Monday, April 27, 2009

Back in Action

Well, it must indeed be Spring. Steve Kruger and his able crew installed the front pier this morning. Next come the lifts and the swim deck--the pier on the shoreside was done some time ago (in water too cold to think about--at least 47 degrees). Here is a picture of Steve (just above) and his merry band (on the top).

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Old Ways Continue

Well, I can remember back to when produce was sold from horse drawn carts. My wife does me one better—as she’s from a small town and thus can remember the ice man coming by with the big block across his shoulder and chips for the kids. I also remember the excitement of having the television brought into the front of the yard by truck while they tested the reception for this new device—to see if it worked in our neighborhood.

You can start to add the telephone repairman with his climbing irons to the list. We had two intrepid fellows here this morning. Fred McGlothin Jr. and Dustin Stinson, on loan from REMC, helping Rochester Telephone string a new wire to Treasure Island.

In a world of bucket trucks, having guys qualified to climb poles is a rare thing indeed, and they certainly saved the day for me—as my Internet was dead in the water—a victim of metal fatigue from the big line across the channel. Until bucket trucks can float, the old ways are the only way.

Here are some pictures of the guys at work. Thanks fellas!

PS This took some real scrambling on the part of Rochester Telephone Company as they had to locate heavy duty wire for the span as well as people who can climb. The time elapsed from pinpointing the problem to the repair was—one day. Thanks to Tim of the Internet Department, Matt and Chris and Scott on the repair end for making this happen so quickly.

The Bottom Picture is of Fred McGlothin Jr. and Dustin Stinson, on loan from REMC. To the right is Chris Bickle of Rochester Telephone.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

We Have Swans

This may be old news to many--but this is the first time this season that I've seen them. Two mute swans making their elegant way along the East Shore toward Rain Creek. I felt like telephoning Doc Fritts and telling him to look over his balcony--they were that close to shore.

I'm guessing as to the "Mute" part as I couldn't steady the binoculars enough to get the color of their bill. They are the only swan with an orange bill. Most of my bird pictures I borrow from Wikipedia, as I just don't have the lens for close ups. All the other photos are my own.

One of my favorite moments on the lake was a time in the kayak when a pair of mute swans flew directly overhead, only fifteen feet away. That is something you never forget.

Have a good Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Bird Brains (me included)

Well I have been putting on quite a show for the folks on shore the last couple of weeks. I'm sure all they can see is me dancing around the island waving a broom in the air.

Normally this time of year we share the property with four mating pairs of Canada Geese. This year, sadly, we need to keep the yard up to snuff--as the property is for sale--so I need to convince my feathered friends that I am the dominant goose--and I'm claiming the whole island for myself. You do this by staying on ground higher than the goose in question and--lacking a long neck to bob up and down--waving a broom in the air . Then you stare and stare (they hate that) and they will start moving away.

The first three pairs got the message immediately--but the last pair--a fairly immature couple--couldn't take the hint. A big part of this problem has to do with territory--they simply have nowhere to go that isn't guarded zealously by older and stronger geese. One goose is a particular thorn in my side. He claims a huge territory in the channels off the west side of the island, and keeps driving the hapless pair back to me.

Geese, by the way, are some of the neatest creatures you could ever get to know. They have a wonderful social order, show incredible courage when protecting their young, and are really quite beautiful. Sadly, they have vastly over-populated the lake, and we all are a bit on the defensive when it comes to sharing property.

I have to say, I don't know how this story will end, they are starting to get to me. It is harder and harder to wave them off.

PS: Ten days later:

As you can see--I'm a soft touch after all. Can't resist rooting for the underdog--as these poor birds were run all over the lake by their dominant brethren. Sorry Max, if you read this, we're going to let these ones hatch. I owe my neighbors a drink, as I know the little ones will be a pain--hopefully just to me and my yard.

PPS Moving Day! The hatchlings are more green than brown, so momma has moved them into the green reeds on the south of the island. Perhaps I can get a picture later--they were too quick for me today.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Rare Sighting on the Lake

We had a crisp, sunny day yesterday--but even with clouds, I think the white mass just south of Big Island would have been exceptional. A whiter white I have never seen in the natural world. I grabbed the binoculars to have a closer look and couldn't believe my eyes. A group of American White pelicans were there in all their glory. The white of their beautiful bodies was accentuated by the bold black design at their wing tips--an amazing bird that is only supposed to inhabit North Florida and Western Canada. We were being blessed with a stopover on their way north.

I called my wife to come see this, and she just had time to put the binoculars on them when out of nowhere came a bass boat--plowing hard for the middle of the group. I'm happy to say all the birds made it into the air just in time--but they are now nowhere to be seen.

If there is one thing I have learned in my sixty-four years: We may be threatened with the extinction of species--but we will never run out of morons.