Sunday Post, 1/23/2022

January 23, 2022 Sunday Post 22

The Sunday Post is hosted by the wonderful Kimberly, the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week, take a look ahead, and showcase our new treasures—I mean books!

This Week

We’ve only been home about three weeks, but it seems like months since we were away. Time goes both quickly and slowly when all the days feel the same.

The only real local news (besides the sky-high Covid case counts in our health district) has to do with the lake across the street. It’s an artificial lake, created by an earthen dam, and it’s one of the amenities of our wooded development, with a recreational pavilion and a tiny beach and swimming area that are very popular with residents in the summer. We can’t actually see the lake from our house, because of a natural rise; the road runs along the rise, with the lake on one side and our house (and several neighbors) on the other. Our lawn slopes downhill from the road, and the house is just far enough down that we can’t see the lake. We’re not below the dam, though; that’s further along, angled between our road and the one that intersects it. (A section of that intersecting road is now closed, because the stream goes through a culvert under it. It’s causing the Amazon and UPS drivers considerable consternation. They can get to the southeastern section of the development through the back gate, but that’s not how their GPS directs them.)

Lake with wooded shoreline
The lake in our neighborhood; early October, 2016

Anyway, the lake level is normally maintained by an overflow pipe, basically a “drain” that opens just below the water’s suface next to the earthen dam, with a metal grate to keep out debris. The pipe goes down vertically through the water until it encounters the sloped side of the earthen dam, about 6 or 8 feet below the water’s surface. From there, the pipe angles down through the dam and comes out on the other side at the bottom, where the overflow once again becomes the stream that the lake and dam interrupted. Well, the overflow pipe apparently cracked sometime during the holidays. It began to leak in such a way that it was both draining the lake and weakening the dam. Five houses had to be evacuated until the lake level dropped low enough to no longer be a danger. (They were just allowed back into their houses a day or two ago.) The engineers brought in pumps to empty the lake faster, so at least the dam isn’t likely to give way catastrophically, but it’s still potentially unstable. The lake is more than 3/4 empty at this point, and will be kept that way until the dam is repaired.

The lake and the dam are owned by the property owners’ association (in other words, by all of us who live in the development.) Dam insurance is nearly impossible to get, so the POA keeps a lot of money in reserves for emergencies like this. But even so, it may require a special assessment on all the homeowners to cover the cost of repairs. The POA is consulting with state and local engineers to figure out what repairs are needed and to make sure the repairs are done right; they don’t want a worse disaster on their hands in the future. But it’s going to take many months to make the repairs… and once they are done, it could take up to several years to refill the lake to its former level.

The lake, drained of much of its water; January 20, 2022

The dam (the curve of shore to the right in the picture above) is now off limits, which means that Mr. Bookwyrm and I won’t be taking any walks along the lakeshore and dam for a good long while. And it’s going to be a smelly and mosquito-laden summer, with so much of the muddy lake bottom exposed to the air. (Some water will remain in the bottom, but not much.) The ducks are not happy, the beaver isn’t happy, and the Canada geese, when they come through, are not going to be happy either. As for me, part of me is sad about both the lake and the families whose homes could be affected.. but another part of me finds the whole situation interesting.

(A note on the photos above: They only show about half the lake. The other half curves off to the left, beyond the photographer’s left shoulder. I stood on the dam to take the 2016 photo; my husband stood in what used to be the shallows of the swimming area to take the second photo.)

Recent Posts

Looking Ahead

The Backlist Reader Challenge

It’s not too late to sign up for The Backlist Reader Challenge again this year. If you’re looking to read the backlog of books on your TBR pile or To-Read list, come check it out! This challenge is for classics you never got around to, for all those ARCs you should have read a couple of years ago, for that series your bestie has been insisting you read for the past decade or more…for any and every book you’ve been intending to read for a while, as long as it’s on your TBR list and was published before 2020. I will only post this reminder until the end of January, but you can sign up through the end of November.

The review linky is finally up and working!

What I’ve Been Reading/Watching

Reading: I finished All the Duke I Need (Caroline Linden; ARC), as well as Briarheart (Mercedes Lackey). The latter has been on my TBR list since last year; it will count toward the Library Love Challenge and the current COYER readathon (to read something on a COYER friend’s TBR list.) Besides those, I also read Inheritance Tracks (Catherine Aird) and reread Agatha Christie’s Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? I am currently reading This Poison Heart (Kalynn Bayron), also for the current COYER readathon.

Listening to: Thanks to Pandora, I have been listening to the music of my youth this week. No, not 1970s and ’80s rock! I was (and still am) very into British and Irish traditional music and British folk rock. So I’ve been listening to a lot of Steeleye Span, Maddy Prior and June Tabor, Silly Wizard, Andy M. Stewart, The Chieftains, Pentangle, Fairport Convention, John Renbourne, and a smattering of Welsh harpists, augmented by similar artists I knew about but didn’t own at the time, and some I discovered in my 30s (like the lovely Loreena McKinnett) or even more recently.

