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.
- 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.