The quiet season has arrived at Ridgecrest. We've been busy around the place and maybe because of that it seems like Labor Day weekend, with its frantic celebrations -- summer's eulogy -- has only just past. But really we're deep into autumn.
The leaves are changing rapidly and the colors are different each day and with each change of the light. The deer are taking on their grayish coats that will match perfectly the bark and limbs of the bare trees of winter.
There's a small flock of Canada geese that spent the summer on the lake this year. Lately I've noticed that they've become strangely noisy and agitated, as if some part of their brains is telling them it's time to move even though they seem to have given up on the idea of migration for an easier, maybe lazier, life on Bull Shoals Lake.
And it is quiet. Without the people sounds and the groan of vehicles towing boats up our hill, you can hear all kinds of things. Standing in the yard behind the cabins you can hear even small waves slapping the rocks below our bluff and, at times, the conversations of fishermen down there.
There's lots for us to do in the "off" season. We're remodeling Cottage Five, our small one-bedroom, adding insulation (!), and new windows in an effort to keep the utility bills down. In addition, new flooring, cabinets and a coat of paint will be a great improvement.
But besides the projects, there is also time for us to enjoy our area, get out on the lake, hike a few trails, and maybe take a fall canoe trip if we can find enough water. We've had good rains of late but our river levels have still not recovered.
Charly Brown and her best canine friend, Teal.
Charly, our lab-terrier mix brown dog, has been sowing wild oats this fall. The cooler air and lack of action around the resort invigorates her and inspires mischief. She darts off into the woods after anything that moves, including clumps of leaves and grasshoppers. Willful as a dog can be, Charly will sometimes come back if you catch her attention before she’s fully engaged in the chase. Often, all too often, she will bound off anyway and show up an hour or two later, totally spent, with a guilty look on her face. She pays for her digression by having to listen to a lecture and then nap for a while under her tree at the end of the dog cable.
This fall, the cockleburs and goatheads are coming on strong. They are prickly and cling to your shoelaces and jeans hems, your fleece jacket and your dog’s footpads. And pulling at them only makes them dig in more. Ouch.
So yesterday, after Charly’s escapade in the woods, she came staggering up from the woods, all four feet loaded with burrs. Rob chided her for her vanishing act all the while he was bent double coaxing the sharp pricklies out from between her toes. She was grateful for the forced “time out” and watched me divide the lemongrass plants while she licked her sore paws.
Well, this morning Rob was on his hands and knees working on his remodeling project in Cottage Five. He could hear panting, and his first thought was that Charly must be panting really hard if he could hear her while he was inside and she was out. Then he realized that she was standing behind him. After a bit, she began nudging him with her shoulder. In a moment, she was leaning on him, sighing. On closer look, he saw that her paws were full of cockleburs again. She was asking him to get them out. So he did. Now he’s the hero! Again.