Friday, December 25, 2009




The above picture is a creative attempt at art and as close as I can get to a Christmas tree.  Drift wood will have to do.  Actually it's an old tree stump that normally would be under water.  Tellico Lake is holding a low water level and the old stump is exposed.  It is Christmas and I've got my kids down at the hiking trail that follows the lake's edge.  If the day wasn't so windy;  I would have taken the Gheenoe out for a spin this morning and would have had ample time for the dogs in the afternoon.  We are experiencing strange weather patterns down here this Winter.  Christmas Eve was spent at the habitat listening to Christmas music and watching movie clips from the movie "Last of the Mohegans."  I liked that movie a lot.  The wind blew and the rain fell and the dogs and I were snug inside this dog house toasty warm.  Well;  kind of warm.  Shade had her usual happy face on.

  I took some shots of Douglas but they didn't turn out clear.  Happy and Macadamia were sharing warmth over on my (their) chair.  Macadamia and six of her pups came into my dog house as rescue dogs.  The pups were beautiful and we named them after nuts.  Hazel, Hickory, Walnut, Acorn and I can't remember the names of the last two.  They were referred to as the nut family or simply the nuts.   They all got adopted.  Now, I'm stuck with Macadamia.   She is sweet but very un-trusting.  She and Happy seem to have bonded as they share everything together.

The night went smoothly.  I enjoyed the Christmas music accept for the occasional old Christmas songs disgraced by some modern artist's attempt to improve upon it.  I can't stand the modernization of good old Christmas music.  The only altered Christmas song I like is "Drummer Boy" by Bing Crosby and David Bowie.  That's a great piece of music.  
I made a pot of coffee on the camp stove in a percolator coffee pot.  I like it made in that coffee pot.  The Whisperlite Camp Stove is the only means of applying my limited abilities at cooking to anything.  That's OK.  No big deal.  So, I had a piping hot pot of coffee ready and a huge bowl of oat meal heating up on the stove.   The big decision of the evening was to use honey or brown sugar on the oat meal.  The brown sugar won out.  Ah;  Christmas dinner.  It don't get any better than this.  Actually;  I had been invited several times at work by coworkers  to spend Christmas day with

them.  Being here with my dogs is entirely my decision.  Yep;  I know.   I'm a little funny about such things.  OK;  I'm a lot funny about such things.  Guess I've been alone too long;  or,  not long enough.  It depends how you view it.   But we, the dogs and I,  had a great night.  Good friends and good conversation.  Of course, I did most of the talking.

We all slept late and didn't get a start until after 1 PM.  That's late for me.  I loaded up the dogs and headed for the East Coast Tellico Hiking Trail.  I really like that trail as it offers good scenery and a selection of either short or long hikes.  The wind was howling but the temperature was probably in the upper forties.  

We headed down the trail under an overcast sky.  The trees were full of robins.   I don't usually see robins in the summer around here but in the Winter, they are numerous and usually in the trees.  I don't understand that.  The robin and the house sparrow are the common birds back in Pennsylvania.  Interesting.
The dogs were busy investigating everything and anything.  That's what dogs do.  They investigate.  It's called searching and finding.  They are hard wired to search and seek.  Well;  hunting breeds are.  Douglas and Shade are of those breeds and they require the opportunity to find things interesting to investigate.  I read where it borders on cruelty to prevent hunting breeds from satisfying that instinctive need.   

We can't have any cruelty now, can we?


The water is very choppy today.  The wind is blowing fairly hard on the water.  It wouldn't be very much fun in the Gheenoe today and absolutely forget putting the canoe on water in these conditions.  I experienced wind and water in the canoe a few weeks ago on Calderwood Lake.  Never again if I can help it.
I run into the darnedest things.  Now, here is what appears to be a cattle watering trough.  It is just sitting here along side the trail.  I am guessing the barn and farm house it once belonged with are demolished and under the water of the lake.  It's amazing what I run into out here.

This is a beautiful trail.  Volunteers keep it manicured and maintained.  A lot of work has been put into its creation.

This leg of the trail has followed the edge of the lake all the way to a side road a few miles from our starting point.  There is an old boat dock there that I have tied the boat to in the Summer when I  put the boat on Tellico.  The water is pretty low in the lake as can be seen from the shot below.

I wanted to attempt a few creative shots with this dock but, it seems that the dogs have to get into the picture too.  Any time that I show interest in an object;  they also show great interest in that same thing.  Gotta love em.

Yes Happy;  I got your picture.  Now, get off the dock.

Ok;  I got you.  Now get off the dock so I can get a picture of-----------Douglas;  what are you doing on my dock.  Ok;  I'll get you in a shot too.

Ok, one more and then get off the dock.

Heck;  I didn't want to mess with the dock anyway.  Ok Shade;  your turn.  Shade!  Shade!  Where is that dog?   The wind is getting stronger.  I think some interesting weather may be blowing in.  Probably cold weather.

I took a break and sat down.  The dogs were swimming and having a great time running through the woods.  I allowed my thoughts to wander to times gone by;  to Christmas on the farm;  the early days.  Those were different times for sure.  I remembered when my mother and my aunt struggled to attach candles to a Christmas tree in the sitting room of our old farm house.  The candles were made in the basement of the house and were mounted somehow to small wooden bases that attached to the very end of the pine branches.  I can remember dad lighting the candles and mom making comments about him burning the house down.  I thought, "if you're so worried, why go through all this?"  It's a distant memory and I have no vivid recollections of the candle event but, I do remember opening the presents.  I may have been only five years of age at that time.  The presents lay under the tree.  Mine were over on the right side where the baby lay in the manger.   I could almost guess what was in the boxes.  In those days the gifts seemed to have relevance.  In other words they were things that made sense and were usable and more than likely were of a quality that would allow them to be handed down to someone else at a later date.  And sure enough they were items of utility.  My aunt gave me a pure wool sweater that was red and green.  Socks were in another box from my uncle.    Mom got me some great underwear that I cherished and a pair of long underwear.  I knew dad could be counted on for a great gift.  What a gift.  It was a replica of the tractor he drove.  He got me a miniature John Deere model A tractor.  Wow!  What a Christmas!  Those were good days in my life.  There have never been better.  I often wished I would have told mom and dad how much I appreciated my life with them.  I never did.  They are gone now as is my aunt who I visited when she was at the end of her time just two years ago.    Oh the thoughts.  That's all they are.  Just experiences from another time.  "Douglas, Shade;  lets go.  Come on Hap."  It's a long way back to the truck and it feels like rain.

"Come on guys, lets go.  It's a long hike."