Archive for September, 2008

9.28.2008 – Part One

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Sometimes the best balm for a bad mood is a trip to the woods. Libby and I ventured down to Roundrock on Sunday (and if you’re paying attention you’ll see that this makes two weekends in a row). We had virtually nothing planned other than a day among the trees, and that meant we could let our spirits take us wherever we wanted. They took us to the comfy chairs, repeatedly.

Just as soon as we arrived, Libby lowered the back of the front seat of the TOYOTA and took a snooze. This left me free to wander about a bit, and my feet took me over to rumination rock, which overlooks the lake. While I sat here, ruminating, it seems that Libby had a sort of adventure. When we met later at the comfy chairs under the shady tarp overlooking the still lake, she asked me what the precise meaning of the word “interloper” was because she thought she might have seen two interlopers come down our road and walk past the truck while she was in it!

“Hunters?” I asked.

“No.”

“Deer?”

“No.”

“Armadillos?”

“No.”

“Coyotes?”

“Close.”

It seems that two dogs came striding down the road, walking as though they had some business somewhere. One had a collar that she could see, so they must have been local farm dogs and not part of some pack of feral dogs. They took no notice of her as the wandered past and continued down into the pecan plantation. All the while I was quite nearby at rumination rock. It makes me wonder just how close things may be in our woods that we never know about.

After exhausting ourselves with this discussion, we allowed the comfy chairs to carry us into a sort of pre-lunch stupor. Our conversation was fitful, and wandered over the landscape, punctuated by long stretches of silence as we let the birds and frogs fill in the gaps. We talked about what we might do with our day. I had neglected to bring along the metal detector — I wanted to sweep an area around what might be an old fire ring — and I forgot to bring the post driver, so the plan of cutting a thinner cedar to see if it would work as a post was out. We forgot to get fixins for Smores, so making that little treat was not possible.

That left plenty of things we could have done: grass whipping (I remembered to bring the whips this time) or branch trimming around the shelter. Cutting overhanging branches along the road. There were logs to be split at our campsite, for which I had brought the sledge and wedge. Trail building and improving. Trimming the tall grass around the planted trees. Inspecting the nannyberry and button bush we’ve planted. Collecting sandstone for eventual home construction. Collecting more round rocks for the upcoming gift-giving season. (I can’t part with them yet I must part with them.) In the end we didn’t choose any of these.

We decided to take a walk around the lake. This required minimal equipment: a backpack with some water bottles and a pair of loppers. Two pair of feet. A curious spirit. We were on our way.

Missouri calendar:

  • Black gum, bittersweet and dogwood show fall color.

Today in Missouri history:

  • James Carson Jamison was born on this date in 1830. During his colorful life he caught gold fever, fought with Walker in Nicaragua, was a Confederate leader in Missouri, published various newspapers, was adjutant general for a Missouri governor and lived to be 86 years old.

Dreams made of clay

Monday, September 29th, 2008

A couple of trips ago at Roundrock, I returned to that area by the entrance where I have discovered a deposit of white clay. I don’t know how big the deposit is. The flow the intermittent creek uncovered it about a foot below the general grade of the area. The clay shows up in three spots about thirty feet along the creek, and the drop over this distance is about a foot. There might be a good bit of the white stuff under there, but it will take bigger equipment than a shovel and a strong back to uncover it.

My idea is that I could harvest (quarry?) this clay and use it to help seal the leaky dam. I’m not exactly sure how I would do this though. Generally, you pack the clay against the face of the dam (or within it) when the lake is empty. My hope is that the lake is beginning to seal itself and will keep a larger pool each year. Thus I’m reluctant to drain the lake, even to “fix” it.

So Plan B is to dig up the clay and then let it dry. After that I will grind it (how?) into small pieces — about the size of salt on those yummy hot pretzels — then cast it into the water off the dam just as I did with the expensive Bentonite. If it works as I hope it does, the clay will get drawn into the leaks and then expand to plug them. I have just a little bit more than wishful thinking to let me believe this. I have handled this clay. It makes my skin sting, just as though it is sucking water from my flesh. So maybe, just maybe, it will absorb water after it dries.

The chunks you see above are my experiment. I dug them out more than a week ago, and I plan to visit them on subsequent visits to see how they are drying. When I have a nicely dried chunk, I’ll see if I can pound it to smithereens. Then I’ll throw it in the lake very close to the shore where I can watch it. If it swells as the Bentonite did, then I think I have a plan.

