Friday, July 29, 2011


A day off rolled around and what better way to spend it than on the lake in the Gheenoe?  Folks I know can't understand why I would want to go back on the lake on my day off when I'm on the lake everyday working for TWRA.  I love the water.  I hate the traffic on the roads.  It's simple as that.  I wouldn't trade the lakes, rivers and mountains for any other form of recreation.  It's actually a way of life for me.
 The Gheenoe is really a good boat for landing on these little pin head islands.  These little islands draw me like a magnet.  I like to walk clear around them and look for arrowheads.  I rarely find any though
The island above would be a stop point for Happy and me.  This is really a peaceful spot.  There is a breeze blowing and Happy is, well---very happy.
It doesn't matter which dog I bring; there is still a huge void associated with the outing.  Yep---a void that is golden in color.  I don't want to start thinking about him but, it is so very hard not to.  Even writing isn't as much fun without him.  It was all about and for him.

The garage door works;  yea!

The house or property, whatever it's called, is coming along nicely.  I put a garage door and resided the rear of the house where hail damage existed.  A load of gravel created a driveway to the back of the house.  I'm done for now. 

The driveway's done

New siding is on
I drove to Greenback last evening to pick up my motorcycle on the utility trailer that I left in the driveway and found that someone had stolen the trailer.  What luck!  So, I had to get a new one in Lenoir City.  Then I loaded the bike and grabbed old Sigh and Homer cat.  Sigh has been all alone behind the fence in the yard since we all left.  I carried her to the truck and laid her on the seat.  Homer was another story.  He thought he was being killed the whole way here.  I stopped at Tractor Supply in Maryville for a pet carrier.  He whaled the whole 90 miles over her.  But they are safe now and Sigh has familiar faces around her.
This wasn't in the budget but a necessity
And dear Homer;  Douglas brought Homer home one morning seven years ago and the two grew up together.  Homer is a part of Douglas and I wanted him to come with us to this new world.  He immediately fit in as if he lived here all his life.

I guess I should be home arranging things in the house but, I'm not very motivated toward that venture.  I need a file cabinet in the worse way too.  Hate to go to town to get one.  The stack of receipts and documents on the table with a rock placed on top of them isn't working.  I might get around to straightening things up in a week or two,   if I have time.

I guess I better get back to the opposite side of the lake now.  The sky is getting dark and I wouldn't doubt if a heavy rain is on the way later.  My heart isn't in this today anyhow.  It's just not the same.
This was a nice little stop though.  The tiny island was pretty.  I wish I were in a better frame of mind.  A lot has happened this month.  A lot!
We'll just make our way slowly and enjoy the ride back.
Douglas;  I miss the feel of the soft hair on your neck when I'd pull you tight against my face.  If you can see us, know that our hearts are in pain for you and that we miss you Golden son.  My eyes envision you throughout every day and my hand still falls over the side of the bed searching for your beautiful face every night.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


For those of you who have not been keeping up with the blog entries;  I invite you to visit the archives located to the right of this post for an updates.   You'll notice that a Black Labrador Retriever has been riding on the boat.  Her name is Shade.  No, she has not taken the place of Douglas the Golden Dog of the Lakes.  No other dog can ever fill his paw prints.  There is none.  Shade is who she is and she is a wonderful, well behaved and an impressive companion.  She is attentive and listens to my commands implicitly.  I actually can't believe how dedicated to me she is.

Shade is trying very hard to please me.  She doesn't have to try as  she already is pleasing me.  What great company!  I've always loved and cherished her but, now she has her chance to shine.  She is illuminating!

I've been trying to fullfill my obligation to TWRA by being on the lake and performing my appointed tasks but, equipment problems continually arise.  This time it's the truck.  It's a two wheel drive truck and a 4 wheel drive vehicle is really the safe way to handle the big boat and trailer.  It seems that when something goes wrong, it takes the entire day to correct the mechanical problem thereby keeping me off the lake.  It's all coming together though slow but sure.

