return to Roundrock

I had received a call two weeks ago from the man I had contracted to do some repair work on the spillways for my (much-diminished) lake. He said they’d done some of the preliminary work, so I was eager to get down there to see. Unfortunately, the weather and other circumstances prevented me from dashing out right away, so it was a week later — last Saturday —  before I could.

The spillway on the north side of the dam has washed out twice. This is not so terrible farther down since it is relatively far from the dam, and it washes down to bedrock, which is as far as it’s going to get in my lifetime. The problem is near the top of the spillway, where it is actually part of the dam and where it is made of dirt. A few more feet of erosion there and the dam itself could be breached, which is not on my list of desirables.

When I’d had the spillway repaired the first time, I duly overseeded it with fescue so that the resulting grass would hold the soil in place when the lake overflow raced down the spillway. The problem with that plan was the “resulting grass” part. There wasn’t enuf soil on the spillway to sustain even the sparse bit of grass I ever saw growing there. So the next spring, when the overflow did happen, there was not much more than gravel meeting the deluge, and it washed out again.

Thus this time I asked the contractor to pour me a slab of concrete at the top of the spillway (where the erosion is most problematic) so that even if the rest of the spillway gets washed out, there will be no risk to the part on the dam. He described what he had in mind, and it was far more elaborate than what I had envisioned, but when he quoted me a price, it was about half of what another man had quoted me for less work, so I agreed.

The slab is not poured yet. When I got to the cabin, the first place I directed my steps was down the hill to the spillway. After more than a year of looking at a deep gouge there, filled haplessly with whatever rocks I could carry and throw in, seeing a swath of black dirt formed and smoothed warmed my black and shriveled heart. There were tracks on the dirt of the big machine that they had used to do the work, and I know that passing over and over soil or rock will help compact it, which is what I suppose must happen before they pour the concrete slab that will rest on it and save my dam.

So the spillway work is underway. Once they are finished, I’ll need to seed the exposed dirt of the dam and spillway, but I won’t do that until the big machines are gone.

I had also asked the contractor to deliver another load of gravel for me to spread around the cabin site. The more gravel I have there, the fewer weeds and the more fire break I have. And so the pile of gravel was waiting for me. Along with a surprise.

So this requires a little explanation. A tiny section of the big gravel pile is on the left. The wood you see on the right is a remnant of a compost bin that rotted in my suburban yard for years and that I’d taken to the cabin to burn in some future fire. The yellow bucket is a bonus from the gravel delivery. My guess is that it was in the bed of the delivery truck when the gravel was poured into it at the (nearby) quarry. When the gravel was dumped at my cabin, the bucket tumbled out with it.

I tugged the bucket from the pile and set it in the sun where it could perhaps regain its original shape. There are many uses for a sturdy bucket like this around a cabin.

Also accompanying the gravel was a fair amount of organic material, some of which you can see to the top left of the yellow bucket. There were some large chunks of green grass too. Not sure how that came to be a part of the delivery. Maybe it, too, was in the bed of the truck when the gravel was poured in. Or maybe it was on the ground at the quarry and scraped up when the scoop dug into the (huge) gravel pile there. However it found its way to my little cabin, it’s not much of a problem. The couple of wheelbarrow loads of gravel that I’ve already scattered from the pile has been enuf to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

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2 Comments on “return to Roundrock”

  1. markparis Says:

    That is a very nice shot at the top. I like it.

  2. Paul Lamb Says:

    I casually leaned a leaf rake against a tree, and later this shot presented itself.

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