At that point, I would probably hire someone to come in with a large machine to prospect the area and see just how big the deposit is. If there is enuf there, I would try to get some sort of drying and grinding operation going to manufacture the bits I would then throw off the dam.

As a bonus to all of this, I think I could make my quarry site into a pond. The clay bottom would help ensure that the water it captures doesn’t soak into the ground, and though it may not stay full most of the year, it might provide some benefit to the critters. (This was the place where I managed to snap a picture of a crawdad last spring.) It’s a bit complicated though. This spot is literally ten feet from my southern boundary. The ground to the north rises quickly. Thus there isn’t a whole lot of space for a big pond. But I think something could be done.

Missouri calendar:

  • Rosh Hashanah
  • Pawpaw fruites ripen.
  • Katydids sing in the trees at night.

Today in Missouri history:

  • The St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles on this date in 1953. The Browns, in various incarnations, had their ups and down including once putting a midget at bat and having a one-armed outfielder. They were the team that made St. Louis famous as “first in shoes, first in booze, and last in the American League.”

Sunday sorry sentiments

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

If you haven’t been able to tell, I’m in a bad mood. When my hard drive failed, I lost the bulk of my photos taken over the past years. I’ve also lost some data files for other projects I’m working on, so I’m generally in a dark funk. I have a brand new hard drive (the bad one was still under warranty) and a brand new attitude, so I’ll get over it, and I’ll get back to regular posting here at Roundrock Journal. Don’t feel too sorry for me. It was my stupid mistake not to make backups more frequently.

In a way, this crisis has been liberating. I feel lighter in some sense. Like I have a fresh start with less of the baggage of the past weighing me down. Whatever.

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So let’s see, what’s going on in my world? The next edition of The Festival of the Trees will be hosted by Jade Blackwater of Arboreality. Her deadline for submissions was yesterday, but if you have some particularly juicy contribution that just can’t wait until the next edition, you may be able to persuade her to slip it in. You can reach her at jadeblackwater (at) brainripples (dot) com. You can read more about it all here.

This is Jade’s third round hosting the Festival, and she’s happy for the chance. You could be happy too. We’re always on the prowl for new hosts, and I know you’d be perfect for the job next time.

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If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know that I sometimes put in links to other, similar blogs that are not well known or otherwise overlooked. Then there’s this guy!

Or this guy! Sheesh!

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One of the “advantages” of losing so much of my photo library is that I now no longer have those hundreds and hundreds of bad pix of deer parts from the two game cameras. Granted, they are not top-of-the-line cameras, and granted I am still learning how to place them, but without that old inventory, I am now much more encouraged to set them out again and see what other portions of deer (and invisible critters) I can capture. I think on my next trip to Roundrock I’ll put some fresh batteries in the cameras and try setting them out. Lucky you!

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One year ago today I was chattering about a red flower I’d found in the wet area below the dam.

Two years ago today I was babbling about two years and four days ago.

Three years ago today mumbling about a roundish rock.

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What’s Pablo reading now? I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned here that I was part of a two-year voyage of discussion of the novel Moby Dick. One Wednesday night each month we would discuss a half dozen or so chapters of that epic novel, and in two years to the month, we finished the thing. I understand how some people can devote their entire lives and careers to studying that work. It really is the greatest novel in the English language, as many have asserted. Anyway, it’s made me want to read other works much more carefully, and to help me do that, I’m now reading a nonfiction book called Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose. The author takes passages from many great works of fiction and parses them almost word by word to show how the writer developed the passage and why it works so well. I’m only a couple of chapters into it, but I’m enjoying it a lot.

Missouri calendar:

  • Snakes begin winter dormancy.
  • Bittersweet starts to ripen.

Today in Missouri history:

  • On this date in 1953, six-year-old Bobby Greenlease was taken from his Kansas City school by a woman claiming to be his aunt, who told the nuns there that the boy’s mother had just had a heart attack. The woman and her boyfriend accomplice kidnapped the boy and held him for ransom in St. Joseph. Though the $600,000 ransom was paid, the boy was murdered. The kidnappers were later caught. It would be nearly thirty years before half of the ransom money was accounted for, it having been stolen by a cab company president who escaped justice.

