I Woke Up Early…

This is the second morning in a row that I’ve been awake before 10 AM.  For those of you who have jobs that might seem a little indulgent, but I had one of those for over 30 years and now I get up when I damned well please.  Unless I inexplicably wake up early.  Then the indulgence turns to sorrow and disjointed thoughts.

When I first woke up I kept having potential blog topics running through my head.  Snippets that were totally unrelated.  For instance, I experienced a bit of guilt about providing so many Walter posts and never giving any blog space to my cats.  But then I let myself off the hook because, after all, the cats are normal pets and Walter is not.  Not by a long shot…

Then I thought about discussing this very unusual boat we are getting.  Do we get a normal boat?  Hell, no!  But that’s a post for another time.  Maybe I’ll do that in a few minutes if I don’t get sleepy.  If sleep doesn’t appear soon, I’ll be a grumpy, sleep-deprived zombie whack job when I write it, so be prepared.  Preparations should include an appropriate hiding place, preferably one with coffee.  Mmmm coffee.  That’s what I want right now but shouldn’t have because I really do want to sleep and cease becoming a grumpy, sleep-deprived zombie whack job.  Who am I kidding?  If I get more sleep I’ll just be a slightly less grumpy zombie whack job who is well-rested.

My next potential topic concerned my obsession with a cell phone game rated for ages 4+.  Stop judging me!    It’s perfectly normal to wait impatiently while my flowers grow and watch for some sort of weird bug/creature to appear.  *checks game*  Why do I wait for weird bugs on virtual flowers?  It’s because collecting enough of them can get you spiffy prizes.  These include outfits I can use to dress my character and furniture I can use to decorate a little campsite.  *checks game*  I am currently behind in my bug collecting and I might not make my quota before tonight and then I will miss out on getting that sandalwood resort hut.  It doesn’t matter that it will probably sit in my virtual inventory and never be used, I want it.  I want it bad.  I don’t just want it, I NEED it!

It occurs to me that not having a schedule might be deleterious to my Age 4+ mind.  I don’t care.  I’m going to get that damned sandalwood resort hut if I have to haunt my phone constantly until 2 AM because that’s when the bugs go away and my chance of getting my NEEDED sandalwood resort hut is gone like a bird on a boat potentially bringing me snacks.  Yeah, it’s a strange game and it really is early in the morning for me, isn’t it?

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*This blog has now been interrupted while Walter howls at horses.*  Yes, this is happening real-time.  Did I make this up?  No.  If I had made it up, it would be the start of a Walter post.  Since I am currently a coffeeless, sleep-deprived zombie whack job, I will resist writing another post about Walter, even though horse-howling is a rather interesting topic and does deserve to be explored.  Maybe later…

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Back to irregularly scheduled programming.  *checks game* I went to a wedding reception yesterday.  How was that for a non-existent seque?  Get used to it, there will be more.  The reception was a casual affair hosted by the blissful couple at a cottage on a lake in the middle of a savage thunderstorm.  I had cake.

What do you all know about docks?  *checks game* We have to get one for the weird boat and I’m a dock virgin so there are many questions.  I was reading about mooring whips and water agitators and started to fantasize about becoming a dock virgin pond dominatrix.

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Yet another Walter interruption.  He has traded in his howling for whining.  There is a Golden Retriever down the road. Even though said retriever can barely be seen, except by him, it doesn’t matter.  The whining continues. Horse-howling is a distant memory.

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*boof*  I promise, I’m not even going to give Walter his own paragraphs anymore because he’s just indiscriminately boofing at a spot where a Golden Retriever was…and is not anymore. *checks game* Golden Retrievers are like that.  They have the nerve to move out of Walter’s view, and apparently, that is boof-worthy. *checks game*  Oooh, I got some bugs and a white beach dress as a prize!* Thirty-four bugs to go!  *boof*

Wow!  Did you know that you can get a water-agitating, muck-removing thingmabob?  Neither did I.  I know this subject just randomly popped up but I think it’s important to know that The Aquasweep Muck Blaster starts at only $1195!  I cannot make this stuff up.  *boof* Maybe my potential as a pond dominatrix could be achieved if I got a muck-blasting water agitator.  It does sound sufficiently painful, don’t you think?

*boof..bark…howl*  I wish I could put videos here.  That sound combination is YouTube gold.  It’s not often I get a threefer from Walter.  It’s usually one sound or another, but we have now reached trifecta status in the dog noise emission category this morning.  Stand by for farts.  That’s the only dog noise emission left.  Other dog emissions are not allowed.  If he pees on the sofa again there will be whimpering, and I hate whimpering before coffee.

