Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Where's the water?

This is the three-acre lake behind my house.  Yep, it was once a three-acre lake and will be one again. In the spring of 2010 when we had several big rains in one week the levy failed, leaving a big sink hole. This put a cramp in my family's fishing plans.

This lake means a lot to us. It was put in here on this property in the 1960s by my grandfather Cathey S. Dandridge. The place where we now live was once pasture land for daddy's band of Appaloosa mares and colts and later for cattle (Salers and Charolais). It has double meaning for our family. Howard's father, A.M. Patterson, who worked for our local Soil Conservation Service did the surveying when the lake was built.

So after the sink hole developed, we had to ask the kids not to go down there in fear that the wall would collapse more.  We got good news this spring that there was funding to replace the drain pipe and rebuild the levy.

Starting removal of trees

We made a grand ole time out of the whole deal.  My daughter Hayley brought her friends and their children and they all came with nets hoping to scoop up fish when the levy was cut.  You understand, there is not a lot to do out here in Barr. The fish scooping was a failure.
Kids and friends

Making the first cut
The track hoe came about noon one May afternoon.  First they had to clear the trees on the levy to prevent roots from weakening it.  That took forever. This photo shows the track hoe making its first cut after clearing the trees. That was about 5 p.m. The kids (and big kids) were waiting with their nets. 

Finally about 6 p.m. they cut through to release the water.

There were no fish. They either mired up in the mud or went with that fast-moving water and we didn't see, "a single feesh," as one of the four-year old guests said.  They were sad. But that didn't stop them from wading in the muddy, stinky mire with nets.  When they realized there were no fish, the dads started shooting turtles and a beaver that probably caused some of this trouble in the first place.

They all stayed and we ordered pizza instead of cooking fish as planned. The kids swam their dirty little selves clean in my pool. 

At the end of July the lake had drained enough to complete the dirt work and install the new drain pipe.

We are good to go now. Bring on the rains of winter. By spring maybe we can stock a few fish and start fishing again—in about two years.

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