Backfill – Reading Room

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

reading room

This post is an anachronism. Although it is dated to post on September 27, 2008, I wrote it on February 1, 2011, and back dated it. This is intended merely to fill in one of the remaining holes from the period when the hard drive crashed on my old computer.

Poor Libby. Even though we have a quiet cabin deep in the middle of an 80-acre forest, she just can’t get any reading done there. It’s too noisy and busy. (That’s true whenever Flike is around.)

To solve her problem, Libby carried one of the comfy chairs to the other side of the lake and up into the trees. It was there that she could find the solitude she needs for reading.

Too bad it doesn’t work out that way for her.

In order for her to make her getaway, I have to keep the dogs occupied (shut into the cabin). Otherwise they would simply follow her across the dam and up into the forest. Regardless, the dogs are wise to this scheme. As soon as I let them out, and as soon as they figure out that Libby is not around, they decide to bolt across the dam and investigate the north-facing slope there, where they happen to know a comfy chair awaits. (If you look closely at the lower left of the photo, you can see Flike.)

Backfill – Some kind of sunfish

Friday, September 26th, 2008

sunfish

This post is an anachronism. Although it is dated to post on September 26, 2008, I wrote it on February 1, 2011, and back dated it. This is intended merely to fill in one of the remaining holes from the period when the hard drive crashed on my old computer.

My daughter-in-law Amber has been taking an inventory of the fish in Lake Marguerite at Roundrock. One fine day while I was off doing something (perhaps sweeping the cabin porch steps), Amber was down at the lake, using my old tackle to see what surprises the lake might have. She had plenty of strikes and kept pulling them in. I had begun running down to the water with each catch, but after the first dozen, I let her just keep a running memory of them for me.

This is one of the first she caught that day. It’s also the only photo I took that was in focus. She pulled in some bigger ones but you’ll just have to take my word on that.

Long-time readers know that I’ve never stocked my lake (though there is some suspicion that a neighbor might have put some crappie in it). These are “wild fish” having gotten into the lake as eggs on the feet of visiting water fowl. (Also, I have a pond at the top of my property that has some fish in it. We’ve pulled some stunted sunfish from it. It is possible that on some wet and stormy day, fish from the pond might have washed over the spillway and taken an exciting trip a half mile to the lake.)

With the little bit of tackle I had on hand, Amber was only pulling in sunfish. The dam builder who was out recently to refurbish the dam said that he met up with some large catfish in the overflow pool at the base of the dam. Who knows what other surprises are lurking in the tea-colored water of the lake? Amber will find out!

9.20.2008 – Part Two

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

We hemmed and we hawed. We dithered and we debated. We vacillated and we oscillated. We wavered and we shilly-shallied.

In the end our decision to swim or not was made because of a recent visitor to our woods: the sun. The sky had been filled with gray clouds all morning, and while this made doing our chores more pleasant, it didn’t bode well for an afternoon swim. So when the sun started making furtive appearances between the clouds, appearances that lasted longer and longer, we decided to take what was probably our last opportunity to go jump in a lake for the season.

I had chatted with Good Neighbor Brian a few nights before, and I spoke of our thoughts of getting in a last swim, saying I feared the water would be too cold after so many successive cool nights. He guffawed at this, saying that while the top few inches might be cold, the deep water still retained its summer heat. Good Neighbor Brian was mistaken.

We crept into the water, warmer at the surface than deeper down (which I had suspected, actually). You’re probably familiar with the sensation of easing into cold water. The icy feel inches up your legs as you progress. Once your feet have been in the water a few minutes, they don’t seem to feel the cold (and not because they’ve gone numb), but the chill on your thighs is what you’re paying attention to anyway. Then you go a little deeper and the water starts to soak your clothes. Somehow this seems even colder than the icy water against your skin. But you keep going, hesitating most of all before letting the water wash over your shoulders. You shudder and suck in a breath. And then it all passes and you don’t feel so cold any longer.

But cold lurks in the deep waters. Kicking our feet and even paddling with our hands would swirl icy drafts of water up from below. This wasn’t a problem in August when even the deep water was comfortably warm, but actual swimming proved a shivering prospect for us in the middle of September. Thus we swam over to the shallower area where we could stand on the bottom. By not making any movements, we were able to enjoy being in the water without feeling too cold.

