It’s been one of those weeks. The good news is I live at the creek. Creek therapy cures just about anything. Wading in the creek, fishing, catching snakes, pickin’ berries, and just enjoying the trails, puts a grin on your face. All your troubles seem to fade away. I took all of these from my yard, except the berries in the kitchen. I’ve got a great yard :)
I took the dogs down to the creek this morning after I fed them. The cold weather means the water is clear and clean. You can see the bottom all the way across. We walked upstream until we got to the ford. That’s a good spot to stop. This time of year, the ford is one of the few places on the south bank I can get close enough to the water to skip stones.
Everyone knows that the point of skipping stones is to get one all the way across the creek. The water is a little higher than I’d like, the island above the ford is almost submerged, but you have to skip a rock to the other bank or you’ve failed. I must have skipped dozens of stones this morning. Eventually I got one past the water sprites.
Water sprites are like fishy fairies. I probably insulted both the sprites and the fairies with that description, but they’re not going to read this. The water sprites were doing their best to thwart me this morning. They’d wait until a stone was almost to the other side and then just barely touch it. At that point the rock disappears under the water with a splash, and you have to try again.
The sprites’ weakness is they get to giggling and lose focus. I spotted a really good stone to skip. Then I picked up a few fair stones and purposely made some bad throws. If the angle is too steep, or if you let a stone fly too far before hitting the water, or if your rock drifts to one side or the other, it’s going to splash out. If you make a few bad throws, the sprites are giggling so hard you can skip that perfect stone right by them.
I finally got one across, and you could see the water below the little island just churning with the sprites’ annoyance. They’ll be looking for me next time, but I know how to beat them. Never quit until you skip a stone to the other bank.
The Daily Post’s photo challenge for this week is Shadowed. On a sunny day like this, shadows aren’t hard to find. My dogs Lucky and Chili present a good example. Clearly that’s their futon they’re laying on. If human company comes, we throw a sheet over the mattress to cover the hair. For me, a little more hair doesn’t matter.
The creek is surrounded by hills on three sides. Early mornings, most of the creek is in shadows. As the sun clears the hills in the east, the tops of the hills to the west take on a warm glow. Mornings are great for pictures. Even if the temperature’s in single digits.
Shadows can also add contrast to a photo. The north side of the creek is in bright sun, while the south side is in dark shadows. The water is just cold.
The Daily Post’s photo challenge for this week is Yellow. I immediately thought of fall leaves. The willows and sycamores along the creek were bursting with yellow this fall. The maples added their own brand of yellow, and the spice bushes chimed in with their berry red accents. Fall is my favorite time at the creek.
Just a few I thought I’d share.
Today was a fishing day. I’ve decided my #3 spinner is golden. I waited until about 11:30 for any A/C repairman I’d called to call back, but no such luck. My A/C has refused to put out cold air this year and the one guy who returned my call, out of five I’ve called so far, told me it would be two weeks at least, but he’d put me on his list.
So, at 11:30 I headed to the creek with my pole and one lure — my foxtail #3 spinner. I caught over a dozen fish. Mostly rock bass, with a few smallmouth bass and pumpkin seeds for variety, and I turned ’em loose to catch again. I also caught a little sunburn :)
Tonight I went out after 8:00 and I fished until it got too dark to see where I was wading. At one point I’m up to my … in the creek and a big doe crosses in the riffles downstream. Of course my camera is in my pants over on the bank. The doe goes up in the woods and blows for a few minutes while Lucky pitches a fit trying to find her. You never know what you’re going to see down here.
I caught lots of fish again tonight, but I turned ’em loose. I like the smallmouth best because they jump. They may throw the hook once in a while, but it’s worth it for the jumping.
That storm we got yesterday wasn’t much. I only measured about 0.8 inches, and it only raised the water level a couple of inches, but it sure made the fish hungry. It was a good day at the creek.
I take pictures every day. Some turn out interesting and others not so much. Here’s a few I’ve taken lately that I figured I’d share.
Fords have been around as long as people have wanted to get to the other side. They’re used to cross streams, creeks, and even rivers. You could say Moses forded the Red Sea, with a little help of course :)
One rule of crossing fords, if there’s a riffle below the ford you travel just above where the water breaks. That’s the shallowest place. It’s the preferred path.
