Friday, February 28, 2014


I've posted shots of this place a few times on the blog and here it is again.  Is this some kind of message to me from the beyond?  I even called my real estate agent this afternoon and asked him if I'd at least break even if I sold this place I have now.  I hate neighbors anywhere close.  He said I'd be alright with a sale.  Something to think about.
 red tail hawk
And here are those darned florescent yellow tags on all the telephone poles I spoke of the other day.  What an eyesore.
Anglers had a fairly successful day fishing on the lake today and there were a lot of smiling faces to prove it.   Douglas Lake offers two really fine eating fish that are much sought after by many fishermen and they are the walleye and the sauger.  I'll just highlight the sauger for this entry and if there is any interest I'll throw a different species on the blog from time to time. 
Sauger are a beautiful fish but one must use care when handling them near their mouths.
Note the teeth
These shots were all taken from my boat to the angler's boat with the 400 mm lens and I wasn't sure how the shots would turn out.  The 400 mm isn't the lens I'd choose for this work.   As I mentioned earlier, the sauger is a fish with very pretty markings all over it.  Note the bands wrapping around its body and the spots on the dorsal fin.  Walleyes are similar except they have a white splotch on their caudel fin (underside rear) and the sauger doesn't.
Sauger are found in our Tennessee reservoirs and do well in turbid water, not to deter from walleye that also do very well but walleye prefer less turbid water.  Sauger can be found in depressions on the bottom and behind raised mud hills in calm water.  They spawn upriver in March for Tennessee and April for most northern states and all seek out textured bottoms for purposes of egg laying.  The many dams offer serious restrictions to the sauger's travels upstream during spawning periods and high death rates are the result.  Sauger feed on fish, usually shiners, shad, minnows and sunfish.
There you have it.  
I'll be back on the tail water tomorrow and am excited to check on the bald eagles at their nest.  We should have a baby or two soon and they probably have already been born.

I just wanted to put a small entry up here tonight to let folks know I'm still alive after the flue or whatever it was that tried to kill me off.  Well, it failed, but I get very tired quickly lately and that's what's happening right this moment.  So, I'll sign off now and hope to see you back here tomorrow.  

Thursday, February 27, 2014


I returned from my Cherokee Tailwater run in the truck yesterday afternoon and dragged myself into the house, still a bit under the weather with the flue or whatever it was I struggled with for the past four days.  The dogs flew through the front door when I opened it and ran to their favorite spot next to the wood-line where they dig for ground moles.  I promptly made a pot of coffee and walked out onto the porch to watch them in the sun.
I would hitch up the Gheenoe and head for the Holston River and Beech Creek if I were feeling a bit more chipper but, I was ready to just lay around and take it easy.  I called the girls back to the porch for a treat and noticed Shade was slow responding and that isn't normal for her.  Then I noticed her limping badly.  I've seen her limp before but never this bad.  I ran out to her and picked her up and carried her to the sofa and sat with her all the while squeezing her right front leg from foot to shoulder to try and discern the area of concern.  There proved to be no hot spots and I thought that was good, I guessed.  She got treated like a queen all that night and even got to half lay on the mattress with me, her head on my pillow beside mine.  GeeWiz!  We were in the truck at 7 AM this morning and headed for Countryside Veterinary in Friendsville - my favorite vet in the world.  I called while underway and they said come on over.

Dr. Webb looked at Shade, asked me a ton of questions and carefully felt Shade's leg. This Vet is the absolute best on the planet.  I watched her fingers inch up the leg all the while rubbing the bone with her finger tip until she finally stopped half way up to Shade's elbow.  She said she could feel a high spot or a "place" on the bone that didn't feel right and was barely perceptible and asked if she could do an x ray.  I told her to go right ahead.  I was worried.