The above shot is of my yard.  I had the boat and truck parked on the grass and it rained that night.  The area is level but the truck would not get purchase on the wet grass.  The tires simply spun.  They didn't even dig into the wet soil.  They simply turned on top of the wet grass.   Smooth boat ramps and gravel ramps could prove to be dangerous without 4 wheel drive.  Winter time will definitely prove to be touch and go with the current truck.   A 4 wheel drive truck is supposed to be coming in the near future so I'll have to be careful and make do with the current 2 wheel drive truck I have.

The boat is perfect.  All systems are a go and I trust it fully.  It handles wonderfully and is capable of dealing with big water.   An agency friend and I put a lot of time combing over this craft to assure it's reliability.
On another front;  the new property is coming along nicely.  I needed to make the garage door operational and also install new siding on the rear of the house.  A big load of gravel was ordered for the drive way.  An additional load of gravel will be ordered soon to create a turn around for the state truck and boat.  This will eliminate backing up and will guarantee traction.  The following shots are of the property and my  family.

The lighter siding will all be replaced and the block surrounding the garage door will be covered by tomorrow night

Driveway to the back of the house

Looking from rear of house toward front

The state boat

It's 600 feet to the road
I sat on the porch tonight at 10PM just listening to the night bugs.  I was surrounded by my little family of dogs who just sat around me.  What a pleasant evening!  It's difficult to get them out of the house because they love the air conditioning.  Shade will sit beside my chair on the porch for a half hour and I'll reach down to stroke her head and she'll be gone.  She worried me at times when she disappeared like that.  Then, I opened the front door to walk in the house and she was sitting there looking at all of us on the porch through the window.  She would sneak around to the dog door at the back of the house and go inside.  Pretty smart girl.

Yep;  I let em sleep with me.  I keep a sheet on top of my good bed stuff to keep it clean.

Shade;  you're too large for that little bed.  She's hanging with me in the office area

Perfect size bed for Happy.  Again;  this is in my office area

Little Chestnut loves to just lay on the bed.  She's a sweet little girl.

 This is sort of an update on whats going on.  Soon things will settle down and the canoes will be broken out and the Gheenoe will be on the water for the exploration of the many tiny islands that dot Cherokee Lake.  But, it's first things first.  I'm going to bring old Sigh over to this house from Greenback day after tomorrow.  She is very, very old and is having difficulty climbing up the stairs to the dog door at the old habitat.  She'll have air conditioning and  a great dog door with a tiny step to the outside.  She can just sleep the rest of her days away in comfort.  She's all alone now but, I'll change that real quick.  Homer the cat will also be coming.  He's been illusive.  I could not find him the last couple trips back to Greenback.  I'll get him though.  Douglas befriended him and brought him into the family many years ago. 

Douglas, my beautiful little golden boy;  I wish so much you could be here to enjoy this new life.  My heart breaks over you every night.  I miss you so very much my sweet innocent child.  I am so sorry.  So sorry!  You're in my heart and mind daily and that will never change for all the days of my life, precious love....

Sunday, July 24, 2011


The passing of my best friend Douglas, moving into this house which is 90 miles from Greenback, dealing with a totally crashed computer,  starting a new job with Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, TWRA, building a electric fence for the dogs, having a garage door installed on the back of the house and getting to bed at 2AM for the past two weeks has been challenging.  To top off the list;  I launched the boat today at a less than desirable boat ramp and swamped the truck.  Fortunately two fishermen came by and pulled me out of that mess.  But, it's all part of the day I guess.  There is plenty of help for situations with the truck and boat.  There are TWRA employees everywhere and they all have radios.  They would respond instantly for me whether stuck on the lake or in the mud on the shore line.  And, I would do the same for any of them.    The term "I got your back" is a standard character trait of all the employees in this agency.  How wonderful is that?!