Watching: Star Trek: Discovery, Season 4, and Leverage, Season 1. We also tried Prodigy, the new animated Star Trek show aimed at kids, but we haven’t yet decided if we like it enough to keep watching. We’ll try a few more episodes.

Added to the Hoard this week

Library Haul

Library books: Every Heart a Doorway (audio download)

Purchased (Kindle, print, or audio)

Kindle: Three Blind Mice and Other Stories; Murder on a Midnight Clear; Plain Jane (Click title for Goodreads page.)

Audiobooks: The Wind in the Willows (Chirp) (Click title for Goodreads page.)

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay kind… and may you find books a haven in the coming weeks.

22 Responses to “Sunday Post, 1/23/2022”

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I know; me too. I’m grateful we aren’t affected (much; it remains to be seen what the odor and mosquito situations will be this summer), but I feel for the families who had to evacuate, and whose homes, while no longer in danger while water levels remain low, won’t be completely safe until the dam is repaired.

  1. Jinjer @ Intrepid Arkansawyer

    I find this VERY interesting because our community has SEVEN of those man-made lakes and I’m willing to bet they have the same sort of construction / mechanics involved.

    We don’t have a view of any of the lakes from our house,either, unfortunately,AND they were not built with any kind of path that you can walk around. So, basically, we can go and LOOK at them or, if we have a boat, we can boat around on them, but no walking around them for exercise.

    I’m sorry it will take them such a long time to get yours repaired and refilled.
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    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      There are three in our development: this one and a smaller one in the main section, where we live, and another one about the size of this on in one of the detached sections on the other side of the dual-lane highway. I gather that the dam in the detached section had to be repaired some years back, but I don’t remember hearing about it at the time.

      I wish there was a path around the lake, but there’s not. You can walk from the little recreation area across the dam and out to the road; it’s not far, but it does let us enjoy the lake without trespassing on someone’s property. Mr. Bookwyrm and I usually include that little stretch when we go for a walk in the neighborhood — or we used to!

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I hope you don’t, too. But (not that I want to make you anxious) it’s the nature of dams to fail eventually. So I hope it doesn’t happen while you are living there, and that if it does, it ends up being like ours: no casualties, and fixable in the long run.

  2. Anne - Books of My Heart

    It is interesting about the lake. Something similar happened at my parent’s home after I left for college. They lived on a river which had a dam. It made a huge lake. We lived just up the street from a huge park with a campground. People would come and camp and fish and boat on the lake. I learned to waterski off our dock in the backyard. The dam had to be rebuilt as well as the bridge and took many years. People dug out the lake bottom for good dirt and to make the bottom less soft, mucky mud. The dam and bridge were on the state, county and city though.

    Enjoy your new reads!

    Anne – Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post
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    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Wow, that sounds like a much bigger problem! I’m glad they were able to fix the dam and bridge, and that the state and county were responsible for it. But I’ll bet it took quite a while.

  3. Nicole @ BookWyrm Knits

    So… I will admit that my first reaction to your lake/dam story was interest, too. It was only after the fact, when you mentioned the potentially affected families, that I realized I was ignoring the potential impact on people. (This is, of course, because there were no injuries. That would have been first priority, but it sounds like the damage was noticed before it caused any actual harm.)

    I listened to a bunch of Irish / Celtic music when I was younger, too. My journey started with Clannad, who did the music for a UK Robin Hood TV show back in the day.
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    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Good point about there being no injuries (and thank heaven for that!) I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve been as much interested as sad, too.

      I’m familiar with Clannad, though my Irish-music journey began with The Chieftains, which my stepfather discovered because they did the music for Barry Lyndon. He got very into them, bought a bunch of their albums, and took my mom and me to a Chieftains concert when I was in 8th or 9th grade. I didn’t mention them in my comment because I’ve been creating a separate Pandora channel for Irish and Celtic music (as opposed to British trad/folk/folk rock). There will be some crossover—Silly Wizard being the obvious example—but sometimes I’m more in the mood for the Celtic feel, and sometimes I’m more in an English mode. I was a folksinger in my youth, and sang a mix of British, Irish, and American folksongs (traditional and then-contemporary) at my college’s coffeehouse, back in the day.

  4. Katherine

    Oh how frustrating about the dam. Hopefully it will be resolved as painlessly as possible. Three Blind Mice is one of my favorites! Thanks for your concern about our heat. It only gets this cold maybe 2 or 3 days every few years so it’s really a nonissue but when it does happen I get whiney! I hope you have a wonderful week!

  5. Berls

    How sad about the lake – fascinating but such a beautiful feature of your community causing so much distress and expense. I hope it works out without too much challenge and expense – at least beyond what’s already in the coffers!

    Hope you’re having a great, safe week ❤️