a day in the woods

One of the reasons I upgraded the operating system on my Mac (see last post for oblique reference to this) was to allow me to download photos from my phone. Somewhere along the journey I had lost that ability. Apparently my phone upgrades are pushed while my Mac upgrades have to be approved/sought by me. (Two other reasons for the upgrade: The “Critical” software updates notices I would get could no longer be loaded because my operating system was too old. Also, I wasn’t backing up to my Time Capsule any longer and Apple kept telling me to upgrade.)

But all of that is mostly beside the point. Trapped on my phone were photos of my recent trip to Roundrock, and I wanted to share them with the both of you who happen to read this humble blog.

We were out to the cabin two weekends ago, and we were greeted by the lovely sight of the lake at full pool. This is a rare state. The lake was formed by damming the Central Valley that runs through my rectangular 80+ acres. It has a hundred-acre watershed, and can fill with a couple of good rains. (The builder reported that the entire 2+ acres of area filled overnight shortly after he built it when a huge rain storm blew through the area.) The trouble is that the Central Valley is underlaid with gravel that has been washing down the hillsides for millennia. Gravel is leaky. It’s hard to plug. And so over the dry summer, fall, and winter most of the water in the lake leaks out under the dam, leaving me with a puddle barely deep enuf to overwinter the fish.

Compare the photo above to the view from the cabin porch on January 1 of this year:

That muddy plain you see should have water that is over your head in it. And it did on our recent visit.

Of course it is busy leaking out this very moment. The spring rains will keep it full-ish, but the farthest area from the dam is already exposed lake bed, and the waterline will continue to creep toward the east. Still, it will give the fish and turtles and frogs and snakes and water bugs and microbes a decent place to live through the summer.

Here is a view of the lake from the west, looking east toward the dam:

That brown grass in the foreground is bluestem (I think) on the shore. Those willows emerging from the water are enemies of mine that exploited the exposed ground when the lake was low and grew haughtily. You can see some dark dots on the water that are the stumps of some willows I cut out when I could walk out there with my chainsaw. The willows you see on the extreme right side of the photo are on the tip of an island we had raised in the lake bed (when the lake was in retreat one year). It has rarely been a true island (surrounded by water) because the lake has been low and the lake bed around it has been slowly filling with gravel washed down from the Ozark hillsides. Once I win the lottery I intend to hire the dozer man to come out and scrap this part of the lake bed clean again so the water can flood into this area.

So it was a pleasing trip to the cabin. We hiked around our full lake, through the trees and the tall grass with the dogs ahead of and behind us. And we just enjoyed seeing the lake in its full state. Last week there were further storms in the area, serious enuf to have breathless cautions reported on the television news as far away as Kansas City. So it’s likely that the lake is still full, and it’s now warm enuf that we might dare to dip in a toe or two. (The air temperature is warm, but the water is likely much colder.) I probably won’t get down there for another two weeks, but now that my phone is talking to my laptop, I’ll have more to share with you if I do.

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One Comment on “a day in the woods”


  1. That just looks so wonderfully wonderful. I HOPE I can have something like this someday.


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