The lake was filled, though not to full pool. It was down about two feet from that level, though our earlier inspection of the spillway showed that water had flowed over it not long before. The chunk o’glass I have in the middle of the lake, showing where the best fish structure is hidden, was under water, and it looked like Isla de Peligro was also surrounded by water, but I didn’t venture that far, having found a relatively warm spot in the sun and fearing making any unnecessary movements. This was also the reason I didn’t go after Peregrine, which I could see floating in the shallows to the west.

When I say that we had found a warm spot in the water to stand, what I mean is that we weren’t shivering as we stood there, hugging ourselves. The water was not warm, and every time the sun was obscured by a passing cloud, we could feel it. Our summertime swims can last a couple of hours. I don’t think our swim on this September visit lasted a half hour. Unfortunately, the way out of the water lay across the deep. We had to swim our way over there to clamber out, and this meant stirring up the cold from below. The whole way was probably less than a couple hundred feet, but it was a cold way, and it seemed like the water was thicker than normal as we pushed our way through it.

Once out of the water, though, we felt the warmth of the sun on our skin again. We changed into dry clothes and stowed the rest of our gear to prepare for the drive home. Only a diversion to find a couple of peach Nehi floats slowed our progress, and that seemed worth the detour.

This likely was our last swim of the season, though a spike in temperature coinciding with a visit to the woods may give us just one more chance. A fellow can dream.

Missouri calendar:

  • Fawns have lost their spots.
  • Persimmons start to ripen.

Today in Missouri history:

  • Joseph Nash McDowell died on this date in 1868. As a doctor he founded the first medical school west of the Mississippi in St. Louis. It eventually became the medical department of Washington University. He was an eccentric man who wanted to test the preservative qualities of water dripping in caves by having the bodies of his recently deceased children suspended from the ceiling in one near Hannibal. Some neighbor children, including one believed to be Samuel Clemens, snuck in the cave and were frightened by what they saw.

9.20.2008 – Part One

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Libby and I recently found ourselves in possession of one of those rare things: a free Saturday. Of course the best way to fill that was to take ourselves to Roundrock. The weather had been mild all week, but the forecast called for temps into the eighties on Saturday in our part of the Ozarks, so we hoped we might squeeze in one more swim in the lake before the opportunity ended until next summer.

In the time since our last visit (one day short of three weeks earlier), the remnants of Hurricane Gustav had visited the great state of Missouri and looked on the weather maps as though it had lingered over Roundrock for a day or two. This, of course, translates into fantasies of the lake being filled once again and thus heading into the winter and then greeting the rains of spring with more volume. With not so much on our agenda for the day, I drove to our woods nurturing this hope.

Rain had clearly fallen heavily in the area since our last visit. The great Corps of Engineers lake that we cross three times on our way was swollen once again, and though its watershed is much vaster than what feeds our lake, I took it as a good sign.

Even so, no rain had fallen in the area in the last week, so the gravel and dirt roads in for the last few miles were dry and solid. That’s always nice, though in the lighter, more nimble Prolechariot, squishy roads have not been a problem for us yet.

Thwarting our swimming plans was a dense bank of fog we drove into for about the last quarter of our drive. The sky was filled with gray clouds, and the temperature reported on the truck stop sign boasted only 65 degrees. This was at 10:00 in the morning (we had a late start), so swimming prospects were not looking good.

Nonetheless, such weather is ideal for doing chores, and after a survey of the lake, which we were happy to find was much fuller than on our last visit, and a requisite sit-down in the comfy chairs under the shady tarp overlooking the happy lake, we turned our efforts to crafting and placing the two cedar posts I reported about in yesterday’s post here. The success of that project, coupled with a few modifications, suggests that I can spend my winter visits making and placing many more posts. (Any visit to Roundrock is a good visit, but when I can be productive as well, the goodness increases.)

The yellow flowers in the forest have just about completed their season, and they are yielding the stage to the more subtly colored purple asters, which are probably my favorite. We also found that the day was utterly tick and chigger free. Granted we were wearing our poison-soaked clothes, but I’ve often thought that a strong rain will wash these bugs from the leaves and blades of grass where they wait, and maybe that was the case in recent weeks. The cooler air at night may be playing a part as well. Whatever the reason, we were grateful for the relief from their torments.

