Archive for the ‘pontoon’ Category

Every morning for most of the past 13 years, I’ve left my house and headed to town via the HIghway 12 bridge. Every morning, I look both ways and access the day by how the lake is looking.
Today the lake was an amazing, sparkling blue. The sun was out and there was a little breeze. It’s gotta be a good day, right?
Sometimes the lake looks a little gray. Or even a little green. Sometimes there are white caps.
I check out the boat launch parking lot each morning. In the winter the parking lot might be completely empty. In the spring it looks a little full. Are the fancy trucks with the matching trailers there for the big fishing tournament? Is someone unloading kayaks on the other side?
Once I saw an eagle swooping low over the bridge – headed for the bluffs on the other side. Really, my eyesight isn’t that good and I’m no expert on what an eagle looks like, but it made my day to think I watched an eagle over the bridge that one day.
It still amazes me that you can see a change in the lake level over night, as the water creeps up into the parking lot. Then in late summer, you can start the see the sand bars emerge. Sometimes it looks like you can walk out to the islands, although I’m pretty sure you never can.
It’s been unusually cool on Beaver Lake this spring. It was too cool to swim on Memorial Day and that may be a first. Now the first weekend in June has come and gone and we didn’t even move the boat. It was just too cold. That’s very strange for us.
But luckily, we have our ways to enjoy the lake even when we’re not swimming or boating – we have dogs.

dogs on boat
Since the two younger dogs have a tendency to leave, we take them down to the dock on leashes and leave a body-guard at the top of the gang plank. The body-guard description is apt, although that person is not guarding a body. That person uses their body to guard the gang plank.
It only works for one of the dogs. Both the grand-puppies are swimmers so they can and do get off the dock at will. Rocco will chase a stick for hours, although he never brings it back. When you bring Rocco to the dock, you have to gather up an  arm load of sticks and bring them along. If you run out, he lets his displeasure show. He’s very serious about chasing sticks. But as long as you have a stick to throw, he’ll come back onto the dock so he can go charging up the center and fling himself into the water. Again. And again.
Lucy is a fish hunter. That’s the only term for what she does. She crouches on the dock, or sometimes she gets out on an empty boat lift and she watches. Intently. Then, with no warning whatsoever, she launches her self into the water and goes after the fish. So far, she hasn’t caught one. I’m kind of glad of that. There’s no telling what she would do with a captive fish. After she cruises around the dock a few times, driving Sam into a frenzy of barking,  she will get out of the water and trot back up to her vantage point on the dock so she can continue the hunt.
Sam, the new dog, isn’t swimming yet so he never leaves the dock. I’m sure he will figure the swimming out eventually. I want to wait until the water is a little warmer and then I’ll lure him into the water from the shore line.

sam at lake
Sheba, the old dog, has never been a swimmer, although she knows how. She mostly stays on the dock and barks.
Once Sheba starts barking one or two of the others is bound to join in. Then one or two of the people will start yelling at the dogs to be quiet which, of course, seems to make them bark even louder. I think people for miles around dread our arrival on the dock.
If things get too quiet, we go to opposite ends of the dock and practice coming when called. Lucy and Sam are in obedience school, even if Sam seems to be needing some remedial work. Sheba will come too if she knows there are treats involved.
I sometimes try to catch a glimpse of our dock before I get onto the bridge in the morning. If you look at exactly the right second, you can kinda see it. But if I miss seeing our little sliver of lake, it doesn’t matter, because there’s a great view as you cross the bridge and start your day.

sam and lucy

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I love Beaver Lake on a hot Sunday afternoon. Actually, I love the lake most of the time, but there’s something especially nice about Sundays.
I like to go out in the hottest part of the day and do just a little yard work. With the weather we’ve had around here lately, there really isn’t much yard work to do. We haven’t even mowed the lawn in weeks because it’s been so hot and dry. But there’s always a few weeds to pull, a couple of buckets of water to dump on the compost pile, some stray trash to pick out of mulch in front. I like to get all hot and sweaty and then walk down to the dock by myself.
Sundays are quieter than Saturdays but there’s still stuff to watch on the lake. One of the neighbors is working on a boat. Somebody’s grand kids are swimming in the cove. Out in the main part of the lake, water skiers and tubers are pulled by and there’s always one sail boat somewhere between me and the horizon.
When we go down to the boat on Saturdays, we drag down coolers and carriers, towels and cover-ups. We meet friends and trade side dishes. Going out on a Saturday is production that’s planned days in advance. I love going out on Saturday and cooking elaborate meals on the tiny gas grill. But I also love walking down the path on a Sunday with just a towel and an insulated mug. I love letting down the ladder on the front of the dock and climbing aboard an air mattress.

