Not unprecedented, but not commonplace either, Libby and I made a trip down to Roundrock within a week of our last visit. Life is good.
You’ll recall that my order of nannyberries from the Missouri Department of Conservation nursery arrived last week. Although I was still expecting a larger order of shortleaf pine trees as well, we decided to put the nannyberries into the ground right away. Then we would force ourselves to make yet another trip to our little bit of forest on the edge of the Missouri Ozarks after the pines arrived. (The sacrifices we all must make!)
I had hoped that both orders would arrive at the same time, and the big planting job that would entail would mean that I could spend the weekend at Roundrock doing the work. I was ready to pack the tent and the other gear, and all week I watched as the weather forecast steadily improved for this kind of adventure. Dry and in the 70s, nearly to the 80s. But then the weekend came and the pine trees didn’t, so no overnight for me.
We left the house at our usual time (shortly past 7:00 a.m.) and were on our way. Generally, our visits to the woods occur on Sundays. This is not by preference as much as by opportunity. Many of our Saturdays are committed to this or that, so we tend to make our Roundrock trips on Sundays as a result. This means that stores and shops we might visit on our way to the woods are usually not open when we pass. But not so on this Saturday morning, and we made two stops.
The first was to a farm supply store. As you may recall, we have been hoping to extend the overflow pipe as it exits the base of the dam. The flow (which must be as intense as it is infrequent since it would require a full pool in the lake) is gouging the ground there, and though I don’t think it is a threat to the integrity of the dam, it is worrisome. To make the extension, we would need a length of 12-inch diameter corrugated plastic pipe to attach to the pipe that emerges at the base of the dam. This isn’t the easiest stuff to find when you’re not in the business and aren’t from the area. But Pablo can be known to be persistent, and I had found a source: the farm supply store I mentioned above. And so we stopped there on the trek to Roundrock.
And I learned I must come up with a different plan. They did have the pipe and the connectors necessary, but there were some complications. The first was that the standard length is 20 feet, which is not only much longer than we need but could not be safely transported in the back of my truck (with its seven-foot bed) without the likelihood of leaving it on the highway behind me at some point(s). And for all of this difficulty, I would get the privilege of paying more than $100. The second complication was that this pipe is very rigid. It is made of thicker plastic than the 4-inch pipe commonly used in garden landscaping. This larger pipe was not going to bend at all. (It’s made for employment as a culvert under a roadbed, so it needs to stay rigid.) Unfortunately, the lay of the land below my overflow pipe’s exit is not a straight shot. The slope of the dam meets the floor of the pecan plantation, requiring a bend in any pipe that might pass there. Add to this the 20-foot length of the pipe available and you have the classic irresistible-force-meets-unmoveable-object condundrum.
So now we’re considering a different plan. Libby suggested that we simply pour a slab of concrete below the overflow drain exit to prevent further erosion, and already in my mind’s eye I see a sort of cascase forming.
The second stop we made was at the public library in the small town near Roundrock. When, for whatever reason, we have books around the house that we don’t intend to keep, we have taken to donating them to the library in this town. The library may add some of them to its collection — and I’ve found a few of my donations on the shelves there — and those it doesn’t keep it will sell at its annual book sale fund raiser. (And those it can’t sell at the fundraiser it donates to the local used bookstore, so everyone wins!) And since this was a Saturday, the library was open and could accept our donation. Our contribution this time was relatively small: only one grocery sack of books, but most of them were hardbacks, and I hope they help the cause since a good library is a lot like oxygen to Pablo.
And only then, after these chores were finished, did we arrive at Roundrock. And we found a surprise waiting for us there.
- Serviceberry begins to bloom in woods.
- Badgers bear young through early April.
- Ohio buckeyes begin leafing.