Lunch was a couple of store-bought sandwiches and a bag of chips (also, iced tea — unsweetened, of course), but the sandwiches were a disappointment and we spent some time at the shoreline, casting their bread upon the waters in an attempt to get the fish to rise. This didn’t work. We only saw a couple of nibbles before the bits of bread drifted away to the west where the water was shallow. It could be that the fish have already retreated to the deeper waters for the winter. Or it could be the continuing result of the recent torrents of rain. I understand fishing is least productive (if you count actually catching fish as the purpose of throwing a line in the water, which I’m not sure is always the case) after such storms because so much food gets washed into the lake that the fishies don’t have to strike any anything they don’t recognize like a lure or a bit of bread.

The time had come for us to decide whether or not to brave the waters, but I’ll tell you about our afternoon in tomorrow’s post.

Missouri calendar:

  • Tiger salamanders move to ponds in the rain.
  • Hickory nuts ripen and begin to fall.

Today in Missouri history:

  • The Knight of the Colorado Fur Trade, Antoine Roubidoux, was born in St. Louis on this date in 1794. He is credited with playing a major role in the development of the western fur trade as well as for telling tall tales about the good life in a place called California.

Take two

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Take two of these:

And turn them into two of these:

And you have two posts suitable for all kinds of uses. My use on my recent trip to Roundrock was to see how well they might work as support posts for the fencing we have put around our pine trees. Here is the result:

What do you think?

Here’s what I think: they’ll do. I need to refine my process a bit though. I made them too long. While Libby held the post in place, I had to wield the sledge hammer above my head to pound them in. I couldn’t get much force in my blows that way. Of course, the farther they went in the ground, the harder I could strike, so I’ve concluded that if I begin with shorter posts, I’ll have a better start.

We’d considered using cedars with even thinner diameter trunks so that we could slip the stake driver over them for pounding purposes, but I suspect a post that thin will be too wobbly for the job. It’s probably worth a try though in case I’m wrong. And in any case, I can afford to lose more cedars.

This brilliant idea — of using accessible and free resources for posts — will only work in the pine plantation where the soil is deep and loamy. I could never hope to pound a piece of wood into the rocky soil of the pecan plantation (or in most other parts of my woods). That suits my purposes though.

I’ve had a notion for a while to swap out the steel fence posts I have among the pines with cedar posts. The experiment on Saturday proved that it could be done, and could be done relatively easily. Using the pole saw, I was able to cut the posts quickly. Now that I know I don’t need them as long, I think driving them into the ground will be easier. Removing the steel posts was simple. The only difficult part was strapping the thicker cedar posts to the fencing, and even that was hardly difficult.

The reason I want to do this because I worry about theft. Think about it. I have perhaps fifty steel fence posts resting in good soil at a remote site on the edge of the Missouri Ozarks, unsupervised for weeks at a time. With the cost of raw materials going up, the price for these posts has almost doubled since I first starting using them. I would not be surprised to come down to Roundrock some day and find that someone has yanked all of the steel posts out of the ground and driven off with them because they were sitting there unguarded. The pines would be unprotected, and given that the fencing is tied to the posts, the pines would probably get damaged as the interloper wrested the posts from the fencing. (Can you tell that I’m really good at these doom and gloom scenarios?)

So I thought that if I could swap out the steel posts for cedar ones, I could take away the “occasion of sin” so to speak. I can use the steel posts deeper in the forest where they are not going to be seen or among the pecans where once they go in the ground they will stay.

So Saturday’s work was a little experiment, and it seemed to work out just fine. Perhaps every time I go to Roundrock now, I’ll cut a few more posts.

Computer Update: As I write this, I still have no news on my laptop data recovery. I hope to hear about it this week. In the meantime, I’m thinking of making myself a laptop out of cedar posts. I’ll let you know how that works out.

Missouri calendar:

  • The Missouri Natural Events Calendar is blank for today.

Today in Missouri history:

  • On this date in 1870 a case was argued before the court in Warrensburg, Missouri about a dog, Old Drum. The team of attorneys that fought on the dog’s behalf included men who would become senators, governors, and federal judges. Such was the love for Old Drum. The team won damages for the killed dog, and the words spoken into the record have been applied to good dogs ever since. A statue of Old Drum stands on the courthouse grounds in Warrensburg.

