Monday, February 21, 2011


 The weather has been unpredictable lately.  Today held promise of being a stellar day.  However, very high winds started early this morning and continue even now at 11PM.  It would have been a futile effort to put the canoe in the water.  Furthermore;  the wind is so strong that I was reluctant to put the motor boat, Gheenoe, in the water either.  A canoe would be next to impossible to manage when driven by fifty mile per hour wind.  It would be a challenge to unload and load a small motor boat also.  The wind drives the water hard and it takes a bit of skill to unload or load a motor driven craft onto a trailer.
I elected to play it safe and let the dogs have a good time in the forest.  They have been cooped up for the better part of seven days and deserved some free time.  They made the most of it too.  We spent the entire morning roaming through the woods and walking along the lake.
I want to canoe up Abrams Creek in the morning to see if I can catch the family of otters out and about.  I know the exact spot they stay close to and may be able to get some pictures of them.  Soon the fishing boats will be driving past that area and the otters will be impossible to film as they will no doubt turn to nocturnal feeding activities.
I don't plan to canoe Abrams past noon tomorrow as I want to take the motorized boat down the Little Tennessee River to check on the pair of bald eagles that I watch annually.  They should be reinforcing their nest with sticks and other material.  Actually they carry limbs to the nest.  The weather forecast is calling for rain and wind tonight but it's supposed to be out of here tomorrow morning early.  Below is a shot of Ft. Loudon, a French and Indian War fort.  It can be seen from the peninsula where the old state park and ruins area are located.
I brought the big camera lens with me today in hopes of photographing deer but, a fella is roaming the territory with a pack of beagles and they are yelping their heads off chasing rabbits.  There isn't even a bird to photograph.  That's alright; I like beagles.  They sure are noisy though!
Shade and Douglas were chasing their own rabbits awhile ago.  They can't scent a rabbit properly.  I really don't know why.  I guess its a dog breed thing.  They sure are something to watch when the rabbit stays on open ground.  They are fast but not as fast as a rabbit.   Both Shade and Douglas give chase by sight only.  When the quarry disappears into the brush and they loose sight of it; they stop.  The same goes for deer.  They will give chase to a deer but will stop when the deer moves out of their sight.  Thats a good thing.
The temperature is near seventy degrees and all three dogs, Shade, Douglas and Happy are overheating.  Their tongues are hanging out and the lake has become a sudden destination for them.  They can do what they want.  It's their day.
Today isn't a total loss.  We got to roam around through the forests and along the lake and the pups got some much needed exercise.  The day was warm and sunny and the wind even felt good.  We're all over Winter and ready to welcome in the warm days of Spring.  Tomorrow is another day and I believe it will be an "on the water" day. 

The whippoorwills will be gathering at Chota, an Indian burial ground, in March.  It is the largest concentration of whippoorwills in the country.  I've listened to them there for two years now.  I like to ancher the boat just off shore and sit quietly while they make their calls.  A funny bird, those whippoorwills.  They start calling at 9PM sharp.  Not a minute before.  The chuck wills widow's start calling first.  Then the whippoorwills follow.  It's an amazing thing to hear.  I'll try to capture the calls with the audio feature on my camera.  You won't believe what you hear.
Some of the plans I have for Spring and Summer are lots of lake camping by canoe, a trip to Reelsfoot Lake in North West Tennessee, a documentary on the bald eagles on the Little Tennessee River, a motorcycle trip up Blue Ridge Parkway, a fly fishing trip to North Carolina via motorcycle, a visit to the largest tree house in the country and maybe the world, a motorcycle trip from Cumberland Gap, TN West as far as New Mexico without using paved roads.  Yep;  there's a route all the way to Oregon that uses dirt trails and gravel roads.  After all the above;  we'll play it by ear.  I intend to use every bit of free time this Summer to be in the forests, on the lakes or on the motorcycle.  Stay tuned in because this blog will be a busy place to visit.  Thanks for looking in.....