Sunday, July 4, 2010

Swimming Hole

The major improvement to our property this summer has been the addition of a proper swimming hole. On the farm we have three ponds. There's the small one behind our house that I'm using to water my garden. The water is sitll coming out cool, although the pond has swampy weeds growing right up to the surface. It's the smallest and shallowest of the ponds. The second is the large pond in the area we call the Commons, between our house and Tim and Annie's house. That's where we take out the small boat and where we ice skate in the winter. It's the loveliest of the three ponds, surrounded by prairie.

The third pond is used by Steve to water the trees in his tree nursery. It's the deepest by far, and truly more a hole than a pond. There are willows along the edge, and it feels remote. Steve leveled one approach on the north side and dumped a truckload of dark brown sand there. It's not very beachy, and because the bank drops suddenly, you kind of wade in until you're knee-deep in the sand and then push off into the water. The water is warm on top, but gets quite cold underneath, and it's clear of algae and other plant life.

I went for the first swim today, after my stint at the Joeburger stand from 9-12:30. I was a little wary at first-- it's absolutely the most "sketchy" place I've ever swam! There was a very unhappy small bird flying around making a racket the whole time, and I spotted a nest in the reeds, but it didn't look inhabited. I stayed in the middle of the pond, pushing myself down into the cold depths. As promised, it wasn't possible to touch the bottom.

In addition to the bird, I looked over once to see a large muskrat making his way toward the reeds. I said my friendliest "Hey there," and he ducked under and disappeared along the shore.

As soon as I was cooled off, I scaled the muddy bank and rode my bike back to the house for a shower. The only real worry now is chiggers. I've been told it's late enough in the season for them to be gone. I don't know what they are exactly, except that they burrow and bring up welts when they die under your skin. Sounds unpleasant!

Steve has used this swimming hole for years, jumping in wearing his landscape shorts after long, hot days of landscaping. He jumped in from the dock where his water equipment is, and I don't konw how he got himself out. The beach is for me, a luxurious improvement. I plan to make good use of it.

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