“Wyrd biõ ful ãræd.”

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Living in the Rain Forest

 This was the view from my front porch this morning at 7:45.  It's not yet June and the foliage is so thick you would have trouble walking through it.  Finding your way to a specific spot would be tough even with GPS, and I wouldn't try it with a map unless I could follow a game trail or a walking trail.

That's why there are only two other approaches to my place beside the vehicle trail. There's a deer path going down to the creek, and an old game trail headed up the mountain. Other than that, it's just thick foliage.


On the eastern side of the house, where I've thinned out the trees considerably, it's not quite so thick. However, there's nothing back there but hundreds of square miles of national forest

If there weren't any mist, you would just see the mountains through the trees. There's a famous hiking trail that goes through those mountains. On rare occasions, people have gotten lost up on the trail and walked down the mountain slope looking for roads. If I hear them talking on sports radios (which I monitor), I will try to talk them in and give them a ride back up to the trail head where it hits the hard surface road.  Once I just heard people yelling out in the woods. The dogs and I went to see what was going on and it was lost hikers off the trail. They were young people, in their mid twenties, and something wasn't right with the guy leading them. He seemed like one of those people who are intelligent but can't pour sand out of a boot.

 If you remember the pictures taken during the past winter, you'll remember the jeep trail that passes between two trees at the foot of the meadow. This is the same angle, showing the same spot, but you can barely see where the trail comes out.

The forest just closes in on you here. Especially at night. Last night we had an inversion fog, and it was so thick I could see the aura of the red security lights on the barn, but not the barn itself. On nights like that, the dogs and cats stay on the porch and the chickens stay up in the trees. You don't know who or what may be coming to visit in the fog.  Even my huge floodlight just makes a tunnel of light in the fog that goes out into the meadow and just stops.

The dogs got really rowdy this morning when I went out on the porch. They thought we were going for one of our morning rides to the lake, or just down the mountain for a walk. They're both a lot bigger than they look in this picture so I have to be careful of them when they are excited and rushing around. Some years back, they came down off the hill behind me after a big snow storm. They hit me from behind, going full tilt, and knocked me straight up in the air. When I came down, the two ribs I broke when I fell off the roof cracked again. Bad dogs! They mean well though and are boon companions most of the time.



 Momma Kitty was feeding her brood this morning, in her secure spot she has selected by the wood stacked on the porch.  Believe it or not, there was another kitten roaming around who was not in the picture. Two of the babies are her biological children, while four of them were abandoned by their moms and Momma Kitty took them in. She gets extra rations of milk, and of canned cat food, while she is nursing and until she recovers and puts on some weight.
My wife named her. She just came out of the woods one day and joined our household. I am glad to have the kittens, since the attrition among the older cats this past winter was severe and I have already lost another to snake bite this spring.



This is one of the pots that constitute Tuggy's egg farm. She is my big chocolate Lab.  Tuggy goes from pot to pot throughout the day, checking for eggs. When she finds one, she picks it up in her mouth and carries it around with her until she is ready to eat it. Then she cracks the shell at one end and licks out all the "goody."

When she got her shots earlier this month the vet said she is overweight and needs to cut back.  Easier to say that than to make it happen.


Well, today will be a busy one.  I'm off to town and to the lumber yard.  If it will just dry out a little I have some work to do on the porch and on the retaining wall.  Not hard or dangerous work, just standard maintenance type stuff.


26 comments:

  1. Harry - You live in a stunningly beautiful area. Thanks for sharing - quite wonderful.

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    1. I don't have the views you do, Dani. I like your place, you can see a long ways from your house, and you have great sunsets and sunrises. It's nice here but I sometimes wish the forest wasn't so thick. It can be oppressive.

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  2. What a gorgeous corner of the world where you live. I know that living in a remote area is not without it's problems. But oh, for the peace and quiet. Thank you for the tour. Made my day!

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    1. I wish I could have gotten pictures when the mist was still thick, but my camera is not top flight. It's pretty quiet up here, that's true. Especially in the winter.

