Pleased to find that we had survived the night un-ravaged by the bachelor party boys down in the valley, we rose as the sky began to lighten and looked forward to our breakfast.
It seems that Libby did not look with favor on the idea of granola bars and cold water for breakfast, which was what we had enjoyed on past overnights at Roundrock. She wanted something warm and tasty. Thus the recent purchase of a propane camp stove to add to the gear we haul with us to the woods. What you see above is actually part of Saturday’s dinner: taters and onions and mushrooms getting boiled to go with the steak. On Sunday morning we partook of bacon and fried eggs. (This is not normal breakfast fare for Pablo and Libby. It was a camping indulgence, and not one we will likely repeat because of all of the grease and the ensuing clean up required. In fact, I probably don’t eat one steak a month either.)
This little camp stove was a delight to have around. It made cooking much easier than what we faced over a fire. I suspect we will take it with us even on day trips to the woods in coming months simply to have a warm lunch.
After breakfast we slowly began breaking camp. We had all day to do this, and there was no rain to make the job miserable, but we also wanted to do some dam work, and I was eager to see if the evening visit by the bachelor party had left any sign of its presence. The bachelors had apparently enjoyed a full and riotous evening because we didn’t hear a peep coming over the ridge from their direction. Not a single gunshot or loud explosion. No roaring engines. There was peace in the forest.
Having the ability to boil a pot of water, we actually did our dishes — more of a pre-wash really so we could take them home and clean them properly later. We were careful about using the water we had brought along, and we found that we’d only used about half of it, so we could probably stay two nights as Libby wants to do some time. The gear got packed and stowed. The tent came down and was rolled. The fire was out. We left two bananas on a fallen tree as a sort of payment to the forest critters for leaving us alone in the night. (It was curiously quiet the entire night at our new campsite.) And then we were back in the truck, winding our way through the trees back to our road to see what might have been wrought in the night.
I drove slowly are carefully along our road. I’m not sure what the loud explosions down at the bachelor camp were — whether it was an elephant gun or artillery or simply some fireworks — but part of me imagined that the bachelors had thought it would be great fun to set up a trip wire along our road with one of those boomers attached to it. My eyes were looking for such a contraption.
But my eyes were disappointed. Nothing exploded as we drove past. Nor was there any trash dumped on the side of the road. No trees were hacked up. No round rocks missing. Aside from a few scuff marks in the gravel, there was no sign at all that the bachelor boys had been by that second time.
We drove into the pecan plantation and parked near the base of the dam. We have a long-term plan to extend the overflow pipe that emerges from the dam. (Long term is defined as “I need to get that done some time.”) It is beginning to erode the ground below it, and the builder recommended that we add another dozen feet of pipe just to move the erosion a bit farther from the base of the dam. To do this, we will need to dig out the current, partly buried end of the pipe so we can attach the new length of pipe to it.
We did not do this. I worried that the job was going to be long and difficult, but when we examined the end of the overflow pipe more closely, I could see that it was going to be an easy job when the time came. And given Lake Marguerite’s much-diminished state, plus the evil cloud conspiracy to prevent rain from falling on Roundrock, I don’t think we’re going to need the overflow pipe for a while.
We did put some effort into clearing some scrub off the dam, but I’ll leave an account of that for a later post.
The morning had progressed, and we thought we might take ourselves home early to toothbrushes and hot showers. The bachelors seemed to have found more ammunition for explosions and reports were coming over the ridgetop again. So we left Roundrock for the weekend, but there was still another adventure ahead of us.
We thought we would take the chance to drive over to Fallen Timbers just to have a look at the place. We hadn’t been there since the spring, and since we still had most of the day before us, we thought we could spare the extra fifty miles that would add to our drive.
What we were pleasantly surprised to find at Fallen Timbers that our Good Neighbor Max had continued to mow our ridgetop campsite. It was as open and orderly as the day he had first mowed it for us, and it looked as though he been through quite recently. We paid him for his gas the first time he cut the scrub, but it’s obvious that he’s continued to do it gratis since we’ve not heard from him about it all summer.
While we were at Fallen Timbers, we hiked to our western border where a past neighbor who didn’t know where the property line ran had “liberated” much of our forest years ago. We had planted a row of hawthorn trees here to grow into a fierce and unmistakable, dense and thorny barrier. But ridgetops are not wet places, and the hawthorns that still grew there were still tiny and gnarled. They were being outgrown by the local plants, but whatever.
I managed to find the other hawthorn I had planted along the ridge road here, and I was happy to find that it had more than doubled in size over the summer. Maybe it a few years it will even flower and bring forth fruit. With that hopeful idea in my pocket, we got back in the truck and drove ourselves home.
- Snakes begin winter dormancy.
- Bittersweet starts to ripen.