*low growl boof*  Hey, that’s new.  Walter never ceases to amaze me.  Oh damn, I am actually giving him another paragraph when I promised I wouldn’t.  Oh well, you’d better let me off the hook on this one.  Keep in mind that I’m a pond dominatrix and I can moor-whip you into submission regarding Walter paragraph promises.  If the moor-whipping isn’t sufficient, I’ll get out the Aquasweep Muck Blaster and then you’ll be sorry!

 

 

 

 

 

It’s All About The Boats

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During the last week or so I’ve been publishing posts with stories about camp.  Here is one that is a little more current.   This is from the 4th of July.

Some cities have parades with big bands marching and floats floating.  Ironbound Pond has floats, too.  Actually, it has a flotilla.  The watercraft you see above make up the entire Ironbound Pond Boat Parade.

Now it may seem like an odd thing to call a collection of party boats, a speed boat, an aluminum fishing boat, and a Jet Ski an entire parade.  Oh but it is!

The Ironbound Pond Boat Parade started about four years ago and has delighted camp owners every 4th of July.  It’s a great chance to see friends, show off a few flags and even dress up a bit.  From the shore, I spotted red white and blue top hats along with other festive attire.   One boat was decked out with a New England Patriots flag and the inhabitants wore their Patriots football jerseys.  These folks are hardcore fans.  Go Pats!

To people who live in cities,  all of this may seem like much ado about nothing.  Those big cities have massive parades and firework extravaganzas.  Even small towns have parades with school bands and a modest fireworks display.   The denizens of the pond have none of that.  What we have are boats.  That’s not to say that some individual fireworks might be set off here and there, but mostly it’s about the boats.

 

 

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That fella at the top of the page is Kirk Heald.  He was the Grand Marshall and led the parade in the boat you see above.  Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you a little bit about this boat.  Kirk has a 1954 Cadillac.  Yes, there was a boat company named Cadillac, but it’s not the same as the car company.  I know that because I checked.  Kirk’s wife Debb told me this and I take that as gospel.  Debb knows her Cadillac boats and I respect that.  Plus, I want to keep her happy.  The boat you see here is not Kirk’s 1954 Cadillac.  Oh no!  This one here is his father-in-law’s 1945 Cadillac. Debb was thrilled to see her husband and grandkids in her late Dad’s boat.  That’s a bit of pond history right there!

The fact that Kirk was even in a boat on the 4th was remarkable.  He had been in the hospital for a few months over the winter.  He’d gone through a whole lot of medical awfulness.  One thing after another, but he powered through.  His wife Debb was by his side the whole time to cheer him on.  You might think that would have gotten him down, but he kept going.  Ok, that’s sounded like having Debb by his side might have gotten him down and I don’t want anyone to think that because nothing could be further from the truth.  Also, Debb would kill me.  Kirk was adamant that he was going to get better and often did things the docs didn’t want him to do.  Pssst!  Don’t tell the docs.  I don’t want to get him in trouble!  If I got him in trouble, Debb would not be happy with me, and we don’t want that!

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Above you see Kirk trolling past our camp.  That’s me in my bright orange shirt.  Bill is beside me in more subdued attire.  So subdued you can’t even see him.  Now I ask you: “what fun is that?”  If I asked him, you know what his response would be?  “I’m no fun, we all know that!”  That’s when I try to replicate his husbandly “smile and nod” routine.  I fail badly.  I laugh loudly.  As most wives would.

At this point,  you have probably figured out that I lied to you.  I said it was mostly about the boats and that is very far from the truth.  It’s about friends and family and a shared love for the pond.  It’s about a small community coming together to celebrate the birth of our nation and to celebrate the recovery of one of their own.

So next time you see some small-town tradition that you think is a paltry affair, think of Kirk.  Wait, that didn’t sound right, either.  I’m really going to be in hot water here.  Debb is going to murder me, I just know it!  Let’s try this…  When you see what you think is an unimportant small-town tradition, think of the friendships and families behind it.  Think of the heart and soul of that tight-knit group of people just puttering around the pond in their boats.  If you think it’s all about the boats, you’re missing a whole lot.

In the spirit of full disclosure, none of the pics I’ve used here are mine.  I’m using the photos that Debb Heald took from her dock as the boats floated past.  I could say that the reason I am doing this is that I was too busy waving from the shore to take some myself.  I could say that I was so caught up in the moment I totally forgot to take any pics. Yup, I could say both of those things because they are true.

However, the biggest reason I’m using Debb’s pictures is that she’s a great photographer.  She takes outstanding pictures.  Just take a look at the American Eagle she captured below.  Talk about a great symbol for the 4th of July!

The Loons at the bottom of the page are spectacular, too.  She has a telephoto lens that can capture just about anything.  Now you know why I don’t want her mad at me.  Who knows what she might see across the pond at our place?  The next loon shot could have me in the background in a bathing suit, and no one wants to see that!