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  3. You do have some thick foliage.

    How fun to have a brood of kittens!

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    1. It's very dense. I like the forests in Northern California better, where there's not so much underbrush, and the trees are far enough apart that the sun comes down between them. On the other hand, the thick forest makes it a lot harder for people to get here inadvertently and disturb me.
      The cats are working animals, and essential to the "system" I have up here. For whatever reason, only three of the females had kittens this spring, and only six of the kittens survived.

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  4. Certainly full of trees.

    A stray cat just had 5 babies up by our shed. Travis was going to call a nonprofit org called Feline Friendz to come and take them, but they must have gotten the message and left before he got around to that. I like cats, but my allergies do not.

    I'm glad those dogs didn't hurt you worse. I grew up with 2 pitbulls, they were great dogs, yet strong. My mom would give me a cookie, one would come up to grab the cookie, I'd put my cookie behind my back, and the 2nd dog would jump up from behind me and snag the cookie. They did take me on wonderful sled rides in the winter. One was so nice, and let me sleep on their belly.

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    1. She'd have had a hard time moving five kittens far. They are probably in some safe, hard to find spot. Feral cats are good survivors.

      The dogs didn't mean to run me down. They came racing down the slope, side by side, and hit me like a torpedo. Pitbulls are good dogs if they are not brutalized, and at one time were very common here where I live. But as the number of people who had lived here all their lives declined, and the number of part time residents from the city grew, they were largely replaced by small, lap dog type animals.

      My dogs are good with the cats, kittens and chickens. They will even let the ferrets meander around on the porch without bothering them. We don't have an indoor dog, though I sometimes wish we did.

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    2. Indoor dogs tend to be very protective, which is a good thing. If a robber, or someone tried breaking in an indoor dog wouldn't let someone in.

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    3. I would like to have an indoor dog. Some breed very small. My dad had a deer born Chihuahua and she was an excellent little dog, good alarm system. My only concern is that a dog might kill my ferrets.

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  5. Nice to have all those trees. Lovely green and lush. Good to keep the Zombies out.

    We have had a lot of fog this year. The weather is crazy we aren't flooded ourselves but people further East have been.

    We are looking at a house in a village that is for sale. Am afraid I am starting to like this house too much, but then I remember it has a stream in the garden and I don't want it. We are viewing it again this weekend. Cleverly after all this rain. I will be able to see how much it has risen. They are allowing us to do a soil sample, as we cant find a surveyor that offers this as part of their package. This will hopefully be our last house. it has everything we want but isn't on the coast. You cant have everything and our £ wont stretch far enough. Your home in our area would be wow... with the acreage? my god over a million, for sure. Space to breath is huge money.

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    1. Maybe my place wouldn't be worth as much as you think, Sol. It was appraised at $450,000 just before the crash in 2007. Now the appraisal is $140,000. Property values in the mountains were utterly annihilated and really haven't come back. There are many, many ritzy houses up here, particularly on mountain tops, that are simply falling down because they were taken back by the bank then, have not been lived in since, and have received no maintenance.

      I hope you find the place you want. House hunting, particularly if you think it will be for your residence in old age, is tricky. But sometimes you find just the right place.

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    2. for instance in my area in the Cotswolds a bungalow of 100sqm (sorry I don't know what that is in feet.), 2 beds approx. (guessing in feet) 10x10 and a single room 8x6. Lounge and kitchen. hmmm with 1/2 acre of land (single tiny garage). Hmmm in a village. At least £450k according to XE.com that is $752k USD

      an acre of arable land is about £11k Woodland last time I looked 7-8k

      I would love to live somewhere with at least 3 acres, 12 would be ideal but we wont find that. Maybe in Scotland or Wales but we cant find the work there. Got to stop moving soon.

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    3. You need to come live here. You could have a lot of land for not much money with a house already on it. Land here is cheap. Those prices you quoted are staggering! Making a living in very rural areas is tough, but it can be done. Have you ever considered writing? I bet you could supplement your income pretty well that way.

