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Warren Land Spring Cleaning

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WARREN LAND

SPRING CLEANING

by Samuel Warren

The December sun created a beautiful day. There was no bone chilling nip in the air, which is normal for this time of year in southwest Missouri.

Sipping my coffee, I looked out the picture window at my blue U.S. Air Force flag flicking at the slight breeze.

Today would be a great day for Spring Cleaning.

I bundled up like I was embarking for an expedition to the Artic Circle. In Missouri, Old Timers say: “If you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes; it will change.” It might be a sunny day, but, it is December and Mother Nature enjoys messing with Missouri’s weather, especially in the winter..


I grabbed my camera and my rake. My two loyal cannine assistants, Sarge and Goldie raced past me and did a low crawl under the gate.. I stroll into the pasture trying to decide, which trail should I follow down into the holler. The dogs and I walk past the pond. The perimeter fence surrounds Warren Land.

It is a woven wire fence with a strand of barbed wire to keep the cattle inside.  The Fence Line Tree represents the boundary of Warren Land. The land beyond is DeLong Land that is now owned by a neighbor. Uncle Richard had owned the DeLong Land that rests on this side of State Highway 176.

The holler on DeLong Land flows under the perimeter fence on to Warren Land. The uniform blanket of leaves hides any hint of a vein of water.

At least, a half century worth ‘s  of leaves lie in the holler and conceal the spring from sight.

Photo by Samuel Warren

I rake away at the leaves beneath the fence line  . Raking back the dead brown dry leaves, I discover the saturated black leaves that have clogged and absorbed the spring’s water like a sponge.

A small wet patch of earth under the tree root indicates the

presence of the spring.  Photo by Samuel Warren

Sarge hears something in the distance and rushes off to investigate. Goldie sits down on the trail to watch me.

Goldie sits on the trail and watches me rake leaves.

Photo by Samuel Warren

I feel a slight breeze and hear two different chain saws buzzing in different directions beyond the horizon. I uncover the black damp leaves and once again sunlight reaches down and finds the puddle of water that flows over the rocks and underneath the leaves.

The Spring flows under the leaf bed, which burns giving off a thick column of

white smoke that flows along and up the holler.

Photo by Samuel Warren

I rake a grave-size mound of leaves into a leaf bed on top of the concealed spring. I hunker down with my cigarette lighter.. The flame catches like a rumor and spreads just as quickly.


Whoosh ! The flames ignite the leaves as quickly as a working man’s

paycheck on payday.

Photo by Samuel Warren

Like a losing politician on election day, in a matter of minutes the dry leaves are gone. Smoke flows along and up the holler. The large black mound of wet rotting leaves are left to smolder in the sunlight on the spring bed.

I go up the hillside and rake more leaves down into the stream to burn. Left behind on the hillside is the naked earth showing her exposed flesh of topsoil. The rich black soil has been hidden from the sunlight by years accumulation of leaves clinging to the hillside.


Rake away the leaves and you see rich, black topsoil on the hillside.

Photo by Samuel Warren

Over time, a great deal of time, the leaves would of rot away. The Catch 22 situation ,of course, is before the leaves can rot away, the trees will shed even more leaves,which stack layer upon layer of leaves on the landscape.

I’ve played in these hills and hollers as a kid, so I’m aware of the changes that have occurred to the land over the years. The leaves that I raked into the spring bed have been lying on the hillside since the 1960s,that’s a half century’s worth of leaves that had their decaying process abruptly sped up.


The decaying leaves have added ingredients to enrich the topsoil.

Photo by Samuel Warren

I spend a couple of hours in the holler raking and burning the leaves. Now, the spring can carry away the ashes and the cattle will have another source of water readily available.

This section of burnt, smoldering leaves in the holler only represents a small step along the course of this spring’s bed. Whether Spring Cleaning is done in April or December: it takes times. The challenge of Spring Cleaning the spring beds on Warren Land is it involves more than dusting or moving furniture.

My overall plan is to continue to try and clean away decades of leaves along the spring beds. Cattle like people drink a lot of water.

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One Response

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  1. It’s really a nice and helpful piece of info. I am glad that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

    Adalberto

    March 27, 2013 at 7:32 PM


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