The sun was scorching hot. My arms felt as though they couldn't last another minute but I had to keep going. Everything was on the line, which included my last worm and a minnow.
It didn't matter if it was the hottest weekend of the year, I was a happy camper, with a fishing pole in my hand. We were finally able to get away for the weekend to enjoy the outdoors and a lake full of fish. We weren't skunked, although the two tiny fish we caught were a sign the weather wasn't cooperating, but, it didn't matter, we were fishing.
Before the drought, we'd fish at least a couple times a week at our pond. From bass to bluegill to catfish, we would catch and release to our hearts' content. Just when we thought a portion of the fish had survived the pond shrinking to two feet deep, it turned over and we lost them all. Some kind of vegetation grew over the top of the water, which makes it a grim looking body of water.
I'm the person who will make spontaneous decisions, which may or may not be the right ones. Fortunately my mate is a thinker and analyzer and nothing happens until all options have been researched. We'd been told the pond needed to be drained by cutting a hole through the dam and rebuilding. I was ready to start digging. Not knowing a thing about ponds, my drive comes from wanting to fish in my own backyard again.
I wasn't sure what was going on when I came up the driveway and saw him talking to someone in a truck marked with the Missouri Department of Conservation logo. A family of raccoons perhaps, overflow of opossums, who knows what could be happening on the 10 acres.
Just like any other woman, I retrieved my binoculars and spied from the window of the house. It appeared the Department's agent was taking a survey of the pond as they both walked around it, threw grasshoppers into it, measured, searched and did a whole lot of talking. I couldn't hardly contain myself to stay in the house to find out what was going on with my fishing hole.
I had no idea our Department of Conservation would be willing to come and evaluate ponds. Luckily the thinker of the family knew and took full advantage of this free service. The good news is the pond is salvageable, there's no need to drain and there's no need to contract a well digger. The agent said mother nature would take care of filling it back up again.
Our instructions were simple. Cut away all the trees near the pond, whose roots are drinking the water faster than it can fill back up. The primrose that took over the top of the pond could easily be pulled out and then we just wait for the rains.
The Missouri Department of Conservation has been focusing on maintaining and protecting wildlife and land for the past 78 years. A great example is Burr Oak Nature Center in Blue Springs. It's free and was built just for us.
Now all I can do is hope for a rainy day, times 10.
Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org