It doesn’t happen often, but I found our visit to Roundrock last Saturday to be unsatisfying. I’m not sure why, though it was no doubt a combination of factors including, I fear, a stressed mental outlook resulting from dehydration. (Also, I managed to buy gas for $3.66 a gallon and I was actually happy about that. Depressing!)
We left the house and drove through a thick fog much of the hundred miles to Roundrock. I was eager to see what our forest was like in the mist, but by the time we got there, the fog had lifted and large, puffy white clouds filled the blue sky. The sign at the big truck stop nearby flashed the outside temperature as only 77 degrees (that’s Fahrenheit, by the way, not centigrade), and I worried that it would actually be too cool on this day at the end of July in the Ozarks to swim. The humidity, it turned out, was thick enuf to hang your hat on, which I suppose accounted for the fog. Regardless, it certainly felt plenty hot enuf to swim.
We stopped just inside our entrance, and I got out to meet with my first disappointment of the day. This is where I had set up the game camera on our last visit, hoping to get some shots of interlopers. The camera was still there, which I expected, but it seems that my old nemesis — dead batteries — prevented it from taking any pictures. From what I can tell, I need to put fresh batteries in it each time I intend to use it for a two-week period. This seems more than a little extravagant, not to mention wasteful, just to get a bunch of photos of deer and invisible animals. I like the idea of seeing who visits Roundrock in my absence, so I’ll probably try setting it up again (properly) soon.
But then it was on to our other chores of the day. The first was to drag the 100 snaking feet of corrugated plastic pipe out of the tall grass around the pine plantation (where it was getting lost in the grass and would be a hazard should we ever try to mow the area again). I had put it there when we’d first planted the pines (three years ago?), intending to cut it into one-foot lengths to put around the trees to keep gnawing critters from them (which may have saved a few, he says in retrospect). We stopped beside the pines, but the tall grass and thick humidity kept us from finding enuf motivation to get out of the truck. Libby suggested we save this chore until after the tick-killing frosts come, and I agreed instantly.
Then we gave some thought to firing up the pole saw and cutting away more of the branches that reach across the road and scrape on the side of the new truck, but, fortunately, we decided against that hot work as well. The heat (or rather, humidity) was enervating, and it almost seemed as though the whole trip was going to be a bust.
There was one chore that I did want to get done regardless of whatever else might develop. Many of you will recall that I had planted a small red maple tree in some good soil in a draw just north of the pecan plantation. The tree has been there for nearly four years, but it hasn’t grown much. When I was showing Libby the various incursions the cattle had made when they invaded Roundrock a month or so ago, we followed one track up this draw, directly toward the maple. The poor tree had taken a direct stomp by one of the cattle. It was smashed to the ground, but it was still alive. The fencing we had put around it was trampled, and the thin wooden post we had anchored it to was snapped at ground level. I intent was to put the fencing back up with a stout steel fence post, but I’m starting to have second thoughts about those (probably the subject matter of an upcoming post). Instead we used two substantial wooden posts that you see in the photo above. I think they are plenty strong enuf for the job, at least for a while. Now how do I get that little maple (lower left inside the cage) to grow faster?
As we were busy getting this job done I noticed something annoying in the forest. The horseflies have already made their appearance. They weren’t as bad as I expect them to be in August, but I can remember a Roundrock visit that lasted about twenty minutes because the horseflies were so vicious, and I wasn’t looking forward to that again.
Libby and I wandered about the pecan plantation, where the leaks from the dam seem about as strong as ever, and took note of the changing of the wildflowers. The surviving pecans are looking fine — they’re actually beginning to look like trees, which warms my cynical heart. Then we decided it was time to hydrate (tea — unsweetened, of course) before falling into the loving embrace of the lake.
- Mink kits travel with their mothers along streams.
Today in Missouri history:
- Platte County, Missouri residents organize the Platte County Self-Defensive Association in 1854 with the object of settling Kansas with pro-slavery men.
- A.W. Terrill was sworn in as president of Hardin College in Mexico, Missouri on this date in 1873. The college was named for a man who was denied citizenship after the Civil War but later rose to become governor.