This blog originates on the banks of the Atchafalaya River, in Louisiana. It proposes to share the things that happen on and by the river as the seasons progress. As the river changes from quiet, warm, slow flow to rises of eighteen feet or more, there are changes in the lives of the birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles that use the river. And the mood of the river changes with the seasons. I propose to note and comment on these things.

My Photo
Location: Butte La Rose, Louisiana, United States

I transitioned a few years ago from a career as a water-pollution control biologist. I want to do this blog to stay in touch with a world outside my everyday surroundings, whatever they may be. I like open-minded company and the discussion of ideas. Photo by Brad Moon.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Testosterone Saturday

Another nice sunset on a cloudless day last week.

Today is Saturday, and evidently it is a proclaimed work day for the hunters on the lease across the river. I believe they must all agree to gather at the river on certain days to do important things to the deer habitat so that the deer are happy and contented. This must be a male bonding event. First of all, there are 37 pickup trucks parked at the little private landing they use to launch their boats. Notice – 37 pickups, not one non-pickup in the parking lot. And some of the trucks are new and some are older and kind of grungy. Some are attached to boat trailers, and some to those big flatbed trailers that they use to haul four-wheelers.

Definitely a status and rank thing here. I believe those trucks not attached to something must belong to the most junior members of the club, except the most senior guys don’t pull anything either because they delegate that honor. The middle rank gets to haul the trailers because they know the ropes and they then will teach the juniors. When they have enough experience, they too will rise in rank and delegate. A lofty goal few must attain, otherwise there wouldn’t be enough guys to pull the equipment around.

At 7:00 am this morning they launched the boats and loaded the ATVs on those boats that are specially modified, and they crossed the river. It looks like an invasion with vehicles and camouflage and everything except guns (I think). Right quick after they reach the other bank and unload the ATVs, the engines start and the day of manly pursuit begins. Out into the forest they go, literally whooping and hollering, and probably trying to make the ATVs do wheelies. Apparently the few storms we have had over the past several months have laid impediments in the paths of the ATVs, because out come the chain saws. Three started at once, each identifiable by the roar or whine or scream that it made – then a sustained buzz by one of them, and a silent moment, and CRACK, and whoomph – down comes the impediment. These men will work most of the day in the 90 + degree heat, and sweat, and drink beer and have a good time, and handle man-tools, and grunt a lot, and go home feeling close to nature (and each other in a guy sort of way) because of it. And the deer will enjoy the food plots provided for them, and they will enjoy those nice wide open lawn-like areas that stay mysteriously uncovered by tall weeds, until those open areas become shooting lanes in the fall.

Who says man and nature can’t live together in harmony? And is killing deer really the main object of belonging to a hunting club? Maybe, but the work days sure seem to provide more entertainment for those of us on this side of the river.

The river is at 2.8 feet on the Butte La Rose gauge, going to 2.5 by Tuesday. And for one small personal reason, at least, it’s a good thing it is that low. This morning I was out on the dock making sure there were no active wasp nests that the grandkids coming to visit today could get into. I killed one nest and for the heck of it I sprayed into a two-inch horizontal pipe that has had nests in it before. Well, out came a bunch of mad wasps not completely done in by the spray. They were pretty sick so I wasn’t much worried but one landed on the side of my head. When they do that it’s a good idea to remove them quickly, and I did, and with the swipe of my hand I removed the wasp and my glasses as well and sent the glasses flying into the river. These are not the most expensive glasses you can buy, but they did cost over $300, not to mention that I need them to see. I have a big magnet that I use to pick up nails accidentally dropped in the yard. Did you know that there is no metal in today’s eyeglasses that is magnetic? I do, now. So, it’s overboard blind in seven feet of water and feel the bottom with your hands. After hopefully calculating accurately how far the current would carry these weigh-nothing glasses, I dove many times for the bottom and found all kinds of sticks and debris, and eventually the glasses too. Much relief. If the water had been two feet higher, I don’t think I could have done it.

The Ohio and Mississippi are both rising slightly but nothing to affect us.

Rise and Shine, Jim


Blogger Bud Forester said...

I'm glad you fished up those glasses, Jim. Enjoyed your observations on the hunting club. Many guys seem to crave more and bigger petrol- powered muscle, but it never appealed to me. I prefer natural settings and try to find places where I don't have to compete with all that mechanization.

June 25, 2006 8:56 PM  
Blogger paul zarn said...

There weren't any dog bones on the table were there?Haven't seen any pics of the dogs lately.

June 25, 2006 10:20 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Me too Bud, but the general direction of things looks like more of them and less of us. That's ok with me, i always prefer quality over quanity anyway. I'm glad i found the glasses too, and so is my wallet. See you, Jim

June 26, 2006 1:46 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Paul, you're not the first to wonder about that. No, the dogs haven't made their organ donation to science yet. But...

June 26, 2006 2:04 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home