On Sunday morning, there were a few hours of sun. The view to west from my back porch was so beautiful that I decided that the dawglet and should take a walk. I’ve had a project in the works for a couple of years with the local NRCS – National Resouce Conservation Service – that includes the reforestation of 1.5 acres of my farm. I thought I would take a walk down there and see if any of the grass seed sowed about a month had survived the recent heavy rains and germinated.
We walked up through the nursery, and then down the little hill to what’s been called the duck lake. I learned the name of that place from all my neighbors who showed up, asking to hunt ducks and geese there after I moved here in 1997. My duck lake is completely encircled by trees, and is considered to be one of the better ones around, not that I would know. My tribe has tofu turkey for Thanksgiving….
Chi – the dawglet – was cavorting, eager for the outing. There’s nothing she likes better than to accompany rounds in the nursery, looking at crop. But a walk in the woods is better than anything if you are a terrier.
Coming down into the duck lake, I could see that my grass seed was surely goners. The entire area was covered with straw that had floated in last week when the the first episode of the winter monsoon was upon us. I didn’t have access to a real drill – we just broadcast the seed and dragged it. the NRCS had specified that row spacing for my reforestation trees should be 8 feet, meaning that all the 10 foot wide tillage equipment of my obliging neighbors was not usable. Sigh. There was still quite a lot standing water down there…
As soon as I took the picture above, Chi raced head. The peace of the morning walk was forgotten. To my surprise, there was a duck hunter!
Aw, it was just my new best friend Larry and his dog Sally. I explained to Larry that it was my farm and there would be no murdering of ducks. Larry was deaf as a post and I don’t think he understood a single word I said, but he did tell me all about Sally’s recent operation – the $1,700 one, not the $4,000 one – for a torn tendon in her right hind leg. Sally is half Chesapeake Bay retriever and half lab, and she’s only 18 months old and already a really good bird dog, so why not? He and his wife were brokenhearted when their last dog died, and they were really happy to find such a good pup even though they’ve always had purebred dogs in the past.
Then, he must have realized I was still talking, maybe trying to tell him something, maybe that he couldn’t hunt on my land, and he started a completely bullshit story about how Dave had sent him to gather up all the lumber that they had gotten together to build a new duck blind on the property just to the west of mine. The lumber – which was evidently railroad ties – had floated down into my woods, riding floodstage Dairy Greek south with the straw. I have to say that he didn’t look exactly like he was out to reclaim wood, what with his brisket decorated with duck calls and his stylish camoflauge-painted shotgun. I guess when you dress up to murder ducks you take your hearing aid out.
I asked him about the duck calls and he gave a toot on each one of them. Sally was very excited, but Chi was off varminting and could have cared less.
I shook his hand like a man, and headed home to get ready to go to Portland and go sell pottery. Chi was content with the outing and came along home to spend the day on the couch. By the time we were home, it was raining steadily and the sun was gone.
Here’s the dawglet in full camo……