Backfill – New Steps

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

steps

This post is an anachronism. Although it is dated to post on September 22, 2008, I wrote it on February 1, 2011, and back dated it. This is intended merely to fill in one of the remaining holes from the period when the hard drive crashed on my old computer.

These are the new steps leading up to the cabin porch on the east side. You can’t really appreciate the incline here from this angle, but the steps are a welcome addition. (This link into the future gives you an idea of how it was before.) And if you look at yesterday’s post (September 21, 2008) you can just see this slope before the sandstones steps were installed.

I knew I wanted to put steps here as soon as the cabin was finished, and I had found some slabs on sandstone deep in the forest that I had intended on using for the job. Of course, even with my superpowers, I couldn’t possibly lift them, much less move them a quarter mile and then place them. So I showed them to my dam builder (who was out to refurbish the dam and build some dam spillways), and he dismissed them, not liking their assorted sizes. He had some over at his place that were much more uniform, he told me, and that would be perfect for the job.

And so he did. These steps are gorgeous. They are different colors and textures, and — you can just see it in the bottom stone — that they have concavities that appeal to the eye (though not so much to the broom — sweeping porch steps is part of my St. Louis heritage).

I’ve created a path around the back of the cabin that comes up to the porch on the west side, and it is all one level, so a person would not have to climb the steps to get into the cabin. Still, I tred these steps every change I get.

Backfill – New fire ring

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

new fire ring

This post is an anachronism. Although it is dated to post on September 21, 2008, I wrote it on December 20, 2010, and back dated it. This is intended merely to fill in one of the remaining holes from the period when the hard drive crashed on my old computer.

Along with repair and improvements to the dam, we had the man with the big machines do a little work around the cabin as well. I had wanted some gravel paths put in leading to the porch and around the old fire ring area. I marked what I wanted with orange survey tape and then waited (months!) for the work to get done.

It was worth the wait!

Obviously the man with the big machines had a better vision that I. No only did he give me the paths I wanted, but he pretty much cleared and then covered all of the ground to the east of the cabin with gravel. Gives it a nice, tended look, doesn’t it.

I love this arrangement! Not only does it look tidy (something rare in an Ozark forest), and not only does it make the ground easy to walk on, but it helps build a protective barrier around the cabin should there ever be a ground fire sweeping through the woods. (Never mind that any ground fire we have will likely come from the west — the other side of the cabin.)

What all of the gravel pavement allows me to do is have campfires without anxiety. I’ve always obsessed about losing control of my campfires and then having to call in the volunteer fire brigade. The cabin at the end of the road is very literally at the end of the road. We’re nearly three miles from the nearest pavement, and more than ten miles from the town where the brigade is. Plus, our cabin is closer to our eastern property line, so if a fire got loose here, it could readily go into my neighbor’s property, which stirs a whole host of fresh anxieties in Pablo. (Note to all, including self: I have never had a fire get out of control.)

But not so much anymore. I now have plenty of non-combustible ground surrounding the fire ring. I can have campfires without worrying about . . . everything! We can warm our weiners and make our S’mores and gaze into the flames and even indulge in some mellowing beer or wine, all safely.

One of the things I have been doing around the cabin is collecting all of the deadfall limbs (from the west side) and burning them in the fire ring. I know I’ll never finish this job, but if I can make a dent in all of the combustible material over there, I can reduce the threat of a ground fire getting close to the cabin. (I don’t have gravel pavement over there, but I am building some stone walls — very slowly — that might stop approaching flames.) Having a secure fire ring allows me to burn all of this deadfall much more frequently than I ever would have allowed myself in the past.

(There is one wild card, however. Flike will bring you any stick he finds and want you to throw it for him to fetch. He’s even dragged small trees to me. So far he hasn’t pulled any sticks from the fire ring, and we’re teaching him that this area is completely off limits, but Border Collies are geniuses, and I’m sure he knows there are fetching-sized sticks there.)

This post is an anachronism, as I said above, but so is this photo. We’ve had many fires in that ring since I snapped this shot. The inside of the ring is black with soot and ash, and since we’ve burned odd bits of this and that, there are some screws and nails and fasteners and staples and who-knows-what mixed in. Some day, when a team of archeologists are prowling over this area, they may be surprised at what they find. (And wait until they see what they find at the base of the retaining wall in front of the cabin!)


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