She came back to the waiting room and brought the x ray up on the enormous computer screen on the wall and Dr. Webb pointed out a very short half inch long split in the side of her leg bone.  She said it was probably an injury when she was a puppy. The split didn't heal perfectly and now, years later,  has arthritis surrounding the split. This area, she said, is probably what is causing the recurring limp from time to time. My greatest fear, cancer, was eliminated and I breathed a sigh of relief, although the doctor did say that we need to monitor that area annually as it is a potential for issues. I knew what she meant and Shade will definitely get the annual xray or diagnostic blood work-up if required.  We picked up some pain meds and a new product called Nutramax which is a new soft chew containing 99% glucosamine.  We left with me $180 lighter in the wallet and Shade drugging herself out on the front seat of the truck while I drove us down to Greenback.
I headed for the cove on Tellico Lake that Douglas and I used to visit long ago where a really great park bench sat under big pine trees that cast shadows on the bench and blocked the sun while I made notes in my journal and enjoyed my favorite friend.
 Shade was having a great time when we got to the old cove on Tellico Lake.  The water never recedes far and the shorelines are pretty here year round.  There is a trail that runs for miles around this lake and adjacent mountains that I used to bring Happy, Douglas, Sigh and Shade to walk on.  We had such great times over here. 
We took off down the trail to the old park bench.  This was a great cove to paddle the canoe along the shoreline to the bench that sat up on the high bank.  Douglas would sit there until almost dark on weekdays.  Those were good times.  Something was changed as we finally found and walked up to the bench.  The hand of man again.  someone just had to cut down the big pines that sat at the end of the bench.

What a mess!  I checked the stumps for insect damage and could see no bore worms  damage anywhere.  It seems someone cut them down to get an unimpeded view back behind the bench to the back of the cove, maybe to keep an eye on their anchored boat or worse - kids.  What is it with people and chain saws?  People and tractors are another danger as well as people with brush hogs.  People with any one of the three aforementioned devices of destruction will totally eliminate any bird or critter habitat they are applied to.  This is disappointing to see.  It seems that nothing can be left alone.  Just don't touch it and enjoy it.  Can't be done.  Just can't be....We had to leave anyhow and I doubt I'll be back here again anyway.  I live in the past too much when I visit these favorite places I used to love.
 A few years ago that dog was golden in color but, satin black will do just fine.
 It's a pretty view from here and I used to write some really nice stories from this bench.
It didn't take us long to walk back to the truck.  If I had to pick a spot to live the rest of my life, truly call it home and be absolutely comfortable about it, I'd pick Greenback, Tennessee.  Greenback has it all!
Yep, that's me paddling across Indian Boundary Lake.  The shot was taken by my good friend Paul without my knowledge.  Glad he took it.  The "decisions" part about this entry title follows.  I've decided to quit canoeing altogether and sell all my canoeing gear.  It just isn't working over here where I live.  I've tried to enjoy canoeing but the water in this area just doesn't have the ambiance of the mountain lakes back west of here.  If anyone has a desire to own a world class kevlar canoe, stabalizers, two beaver tail paddles and two hand made otter tail cedar paddles, keep tabs on this blog.  I'm even throwing in a canoe trailer.  Here's the big thing -  The canoe is a brand new Esquif Attikamek 16 foot kevlar touring canoe.  It's still in the wrapper.  Only catch is it's in Pennsylvania at a dealer waiting for me to pick it up.  The price will be sensational.  So, keep a watch on this blog for details.
 Some good news for a change.   The redbone hound puppy I found finally got her spay operation and is doing fine.  She also has some families looking at her already and things are looking up.  She has made quite the transition from starving dog to pup of the month.  Wish her luck.  Oh, she has been named Anne.
I'm reaching into my memory to find things that have occurred while I was under the bug's influence over the past four days so this entry might seem to be all over the place.
I wanted to mention that every shot of this eagle's nest is a new shot.  They look the same because the eagle is always in the same position and the shot is taken from the same plain every time.  If I get any nearer I may disturb the eagles and we don't want that.  That is the female you see there and I'd guarantee she is sitting on eggs and I bet they will be hatching out shortly if not already hatched.  That's a difficult nest to gauge baby activity and I'll probably just have to wait until junior shows his head above the nest's edge.
I took these shots on the day I fell ill and am trying to remember details of the events.  Most are just pictures I found to be interesting and worth saving.
 I still can't figure out what the building above is. 
Some folks got it tough and this country throws one billion dollars at Egypt who hates us, and these folks starve and freeze.
I'd love to have a bald eagle backed up against that blue sky.  Wow!
The little redbone hound pup was right in front of that tree, center picture on the day she jumped into my truck and her life was changed forever.
 This barn has character and it presents itself almost as if it were a cartoon - a drawing or sketch.
Barns are no longer built like this old relic anymore.  There are those who know how to do it though but its not profitable to build them so intricately endowed with perfect fitment so no one fools with it.  Not many want to pay for it.
I can't leave the scene without making one tiny gripe.  You knew one was coming I'm sure.  Notice in the following two shots that reflective yellow, tin bands have been tacked onto every telephone pole on both sides of this road.  There was a crew who actually stopped traffic while they were accomplishing this task.