From my air mattress I can watch the neighbor working on his boat. I can watch him put up his tools and stop to talk to another neighbor checking the dock. I can watch the tubers gliding on the edge of the own private wakes. I can watch a sail boat lazily tacking back to the marina and listen to the kids I may or may not even see as they celebrate the lake and the wonders of summer.
I suspect the neighbors think I’m a little crazy when I saunter past them all alone with a towel and an insulated mug. Sometimes I leave something on the boat on Saturday so I have an excuse to go down there on Sunday, but even when I know they all think I’m crazy, I still go down. I love Beaver Lake on a Sunday.

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Fourth of July

We need more holidays like the Fourth of July.

First, it’s in the summer!  We need more holidays in the warm weather months when we’re already in vacation mode.

Second, it requires no expenditures.  There’s no gift giving and even the traditional barbecue is low-cost and optional.

Third, it’s really, really fun.

Since we moved to Beaver Lake, our Fourth of July fun is always on the pontoon boat. The pontoon boat is a perfect place to watch the fireworks set off at the nearby marinas.  Yes, perfect.  Even when it’s hot (and it wasn’t this year), the pontoon boat is comfortable.  We always have friends along, but there’s usually plenty of room, especially since someone is usually swimming.  Watching the fireworks while floating in the lake is even better than watching from the pontoon boat.

The best thing about our pontoon boat is the grill.  While other people fish, or sail, or ski, our favorite water sport is cooking.  We fire up the little propane grill and throw on hot dogs, hamburgers, ribs, chicken, steaks, fish, veggies, you name it.  When we have friends on board, it’s usually pot luck, so there’s lot’s of choices.  We may have a plate of hot dogs, a few chicken wings, store-bought potato salad, farmer’s market cucumber and tomatoes, veggie burgers, slaw, chips and cookies.  There’s usually something new and there are always old favorites.  All the cooking and eating gives us something to pass the time while we wait for the fireworks.

We tie up with other boats and pass the food back and forth.  Some years there will be eight or nine boats tied together and climbing between them can be a challenge.  There are always kids and dogs and all kinds of floating toys.

Then there’s the trip home – always exciting.  Usually we don’t stay out after dark.  The lake is our day time playground and by the time it’s truly dark in the summer, we’re ready to go home to bed.  But Fourth of July is different.  And it’s not just us.  When the fireworks finish up and the motors come on, there are hundreds of people feeling their way through the suddenly unfamiliar lake.  It can get pretty scary out there especially for anyone in a small boat. 

All those motors make waves and the waves can get high. One year they got high enough to knock one of our passengers and the lawn chair he was seated on completely over.  Luckily, he kept hold of his flash light.  But if you let the traffic get away, it’s easy to get lost on Beaver Lake in the dark.  It’s happened to us more than once. Perhaps the most embarrassing one was when we motored into an unfamiliar cove and ended up stuck on a rock.  It could have happened to anyone, but anyone else probably would have realized they were stuck instead of diagnosing a broken prop and calling for a tow. 

A summer holiday on Beaver Lake: food, friends, floats, fireworks and fun. What’s not to love?

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After a disappointingly cool spring, we finally got our first hot weather.  We had been waiting for it. We had been talking about it. We had been impatiently anticipating it and when it came, our air conditioner went out.  Naturally.

At first I was against using the air conditioning.  We fight about it every spring.  There’s something kind of final about closing all the windows and shutting out the bird sounds, the grass smells and the teasing breezes.  After all, once we shut the house up, it’s a lot of trouble to reopen it when the temperature drops.  Not only that, but we have been trying to save money and air conditioning jacks up the electric bill. So that first night, we pulled all our fans into the bedroom and suffered through the first hot night of the season.  The next day the husband waited until I went out and closed all the windows and turned on the air.  That was when we discovered it didn’t work.

It wasn’t really a surprise.  We had already had an “expert” recommend a new system. In fact they recommended several years in a row when they came out and did the free inspection.  My husband isn’t one to let anything free get by him.  So he had already started pricing air conditioners when we reopened the windows and repositioned the fans on the second hot day of the season.  It was all very depressing.

By the end of the third hot day of the season, I was ready to pay any price to get our air conditioning back on.  Luckily we had the perfect antidote to a hot humid day.  After sweating my way through meal prep and clean up, I went and dug out last year’s bathing suit and we went down to the lake.

I love Beaver Lake.  We got on the pontoon boat and cruised out to the middle of our little cove. My husband was in the water almost before the boat stopped moving.  It took me a little longer to get in.  The difference between the water temperature and the air temperature is a little shocking in the early spring.  In fact, I think it would work as well as one of those portable defibrillator if we ever had that need.  But the idea of staying on the boat, covered with hot sticky sweat instead of slipping quietly into the smooth, cool water was ridiculous. Eventually, I slipped in and the temperature of the water in the cove went up accordingly. 

We’ve lived here eleven years now, and I still love the lake.  We’re still out on the boat at least a couple of times a week all summer.  And it’s still just as pretty, just as peaceful and just as blessedly cool as ever. I love Beaver Lake.

I also love the nice man who came and fixed our air conditioner for a reasonably low price.

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