I love going out the Roundrock because I always find something new and interesting. Today’s visit heaped discoveries on L and me, and they’ll be fodder for a few posts to come, but I’ll start with this.
What is this thing?
I’ve mentioned before that the club members who used to hunt the land that became Roundrock were a scrupulous lot. I’ve never found so much as a single shell casing on the land in all my wanderings. Nor is there much evidence of the past cattle ranching days. Yet I am always on the look out for signs of past human activity, just so I can get a sense of place and history.
I found this wire arrangement on the ground in the forest, probably 100 feet in from our eastern boundary. Certainly out of the way for a wrangler to have dropped it. I have this vague notion that I’ve seen something like it in a barn in one of my past lives, but maybe not. It rests on the tailgate of my truck, so that should give some sense of scale. Any ideas?
L and I addressed all of the usual chores on our visit. We watered the pines and used the handy grass whip to tidy up around them. We watered the baby maple. Sadly, though it is alive, some insect is eating the leaves. Perhaps the presence of this insect is why there are no native maples at Roundrock. We also watered the pecans, but there’s more sad news there. Only about a third of them were in leaf. The rest were obviously kaput. Well, that was expected. I will likely order another 50 pecans for planting next spring, but some year I must stop the madness. (Dread Pirate Roberts has suggested I plant some pines in among the pecans since the pines wouldn’t mind the dry gravel below the dam. At least not as much. Maybe I will.)
We then took a hike in a little-visited portion of our land: the SE corner. Before we built the road, this was the most remote part of our forest. Even now, with the road, it’s still the farthest point and the least visited. But today’s visit made me wonder why we don’t wander up there more often. More on that in a later post.
After our hike we made our way back to the shelter and had lunch, with the requisite post-lunch stupor. Bliss!
Temperatures were moderating after the triple-digit heat of the last week, but it was still plenty warm enuf to have a long swim. However, once we’ve finished swimming (that is, once we’re more or less clean of bugs, dirt, and sweat) we don’t want to do any more chores. Thus before we jumped in the lake (down another couple feet since our last visit), we took on one more task, in the most foolhardy way we could think of.
The road on our land passes through forest in two places: from the entrance going north to Blackberry Corner and down the hill to the dam. Along these passages, there are a number of low branches that scrape the roof of the truck or swat at the driver or passenger who has inadvisedly left the window down. We thought we could remedy that problem.
Our solution was that L would drive the truck slowly, and I would stand in the bed with the lopers in hand, reaching high to slice off the offending branches as we encountered them. It’s probably not as crazy as leaning a very long ladder against a tree branch and then climbing it, but the fact that it involves stop-and-go motion and sharp tools does boost it’s stupidity factor.
It seemed like a good plan, but the standing part needed reworking. I nearly tumbled out of the bed a few times when we started and stopped, so we modified the plan a bit. I would sit on the cooler in the back of the truck as L drove along. Then I would slap the roof of the cab when I wanted her to stop. (Note: the bed of the truck should also be cleared of things like other sharp tools, folded tables, and round rocks.) This was a safer method, but the novelty soon wore off, and I don’t think we did all of the trimming we might have. So much for looking like a mighty lumberjack with the wind in my hair.
Then it was swimming time, and I think we may have stayed in the water longer than we ever have. Ah, bliss!