Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Trails, Briars, and Hangnails

I drove along this mountain trail which had been a logging road a year ago. Brush and briars are beginning to grow along the trail.

The farther I go, the thicker it gets!

Fortunately for me I remembered to put my cutlass into the bed of the mule. I purchased this "cane-cutting knife" in Guyana, S. America back in the late 1960's. It has served me well both there, in Africa, and now here in the Cherokee Forest!

I would have had to turn around just half-way through - but my trusty cutlass helped me hack this fallen log in two so that I could drive the mule over it!

Somewhere in between fighting with the briars and cutting the fallen log in two pieces, I broke a fingernail. As you can see by enlarging the picture here...the hands also became very rough and dry.

I stayed out in the forest as long as I dared, heading for home just as the sun put a glorious cap onto the end of my day!

What a WONDERFUL day here in the Cherokee Forest in East Tennessee! I arrived at the cabin about 11:00a.m. to the music of a beautiful spring-like day - temperature about 60 - with partly cloudy skies. I could hear the creek gurgling gently in the background, with crows cawing overhead. The sight of the beautiful red cardinal feeding along the lower limbs of brush near the back porch steps seemed to make my steps lighter. Instead of the usual routine of going inside and opening all doors and windows to allow things to air out, I decided it was a perfect time to just sit in the sun on the back porch (which faces south) and soak some rays while sipping a cup of black coffee. I had made this pot of brew at home and poured it into my steel thermos bottle in anticipation of a back country trail-ride on the Kawasaki Mule, so did not have to enter the kitchen to turn on the stove. While sipping the last few drops from my cup, my neighbor from down the creek stopped by to return the pick/mattock he had borrowed from my tools in order to free himself and his car from the grip of that last deep snow. We have a rule between my neighbor and I: He can borrow anything that's outside as long as he doesn't forget where it belongs and will return it as soon as he is finished with it. I think the snow was finished at least a week ago but he had either forgotten the rule or had been too pre-occupied with other things to bring the tool home earlier. ☻

I finally grabbed the trusty little .22 caliber rifle which I had brought along just in case I spotted a squirrel during the ride (we can harvest squirrels until February 28th) and headed out slowly to explore the country. I drove along slowly, dodging mud-puddles in the road, looking for deer, hog, bear, or any game tracks or other signs of the presence of animals available to harvest. After about 30 minutes I spotted hickory nuts covering the ground. In my heart I knew that the squirrels ought to frequently be here, eating gourmet meals - but the evidence of chewed hickory nuts was largely missing. Just as I was about to give up on the idea, one of the squirrels saw me first. I saw him - but it was too late. He quickly scampered across the forest floor and out of sight. Maybe next time!


jack69 said...

Great entry Fred. I enjoyed the coffee and just sitting there and then the trip along with you.

We were together, but I was faster, I got a shot at the squirrel (but missed, hahaha). I know how much you enjoy that Cabin and the Tennessee Mountains.
Fortunately we were blessed to visit it with you last year and I understand how you have formed the attachment. Now with the 'TOY' you are enjoying the area more, that is great. Thanks for the trip. I really enjoyed it. Now this weekend we are going to find 'Yankeetown', to see where you spent some of your childhood.

Also maybe, 'just maybe', we will try some Mullet-roe and grits in Crystal river. There is a possiblity we will go to church in Crystal River.

TAke care and hug your wife (one of my girlfriends) for me.

I still am enjoying contact with dear friends separated for so many years.

Fred Alton said...

Hey Jack - just to let you know that I kissed one of your girl-friends lightly on the forehead and told her it was from you! Then I gave her a real kiss from her main man! ☻☻☻

Favorite One said...

I sure did enjoy this trip to the cabin. I was hoping you were gonna say you got that squirrel! Okay now, you got 5 more days - and I LOVE fried squirrel - HINT, HINT! Well, let me re-phrase that - I LOVE fried squirrel that my daddy cleans and cooks! :0) BIG SMILES!

Wow - I was in class and then at the Chicago O'Hare airport, then thru security, then waited and then flew and ALL during that time - you were enjoying that BEAUTIFUL day. I think I probably got home about the same time as you. Didn't see any squirrels in the clouds tho....

Favorite One said...

PS - I know you don't miss that "Corporate America" work business.

I'm SO glad you get to enjoy retirement!

Pranavam Ravikumar a.k.a. Kochuravi said...

Good post!

renewd42 said...

Great post, we are looking forward to spring melts, when we can venture out into Gods beauty more!! take care and blessings!!

Dar said...

Never had squirrel meat but would try anything once. You also commented to me once, that you always eat peanut butter on your pancakes. I had to try it and now eat them that way, sometimes with a hint of fresh maple syrup for dipping. You eat good.
Bill and I have been looking for a side-by-side similar to your Mule. So, has it been a good machine? We have good trails but he wants something that he can swamp-crawl with...maybe a set of those triangular tracks.
Love that cutlass of yours...what a weapon...look out brush, here comes Fred. I can see it works.
BlessYourHeart I enjoyed this entry and the coffee with the sun in my face. maybe this weekend at My cabin this time.
BlessYaFred~~hugs to you both

Raffy Jay said...

It's a sure adventure you've got. So thrilling to watch even though I'm only sitting.