 

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Fit to a T

We have a camp (cottage) on a secluded pond (lake.)  I use the parentheses because in Maine a camp can be a pretty large cottage. Also, what we think of as a pond is a large lake in other parts of the world.

One day we decided to go for a canoe ride.  It was a beautiful day on the pond, but then we saw a ruckus on the surface quite far away.  We paddled faster.  As we got closer we realized that it was a bird causing all of that commotion.  A big osprey was flapping wildly on the surface and was obviously in distress.

If you see an osprey up close, they are pretty impressive.  They have a wingspan that can stretch up to six feet.  Their beak is formidable and their talons are made to shred fish.  It was only after this ordeal that I read that they fend off predators with their talons and not their beaks.  A little gem to keep in mind should you be in a similar situation!

I am not a person to leave an animal in distress.  I am also not a person who will be torn to shreds if I can help it.  What to do?   I wasn’t going to leave him there and that was that, but I had no idea how I was going to make this work.  Poor Bill thought I was out of my mind when I jumped out of the canoe.

Luckily I was pretty close to shore, maybe a little more than 50 feet.  When I hit the water I tried to stand up, and I did, and then I fell back in.  Luckily it was shallow but the rocks were covered in slime and my bare feet didn’t have a hope of gaining traction.  You’ll just have to imagine my swimming and pushing against slimy rocks where I could.  I would have given a lot of money to know what that injured osprey thought of my performance.  It wasn’t exactly graceful, but it got me to the wooded and rocky shore.  I looked around for anything that might help, and there it was, the branch of my dreams.  That’s not a sentence that’s uttered all that often, but it should be.  Branches are important and deserve to be dreamt of occasionally!

The amazing part of this story was the size and shape of this dreamy branch.  That branch was big enough so that the osprey could get a good grip and it fit in the canoe perfectly. The T shape kept the branch from rolling when balancing it on the sides of the canoe.  Just another tip to keep in mind; it’s always good to keep your wounded osprey upright. Once I got that perfect branch, I was in business.  I did my slime/swim back to the canoe and tried to get the bird to perch on the branch.  I finally succeeded much to my surprise.  Bill was a little overwhelmed when he realized that I was trying to situate a big bird in the canoe for a trans-pond passage.

I managed to get the bird, who was clinging to the branch, steadied in the canoe.  I climbed back in.  To this day I don’t know how I did it without tipping us over, losing the bird, or injuring someone.  Can you imagine the conversation in the emergency room?  “I broke my something or other while trying to climb into a canoe while steadying an osprey on a branch in preparation for a trip across the pond.  No, I do not run an osprey transportation service on a regular basis!  Yes, I realize my feet are red and green because they have slime and blood on them.  Some of those rocks were sharp!  Yes, that’s my husband over there whose face is showing concern, amusement, shock, and disbelief …all at once.  I am sure they would call the psychiatric unit to prepare them for an intake.”

Back to the story…  We were about a half mile from camp and we paddled back as slowly and cautiously as we could.  The last thing I wanted was for the bird to panic and fly out of the canoe and flop around again.  Actually, the last thing I wanted was to be slashed by a distressed bird whose wingspan matched the height of my husband!

It took a while and we finally got back to camp.  Then we were left with a new problem.  What now?  We had no phone at camp so Bill drove to the nearest place that did and made a few calls.  No one dealt with wounded osprey.  I can’t imagine why.  I would think any animal lover would be more than happy to take an osprey in.  Especially a wounded VERY angry and dangerous osprey.  Alas, I was wrong.  I was very, very wrong.  We found no takers.  Luckily the person whose phone Bill used had a big appliance box.  I put the osprey in the big box and left him next to the camp. I don’t remember how I did it, but it must have been a spectacular example of osprey-moving engineering.  All I cared about was that I managed to avoid the beak and the talons.  In spite of the osprey’s demeanor, I was all worried about leaving him there.  But we had to head home to continue the calling.

Someone somewhere had to be knowledgeable about birds of prey. Someone had to help him.  I had visions of keeping a big bird who couldn’t fly supplied with fish for the rest of my life.  It was bad enough having rock slime on my feet.  Having fish slime on my hands for decades on end was just going too far in the slime department.

We finally found a bird rehab guy that lived fairly far away, but he was willing to take the bird and do what he could.  We made a donation to the rehab center and hoped for the best.  Later we found out that the osprey had a broken wrist.  I didn’t even know birds had wrists!  The things you learn when you attempt a crazy bird rescue!

The rehab place helped him as much as they could and set him free on the coast where other ospreys gather in the fall.  We’ll never know if he made it or not, but we do know we did all we could to give him the best chance of success.

I still have that T-shaped branch in the porch at camp.

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Every time I look at it I think about that beautiful bird. I also think about how thankful I am that I didn’t have to tell an ER doc why my feet looked like they were decorated for Christmas.