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.
- 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.”