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8.27.2006 – Part One

deer on stump.JPG

With rain having fallen in the vicinity of Roundrock the night before, Libby and I headed down to the woods on Sunday, with Number Two Son, Adam, along as well. The rain had just passed through, and the trees were still dripping when we arrived. The ground was pleasantly wet (after all of those dry, dry visits) and even the drought-stressed trees were looking happier.

We had a few things on our agenda, but swimming wasn’t going to be one of them. Good Neighbor Brian had been down the weekend before and detoured to our woods to see how poor Lake Marguerite was doing. His report was not good. Based on his observation, the deepest part of the lake would only come up to our waists, so we didn’t bother packing our swimming gear. (I doubted that the recent rain would have made much of a difference given how dry I figured the ground to be. I didn’t think there would be much run off to drain into the lakebed.)

Our first stop was at the pine plantation. Adam was eager to try his hand with a grass whip, so we stepped back and let him fly. He had a curious, two-handed grip on the handle, much like he was swinging a golf club, but the grass and scrub withered before his exuberant assault, and though I was working twenty feet away, chopped grass was raining down upon me.

Many of the pines here are growing robustly, and they are pushing against the fencing we had put around them. Also, the wooden stakes we used for attaching the fencing have begun to rot in this moister soil. So the plan was to replace the chicken wire fencing around one of these crowded pines with a larger diameter fence, held in place by a new steel fence post. I’ll write more of that in an upcoming post.

My hidden agenda you may have already worked out. I wanted Adam to experience the relative ease of sinking a steel post into this good soil so that he would appreciate the effort that goes into pounding them into the gravel of the pecan plantation. And that was our next stop.

We fenced five more pecans down below the dam. I left the pounding and fencing work to Libby and Adam while I kept busy cutting more lengths of the chicken wire and stomping through the scrub to look for likely pecans to protect. The trees down here are spaced enuf to allow me to drive the truck among them. This meant we didn’t have to haul the posts (and the weighty driver) across the plantation. And it allowed me to drive over the scrub and knock it down a bit too.

Once the fencing work was finished (that is, once we ran out of posts), Libby and Adam retired to the shady shelter and the comfy chairs while I marched again across the plantation and took my final census of the season. I am recording which pecans are still alive as well as which have good (steel) posts and which have been fenced. I’ll write more about this effort in a future post as well.

Eventually, my feet lead me to the shelter as well, and I joined them in a reflective interlude. A nice breeze caressed us, and the temperature had moderated to only about 80 degrees, so we were quite comfortable. Occasionally, a patter of drops would strike the tarp over our heads as the water blew from the branches above.

What to do? Well, we still had some fencing left. There there were a few more pines that could use some elbow room. Plus we had an old cache of wooden posts left over from the original pecan planting that might serve for the pines, at least for one more season. And there was that experiment to check on. But I’ll tell you about all of that tomorrow.

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Several people have asked what a thirteen-lined ground squirrel looks like. Well, take a look here.

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Missouri calendar:

  • Once again, the calendar comes up blank.

3 Responses to “8.27.2006 – Part One”

  1. Ed Abbey Says:

    Thanks for the info. I guess I’ve seen plenty of them but never stopped to count the lines on their back.

    My father always had plenty of “character building” exercises for me when I was a youth. It will be awhile before I can pass that off onto my offspring.

  2. lene Says:

    I clicked your link to see what thirteen-lined ground squirrels look like. Got a good laugh when I realized there weren’t thirteen ground squirrels lined up (for what reason I thought they would be, I don’t know).

    Think I’ll stay away from the blog world until I get more sleep. ;) Hope you’re having a great summer.

  3. robin andrea Says:

    That’s a very cute squirrel. Sounds like you had another fine, hard-working day at Round Rock.

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