I selected Shade to go with me today.  Happy was the dog on board yesterday.  I'll try to put a shot or two of her in this mess somewhere.  I only was on the water for an hour today as I feared I wouldn't be able to extract the boat at that gravel ramp.  The day was hot and I probably should have left Shade at home.  Her coal black hair absorbs the heat and it is hot;  very hot today!  The surface temperature of the water was 89 degrees in the cove I was floating in.
My electric boat motor needed service in a bad way so I stopped at Buffalo Springs, our service outpost, to tear into it and try to make it serviceable.  If you look closely in the shot above, you'll see boat dog two--Shade relaxing.  This is about 6:30AM this morning and already the temperatures were unbearable, especially for Shade.   I carry plenty of water for her at all times.  It's amazing that she stays so close to me and/or the truck and boat.  I am more and more impressed with her each time I take her with me.  She's very behaved and listens to me perfectly.  When with Douglas she would run every way at the same time.  That's because she had a roaming partner.  Now, she has only me.  She's not Douglas and I don't expect her to be.  No dog could fill Douglas's paw prints but;  she's a well behaved dog and totally dedicated to me.
OK;  so what's a corn field doing in a lake entry to this blog.  The field is on a Wildlife Management Area, WMA) (Buffalo Springs),  which happens to be our region's work center.  You'll probably hear me talk a lot about TWRA in the future for two reasons.  One is that I work for them, and proud to do so.  The second reason is because I think the general public thinks "game warden" when they see the uniform or hear the term TWRA.   That simple cornfield above was created by TWRA employees.  The product from that field and many, many more will go toward feeding wildlife and to the creation of habitat for all the critters in the meadows and the forests. 
Habitat preservation and restoration,  fisheries management and law enforcement are all part of TWRA.  I've mentioned this before and it is worth mentioning again.   TWRA employees are the feet on the ground doing the grass roots work that make it all happen for the critters in Tennessee.  There are hunting and fishing factions who fund the agency through their purchase of hunting and fishing licenses.  The gear they purchase is taxed and presents another avenue for the collection of operating funds.   The money collected through the sales of hunting and fishing licenses makes it possible for the agency to monitor, regulate and protect the wildlife that belongs to everyone within the boarders of this state.   I've been an outdoor person all my life and have admired the mission of this agency ever since moving to Tennessee.  I consider it a privilege to work for this agency and to make my very small contribution toward their reservoir fisheries programs to make them successful.
What you see above is the inside of the main building at the TWRA Region IV work center.  It is packed with gear to repair whatever breaks in the field.  These guys also service the reservoir fisheries by creating underwater habitat for the various species of fish.  But, the real reason I took these shots is for the bee's nests.  Look closely at the ceiling and the walls.  One of the guys assigned to this location collects wasp and hornet nests.  Just like some people collect weather veins;  this guy, Darrell, collects nests.  Check it out.
Look real close at the ceilings and the walls and click on the shots to enlarge.  It's an amazing collection!
The inside of this building is the single outdoors man's dream room.  I guess if he's married;  that's alright too.   It's pretty cool!
As I said earlier;  yesterday was Happy's day on the boat.  She was a perfect little trooper and loves the boat, accept when I throttle up the engine.  She runs between my legs when she feels the deck increase in vibration to the acceleration.
 I  keep a life vest on her as she is so small that an overboard accident would make it difficult to find her on that vast water.
Actually, I need to get a life vest for Shade also.  Even her tremendous swimming power would not be good enough to get her to shore if she fell off and I didn't notice.  I watch her like a hawk when she's on board.
I am very happy with the beauty of this great lake.  The islands all beg for exploration and I'm sure we'll be on many of them.  I've noted some great canoe water also.  Can't wait for a canoe paddle trip.  This house has me strapped for now though.  The lake will change drastically in the Winter, however.  I'll show you pictures when the time comes.
Below, note the two tombstones on this tiny island in the middle of the lake.  I mean they are in the middle of the lake.  Amazing.  I'll stop in my personal boat and check it out later.
I'm sure I'll uncover an interesting story about these two stones placed so close together
Happy's getting brave
I like to park the boat in a scenic place to enjoy lunch and a cold water.  Yep;  this is my kitchen.  Think it's as comfy as yours?  It's heaven to me.  Baloney tastes better in this environment.
The last two shots show the state rig in front of my house and what's left of my little family.  I miss Douglas so much!  I miss the beauty of him in front of me on the boat.  Oh Douglas, what you've done to me my dear son!
These are the best friends in the world.  The best!