Smith Mountain Lake Mystery Writer

Contemplations from a quiet cove on Smith Mountain Lake.

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Location: United States

I'm a Southern gal who loves life, my husband and our family (which, to date, includes 13 grandchildren). I enjoy being with friends and family. But I also like being alone and thinking up plots for future books. I've published two novels, both mysteries, and I'm working on my third. For more about my books, visit me at If you ever hear me say, "I'm bored," please get me to the ER immediately! Paddling my kayak and snapping pictures of the critters I see relaxes me. Beach music has the opposite effect--when I hear those old "doo-wops" I want to dance.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


"Wanna go kayaking in about ten minutes?" asked sweet hubby early Saturday afternoon. "We'll need to be back in time for the NC State/Duke basketball game." Kayaking is one of my favorite things to do. Ron knows that.

I looked at the trees swaying slightly in the wind, glanced at my watch. We had an hour and a half to kayak and photograph the wildlife. I hugged him, switched the normal lens in my Canon camera for "Big Boy," and headed for the dock. We paddled in and out of coves before I saw Eagle flying above Ron. I hollered, picked up my camera. By the time I started shooting, Eagle had landed 40 feet up in a pine tree. Be sure to click on the pictures to enlarge.

I couldn't believe my good luck! On this day I had only one and a half hours to do two of my very favorite things--kayak, which I've already mentioned, and photograph wildlife. And here, in a tree high above me, was a Bald Eagle.

I snapped pictures, stopped, paddled back against the wind and current, snapped again. I did this at least a dozen times. In all, I took 200 pictures. Thank goodness for digital cameras! Ron made noise in hopes that Eagle would fly and I could catch him in flight, but Eagle stayed on his branch.

This is the best close up I could get using "Big Boy" with my kayak rocking in the choppy water. We checked the time, paddled furiously against the wind to get home in time to watch the game.

Sunday afternoon, as I sat on the couch watching the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game between Duke and UVA, I saw Eagle fly across the lake. I hope that means he has a nest in our area, that we'll see a mate soon.  

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Saturday, March 01, 2014


We live on a steep, waterfront lot that is home to many tall poplar trees. Hubby worried that in a severe windstorm three unhealthy poplars would fall on the house, the boathouse or in the lake. Ron knew that because of the terrain, the lake, and the location of the trees, a bucket truck wouldn't work.What did he do? He searched the want ads in The Smith Mountain Eagle and discovered AAA Tree-Works. Kent Walton, arborist, visited our site and gave us a free estimate. This past Thursday he arrived with his crew of three.

Mr. Walton called Wednesday to confirm the date, said he would be at our house around 9:30 the next morning. He rang the doorbell at 9:31. I was impressed.

AAA Tree-Works getting equipment into position. 
Click on the pictures to enlarge.

 The man in the picture below shinnied up the first tree, sawing off limbs as he climbed.

Once high enough, he attached a rope to the tree and came down. I was impressed.

The tree fell across our lower drive exactly where he intended it to land. To be on the safe side, another worker had hold of the rope "just in case." I was impressed.

The first tree falling. I snapped all the above 
photos through a bathroom window.

The next trees were located between the house and lake. A different man shinnied up these, attached ropes, dropped lines to the men on the ground, sawed off branches that were in his way. These trees were each cut in sections, with the bottom logs about 30 feet long.

I stood on the deck to take this picture. 
Note the man high in the tree and two other 
men on the ground near the bottom left.

I spent most of my day taking 185 pictures! Each move AAA Tree-Works made was calculated to do the best job possible and to be safe. I was impressed.

Note the first section of the tree falling. 

After the top section fell.

AAA Tree-Works

Were we pleased with AAA Tree-Works? Absolutely! So much so that Ron asked for an estimate for a future job we're considering. These were nice, honest, knowledgeable and professional men, and I highly recommend them. Was I impressed? You betcha!