The ford upstream from me crosses Laughery Creek going south to north. It goes from Mexico Ridge Road in Ohio County to Harding Road in Dearborn County. The break on this ford has moved downstream about 20 yards in the last year. There’s two reasons for this.
The first reason is increased traffic. Route 62 between Friendship and Farmer’s Retreat washed out in April 2011. The ford became the shortest route around the washout. The other ways around are about nine miles out-of-the-way, and one of those routes closed this summer for bridge repair. Government planning at its finest.
When the water’s low enough, there’s a lot more traffic over the ford. Every time someone drives right along the edge of the break, it moves the break a little downstream. Even worse, as the gravel loosens up and shifts, the water level in the hole upstream gets lower.
The second reason the break is moving downstream is Dearborn County’s road crew. Last summer they decided to “fix” the ford. The ford was just fine. What needed fixing was the access road to the ford. But the county came in with a big road grader and loosened up all the gravel in the creek. Nobody’d been having trouble crossing the ford, but after the county “fixed” it even pickup trucks were getting stuck. Leave it to government!
The ford upstream from me borders my neighbor’s property on the north. As the break moved farther onto his property he got fed up. His kids play in the riffles when they’re down there, and he was worried they’d get hit. Finally someone started cussing at his kids to get out of her way and that’s what settled it for my neighbor. He got himself a Bobcat and “fixed” the ford himself.
First, he threw up a big berm. That means you have to come into the ford straight to get access to Mexico Ridge Road on the south side of the creek. You can swing down to where the water breaks on the north side of the creek, but then you’d have to come upstream through the middle to get around that berm. The berm will wash away eventually when the creek comes up, but for now it’s formidable.
Second, my neighbor dropped a big chunk of rough concrete in the creek, on his property, just above where the water breaks. It took a Bobcat to move it in there and it’s not going anywhere until the creek comes back up. Nobody is driving over that concrete.
The point of this post is to let anybody coming from the east, especially to my family reunion in July, know of the changes to the ford. You can still cross it if the water’s low. Just stay in the middle to avoid my neighbor’s “fixes”. If you have any doubts about making it across, get in touch with me before you leave. I wade through there almost every day so I can tell you what condition the ford is in.
I took the long way around to get the mail today. The pawpaw patch is looking real good this year. I can count more than a dozen in this picture. Now if they’ll just get ripe before the possums knock them all down I’ll have some good eating this fall. I stopped to do some yoga and wade in the creek. There was a great breeze coming from the east today. Great yoga weather.
I gathered the mail and on the way back to the house the dogs started trying to climb a little walnut tree. Sure enough there was a squirrel up there. It did a pretty good job of hiding, but that tail was drooping down to where you could see it. The dogs are usually right, although in heavier woods the squirrel is usually long gone to another tree before I can get there to look.
I stopped by the berry patch too, and got a couple hands full of raspberries. Nice snack. Getting the mail can be a rewarding experience. Later…
It was warm and humid this morning. The dogs and I went down to the creek, and they watched while I did some yoga. Then we took off across the creek and up into the woods. The underbrush is full and makes it a bit of a challenge, but it’s a challenge worth taking. Early in the morning the people upstream are still quiet and all you can hear is nature. We heard a deer blowing down the trail, but never caught sight of it. Lots of birds were adding to the chorus and the creek provided the background music to the morning’s soundtrack.
The spider webs were plentiful. Twice I had to stop and clean my glasses off, and that’s with my walking stick clearing most of them out of the way. The nice thing about being up in the woods is the nettles don’t grow there. If you’ve ever run through a patch of nettles you know where the word nettlesome originated. If you get poison ivy you have to be careful where you walk, but my Dad blessed me with an immunity to poison ivy that I thank him for every day. Keep moving and the bugs aren’t bad. It was a good morning for a walk in the woods.
On the way back we cut down to the creek and waded along the gravel bars on the west/south bank. With the big bend it starts out the west bank, but it’s the south by the time we get back home. The water’s starting to get a little low. There’s still places you can get in deep, but there’s more rocks showing then I’d like. We need some rain. The last rain we had was a week and a half ago. They’re predicting some tomorrow and I hope we get it.
If nobody shows up to pick berries by this afternoon I’m going to hit the patch with a pail. I don’t want to clear them out if someone’s coming, but I hate to see them get too ripe and drop off. That would be a terrible waste!
Got some pictures while hiking. I just wish I could capture the sounds and scents for you too.