Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CANOE'S AND STUFF

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE Many things have happened over the past three days off work. I had a great day in the woods with the dogs on Monday and found a boxer mix young dog lying along the hiking trail. Her ribs were showing and a very bad rain storm was scheduled to hit later that night. So I picked her up and hustled her home with me. That's all I needed; another dog. I now live with six of the rascals. They are becoming a burden on my financial ability to care for them properly. I absolutely can not accept one more dog. The dog's name will be Almondine. It's off to the vet for heart worm testing, vaccination, rabies shot, and spay operation. There goes a hundred bucks. But I gotta say; the look in her eyes when I stopped and picked her up is the look of relief. She was just out there on the edge of the forest with no idea of where to go. A mark on her hair around her neck indicates a collar was once attached. Someone removed the collar and let her out. How heartless! Her disposition is sweet and mellow. What a great little dog! I often wonder if people even consider in the slightest way what it must be like for a little dog like this to wander aimlessly and slowly starve. She'll keep walking until her strength is gone and there's nothing left but to lay down and let go. Many castaways have the luck to run into coyotes who will make the end less painful. People - and the dog is called an animal. On a more cheerful note; Douglas, Happy, Sigh, Shade and I went out to the woods down by the lake for a long walk and a relaxing rest. The geese were active on the lake and Douglas just had to chase a group of them that were sitting on the shoreline. They made a chorus of squawks and honks as Douglas drove them into the lake. He could never catch one as they are too close to the water for him to gain proximity to them. They paddled just off shore and sat there and taunted Douglas with their insulting croaking and complaining. Douglas and Shade languished in the water after two long weeks of being trapped in the house due to cold weather. It felt good to visit the old ruins. The dogs know exactly where they are here at the ruins and they plunge off toward the lake. I like to throw them a curve and head off in another direction. This time I walked off across the huge fields that lie adjacent to the forested hills. I had a clear view of the open path they all ran down. I could watch the path to see how long it would take for them to figure it out that I wasn't coming behind them. It was so humorous to watch all three dogs; Shade first, Douglas second and Happy third come running back up the path in search of me. Their heads were turning left and right as they trotted along. Shade ran all the way back to the truck. So funny! I yelled "Hey"! All three heads snapped in my direction and all three dogs ran at break neck speed toward me. I love em......... We walked to the ruins via the long way through the fields that lie to the rear of the old foundation. There we would sit and rest awhile. Well; I would sit and rest awhile. Shade seems to have uncovered a tunnel under the leaves left by some varmint. She can sure make the dirt fly. Douglas, on the other hand, uses a more civilized approach to the excavation. He simply uses his nose to sniff out the little rodent. Shade quickly tires of varmint duty and starts acting like the big goof she is. But there is one who watches the two undisciplined youths through knowing eyes. She also, at an earlier period in her life, chased squirrels and dug up varmints. She drank deep from the cup of life that Mother Nature offered her and she even tried unsuccessfully to make her first human happy. Her loyalty was rewarded by being cast out along the highway to die. She was found and treated like royalty, as she deserves to be. She watches these two kids playing in the leaves and for just a moment, her old heart beats just a bit faster as some youthful memory passes fleetingly through her mind. Old Sigh. Ever watchful. This brings us up to today. I am working on a bathroom remodel project for a friend. I proceeded as far as I could without the aid of an electrician. After lunch I decided to give the canoe another try. There was not a breeze and the lake was dead calm. The threat of rain was constant but I was eager to try out my canoe paddle strokes. So off to the lake I went with the canoe. I decided to sit backward in the front seat and paddle the canoe backwards. I would need ballast in the opposite end of the canoe. I filled a dry bag full of water and placed it behind the nose of the boat. Perfect. I launched and proceeded down the lake. My first attempt at paddling left a lot to be desired. But research indicated to me some errors of my ways. I pushed off and began the paddle strokes I have practiced in my mind for weeks. I used the "J" Stroke, which is a corrective stroke, to move the canoe across the lake. After several alterations to the "J" Stroke were tried; I finally settled into a steady paddle stroke that incorporated the correction "J" Stroke at the end of the power stroke . It was working perfectly. I increased the power in the stroke and put the "J" hook at the end of each stroke in one fluid motion. Soon I only needed the "J" hook on every two strokes. This canoe moves! The glide was long and the nose of the canoe went strait; proof that my correction "J" stroke was working. Life is great. Note the dry bag full of water I placed in the nose of the canoe for ballast. At the end of the trip I simply dump the water out and fold up the bag. Neat! I'm ready to load her up with camping gear and get out there on some trips. This summer is going to be extremely interesting. I am treading on unfamiliar territory with this canoe adventuring. I think that is why I am drawn to it.