Saturday, March 17, 2012


click on photos to enlarge
The water of Chilhowee Lake is bordered by the extravagant colors of spring.  Rich blues and bright yellows are predominant with a smattering of pink and orange.  The entire glorious vision is sprinkled with bright, rich green with the browns of winter diminishing.

Our house sits about 600 feet off a country road and is bordered by trees and woods.  I can, however, see the roof of one house from my porch.  This bothers me.  I have thought about this all winter and have decided to plant a wall of shrubs and fast growing pine trees to block this bit of litter that falls under my eye on a daily basis.  I have already planted eight Thuja Green Giant pine trees with four foot spaces between them.  Those went in last fall.  They are supposed to grow one foot per year.   However, I would like to add color to the place and additional screening from the outside world.  That job would fall to Mr. Forsythia.  I love forsythia (yellow bells).  The bright yellow flower makes a dull, dreary day seem just alright.  As you know by now Scona Lodge holds a place dear to my heart but, shes been buried and there is nothing left.  I noticed large quantities of forsythia growing near the water at the edges of the now defunct golf course below the ferry landing.  This offered me an opportunity to bring a part of Scona home to my place and to keep her legacy alive, if only in my mind.  Shade and I left early this morning in the pouring rain for Scona on Chilhowee Lake.
Route 129 (The Dragon) has sustained yet another rock slide and is closed down.  We had to drive to Townsend and get on the Foot Hills Parkway and follow it to Chilhowee Lake.  We were in no hurry and the mountain road was welcomed.  I didn't take pictures as the rain was incessant.  We pulled into the boat ramp parking lot and the rain stopped.  This was a change.  Maw Nature is cooperating with us for a change.
The temperature was right at 75 degrees on this cold lake and the surface was smooth as glass.  This would have been a fantastic canoe day.  I can't do it all at once.  The canoe is coming out next week for sure though.  We turned toward the far shoreline and followed it closely to enjoy the scenery provided by the bright colors of the flowering red buds and wild flowers that bloomed close to the ground.
The scenes before us were a delight, very welcome and are a contrast to the dreary, brown, baron mud banks of Cherokee and Douglas lakes.

A canoe paddle trip is definitely called for while all this wonderful color abounds.  I would like to skim along a couple feet off the shoreline and get right in "it".
I noticed a movement just ahead under some red buds that were hanging over the water.  I had hoped for an otter.
They were what appeared to be blue winged teal ducks.  They broke out of the cover far ahead and swam toward the center of the lake.  I kicked some speed into the boat to close the gap a bit.
They were making me shoot straight into the sun.  No luck.  I made a quick camera adjustment and hoped for the best.  Then they took flight.
They went right into the sun.  Arrg!  No luck.
They turned and flew parallel to the shoreline.  They put distance between us but at least they weren't going into the sun.

For some reason my thoughts went to wood ducks on Calderwood Lake.  They are my favorite duck.  These teals, however, would do nicely for today.
The Scona ferry landing could be seen in the distance.  I moved the camera over and grabbed a shot with the 500mm lens.  The shroud of kudzu that covers the mysterious lady lends a sinister aura over the place.
We would search for a safe place to bump against the shoreline and tie off the Gheenoe.  That isn't an easy trick as the shoreline at Scona is bordered with rock and boulders.  I wanted to beach at the lower end of the Scona grounds which lays downstream from the old slate house that stood just below the lodge.
The forsythia was everywhere.  It would be no problem to dig out a few plants and be on our way.
This spot would do fine:
The yellow flower was everywhere.
I had ten plastic shopping bags and a cardboard box with me.  The idea was to dig out as much root with attached soil as possible and put the root system into the plastic bag - one plant per bag.
I pruned the stems down to about a foot above the root mass.  This would allow for easier transportation.  The plants were put into the plastic bags and then into the cardboard box.  We got back into the boat and were off.
I wanted to get these plants home and in the ground as soon as possible.
I wanted to get back to plant the roots but I didn't have to "hurry" back.  We enjoyed the views along the shore at the brisk speed of 5 miles per hour.
If I can get a day like today next week I'll return with the canoe and just ease up this lake and soak in the views.  Today is spectacular!

It doesn't get any better than this - unless you're on Calderwood Lake.

Great Scott!  Calderwood is probably in flower also.  I have to get up there.  Its imperative!

We could see the boat ramp coming up and the little ride would soon be over.  I love it down here on Chilhowee.

Once the boat was on the trailer and tied down, I doused the plants with water.  They should keep well until we got home.  Once home, I drove to the area where the forsythia would be planted.  I wanted to get it in the ground as soon as possible.  I dug the holes and carefully placed the plants inside.  Water was added and it was done.  I hope they root and grow quickly.  I now have a little piece of Scona Lodge in my yard.

There is another tale to tell that isn't very happy, I'm afraid.  I'll save it for another blog entry as I'm not sure of the outcome of an event that happened here only yesterday.  I hope you enjoyed the boat ride today.  Be kind to a dog this week.  They need all the help they can get.  Remember - its not their fault.  Nothing is their fault.