuts. Well; he is a little different, but I don't think nuts. I did get the boat well out in the center of Tellico Lake; which is a rather large body of water. But it was a struggle. It is difficult, as with anything, to learn a new skill without training. I will get it. I promise. And I will eventually take a canoe class. Handling a canoe is a skill. And it isn't an easy skill to pickup without instruction. But I'll get it. Even with all the difficulty of my first outing; I enjoyed the activity. I'm waiting for the rain to stop today so I can get it out on the water again. I have lots of paddle stroke variations I want to try. One will work.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


click pictures to enlarge Finally; the temperature has risen to 45 degrees and the day is sunny. It's been in the teens at night and not much better during the day. Well; a little better. I'm into the third day of a string of off days from work and today is the first decent day to get the dogs together for a hike in the woods. I was in such a hurry I forgot my hat and glasses. Getting old I guess. Usually this time of year finds folks staying home near the fire indoors. But I find it an exciting time to be in the out doors. Leaves are mostly off the trees and the ground is covered in a golden, leafy blanket. The dogs love to roll and burrow into them. Birds can be seen more frequently through the bare limbs of trees Simply allow your eyes to follow the music and you'll find the little fellow. The huge lake is gray and cold in appearance. It is an amazing contrast to the days of Spring and Summer where the waters are electric and vibrant with reflection. Winter extracts a different beauty in lakes. They are mirror smooth, but gray and cold. They speak at human kind to use caution when upon them. It is a quiet day. The only sound is the rustle of leaves as the dogs walk upon them. I have Douglas, Shade, Happy and Sigh today. I need to get out with my boy Douglas. Just him and me. It used to be just the two of us morning till night. But as the others came, I feel we've lost some of our closeness. He has the distraction of others on our outings where as before, it was just me. Maybe I'm jealous of the others. Ha; now there's a twist. He has matured into a gorgeous golden boy. No; a spectacular golden boy. He is so beautiful I sometimes stop in mid stride to just look at him move. He was the little puppy with feet three times too large for his body. I always wondered what those feet would eventually support. Now I know.......

Friday, November 14, 2008


click on the pictures to enlarge Well, well, well; A rather dreary day has unfolded, dark and overcast and my little family is anticipating a run through the Fall leaves at the ruins. Why not? They are overdue for a run. Besides; everything is gloom and doom these days and the dogs always bring a smile to my face and cause a sense of enlightenment to my soul. My barber, a lady, told me she had breast cancer; my friend whom I have spoken of prior this entry is battling a serious cancer; my savings is dwindling away even as we speak and heaven knows what lies ahead. But my guys, here, take my mind off it all. I will take delivery of a new Esquif Champlain Kevlar canoe on Monday and the promise of new adventures will be fulfilled. The canoe is part of my attempt to be totally assimilated back into the fabric of the earth; to disappear and evaporate. So stay tuned. Canoe's are new to me and I'm sure there will be some interesting, if not desperate situation type stories. Tongue in cheek.................. As I write this, everyone is sniffing trees, turning over small logs or digging in mounds of fine, powdery dirt created by fire ants. They are just being dogs. And I am still amazed at the beauty of my golden boy Douglas. He is in such great form! He is broad and deep at the chest and narrow at his hips. His golden hair is shiny and his eyes are bright and all seeing. When running he flows over the yellow and red leaves that cover the ground and leaps over fallen tree trunks in an easy, effortless way. He can instantly turn left or right on a whim and power strait up a fifty foot embankment in an instant, turn in a flash and blast back down full throttle and remain in total control. He is a master of his environment. I'm proud of him.... Douglas appears to throw caution to the wind when running full out. He is the wind! He is more nature than any human will ever be. He is a child of nature. Nature's boy. And someday; when Mother Nature calls her son home to be with her; I will be devastated. He is on loan to me. I know that. From the day our lives became entwined; I knew it would only be a temporary loan. But oh; what a loan! It is a loan that I don't mind making payments on. Keeping him fit and safe and seeing to his well being is a pleasure and a privilage. And when the loan is paid; I will be left with an enhanced life full of joyfull memories. So, dear golden boy; roll in the leaves and bask in nature's wooded pleasures. We have years ahead to enjoy endless adventures together. I love you boy. I have always been fearful of Douglas running into a poisonous snake while in the wood. We would probably be too far out to get help in a timely fashion. The opportunity to train him to leave snakes alone has never presented itself. That is until today. The kids ran across a black snake this afternoon. The warmer than usual day must have tempted the snake out of its crevice and into the warmth. I'm glad the snake was harmless. But it appeared formidable and I was curious what the dogs would do. Each dog approached the snake with extreme caution. They tested the air carefully, while circling the snake. No dog acted foolishly. Actually I have never seen any of them show such caution and respect. They didn't bark and they moved slowly and with care not to make a sound. Their eyes never left the snake. I was releaved to see the dogs act this way. It would mean that if any of them would come upon a rattle snake or copperhead, they would exercise caution. I noticed that the snake's head would follow Douglas everywhere he would move. Douglas would try to side step around the snake to avoid the snake's total attention. The snake had keyed in on Douglas and locked his eyes onto Douglas's eyes. With animals; it's all about the eye contact. There is so much transmitted through their eyes. Douglas in particular displayed caution. He sat and studied the snake. He tried to figure out what it was and if it was dangerous. Not through thought process of course. But through the intelligence he inherited from his forefathers. He is canine and has a proud lineage. I carefully picked up the snake and placed it gently in a safe place where it could slither away to safety. Anytime I have the guys out in the forest; snakes are in the forefront of my mind. From the second the boat touches the shore or the moment I step from the truck; I think snakes and my eyes wander about the area. I always look ahead of the dogs when we walk, especially in forest that are not visited by humans frequently. It's a habit. They're my kids after all. Till next time...........