Saturday, off

This morning, I raked the yard — not on The Mountain (our homestead won’t have a yard), but here at the campsite. Between wind depositing leaves from the nearby woods and heavy rains washing debris onto our outdoor living space, the place was looking pretty shabby.

I borrowed a rake from our campground hosts (who are operating short-handed these days) and invested a half-hour in taking a little pride in the humble plot we occupy.

Sure, the park staff would’ve gotten around to it when it came time to spruce-up the grounds for the coming season. That’s their job. But there was no reason I couldn’t do it myself, so I did.

In a way, it was an exercise in hastening the arrival of spring. And like I said, it’s a matter of pride.

Yesterday’s post mentioned the Fred Berry Crooked Creek Nature Center, and I shared a handful of images. It’s just northwest of Yellville, nine miles from The Mountain, and this was our first visit.

The Fred Berry Center, which opened in 2005, is one of nine nature centers managed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Once a dairy farm, its 421 acres nestle within a hairpin bend of Crooked Creek. The facility features five miles of walking trails, connecting with the 22-mile Crooked Creek Water Trail, along with an impressive education building and a large picnic pavilion. There’s also an archery range and a trap range.

It struck me as a more compact version of a wildlife preserve near where we lived in central Ohio, with Crooked Creek taking the place of marshes and large ponds. The Fred likewise has lots of trails and a remarkable variety of habitats, plus wide-open fields where I expect we’ll take the dogs to run.

We’re delighted to have found another Ozarks jewel, oh-so-close to Home.

Three days on The Mountain while the well was drilled took a lot out of Deb and me. We’re pretty spent, and we’re behind on household chores. With a bright and pleasant Saturday forecast, we decided to stay put in Harrison to recharge and catch up.

As I said yesterday, it’s a good feeling to have the uncertainty of the well behind us. Obviously, the deeper we had to go the more it would cost. We’re 25 feet higher than two neighbors whose wells are 850 feet deep, making our 782-foot well feel like a 93-foot reprieve — and at $17 to drill each foot past 500, that saved us $1,600.

Plus having to use only one stick of casing — 21 feet long, at $25 a foot — means we saved another $600 (or more). That may not seem like much in the big picture, but believe me, at this point every little bit helps.

The work created quite the racket, of course. On Wednesday it drew a neighbor up The Mountain to investigate — a spry fellow in his 80s who lives a quarter-mile away, near the entrance to the subdivision. Rather than take the roads a mile-and-a-half to our homesite, he followed a hidden cut through the woods, bringing him out on the road across from the drill rig.

Nice guy. (Aren’t they all?) Good neighbor.

We got word this afternoon that our septic guy is on The Mountain today, his backhoe digging trenches where the lines will go. More progress.

Looking ahead, foundation work could begin as early as next week. There’s rain in the forecast beginning Wednesday and a showery weekend coming, so we’ll have to wait and see.

That’s really all we can do. We’re feelin’ good today, though, that’s for sure.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB

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