On Saturday, L and I made the dash down to Roundrock, with a couple of stops along the way, intending to enjoy the one sunny day of the weekend. We left the house a little later than I prefer (damned snooze button) and stopped at the feed store in town to pick up three bags of Bentonite. This store is classic. It sells everything from grains and chains to fencing, clothing, and snacks. There were a half dozen old men in worn out chairs around a cold wood stove, talking away the morning. While there I asked the man behind the counter if anyone knew of a small boat — like a john boat — for sale. By serendipitous chance, the man behind me had one. He gave me directions to his remote cabin and welcomed me to go have an unaccompanied look. (We did, and though the price was right, it was much more boat than we would ever need. Plus it needed some loving.)
With those two stops out of the way, we were on to Roundrock. As has become our routine, we stopped first at the pine plantation to swing the grass whip a bit. So far we’re keeping the weedy growth under control, and any blackberries meet a swift and sharp finish wherever we find them. You may recall my post in which I showed a nice picture of the tickseed-sunflowers growing so happily at the back of the planting area. I noted how I didn’t have the heart to cut them down at the time. Well, on this day’s visit the flowers were all gone and they didn’t look as appealing. But they would have remained standing had I not noticed that there was a forgotten pine growing deep among them. Somehow we had overlooked this tree all summer. Despite being surrounded by and o’ertopped by the sunflowers, despite not receiving our loving waterings and kind words, it was growing nicely and had at least doubled in size. I got busy around it with the grass whip and cleared the area so I wouldn’t overlook it again. And what to my wondering eyes should appear but yet another overlooked pine deep amidst the sunflowers. Two pines I had missed, and two pines growing happily despite my neglect. (The pecans are not so forgiving, believe me!)
We whipped and watered for a while, but we could feel the heat and humidity beginning to pursue us, so we pushed on to the shelter and lake, where there was more to be done. Lake Marguerite had dropped a bit more since my last visit, but it still looked swimmable. If we can’t see the top of the drum that serves as the central drain, then we know the water is over our heads in the deepest area, and swimming looked promising.
The sides of the lakebed are steep and rocky, as I may have mentioned once before. When we head into the bottom, secure footing is more abstract than actual. Much more so when you have a 50 pound, big, bulky, badly balanced bag of Bentonite on your shoulder. Blame the heat, the humidity, the rugged conditions, and a bad breakfast — two blueberry muffins, which provide quick though not lasting energy — but this was miserable work. Actual distance was something like 1000 feet from the tailgate of my pickup to the waterless part of the lakebed where the spreading was to be done, but after throwing down the first bag (it didn’t burst open) I was seeing spots. Well, only two more bags to schlepp down there. Thanks to my superpowers, I managed to muscle the second bag to the right general area, and then I closed my eyes and listened to my pounding heart for a minute or two.
When I opened them, I saw L shuffling down the hillside, rolling the third bag ahead of her. Bless her heart! Unfortunately, since Roundrock is in the Ozarks, there happen to be plenty of sharp rocks hidden in the leaf litter, and L’s bag of Bentonite found one. But I was so pleased by her effort that I “dashed” up the hill to meet her and carry the last bag down the rest of the way on my shoulder. I may have sprinkled a bit of the good stuff on the way down, but I didn’t **expletive** care.
With the Bentonite in the general area where it was to be spread, we declared that the lunch bell had sounded. Thus up to the shelter and comfy chairs for lotsa iced tea and sandwiches. Then came torpor and recovery.
The afternoon included more work, but you’ll have to wait for tomorrow’s post to read about it. However, because you show such patience, let me hint that there may be some discussion of skinnydipping in the afternoon.
By the way, that’s goldenrod of some variety in the photo above. September seems to be the month of yellow in our forest.