We go below the dam again, which you can see on the left in this not-very-good photo. What I am trying to show you here is all of the post and fencing work we have done around the pecans during recent visits.
What you’re supposed to see is the marching grid of chickenwire tied to steel posts. I think you can make out four of them, maybe five if you look really hard. I blame the poor photo on that relentless August sun that has bleached every living thing with so much light that there is no contrast left in the world. Sounds good, anyway.
As I’ve stated countless times before, the pecans have done better than I had thought. And since I am trying to be a good steward of my land, at least of the land as I’m trying to transform it, I’ve decided to give the pecans more help at surviving than I had in the past. Thus the fencing. And none too soon, either. As you will see when you read the Natural Events Calendar for today, that protection will be needed in the coming weeks.
When we first planted the pecans in the rocky soil below the dam, we used a line of rope with a knot tied into it at (I think it was) thirty feet. Libby would hold the end of the rope and I would pay it out, following a more-or-less straight line with a compass. When I reached the knot, we would plant another tree. Once we had a row established, we measured in a right angle to set the distance to the next row. As a system, it worked perfectly well. (And it was certainly more reasonable than the other idea I had: making a grid of red survey tape on the ground and then digging at the intersections. Oh, the wasted tape that would have been!)
Unfortunately, the rocky Ozark soil didn’t always cooperate, and where my rope told me to dig was not always where I was able to sink the shovel. When this happened, I would move the shovel to the side a few inches and try again. Sometimes this worked, and sometimes I had to move a few inches more.
At the end of the day, when Libby and I stood atop the dam to examine the grid of tiny trees we had so lovingly set in the ground, it looked like a drunk man had drawn the lines. I consoled myself by asserting that when the pecans towered over my head, their relative misplacement would not be noticeable. In the two subsequent years when we replanted pecans, I tried to straighten my lines a bit, but I didn’t have much success for the same reason I didn’t the first time.
So when you come to Roundrock and stand on the dam, and I steer your eyes east to the pecans so you won’t see the depressing lack of water to the west, go ahead and make whatever observations you want about the pecans. I’ve heard it all from myself already.
- Male white-tailed deer rub velvet off antlers; watch for their “rubs” on small trees.