Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Weed on the water ...

We have a weed problem on our lake ... a growing problem.

Due to an early spring and recurrent heat waves resulting in warmer water temperatures this year, there are weeds growing up from the bottom of our lake, overspreading the surface. In a matter of a couple of weeks' time the problem grew (no pun intended) out of control.

Art's fertile and inventive brain came up with the idea of raking the lake surface with a tool of his own invention ... a rake that we could pull across the water that would collect the green tendrils and draw them to the shore where we could pull them out with hand tools. It's always best to start with a simple plan and ramp up from there. That's how we roll.

The prototype rake was constructed of lightweight PVC pipe that would float on the water surface, with fiberglass pointed 'tines' driven through it that could snag the ropey weeds. This worked to some extent but it also revealed the evil lurking below ... these weeds were not just floating. They were arising from roots anchored in primordial depths.

Wow, how did this happen? Google says that overly warm water plus lots of  fish poop will grow all sorts of weeds. Who knew?

Rake #1 quickly fell apart under the weight of the weed matting. Disappointed but undeterred, we headed back to the drawing board. Obviously the situation called for a second generation rake constructed with more oomph!

Version #2 is the original rake reinforced with steel pipe and stranded aircraft cable. Our motto has always been, 'What's worth building is worth overbuilding.' We thought, "Boy, this baby will pull up anything that isn't nailed down." When launched, it immediately sank under the surface of the water but when we hauled it out at the other end of the lake, the rake and cable both were covered with a mother lode of weed, waaaay too heavy for a couple of mere old mortals to manage handling.

Then the secret weapon arrived -- our brother Hank. He quite literally got right into the project, tackling the weeds with energy, strength, imagination and originality.

I'll let the pictures tell the story from here:

Hank hauls on the rope to help the tractor haul out the submerged rake. But the load is too heavy and the rake snaps, breaking in several places and dumping the load into the water near the shore.

 This requires a push from behind to assist in the removal process ... 

 ... Art rakes more and more of the gelatinous strands out of the water ...

 ... but there seems to be a never-ending supply ...

 ... and soon the Green Monster of the Lake emerges ...

 ... and even Maximus is enveloped in weedy slime ...

 Playtime is over. It's time to get out the serious equipment
 and clean up this mess!

 Finally, our energy spent, we head for home. We'll have to rebuild the rake and try again. 

Tomorrow is another day ...


  1. As you two have come to realize, there are no things growing on this earth without a purpose. Rather than spending so much effort to rid your lake of thise living organism, why not try to find it's purpose. Indian hemp for instance, has many purposes. It is quite strong....maybe strong enough to break a rake... Try twisting the weeds together, stretching it straight, and allowing it to dry. It may be quite useful. Then again, try to smoke the leaves when they are dry...someone did that the first time with hemp. Good luck.

  2. Hank is clearly the kind of brother to have! Good to see Moses in the last picture ... hope he's doing okay this summer. We've been extremely hot and dry here, so many of the local crops aren't going to make it this year. Let's hope it's a temporary glitch, but the planet is always in flux ... take care and so glad the lake is looking better! ~ Daisy

  3. Thanks Rick for the helpful advice. This stuff is so disgusting that I doubt we'll try to find any use for it. It may make a good fertilizer or mulch but I know we won't be smoking it!

    Daisy, I'm glad to report that the lake is looking better but the cleanup is still a work in progress. Art is reconstructing the rake for the 3rd time, making it stronger and better, but we are making headway. Moses at 8 years of age is doing great. I'll put up a better picture of him when he's not dragging his poor, tired self back home!
    xoxo Max

  4. I like Rick's philosophy, but I agree with you. Ug. However, I was howling at the funny pictures at the end of this post.

    I think of you often and have much to tell you, but right now I'm blogging and reading only during short breaks from this overwhelming project called "moving." So much to do. I still dream of Jolico and all that beauty. Patsye