While not the finest photo I ever took, this does give you a pretty good picture of a particular White Oak tree on the south-facing slope at Roundrock. What is special about this tree is not its age or pleasing shape but its location. It sits in a grove of largish White Oaks that are more or less at the top of the slope, just above where I hope to build our earth-sheltered house some day.
There is a mostly level, mostly open stretch of ground going to the west from this tree, and as I picture it in my mind’s eye right now, it looks as though it may have once been a road. Though a road in this part of the forest seems wrong since this “road” leads to nothing but a steep slope down in the Central Valley. Nor is there any clear sign of where this bit of road came from. There is a former road along the northern fence line (that we mostly reopened when we had our road to the dam built), and it parallels this forest road not too far away. So a road here would seem unnecessary.
When I visit this spot on the north-facing slope in person, however, the idea of the open area being an old road mostly dissolves. It is not nearly as open as I imagine it, and it doesn’t travel all that far either. I guess it’s just that way naturally. The slope falls away more steeply beyond this point, so it is possible that the relatively flat and open area is merely the top of a ledge with a thin layer of soil on it.
In the current mental configuration I have for our eventual house, the back of it (the earth-sheltered part of it) will be against/below this so that my roof will be level with the “road.” (Again, am I making any sense?) I think the slope of this “road” will lead water away from the house foundation — and if not, it could be changed to do this — but I worry about the grove of oaks atop it.
A prudent forester would remove tall, combustible trees from around his house to a certain perimeter. That would mean that many of these lovely oaks would have to go. It’s something I ponder in my idle hours. But all of that is dependent upon raising the house where it will have a view of the lake, and unless a good deal of water falls from the sky, there isn’t going to be a lake, even a leaky one. What’s the deal with that?
- Ramadan (30 days)
- Tiger salamanders move to ponds in the rain.
- Hickory nuts ripen and begin to fall.