Plans for a short vacation in the Smoky Mountains

     What’s new right now is that Donna Rai’ and I are anticipating a great mini-vacation later this month in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. We’ve got a “rustic” cabin rented and plan to use it for evening campfires and sleeping, but most of our time will be spent in the forest. We plan to do miles of hiking every day and take lots of outdoor photos and – maybe – check out the place for fly-fishing. You can expect a destination column on the subject sometime soon, probably in June.
     My next column will come out on Sunday, May 20th, and I just might write about “wildlife in the city of Sharon,” which sounds like a contradiction in terms, but you wouldn’t believe the animals we’ve seen at our new location in town near Sharon High School in our big back yard and old stone quarry. We see lots of birds and squirrels, of course, but you’d be surprised at the hawks that have been cruising the airways above our back patio. I see a pair of sharp-shinned hawks out there almost every day, swooping down and scaring the daylights out of bird-feeder tweety birds and even shadowing the occasional neighborhood cat. And there’s a big stick nest in our next-door neighbor’s maple tree with a huge redtail hawk incubating her eggs there. Plus, we apparently have deer in the area. I saw some tracks in the snow last winter and neighbors Chuck Bestwick and Mark DeMario each spotted a small herd when I was out of town. Amazing. They must have come in from Buhl Park, Sharon Country Club, or the Dum-Dum golf course. It just goes to show how adaptable wildlife can be, I guess.
     Good luck out there. And have a great week outdoors    

~ Don Feigert, 5-8-07

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