Deer season

It’s deer season in Georgia. I know that deer season for regular firearms starts sometime in  late fall and lasts into early the next year. I checked online for the exact dates (Oct 21 through Jan 14), but that’s not how I figured it out.

We have heard one loud gunshot. I heard it when I was walking the dogs and Leah heard it at home. It came from the woods on the other side of Fouche Gap Road, where there is a large tract of land used for hunting, plus the Berry College campus, which also allows hunting. But it wasn’t gunfire that made me aware of deer season.

I have seen a couple of pickup trucks parked along Fouche Gap Road that had the look of a deer hunter’s truck. But that wasn’t what made me aware of deer season.

No, it wasn’t those things. It was the stink of rotting deer carcasses thrown off the side of the road. That unpleasant aroma has been strong at several places along the road for several weeks. The dogs are very interested in what’s causing that smell, but I don’t let them investigate. A few days ago Zeke escaped and ran immediately to one of the carcasses, where he rolled and rolled. When we found him he had an overcoat of something black and stinking. It was all around his neck. Of course he had to have a bath before he could come back inside.

Sometimes the carcass is not visible. Sometimes the remains have been stuffed into plastic bags. Sometimes you can see ribs where apparently some portion of the edible meat has been cut away. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. A couple of days ago I saw one deer where it was obvious what the hunter wanted. The entire, intact deer was lying in the leaves, minus the head.

I wonder what portion of deer hunters our carcass dumpers represent.

Fall 2017

It seemed that fall was never going to come this year. Atlanta has had record or record-tying high temperatures three times in the last week or so. On Wednesday, Nov 1, there was very little color (other than green) in the trees.

There was fog in Texas Valley. What looks like trees that have lost their leaves for fall are actually trees that died over last winter as a result of the drought in the summer of 2016.

Leah and I were both wondering if there would be any color. At least one fall color prediction map showed our area of Georgia as reaching peak color in late October. We didn’t make it, but by Saturday, Nov 4, there was a hint of color.

On Sunday there was more color on the other side of the mountain.

By Tuesday the maple trees were beginning to show their best color.

Even then there was still a lot of green.

The temperature had dropped on Wednesday and by Thursday it felt a lot more like fall, or possibly even a mild winter day because of the clouds and drizzle. We may miss this wet weather before long. The long-range forecast for the Southeast this winter is warmer and dryer than normal.

A quick trip to Denver

It had been a long time since I visited my friends in Denver, so I took a quick trip out a couple of weeks ago. I took Zeke and Lucy; Leah stayed home to take care of the cats and Sam, who still gets carsick. I had planned to leave on a Monday, but Zeke made a break for freedom and it took until about mid-afternoon to find him and convince him to come back home. So I left on Tuesday.

It’s 1360 miles from our house, a nice, two-day drive. I’ve made this drive and a similar drive to Albuquerque many times, sometimes in my truck and sometimes riding a motorcycle. I have always simply slept somewhere along the way, in a rest area if in the truck or in some tall weeds if I rode the bike. I stopped this time at a rest area on I-70 in Kansas. I wanted to make 700 miles so the next day would be shorter, but I didn’t manage it.

During the night I dreamed that I was sleeping across the front seats of the truck with my shoulder, my hip and my knee hurting. Then I woke up, sleeping across the front seat with my shoulder, hip and knee hurting.

This was sunrise at the rest area.

I wanted to leave before sunrise, but between hurting and having to take Lucy for a couple of walks during the night, I didn’t sleep well enough to make it.

I got to my friends Errol and Cookie’s house around 8 pm. I usually say I’m visiting Denver, but they actually live in Littleton. Errol and Cookie’s daughter Debra and her husband Tres live not far away, also in Littleton. Grandson Will was there, and granddaughter Emily came home from college to see friends. Another old friend, Tom, Errol’s brother, rode his motorcycle up from near Albuquerque. We spent the next four days visiting.

Here are Tom (standing) and Errol working on Tom’s bike, a 1989 Honda Transalp. I pointed out to them that when you take a trip on a motorcycle, your destination should always be somewhere that you can work on your motorcycle. Maybe that doesn’t apply to modern bikes.

Tres is restoring an MGB-GT, donated by Tom.

