Friday, April 27, 2012


click on photos to enlarge

Douglas Lake is almost filled with water.  The lake has lost its brown mud shoreline appearance and has assumed a cloak of beauty transforming it into a temporary, normal valley lake.  It is a facade, a temporary change that hides reality - the reality of mud and ugliness.  It could be called an ugly duckling when the water is drained.  Speaking of ducklings - Spring has instigated strange actions among the geese of the lake.  After all - its springtime and a time to reproduce for creatures in the natural world.
All over the lake, the geese are pairing up and acting strange.

Above:  What a strange posture this goose is assuming!  What could this be all about?

He is winning a mate.  The goose is powering up behind her at full speed.  He's impressing her.  This is how the act of mating begins.  The act is eons old.

Geese are standing tall while flapping their wings in attempts to gain the attention of females.  He is trying to appear as large as he can by standing on the tips of his toes and raising his wings as high as possible.
The males swim on the water assuming odd poses while contorting and stretching themselves out full length.  I'm not sure what they are trying to achieve with these actions.  They do make a lot of noise splashing around in the water.

The females simply sit upon the water quietly and watch the antics of the males.  Its quite Humorous.

.  The end result of all this posturing is the continuation of the species.  As I said before - it is spring time and spring marks the beginning of new life.
 I found this little family in an odd spot.  They were dead center in the middle of the lake.  This is unusual.  Normally geese stay close to cover on the shoreline.
 There are only 3 babies.  Normally there are seven or eight born.  Proof that only the strong and crafty survive and that nature is sometimes cruel in her wisdom.

 I am surprised to see these parents taking their young across this lake.  There are fish large enough in these waters to take all three little goslings for a single meal.  Possibly they were displaced from their shoreline haven by boats or osprey.  Its hard to say.

And life goes on.  Its going to be a long hot, interesting summer on the lakes of Tennessee.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


This blog was going to be titled "Bamboo from Scona Lodge" but, when I got to the lodge site on Chilhowee Lake to dig up the Bamboo - the photographs I took at the site were ruined due to my inability to hold the camera from moving and low light back under the trees.  I actually polled the boat up a tiny creek that used to drain from the golf course when Scona Lodge was active.  Those  creek banks are covered in the thickest bamboo imaginable.  That boat kept rocking back in there and I was trying to manage keeping the boat off rocks with a wooden pole and take pictures at the same time.  I needed another hand.  It was very dark under the trees and the flash didn't correct for the movement.  What a mess!  I'll stick a few of the blurry shots on this entry to give an idea of how thick that stuff grows.  Its amazing.  An early apology for the horrible bamboo photos.
click on photos to enlarge.
This morning was a lazy kind of morning and I was in no hurry to get on the interstate for the trip back west to the Carson/McGee Wildlife Management Area at Vonore.  That is where the ruins are located that I have frequented for the past seven years.  It originally was a state park that fell out of grace with the state for some reason and has been relegated to hunting dog training, wildlife crop planting and just a good place to hide out from society.  Shade needed a change of pace and a good exercise and I decided to head over there.  I'd take the Gheenoe along just in case I felt like continuing on to Chilhowee Lake.  The Gheenoe and trailer are so light that the old Ford doesn't even know they're back there.  There is just no place around where I live to take a dog.  All the land is owned.  No national forests exist over here either.  I'm really not happy about that and my outdoor lifestyle has been seriously altered over it.  And, I'll be damned if I'll put a leash on any of my dogs for an outing.  Shade is a woodland dog and has known freedom when with me for as long as I've had her.  There is no life at the end of a leash for a dog with a free spirit.
Its so great to return to these haunts.  Anyone who keeps up with this blog knows that I've been coming here with the dogs for years.  Its a beautiful, large area where I rarely have any human company.  The greens are very green and the air smells sweet from all the flowers.  I know the place like the back of my hand. Today  I would walk Shade around the familiar trails that she and Douglas knew so well.   Shade stays close to me during the entire visit.  What a sweet companion!

