Sunday, June 7, 2009

A MORNING WITH DOUGLAS

click on pictures to enlarge I finally got the yard mowed and the mower sorted out. The last problem with the mower was not a serious issue. It seems a dried piece of grape vine wedged itself up behind the transmission selector belt and dislodged it rendering the transmission useless. The guy at the mower shop layed under the mower while it was still on my trailer and got the belt back on the pulley after some tense moments and audible verbiage I can't repeat here. He had a tuff time of it. I said "what do I owe ya?" He replied, "oh thats alright; nothing." I reached in my pocket and fired that guy a twenty and said "it's worth it to me, and thanks." I haven't had time to spend alone with Douglas lately so I made time today. I somehow got Douglas through the yard gate without Shade and Happy charging through at the same time. We are now together on the Gheenoe at the bottom end of Tellico Lake. I decided to find a spot to beach the boat and let Douglas be a dog. This morning reminded me of my old TWRA days where just he and I shared a government boat all day long. Douglas was his old self on the point of the Gheenoe today. As we cruised the lake at full throttle; he stood tall at the bow with his muzzle high and his sensitive black nose constantly twitching, taking in all the smells wafting by him. His head would shift to the side when a fish would jump as we passed by. My photography today is primarilly of Douglas and the gorgeous mountains that surround this lake. The head of Tellico Lake will be congested with ski boats and beer drinking tourists. Jet ski's will be ramming into the wakes left by ocean size cruisers resulting in the lakes's surface churned into froth and turmoil. The water down here is too unpredictable with shallow, sand bars and under water obstructions for the large boats to navigate safely. The result is peace and quiet; for the most part. We are headed near Chota which is a sort of Cherokee Indian burial ground. I have written of Chota previously in this blog. I was on the water last night at Chota, floating just off shore with the engine off listening to Whippoorwills and Chuck Wills Widow's singing from the trees on shore. Chota has the largest concentration of Whippoorwillos in the U.S. I could identify fourteen individual Whippoorwills and I think eight Chuck Will's Widow's. The Whippoorwill starts right into his Whippoorwill song., clear and distinct. The Chuck Will's Widow's song is preceded with a quick "(chuck" sounding note. "(Chuck) Whippoorwill." "Chuck) Whippoorwill." It is a thrill to be in the presence of this unique chorous. Another unique characteristic is that they start singing at 9:30PM and not before. Quite a bird. And a secretive bird too. I've seen them flitting tree to tree, but never let themselves be exposed for observation. A kingfisher is making his displeasure known about the presence of unwanted guests. They are funny. Kingfishers are very difficult to photograph as they move about quickly, never sitting still for more than a few seconds. I've been wondering how many chigger bites I'll get after this little adventure today. As usual, I forgot my anti chigger spray. Oh well....... This little boat has been a wonderful craft. There is no need for a large, heavy, speedy boat for what I do. I can fish out of it; go camping in it; pull it clear up on the lake bank if I desire and load and unload it easily. The fuel economy is excellent. Douglas seems to like it also. He has been swimming for a half hour now, really enjoying the cool water which is 56 and 58 degrees at this end of the lake. It is hard to believe he is grown and a fine young, powerful Golden. I remember when he was just a puppy getting into things. He's my friend. The best..... The forest adjacent to the lake is open under the trees with little scrub to present difficult walking. I will walk with my boy awhile to give him a chance to investigate and search things out, as his breed love to do. I will look for photo opportunities and practice setting up pictures with varying depth of field settings. This camera is amazing. I've never owned one with so many capabilities. Douglas is getting a workout today. That is just what he needs. He will be tired tonight. Wonder what's up in the woods. Wow! This camera is amazing! I'm using a Canon 78 - 135mm Tele lens. The macro capabilities of this lense renders quite acceptable photographs. It is requiring experience to determine how close I need to be to the subject. All in time. The vine wraps itself around the tree and remains with it until the tree succumbs to some catastrophic event that kills it. Here we see a tree that has fallen and the ever present vines continue their relentless grip even after death. Sort of like humans who just can't let go of a loved one after they pass on. Humans just won't let go. Or maybe I should use the IRS as a better analogy. OK; I'll stop... I saw a little critter dodge into a hole in the ground. It may have been, and probably was, a field mouse. But he has a great little home; and a lawn, by the looks of things. Bet he doesn't mow. I always liked pine cones. Douglas is starting to tire. The water is cool and the hot sun is feeling good to him as he dries out. I'll let him swim a bit longer and then dry off as the Gheenoe speeds down the lake. "OK boy. Get in the boat" Where is he? "Douglas! Douglas! Come! Oh, there you are." "Come on boy; get in the boat." He's a tired little boy. Dreams of chasing squirrels. The lake is a grand place to view nature. It provides avenues for investigation that the road and wheels can not offer. Much of the shoreline is untouched because nature has created strong defenses against intrusion by installing dense growth. The varied types of trees, shrubs, bushes, flowers and mosses create a perfect habitat for the myriads of creatures that rely on this thick diverse foliage for food and shelter. Humans, being lazy, will not try to encroach on this thick mess of green, but will seek more open, easier places to frolic and create trash. Boat ramps are a great place to see how humans respect the natural world. Oops; getting onto a rant. I am keeping the boat at half speed as we travel back to the truck. The morning is beautiful and the shoreline is underscoring that statement. I'm not sure where the roses come from in the wild but I have a opinion. Before TVA and the Federal Marshals confiscated the farms and homes that are now under water; an abundance of flowers were, no doubt, flourishing at homes and along property lines. I'll bet these roses went wild. They may be survivors of a time past. Wherever they come from; they are wild and they are beautiful. I never take this beauty that is Tennessee for granted. No matter how tuff the day is or how frustrating a situation proves to be; these lakes provide a soothing withdrawal from that whithering place filled with humanity. Can you find the bird in the snag? He's just a little guy. So on down the lake we go. The morning is just about over. Douglas will be wanting to lay in the coolness of the room. Just as we approached the take out place; we saw a couple in a pair of kayaks. I found them interesting folks to talk to. These were fishing kayaks and were of the "sit on top" variety. The lady said they weigh about sixty pounds each. Too much weight for me. But they do look interesting. One thing I do like about them. They're quiet. Thats it for today. I hope you found something of interest in this mess that's called a blog. Douglas says goodby for now.