Saturday, April 20, 2013


all photos taken with Canon 70-300mm tele

 I stood on the porch at 4 AM with a coffee staring at the sky while experiencing an overpowering urge to get out of Dodge for the day.  I decided to head for the old state park in Vonore with the dogs.  But first I had to take the jon boat up to the work center at Buffalo Springs and leave it.  Shade accompanied me as I wanted to do a little walking in an area of the property I haven't been for awhile and she could get some exercise.
The only problem with this section of the wildlife area is there is no streams.  It wasn't a big deal as I didn't plan to be here more than an hour.  There is a stream that crosses under the road not far and it is a gated area.  She could go for a swim there.

This is a beautiful place but very small.  It does offer a small "get away from it all" place though.

Shade was all slick and clean when she came out of the water and I rushed her to the truck before she rolled in the dirt.  She loves to roll over on her back and wriggle around in dirt when she's wet.  I don't really care as long as I can get her back into the water for a final rinse.  Usually a thrown stick to the stream will do.  She can't resist a stick in the water.  We went home where I changed lenses on the camera and loaded up a jug of water for the girls.  All I had to do was open the truck door and they piled in.  We were off.  They were excited to say the least.  It's been a long time since they have been in the woods.  It's a shame there isn't even one place near our home where a dog, or even me, can get into the forest without encroaching on someone's private property.

It's a long drive back to this place but it's worth it.  I don't know what I'd do if this beautiful place were to disappear.  I used to come here daily with the dogs when I lived over here.  Now, I can barely afford to get here once or twice a month.  The place is huge and for the most part - empty of people.

The dogs were having the time of their lives running full out while chasing each other through the meadows.  I wanted them to wear themselves out totally.  I don't think I've been anywhere that is greener than here.  It's always been something I've noticed about this meadow and forest.  The place is a stunner!

The girls have been hyperactive for about thirty five minutes and I wanted to get them to water.  That's not hard and I found that I didn't have to lead them.  They remembered the way to the lake.
They automatically headed for the road that goes into the lake.  There is one spot where a person can look over a clearing and see the lake through the trees.  Of course, Chestnut Hound had to inspect the clearing.  Great view though!
I could hear deer moving through the brush as we walked down the old road.  They weren't in a rush but moved cautiously.  Twice I saw patches of brown moving through the trees as they walked along as silently as they could.  That's neat.
 "Chestnut Hound - come on girl. Hurry, hurry!"
They were in the water when I caught up to them.

"Oh Happy.  Douglas taught you well.  You swim as good as any water dog out there.  Good Girl!"

I let them hang out in the lake for about a half hour and then moved up toward the old plantation house foundation that I call the ruins.

The dogs knew right where to go.  They remembered.  Dogs are unique in reference to memory and thought.  Dogs live for the moment and do not dwell on or think about where they are or what they are going to do.  They just act on the moment.  They don't have rational consciousness requiring thought process.  In a way they see - they react and they do.  That doesn't mean they don't remember because they do, and they remember very well.  These dogs remember where everything is on this property.  Chestnut obviously doesn't due to her newness to the place but, she knows where the lake is and the ruins.  She will run down the road to nowhere to the lake for water and come back.  Imagine how pure and simple their minds work.  They are still designed to work primarily in survival mode after all these eons.  Their brains aren't cluttered up with nonessential activity, except for what we pound into them in the form of training.    
These three dogs are tightly bonded to me and they can read my actions thoroughly.  For instance - if I walk with urgency and maintain a fast pace, they stay closer to me and do not wander far from our course of direction.  If I walk slowly, as I am today, they will range farther away and will move ahead and to the sides smelling everything in their path.  Many times they will double back and re-smell something that caught their nose on the first pass.  They will often move out of my line of vision but will continually drift back to check on my location.  As I said - we are all bonded together.  They're wonderful to be with and very interesting to watch.

The old foundation of the Carson home was just ahead.  I know the history of this place and it is elsewhere on this blog.  It, like Scona Lodge, took a bit of investigation to figure out.  History is fun and interesting.  I find it odd though, that many historical places are not documented in writing and even more odd is that the local people don't seem to know anything about some of these historical treasures.  I guess they just don't care about them.  If that's so - it's a shame.
Above is the old tree that Douglas used to stick his head into with every visit.  I can't come here and not think of him.  He's always there.  I sometimes wonder if I'm keeping him from finding total peace by keeping his ashes in a box close to me.  He used to climb up a hill behind a camp spot we always went to on Calderwood Lake and would lay on a little grassy point of ground that sort of hung out over the hillside.  He would watch me from there. I can still see him with his paws out in front of him facing the lake and just taking in everything.  I thought about taking his box of ashes and burying it there on that spot but then he'd be far away from me.  Crazy thoughts, I know.  Human thoughts.  At one time he was my whole life.  It's hard to let go.

The old foundation is looking shabby.  How long can it last uncared for?  I bumped into this place almost ten years ago now.  The bricks were even and neat - not disheveled as now.  One would think an effort would be made to preserve this place.  This was an early settlement at one time.  It started as a log cabin and progressed to be a marvelous mansion and the property was termed a plantation.  It changed military hands several times during the Civil War and skirmishes were fought here and a confederate soldier died on the front porch and was buried in the yard.  As each brick falls from the rows, a piece of history is lost.  Someday they all will lay in disarray on the grass and all who do know the story will be gone and the bricks will represent no more than just so much litter on the ground.  Weeds a brush will bury the traces forever and no one will care.  Much of the same happened to Scona Lodge.  Wonder why people assign such minimal importance to history.  Is no one curious about the past?  They used to be curious.  The current times are fast moving I guess - too fast to worry about what used to be.  A shame!

I did post a picture on this blog a long time ago of this house when it was together and vital.  It would take a lot of searching but I bet I could turn it up.  Oh well--
Shade - look at you.

The girls were slowing down and we had better get out of here.  It's late.  They will certainly be worn out by the time we get to the truck.  That's a good thing.

"Wonder if he got a biscuit in his pocket."

The old road below leads back to the truck.  They are beat!  It's been a great day and I'm glad I brought them over here.  I also discovered that this is going to be a tick kind of year.  I've picked two off my wrists while walking today and another two ticks were picked off the back of my neck while I'm writing this.   I'll have to run a flea comb through the hair on all the dogs before we sleep tonight.  

They are dragging.  That's the way it should be every night.  I have one more day off and tomorrow is to be really gorgeous.  I'll have to check the wind in the morning.  Tomorrow night's post will be named CALDERWOOD.