Thursday, June 30, 2011

Animal Hooligans

A major event occurred the other day in the Ten Acre Woods, Vandalism! It all happened on the night of June 26th after mid-night. On the deck, a multi-layer shelf full of plants and flowers was toppled over. All sorts of plants, ivy, flowers, vases and pots came crashing down. Broken glass and soil was tossed all over the deck; plants were lying out of their containers with roots exposed. In addition, other plants were purposely pull down from there shelf. It looks like animal vandalism has hit the ten acre woods.

An investigation is underway and many animals of interest have already been identified. More evidence was discovered after a search of the site. Graffiti was found along the wall near the crime. The perpetrator left this message. It’s obvious that the graffiti was generated by an amateur. 
The message is basically an extortion for food. Here is a picture of the top animal of interest. Note the black mask around the eyes.
Be on the lookout for this animal of interest and remember, what's in your river, lake, woods, or bay? Get out and find out!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fuzzy Head

While wandering near the woods I came upon a fuzzy headed Owl sitting low in some green clover. He or she appears to be a young Barred Owl (Fuzzy Head) probably just a week out of the nest. I could see that Fuzzy Head wasn't munching on clover; he was just exploring his new world. 
If you look closely in the photo you will see one of the parents near, sitting on a fence post in the background. Fuzzy Head's parents will keep a close eye on him and continue to feed him. In fact, young Barred Owls may remain near their parents for up to 6 months. When Fuzzy Head grows up, he will be a predator and dine on rodents and small animals. 

Fuzzy Head was probably born in the nearby tree with up to three brothers or sisters. A few days ago, I did notice that two Owls were in the clover near the tree but didn't have my camera so I moved on.  Now I wonder what may have happened to the other young Owl. Their only predator, other than man, is the Great Horned Owl and I have seen several in the area. 
After a while, Fuzzy Head must have gotten nervous with me being near. He leaped to his feet and flew back to safety.
It was obvious that Fuzzy Head hasn't been flying very long because he looks awkward in flight. 
When he lands he quickly swivels that Fuzzy Head around to peer back at me with those coal black eyes.

Remember: What's in your Lakes, River, Bay, or Woods. Get Out!  

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wade in Suede!

The Great Blue Heron Fly Company proudly presents the Superlative Waders. The Superlative Wader is completely new and innovative in wader design and is found nowhere else in the world. You already know that not all waders are created equal, but you will love how these waders make you feel. It took years of research to develop such a Superlative Wader. When you step in the water with these babies, you will be noticed, trust us. Check out all of these advantages and we are sure you will agree. Click image to enlarge.
Now for the real story. The Great Blue Heron Fly Company is not a real company so don't Google it and no such waders exist because suede and water don't mix well. Every once in a while I have to let a little creativity out and today was the day. I have discovered that creativity is like gas, everybody has it, it needs to come out, it either comes in little spurts or all at once, and don't let it build-up or you'll explode. I hope you find it humorous.

Remember: What's in your River, Lake, or Bay. Don't be an indoorsman, get away from the big screen and get on a big stream.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Attack of the Chipmunk!

The other day we were lucky enough to see a Chipmunk out of our front window. I always have my Nikon D80 handy for photographing wildlife in the ten acre woods, so I grabbed it and quietly headed out of the door in hopes of getting a few photos of Mr. Chipmunk doing Chipmunk stuff. Little did I know that I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to experience an unusual event and likely one that only a very few have photographed. To begin, here is Mr. Chipmunk thinking he is sneaking across the walk to enter the planter where there’s moist mulch and flowers, without anyone seeing him.
Lucky for me, Mr. Chipmunk was oblivious to my presence and I was able to photograph his every move. You see, I have this amazing talent that no one knows about; animals can’t see or feel my presence. I can sneak right up on them without them knowing it. I tried it on my wife once, but found it doesn’t work on humans very well.
Anyway, I noticed that Mr. Chipmunk kept looking up the brick wall and I wasn’t quite sure why. There was a wasp nest in the corner above the garden hose about 8 ft above the ground. Could the Chipmunk be interested in wasp?

Speaking of wasp, believe it or not this little Chipmunk may have saved me from a trip to the hospital. You see, I am allergic to bee stings. Actually I’m 1 in 1000; that’s how many people are allergic to bee stings. If I’m stung, 2 Benadryl and a trip to the hospital parking lot to sit. I wait until the symptoms disappear; if not, a trip inside for an adrenalin shot. Almost always, Benadryl does the trick for me. If anyone around you gets stung, watch them for any sign of hives, swelling and difficulty breathing. Get immediate medical attention if you suspect someone is having a reaction.  You can become allergic at any time. I wasn’t allergic until I was in my early twenties, just be aware. Now back to my story.
Mr. Chipmunk quickly climbs straight to the nest. The Chipmunk plowed right into the nest head first and the wasp didn’t have time to react. So fast I wasn’t able to capture a picture until the Chipmunk started back down. As you can see, Mr. Chipmunk has a wasp in his mouth. It became a quick snack as he headed down and afterwards there was a lot of chatter which either suggests it was delicious or ouch that hurt. Click on the picture for a close up.
I learned that Chipmunks are experienced wasp tracker and realized that I would have made a terrible Chipmunk because that would have killed me.
Hey, want to hang something on the wall that's unique, see my art 