  I drove up to the guy with the stop sign and asked him what the deal was with the yellow markers on all the telephone poles.  There's even one on the pole beside his truck.  You can see it from my front seat.  Get this - he told me that Granger County is putting those reflective bands on every telephone pole, both sides of the road to prevent people from running off the edge of the road.  I stared at him in disbelief.  I asked him what's wrong with the double center line and the white lines on the inside and outside edges of the blacktop.  He replied that the county figures that people need something more to judge the corners with.  I about lost it right there in his face.  Can you believe this.  Granger County is nailing up all this yellow rubbish on telephone poles that will detract from the very scenic countryside in this area because some idiots can't keep their cars on the road.  What a moronic attitude.  Now, one sees the florescent reminder of human idiocy while looking out upon a countryside steeped in solitude and beauty.  Where are politicians made anyway?

 Where's his ears? 

That's it for today.  See you later and thanks for reading the blog.  I appreciate it.  The Gheenoe will be firing up soon and this will be a lake camping year for sure.  Calderwood will see action this spring.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


      Above - That has to be the cutest critter on four legs.
I was wrapping up the day on Monday and just sitting on the sofa talking to the girls when I noticed I had a chill.  This doesn't usually happen to me so I didn't think much of it.  By 7:30 PM I couldn't stay warm no matter what I did and a sudden tiredness overcame me.  The heavy blankets were pulled out of the closets and tossed onto the bed and I was under them.  Happy was very welcome under the blankets and generated a lot of needed warmth and Chestnut hound was enticed to lay closer and further up my back between my shoulders.  Perfect.  I don't think I ever reached a point where a full sleep condition occurred because of the chill that even my little dog friends could not ward off.  Tuesday morning came and went and the cell phone went off at noon.  The welder had my boat done over in Knoxville.  I told him I'd be over to get it.  What a miserable trip.  When I got the boat home I just shut off the truck, went into the house and got back into bed.  Finally Wednesday morning is here and I still am feeling very down and in slow mode but I thought I'd give my state duties a try.   So, off I went for the river.  The sick feelings are gone it seems and all that's left is tiredness and a lack of appetite.  I didn't put a full morning in today but I was able to grab a few neat photos.  Hope you enjoy them.
They never seem to cooperate and the sky is never that deep, rich blue that accents eagle pictures so well.  Now, turn around and say hi.

I wish he were turned a bit more toward me but I have to take what he will give.  This is a male bald eagle and I know this because I am very familiar with this pair, as you probably are too.  They're the eagles in the deep nest down by the Holston River.  The male is always slightly smaller than the female, but then you already knew that.

These would be premier pictures if the sky were deep blue.  All that light gray causes the light meter to compensate for the brightness and renders the image a bit darker than I'd like.  But, he's not bad.

He was off and heading straight for his nest.  He can't fool me.

There's a lot of big limbs around the nest to deal with when trying to get good, clear shots of eagles.
The important thing here is that there are two eagles.  All my previous shots of this nest only showed one bird.  I said the nest is very deep and they can remain out of the line of sight and here's proof.

 You can see them both in the nest.  Mom is ducking down a bit.  Some folks who live near this nest do not believe that a pair of eagles reside here.   They only ever see one.  They also say they've never seen offspring occur at this nest.  I think I can prove them wrong about that point.  We'll see.