Tres’s work is meticulous. The front suspension assembly is lying on the floor right behind Tom. When I saw it I thought it was a rebuilt assembly that Tres had ordered from England, but, no, it was his work. I expect the finished car to look like it was ordered directly from England.

Debra and Tres’s dog Elroy looks like Zeke’s cousin.

They also have a cat, Spencer. Elroy and Spencer get along famously.

Spencer is a cat that is exactly like one that we don’t have.

Zeke and Elroy didn’t get along that well. There was a lot of posturing, some growling and at least one phony fight that involved snarling, barking and snapping, none of which resulted in any injury that I could see. I found a spot of blood above Elroy’s eye, but it wiped off, so I think it probably came from Zeke, although I couldn’t find any place on Zeke where the blood could have come from. I’m not sure what their problem is. I suspect that Elroy resents Zeke, and Zeke is not appropriately respectful in his host’s home.

Part of the visit required that we sit on Debra and Tres’s deck

I think we probably talked about things.

After four short days I had to head back home. I had one last breakfast with Errol, Cookie, and Debra and then found my way back onto I-70.

As it happens, eastern Colorado and western Kansas look pretty much the same going east as they do going west. They are mostly flat, with some low, rolling hills. Windmill farms provide the most visual interest, especially after dark when you can see the red warning lights blinking simultaneously on scores of windmills.

I spent another night in Kansas sleeping across the front seats of the truck. This time I had prepared. I had several pillows to lay out over the seats to make them closer to level and to take the hard edges off the bucket seats. I think Lucy woke me up a couple of times, but I got a decent night’s sleep.

I got home around 11 pm on the second day. I was pretty tired, but it was worth it. I hope it’s not as long before the next visit.

And then there was Nate

For the first time I can remember north Georgia was under a tropical storm warning for Sunday. The Channel 5 forecaster was pointing almost directly at us Saturday night.

Hurricane/tropical storm/tropical depression Nate followed the forecast track almost exactly, crossing the top of northwest Georgia during the day on Sunday, but by the time it got here, the watch had been lifted. We got more than an inch of rain from midnight through around noon on Sunday, and then another inch and two thirds during the afternoon, less than the three to five inches predicted, but still enough to satisfy me, and I hope, both the plants and the aquifers for a while.

There was wind. If this fast-moving system is really gone by Monday morning, I’ll see if it brought down any trees when the dogs and I take our walk. The damage will probably be limited to a few branches and lots of leaves in the road.

This late in the year I associate storms and rain with the passage of a cold front, but this was a tropical system, so it brought lots of humidity and warm temperatures. The temperature stayed around 70 degrees all day on Sunday, but it was too humid to open any windows. After this system is gone, we are supposed to have almost summer-like temperatures for the rest of the week.

Sunrise, 2 October

This greeted us Monday morning when we woke up.

It was the best sunrise we’ve had in a while, although we appreciate every sunrise, dramatic or not.

Nothing much has been happening around here, or at least nothing very noteworthy. Summer is fading into fall. We’ve had pleasantly cool nights and days that were warm rather than miserably hot and humid. The only bad part is that we have had very little rain.

Molly seems like she is at home now; in fact, she seems a little too much at home. She’s bullying Chloe, so Chloe doesn’t want to come inside. She plays enthusiastically with Smokey; we’ve had to warn Smokey that he needs to tone it down so that he doesn’t have a heart attack. She likes to ambush Sam when he comes down the hall. And she has finally learned that it’s OK to relieve herself outside. She is still using a litter box at night, and occasionally during the day.

Zeke is still escaping every once in a while, but he’s slowing down. I have to go out in the truck to pick him up. He’s hesitant to come to me, but eventually he will. Once the children of the people who bought our old house brought him home. He kept turning his head to look at them as they walked back home. I think he might like to visit a little longer with them.

Sam is still chewing on Zeke’s legs, neck, face and ears on every walk. They are such buddies, I worry about what will happen when Zeke is no longer around. After all, we’ve had Zeke 11 years, so he’s at least 12, maybe older. That’s pretty old for a big dog like him.

Lucy is still barking, and, unfortunately, peeing on dog beds. She loves to sneak out, go around the house, climb the steps up to the front porch, and eat the cats’ food. She absolutely does not want to go on our longer dog walks, so sometimes I leave her at home.

Leah’s feeling some arthritis pain, and what I think is sciatica. My knee hurts.

And that’s all from here.