Left Fielder

Being out of work after 40 years could feel like being picked to play the position of ‘left-fielder.’  For the most part left-field never was a busy or seemingly purposeful place to be, as a matter of fact it was possible to loose track of how many ‘outs’ had occurred – and many times even where the ball was at.  Of course early-on that was the tradition of the young players in the field.  The position of a wandering mind and thinking of lots of other things rather than the game at hand – so at the moment, I’m keeping the tradition of playing ‘left-field’ alive as I meander around the lake all in the name of progress.

Our visit with Gray and Licia, a winter blizzard (the snow is still on the ground), and then a night eating chicken-wings and watching football in Charlotte with JP and Melissa made our Christmas complete a week early.

Its nice seeing the kids become young folks, and then adults; its even better to learn that their value’s have risen above their parents – not sure why that happens, but its a pretty good feeling.

With our Holiday behind us a week early I returned to the Lake for more dock-work, seems to be the routine I’m getting into – Monday through Thursday or Friday, then back to Kim’s for the weekend, I like it.

But this past weekend (and Christmas day) Kim made a rare winter visit to the lake (too quiet and remote for her during the winter), it was a simple time where I continued to work on the dock and she enjoyed her beverage while keeping her “feet-up,” – the kitty did too.


The wildlife and wood-ducks (beautiful) were around so many times during the day I just stop and just watch them do their thing.  The weather is similar to Asheville, but with the temperature 8 degrees warmer down the mountain (which is a big difference), its easier to be outside and enjoying the work.

The pace is perfect, when the frost is gone (usually about 930) I head outside and start wherever I want, ‘one screw at a time.’  Of course I have a small ‘field of dreams bag‘, which leads to many insignificant revelations as I work (in left-field) – It has been pure enjoyment – my only tangible goal was to complete all the things ‘below the waterline’ before January 15 (when they will ‘put the stopper back in’) and the lake level returns 8 feet where it will remain three years.  I am really close to that goal.

Kim came for Christmas weekend so I have returned to Hendersonville for New Years week – 2009 was a good year, lots to feel blessed about.

– and I do……

Happy New Years Birthday Melissa/JP.

But then along came Jethro…..

Well I was almost at a stand-still with the Dock, and then along came Gray with the much needed boost to the ‘crab-shack.’

If I learned anything from my Dad, it was that if your son comes for a visit – put him to work the first day (chances are that he’s not worth a flip after visiting friends the rest of the trip), I guess it only took a visit from me for my Dad to figure that out – I ‘picked up’ on it too….

So Gray and I spent a day in the mud challenged by this heavy 30-foot utility pole, and there was a point that we thought the pole might win………. Licia was along and pitched in (also took these pictures)..

Go girl….

We ‘skated’ the pole across the early morning frost and worked (heaved) it into position,

It was kinda like ‘Stonehenge,’ – but ‘quality-time too in its own way.

then it slipped (this is where we though it might have us beat), but now it was to plan ‘b’…….


looked for a little help…………

and after a few anxious moments (it vertical and ‘tetering’) persevered……

The effort evolved into this….

Thanks buddy, now hang around for some more ‘quality-time,’ – What? you have things to do?

– have a good visit with your friends.

Dock Work

We are fortunate to have a small cabin on a little lake nestled in the foothills along the Sumter National Forest of South Carolina;  the lake itself is less than 500 acres with 4 fresh mountain streams constantly feeding it from the bordering Forest.


Its a great place, and yes, South Carolina has mountains, foothills actually – of the Ble Rudge.  It’s very scenic too – Oconee County has a number of waterfalls, plus man-made Lakes Jocassee and Lakes Keowee each just a few minutes away.  Highlands, NC, and Cashiers, NC are fewer than 30 miles away.

There are about 168 homes around Lake Cherokee; mostly seasonal places with about 40 folks living here year-round – its all very peaceful – almost too quiet sometimes, especially in the winter – but that’s a really good time to fish or just enjoy the peace.

Most of the lake activity happens between Memorial Day and Labor Day while the activity within each of the homes seems to center around the kitchens, porches, or dock areas.

The Lake Cherokee Hunting and Fishing Club was created years back in the 50’s and emphasized wildlife conservation.  Once every three years we lower the water during the winter so that property owners can work on their docks, seawalls, and swimming areas.  This year was one of those years and in anticipation of this I have spent many weekdays preparing for some much needed dock-work and maintenance of my own – I need shade… rain has delayed things a bit.  With the level to be raised again in January, construction time for rebuilding our dock is getting tight – I am doing all that I can to stay with it.

With my retirement schedule working alone kind of helps – its not like I can go out and do everything at once, or even set the large posts until the water level in the soil lowers too – ‘setting the posts’ is relative to the water table, so my work follows the level of the lake – now that will change when its time to put the decking down – c’mon over, but for now its a fairly simple pace.

The poles have been no big deal, dig a 4 to 5′ ft hole and drop them in – measure, level, and tie it all together – a little cement doesn’t hurt.  But I do have a telephone pole to use as a flag-pole or ‘crow’s nest I will need help with, Gray...

Like everything else its easy to find more to do.  The old dock has been a little out of square which has ‘bugged’ me for years, but I will fix that.  I have noticed where it has settled and is sagging a bit, will fix that too.  My plan to merge smoothly into the old dock, but that may be more complicated than first thought (it all needs to be level!).  The problem could lead to more of a rebuild than anticipated, but hey I’m here – let’s do it..

When I need time to think about it I go lug a few cross-ties for the yard (so I try not to think too much), anyway thats what I’ve been up to – I’ve been busier with things to do since leaving the FD than before – its nice though, my own schedule and no ‘random’ interruptions…….

So a quick post before dropping things for a few days of visiting with family, then back Christmas week .

and here’s a cool thought along with a picture from last year –

Our family, sure hopes that your family has a very warm and special Holiday Season……………….


Months later….


It is a rustic dock