Monday, July 15, 2013

MAMMA OSPREY AND JUST A GORGEOUS DAY

The shot above is of Cherokee Dam.  I couldn't get the whole thing in the viewfinder of the camera.  The dam is 6800 feet long and is unreal to look at.  What if that baby would break?  Its named after the Cherokee Indians.  The great warpath once used by the Indians and later by Daniel Boone crossed the basin now filed by the reservoir.  Cherokee Dam was built to make electricity during WWII, but plays an important part in preventing billions of dollars in damage caused by annual flooding.  Four generating units on line make 148 megawatts of power.  While I'm going on about Cherokee Dam - I may as well throw some history about it in here.
Cherokee Lake was formed by the impoundment of the Holston River behind the dam. The reservoir has a total surface area of 29,000 acres with a flood storage area of 750,000 acre feet.  Cherokee Lake's shoreline amounts to a total of 400 miles and the lake fluctuates 28 to 30 feet in a normal year.
Initial work began on the dam on August 1, 1940 and was completed on December 5, 1941.  They really pulled out the stops as far as work intensity goes.  Flood control and hydroelectric power are it's primary purposes.  The shorelines and bottom of the lake are primarily rock which present safety hazards to boaters from Fall to Summer when the water level is drawn down.  One must remember that river was simply plugged up and water filled the valley and the hills, mountains, forests, roads etc were simply covered with water.  Those obstacles still remain and when the water is drawn down they become very close to the surface with many mountain tops protruding through the surface.
This morning was breezy but at least there was no threat of rain.  It felt good to be in the sun again.  The surface of Cherokee Lake is rarely glass smooth as there isn't any mountains close enough to block the wind.  Wind sweeps across the water unfettered and the washboard effect to the surface is fairly a constant thing on a daily basis.  Its not the best canoe water.
Shade was along and I was a little concerned about how she would take the heat which was intensifying.  The boat has a top and she lays at my feet in the shade.  Shade in the shade - little play on words.  It was getting hot quicker than I anticipated.  I had gone through two quarts of water by 10 AM.  We pulled onto an island for a land break at around 10:15 AM.  A pretty little place....

No peanut butter sandwiches today.  Today would be the first sardine day.  They didn't go down well.  I think they need to be cool.  There's something about a two inch dead fish sliding down one's throat that isn't too appealing.  I haven't given up on them yet.  I used to eat them when I was in Vietnam and was darned glad to get em.  I guess I lost my taste for them.  I'm losing my taste for peanut butter for sure.  Where is Shade now?
There's my little Dark Angel.  This tiny island is only about 100 feet square and is a hang out for geese.  Their droppings are covering every square inch of the ground.  Shade is checking them out I'm sure.
 We were on our return swing down the opposite shoreline and the route would take us to the irate osprey that dived bombed the boat one day.  There were two, no three birds in the nest.  Mom and her two babies.  One baby ducked down out of sight when she chirped numerous times.
Baby is really large.  He is lighter colored than his mom.  I could only get this on shot of him because the mom chirped loudly five times and pecked him on the head with the bottom of her beak.  He instantly hopped into the nest and would not appear again.  Really something!




The old dead snag of a tree she has her nest in is just about ready to fall into the drink.  I don't think it will make it until Fall.  I'll keep an eye on her.
She has become irritated.  Look how she ruffled her head feathers.

It's just another day on the water when on Cherokee.  The lake is really short on wildlife and excitement comes with foul weather.  That's OK though.  The Holston River is day after tomorrow.  That reminds me - I get the mold made for my final dentures tomorrow morning.  At last the ordeal will be over and I can go get sirloin tips with fried green and red peppers and smothered in onions.  Yum.  Wonder how long it will take to get the teeth.
Look at my new friend.  He's a red and brown stag beetle.  He was on the porch this afternoon when I returned home.  He's a beaut, isn't he?  These things hatch from an oblong egg and remain in pupae form for two years living in the rotting wood of a tree.  Then this great bug materializes and eats people alive.  Nature's amazing!