a recent visit to Roundrock

Though the temps have been miserably high for mid-June in my part of the country, last Sunday was much more seasonable, and Libby and I decided to dash down to Roundrock for the day to enjoy our little bit of forest on the edge of the Missouri Ozarks. We passed through a little rain on the way there, so the forest was wet when we drove in (on our nicely solid, recently re-graveled road through the trees). We had talked about maybe having a fire in the ring, but the wet kindling would have made that a challenge, and inertia made it impossible, so we didn’t.

We had no agenda for the day. I wanted to cut the grass below the cabin leading to the lake, since my New York grands will be coming next month, and it’s likely they’ll want to try fishing since we’ve recently pulled some lunkers out of the lake (though I worry that the lunkers may pull my grands into the lake). That involved firing up my cantankerous weed whipper, so I put that off for as long as I could. But the day progressed, and the sun was beginning to peak out of the clouds, which would make the shoreline work hot, so I finally got my gear together and got started. It’s now my policy to buy power tools that are made in America so that I can use English swear words when I’m trying to start them. I aired a lot of English as I tried and tried to get my weed whipper going. It eventually happened, and I made my way down the hill to the lake where I attacked the mix of grasses and scrub. But the engine died a number of times as I worked, and I only got about half of the work done before it died and would not start again. I called it good and retreated to the shade of the cabin porch.

I had put off cutting this grass on previous visits in part because the daisies were blooming there and I didn’t want to mow them down. But I also wanted to cut the grass and scrub as close to July as I could so it would have less time to grow tall again before the grands arrived. About halfway up the hill to the cabin these beauties were blooming, and I’m glad the whipper’s engine gave out before I got to this point.

In my old blog, Roundrock Journal, I used to identify these plants by using several trusty references. But now I just take them as they come. A pretty white flower tower. That seems sufficient.

So we sat in the comfy chairs on the shady porch overlooking the sparkling lake and ate our lunch of salad and cheese and crackers. (We might have had chicken sandwiches if I’d gotten a fire going, but that didn’t happen.) I drank my iced tea (unsweetened, of course). And we watched the lake. A few turtles were surfacing on the water to get a breath of air before diving to the bottom again. A few times a hunting bass created ripples as it struck at an insect on the water. The dragonflies patrolled the surface, eating plenty of mosquitos, I hope. The turkey vultures circled over our south ridge. But the beavers never made an appearance. They’d done more work on their lodge, including packing the sticks with mud, because a nice crop of grass was growing on it.

We did take a hike onto the dam, in part to check on the repaired spillway. It’s in good shape, but it doesn’t look as though we’ve had any rains strong enuf to put it to use. The dam was thick with tall grasses, and we waded about three quarters of the way across, as far as the overflow drain. It was still free of sticks and debris since my last visit when I cleaned it. That also tells me we haven’t had a strong rain in a while. The grass beyond this point was too dense for our tick-avoiding selves, so we turned around and hiked back to the cabin. Even though it wasn’t excessively hot, it was more pleasant in the shade, so we retreated to the porch again.

I’m not sure how long we sat there, but the clouds had begun massing again and I feared a storm was coming (there was a small chance of it in the forecast), so we began packing up to leave. If the storm came, it was after we left, for we drove home in strong sunlight.

I’m not sure what the grands’ schedules are for July, so I don’t know when we’ll all be coming down again, but I think I can probably squeeze one more solo trip down there to tidy up for their visit. Always something to be done in my forest.

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