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  6. The momma cats abandoned them? I have never seen that happen. Usually around here the momma cats claim their space and hate each other although I have never seen em attack the others kittens before.

    That's funny with the dog and the eggs. My old lab was so over weight the vet complained constantly about it. Like you said, easier said than done.

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    1. It happens frequently here.After the babies are born, the mother cat just walks off and won't feed them or care for them. I've raised kittens by hand feeding them from a bottle and cleaning them with a washcloth. This time we had "momma kitty" who will take in anyone provided they are about the same age as her own kittens.

      Tuggy is a glutton and particularly relishes eggs. Since I don't want any more chickens I show her the nests when I find them and she has more eggs than she needs. But we all have our vices.

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  7. I always thought your area to be gorgeous, my aunt has her mountain house near your area..it is for sale and I wish I could buy it.
    Our SC property is getting to be the same way...so darn green and beautiful..i just love the Southeast, and would not live any where else.

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    1. Glock Mom, The Carolina's are really pretty places. The Appalachians in North Carolina make the mountains here look like foot hills. I know they have much bigger mountains out west, but here we can wander all over ours, they aren't so jagged and rough.

      My grandma had a place in Franklin, NC when I was a teenager and I spent some great summers there. I was up in Franklin not long ago, and could not recognize the place. It's more like a city now, was just a little town in the 1960's.

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  8. Harry - i love all of your trees but i love trees in general. you have beautiful deciduous trees, which we have few of in our specific area - mostly evergreens. other places on the island have beautiful deciduous trees like yours. but i have a question : aren't you covered in swarming black flies in your area? at this time of year the black flies are deadly and they love the woods. so i was wondering if you get them down there, too. i love all the pics of the kittens and dogs and other animals.

    your friend,
    kymber

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    1. Kymber, flies are only a problem here if you have animals like horses or goats, sheep, etc. I rarely see flies here in our area. We have a thing called a carpenter bee that is a real pain. They look just like bumble bees but they will drill into your house if you don't spray them. We also have hornets. But no "black flies."

      I thought I would give the other animals a little post time, since the lion's share goes to my ferret friends.

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  9. Your place is gorgeous! I would love to live out where you do.

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    1. I always think that your home looks like an English garden. I bet you would fit right in down in Savannah, where everything is elegant and the landscaping is done with great care and detail.

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    2. Yeah but we'd stick out like the Beverly Hillbillies! I'd be part Elly Mae - or at least like she is with animals- and part Granny when I'd shoot my ground hog and skin it in the back yard before cooking it up for supper. LOL

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    3. You have a real flair for gardening. I guess where you are , you have the best of everything. Room for plants and gardening, lots of land, a tractor, and some breathing room. Savannah is elegant, but there's something very old and somber about that place as well.

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  10. Hey Harry,


    (captaincrunch)

    yeah' your place is green alright.

    lots of green.

    By the way. About what I said about Britain in the last post. I still dislike any monarchy, but Sol, Dreamer and a few others can migrate to Texas. All I ask is that they leave there Redcoats at the state line and buy a rifle when they get here. We are letting in garbage from all over the planet, however I would welcome a few dissatisfied brits (and a whole lot of Scots) that are willing to be citizens and not subjects.

    Also, you gotta realize. My filter is broke. I got a real bad habit of saying what I think (and typing what I think) I get myself in trouble all the time and I blame it on the First Amendment.
    That's one of the reasons I avoid 'weddings, funerals, and other social functions (one word of wisdom. don't try to pick up on women at funerals)

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    1. I am not sure British people would do well in Texas, CC. Some parts of it are pretty rough and tumble yet, and they live in a highly regulated and controlled system. It would be a real case of culture shock.

      Yeah, I kind of picked up on that personality trait some time back. Back when I had the other blog, actually. But that's ok, I think people know you don't mean any harm and no one can say you don't add some color to the conversation. ;-)

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