Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Judy was up and out the door to make the rounds at Curves by 8:30. Me, well, I was up by 9, or so, and heating up the oven and starting the coffee to drip. I popped 3 biscuits in the oven, and hit the bathroom, and by the time I was out, the biscuits and coffee were done.

When Judy got home she made her wonderful southern “white” thick gravy, while I scrambled 3 eggs and fried 2 pieces of “light” beef baloney!

After my second cup, I took a shower and shaved, and we were out the door to the community center where we both voted an early ballot, marking our selections by shading in a rectangular box with a number 2 pencil.

We then zipped about 12 miles up the road toward Oak Ridge, passed K-25, where I used to work, and on to the west entrance to the North Boundary Greenway. Yes, I’ve written about it before, but we love to walk there.

It’s a beautiful, usually isolated, easy walk of about a mile and a half out to the 4th bridge, the largest one on the walk that crosses Popular Creek. We love the slight rolling hills that make you begin to sweat, but there are also long flat stretches that wind their way through the DOE property. The three mile round trip is just about all we really care to do.

It was another beautiful, dry, fall day, with the temperature just below 70, a light breeze, and lots of colorful leaves rustling all around us. It has been so dry here this summer and fall that you are really pressed to find brilliant colors this year. However, there are subtle red, yellow, orange, and still lots of green leaves around, but there is a lot of brown mixed in too.

Ron bicycled the route just a few days earlier and had told me about a new beaver dam just off on the right side of the second bridge you cross after leaving the highway.

There it was – such a masterpiece of construction too! It amazes me how they instinctively know just how to perfectly build a dam, seeming to know how much of an area the backwater will cover. Their lodge must have been further up stream, because we could not see it from the bridge, but you can bet it was up there somewhere, with a safe little family unit proudly surveying their domain.

Judy posed proudly with her new “hiking stick” that Steve, her sister Terri’s husband, made for her. It’s a strong hickory stick, tapered to an epoxy tip at the bottom. Steve cut groves into the top for grip, and inset an emerald stone, her birthstone, into the very top. Down the top forward side he carved “Lucy Dragon”. Lucy is the moniker she was awarded after leaving her purse in a public restroom in Key West! Luckily, some honest person turned it in to the police and she got everything back before the cruise ship sailed. We were truly blessed…again!

Steve has been on a mission of making hiking sticks for all the Dragons, and I think he only has one more to deliver. He has 19 acres of fine Tennessee forest, so he doesn’t have to look too far from his workbench for the raw materials.

I encourage you to get out and vote, and to take a nice long walk down some country gravel road before winter comes. They’ll both do you good!

There are other shots on my Flickr page!


Michele said...

What lovely scenery! Retirement,,,does a body good!

catscratch said...

Very cool dam! And I love that walking stick!!

Debbie said...

Did you really vote with paper ballots and number 2 pencil? That's amazing, I thought everybody had gone to computer screens.

At least there will be no CHADS this time.

Love your day... coffee, biscuits, milk gravy, eggs, yum yum. Sounds like breakfast around here except we have oatmeal, fresh fruit, OJ, V-8 juice,

No room for lunch after that.

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

Suldog said...

Love that stick!

For Debbie - We (in Watertown, MA) also vote on paper. In our case, it's a black felt tip pen, with which we have to complete an arrow pointing towards the candidate(s) of our choice. Personally, I much prefer that we still have paper. Much harder to hide paper ballots than it is to erase data!

Mushy said...

Me to Sul, and Debbie it's true. They have taken up all the automated machines, the ones the used back in the primaries, and replaced the process with paper and pencils. I like it!

Shrinky said...

Sounds like the perfect start to another beautiful day for you Mushy. What shines through is the joy you take out of it, you look for and appreceiate the good, high light and savour it. I think that is the secret of your contentment, and it is well earned my friend. Smile.

~Fathairybastard~ said...

Beautiful shots, and a wonderful post. I plan to vote early next week. Tell Steve the walking stick ids cool as hell. He does good work.

As i said over on FlickR, I walked up on a beaver dam like that one on a mountain trail in Colorado once. They are amazing things to see. Got pictures of it somewhere. I need to scan them, one of these days.

Also, I love to see you guys out and about, stayin' healthy. You're truly blessed with beautiful places to walk.

Byron Chesney said...

Nice walking stick. I've not voted yet. I kinda like to do it on election day for some reason. Although this year I'm not very excited about the whole thing.

AirmanMom said...

Magnificent shots and good advice!
Great post!

~AirmanMom returning to her blog...