Get away from the big screen and get on a big stream!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Marrowbone Monster

As I drove across the small bridge that overlooks the lake, I recalled fishing in this lake as a teenager. I could see the same small white fishing office where you are required to check-in or visit if you want to rent a boat.
Near the water’s edge, a host of old aluminum Jon Boats are strewn in an almost orderly fashion, dull and gray. I bet the boat I rented as a teen is still here. I remember how large, heavy and difficult to paddle these boats were and how hot aluminum gets in the southern, summer sun.
This is Marrowbone Lake. I am not sure why it’s named Marrowbone, but this absolutely beautiful 60 acre lake is nestled between vivid green hills near Nashville.  It was built in the 1930s and has remained a hidden paradise that only few have discovered. This lake is operated by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency.
I walked into the small fishing office to pay as the coldest air hit my face. Inside, a large counter with snacks and fishing items for sale hung around. A nice lady from the counter said, “$5 to fish all day, just sign your name there on the clipboard.” I thought, “What a deal.” I told her that I would like a Dr Pepper, too. She said “Okay, there in the refrigerator.” I thought, “…nice and homey, an actual kitchen refrigerator, much better than the overly commercial C-stores”, as I opened the door to get my ice cold Dr Pepper.
As we unloaded our kayaks, the water was as smooth as glass. Getting in to my kayak, I could tell this was going to be an enjoyable trip. This lake has little flow and paddling is made very easy. Using my ultra-light rod I began to plug the bank with a small grub. Right off the bat, I caught a nice bream, dark blue with a touch of orange. A perfect catch, hooked right at the lip, easy to release. 
While casting, I found that the water was so calm that the kayak moved along the bank, stealthy without much paddling, an easy way to catch a few more bream. I heard the honk of a Canadian goose near, while fishing around a downed tree. The goose swam by and posed for a photo. Every few minutes he would honk. I wondered who or what he was looking for, likely his or her mate. 
It’s been a while since I drank that Dr Pee-pper, so I had to go. The shore slopes down to the water, oak, hickory and a few pines grow with poison ivy, poison oak, an assortment of vines and wild flowers make up the under growth. It became apparent to me that a bathroom trip is going to be an adventure, so I titled this part of the story: An adventure to knock the dew off my lily. To keep it short I will sum this up in a Dr. Seuss nursery rhyme: 

I did not trip! I did not fall, and the dew was knocked from my lily after all. Life is goooood, again!

Now back to fishing, the water in this lake fills the coves between the hills and is fairly deep next to shore. Casting into this water, I caught a small Blue Cat on the same grub. Yes, you can catch catfish on artificial bait.
I decided to paddle to the end of the cove and explore. At this end of the lake the water becomes very shallow and you can easily see the muddy bottom. I was sitting in my kayak. All of a sudden, swoosh, swamp, Swoosh!! I felt the hair stand up on my neck. I saw a large wave headed near my kayak. I could see something large, slightly red through muddy water, and a dorsal fin that resembled one of those foldaway hand fans in the full open position in the middle of the wave. Wow, it was a Marrowbone Monster and I must have disturbed him in the shallows! This was one of the largest Carp I have ever seen, scales as large as hub caps, well maybe not that big, but big. I was lucky that I just knocked the dew off the lily or I might have had dew in my pants. 
I decided that the drama was over and got back to fishing. I caught a few bream and saw a big Largemouth Bass swim near me. I quickly cast a few times over near the big fish. Bang, I set the hook, but I was hung on a log. Needless to say, I was unsuccessful and decided to begin the trip back to the dock. While paddling, I could see a Great Blue Heron flying about 5 feet above the water coming toward me. I thought this would be a great photo. I reached for my camera photo. I unbuttoned my pocket, unzipped the zipper, took the plastic zip lock bag out, that contains my camera phone, unzipped the zip lock bag and grabbed the phone, turned the camera on and the Great Blue Heron was already in Nashville. Dang, I realized that I need to improve my photo process just a bit. That’s it; next trip I will bring my Nikon in an easy accessible, water tight bag. 

As I paddle back to the dock, I think this lake would have been a great setting for one of those idyllic outdoor paintings by Terry Relin with the golden sunset and geese flying over. You may agree that this is a beautiful lake; however there is one thing that just ruins this wonderful setting. Just look at these signs and study them for a minute. Why so ugly? Why so many? Why so confusing? I think it's time for a sign make over?
Remember: What's in your Lake, River, Bay or Woods? Adventure out!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lake Allatoona

Just finished this new lake decor print of Lake Allatoona. Lake Allatoona is located near Atlanta and is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineer reservoir. Built in the late 40s, the major inflows come from the Etowah River, the Little River, Noonday Creek, and Allatoona Creek. Lake Allatoona is a fine fishing lake for Crappie, Striped Bass, Spotted Bass and Hybrid Bass.

This lake Allatooona lake art print is 10"x20" and would look great in your office, home, boat or lake house. 

Life is short, get away from the big screen and get on a big stream or at least enjoy one on your wall. Frame your favorite lake, river or bay, LeoMap!