The woods were full of the sounds of birds but, I couldn't see them.  They were perched deep in the woods in the thickest part of the trees and shrubs.  It was very warm out and they were avoiding the heat by seeking the damp shaded places.  A cardinal would flash past occasionally.
This old park is situated on Tellico Lake and the lake shore is slowly being sold by the real estate people.  I hope this piece of ground is left as is and not destroyed in the name of progress.  Its state land so I'd think its safe.  Tellico Lake is still primitive on the outlying waters but, the sale of lakeside property is rampant here in East Tennessee.   I wish the counties would put a stop to the real estate speculation on this lake before it becomes like Cherokee and Douglas Lakes that I hate so much.  Those lakes are nothing more than large ponds surrounded by huge housing complexes.  There is not one place a person can beach a boat or walk on a shore line and not be on private property on either lake.  Its disgusting!  When all the lakes are owned privately - then what?  I guess I always have Montana to fall back on.

Twenty minutes into the hike I noticed that old familiar ache in my left hip and the left leg and especially my left foot getting tingly.  It is a malady that has occurred with me ever since the bout with sciatica last year.  I hate it as I am forced to take my weight off my legs.  The sciatica manifested itself in my right leg last year in the spring and totally debilitated me.  The pinched nerve in my back caused my right leg to experience sharp excruciating continuous pain.  Then, when I finally was rid of the sciatica I was left with a constant dull and sometimes harsh pain below the belt line in my back.  Now, it seems the ache in my back is causing difficulties in my left leg.  This is no doubt caused by a nerve being infringed upon by  a vertebrae.  I really don't want an operation but its affecting my hiking ability.  Guess I'm wearing out.  Guess there's no guessing about it.

I looked around for Shade and she was gone.  I knew exactly where she went.  She and Douglas always split for the lake from here in the old days.   I went to the little path that leads to the lake.  There she was.
She looked so alone out there.  She and Douglas were a team and this is where they sway.  Well, here and one other place.  I went to that place to see if the fallen tree that Douglas fell off of was still laying against the bank.  It was.
Douglas sure frightened me that day he tried to walk down that log and fell off.  Dogs don't have fingers and hands to grab onto anything.  They just fall.  They also can't hold onto the seat or dash of a car when a sudden panic turn is accomplished in the vehicle.  They either get thrown against the windshield or out the open side window like Douglas did.  It took his life.
Tellico sure is a beautiful lake.  I decided to fill up every hour we were over here and we headed South to Chilhowee Lake and a run down the water to Scona.

Chilhowee Lake is one beautiful piece of water!  It is a favorite of mine.  Its wild over here -  really wild.  Not as wild as Calderwood but, its wild - its big country.

The sky was getting dark and the threat of rain, as usual for chilhowee, was present.

 I am still amazed at the damage the tornado's of last year caused to these mountains.  The trees lay like so many sticks on the mountain side.

The views on Chilhowee are nothing but majestic and riveting.  

Folks who have the privilege of living here are blessed.  I know I felt that way.  This all was the play area for Douglas and me before he left me.  I've always been thankful for all this, and for him in my life.
Below is the shoreline of Scona Lodge as it is now.  That entire shoreline in the shot directly below was a golf course.  Nature has put its mark on it over the past decades.

The Scona shoreline was beautiful in the Scona Lodge days.  It still is beautiful.  The beauty is natural now.  Scona has been transformed into a natural beauty.  She's still alive.

The fragrances were fantastic.  Sweet and fresh is the only way to explain it.

The little cove in the picture below is where the bamboo grove is located.  I actually got the boat inside that shallow cut.  That's where I had trouble with the shaking camera.  I had to pole the boat in there and keep it off the rocks on the shore line.  I just couldn't hold the camera steady to get good photos.  I will put a few below to show how dense this bamboo grows.  It is really dense. The pictures of the bamboo may be tolerable if you don't enlarge them by clicking on them.

I tried to dig them out of the ground but could not.  I couldn't even get the little spade to penetrate the soil.  The roots are close to the surface and the shallow root system created a concrete like situation.  I was here to take a few stalks home.  I guess I'll have to rethink how to get them.  The root systems are made up of linking rhizome systems.  These systems link each stalk of bamboo to the roots of the one beside it and so on and so on.  And, now it is raining.  We better get out of here.  Chilhowee Lake is beautiful but, the weather comes and goes in an instant and bad weather on this lake is unforgiving. 
I will return for the bamboo.  There is a certain way they can be cut off above the ground and taken without the roots.  I'll read up on it.  Its been a refreshing day and we had to get going for points East.  I feel a canoe camp out on the way.  Stay tuned in.  

I really missed you today Douglas.  Really missed you boy.