Roundrock, interrupted

I made an abbreviated trip to my little bit of forest on the edge of the Missouri Ozarks over the weekend. The plan was for my wife and I, and the two dogs, to have an overnight at the cabin, with no real agenda before us but relaxing and maybe doing some chores if by some means mysterious we found the gumption. The weekend did not go as planned.

But first, a photo:

These are the stone steps leading to the cabin porch. There is a third one below these two. When the cabin was built on the sloping hillside, a good bit of gravel was pushed into place to create a level bed for the slab foundation. Once the work was done, the approach to the porch (from the east side, which is the view above) was a steep, irregular climb of a couple of feet. This arrangement persisted for many months, and my top priority during that time was to build a retaining wall in front of the cabin so that there would be no erosion (from the runoff of the roof), possibly weakening the support for the slab foundation. I got the retaining wall work done soon enuf, and future archeologists may, possibly, find wine and beer bottles in the backfill behind the wall.

Then came the eastern approach. I asked a man who has done some work for me out there if he could lay stone steps to the porch. I even showed him some large blocks of sandstone up the hill from the cabin that I thought would work well. He dismissed those and said he could provide stones much better, which he did. And now I have some rustic stone steps leading to the shady porch.

But it’s the topmost stone that is the point of all of this blather:

This is looking down on the top step and the second step, just where they overlap. (Would the lower step underlap?) What you can’t really tell from this photo is that the top stone step is actually polished from use. Many feet have tread on this step, many more than the two of us and our occasional guests could have provided in the time since the step has been there.

My idea is that this more regularly shaped slab of sandstone had graced the dooryard of some earlier Ozark home, perhaps going back to settlement days. But that’s the hopeless romantic in me thinking that. Still, it’s clearly seen use prior to coming to my little cabin. I wish I knew its story.

As for the weekend at the cabin, here is what happened. August is the peak time for horseflies in the Ozarks. Some years are worse than others, and this year has not been particularly bad with them, but you can’t tell that to my dog, Flike. He is terrified of horseflies. Never mind that he is 75 pounds of muscle and energy with a thick coat of fur and has nothing to worry about from a horsefly. If one buzzes across the porch while he is out there, he will quickly dart into the cabin and do his best to squeeze himself under one of the beds. Or into the tightest corner behind the mouse-proof cabinet. Or in my face as I’m attempting to relax on my pillow on the bed. He spent our entire time there in the cabin, panting heavily. He was terrified and traumatized.

When we saw that he wasn’t going to get any better, we decided to do him a kindness and just go back home where we could all sleep in our regular beds with no horseflies buzzing around us.

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