Saturday, March 31, 2012

Park Cards

Back in the day residents were subject to being asked for park cards by the police. Visitors and guests were required to carry a card also.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Goose Catch

I awoke this morning at eight am. Thirty seconds after I opened my eyes I heard a crash-- a big one.

Oh, God, I said to myself. I sure hope my car didn't just roll down the driveway and crash into a house.

Thirty minutes later I was on the lake, where I saw this trailer full of geese.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Island in the Lake

I love this little island in the lake. It's just begging for a willow tree to replace the one that was there before the dredge.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Canoe Ramp

These rocks on the lake near the Beach House are for access to canoes and other small boats.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pourous, My Asphalt!

 The pathway on the back berm of the lake has been paved with porous asphalt. I'm wondering if the trails through the wetlands will follow.

A black trail is more than a bit shocking after decades of white gravel, but the new pavement will be easier for wheelchairs and easy to maintain.

There Are No Black Helicopters!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Baby Turtle

Today when I got home from my walk I found this hatchling turtle on my patio.

You can see how very small he is in the photo below. He's about the same size as the sweet gum ball beside him.

I say him, but I didn't check. Might be her. In fact, it probably is her.

The Beach House is Closed

The Beach House in Pine Lake has been closed due to safety concerns. This includes the front porch and the deck in the back of the building.

An inspection prior to beginning renovations showed some structural concerns, and the city has decided to close the building as renovation proceeds.

City council member Brian Car's e-mail follows.
Hi, All.

Wanted to make you aware of issues related to the Pine Lake Beach House that have created a compelling need to suspend its use effective immediately, and for an indeterminate period of time.

As the City began the bond-funded project to renovate the Beach House and update all of its many aging systems, an independent building inspector came out to look at the structure. City Council reviewed the report from the building inspector and observed that there are a number of structural issues that present safety hazards. While it has stood for decades and has hosted countless functions, including a few as recently as last week, the building is not 100% safe today. It's likely this would not have been clearly understood today had the City not undertaken the recent building inspection.

This tough decision to shutter the Beach House is the prudent course of action because of public safety concerns. As of this evening, yellow caution tape has been placed on the exterior of the facility, including the front and rear porch areas. Effective immediately, PL residents and visitors are asked to stay out of the Beach House and NOT TO ACCESS THE FRONT OR REAR PORCH AREAS until further notice.

The process to renovate the Beach House has already taken a step forward as of this past week, with City Council's approval of a design firm to render architectural plans. On completion of these plans, a process will begin to invite contractors to bid for the work and it is anticipated that renovations will begin in late-spring. When the contractor is selected we will know with more certainty about how long the renovation might take.

Important things to note:

1. The City does not anticipate that renovations to the Beach House will affect beachfront and lake access. The lake is expected to be open for recreation this summer.

2. We're investigating options for a temporary shade structure and a port-a-potty unit to be located on or near the beach while the Beach House is inaccessible.

3. The City will make every effort to make meeting space available at the Court House and Club House for recognized PL groups and committees (PLAIN, ARB, etc) during the Beach House renovation.

When it's finished, the renovated Beach House will be in line with modern codes for electricity, plumbing and other infrastructure. It will be ADA compliant. The renovated Beach House will help the City expand its revenue base through rentals and provide residents with a safe, accessible and attractive place to gather. For now, on behalf of the City, please mind the yellow tape and please pardon our dust as we work to make the Beach House the best and safest it can be.

Please feel free to forward this message to those who do not subscribe to this listerv. Thanks.


Brian Carr

Pine Lake City Councilmember

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Some Things I Saw On My Walk

Here's a Do Not Enter sign near the intersection of Spruce and Ridge. Obviously it's been there a long time. It's unclear just what one is not supposed to enter, as the yard has a hurricane fence. My best guess is it's meant to deter people from driving the wrong way on one-way Spruce Drive and somehow got rotated 90 degrees. What do you think?

In the meantime, please don't drive through the fence into the tree.

There's a birdhouse very much like this one in the Eastern wetlands. I believe it's a house for purple martins.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pine Lake Grill

When I saw this old photo I at first thought it was the Beach House.

Here's the beach house as it is today.

Clearly, it's not the same building.

Until the 1980s the beach house was a pizza restaurant. I'd love to see a photo of it in that incarnation!

Will the Metal Guard Rail Go?

Everyone is wondering if this section of metal guard rail will be replaced to match the new wooden railings.

Stunning March Flowers

Tree Houses

 I love tree houses. More than that, I love the very idea of tree houses.

When I was 14 years old my family moved to a pony ranch near Smyrna, Tennessee. Our lot was 3.5 acres, bordering Rocky Fork Creek at its bottom side. We soon acquired two more acres on the other side of  the Creek.

With lumber from the dump at nearby Sewart Air Force base, I built the tree house above. It stood on the banks of the creek; the floor at the front was about eight feet high, and at the back was a good fifteen feet above the creek.

My engineering left a lot to be desired. I found four trees that made a rough rectangle and nailed boards to them; upon those boards I built a floor and walls. There was no roof, or at least not much of one, for I ran out of lumber. Entry was via ladders.

Despite its inept design, the tree house stood for many years. I loved to spend time there.

We have a couple of tree houses here in Pine Lake. Click below to see them.

Friday, March 16, 2012

What's Your Opinion?

It seems people either love or hate these guard rails. Above, they run from the east end of the berm to the gazebo. There are more at the entryways to the wetlands paths and the path on the back side of the lake.

The rails are 12" x 8" boards and the posts are about 10" on a side and as yet unfinished. Above, you can see a receptacle where a post will be inserted to prevent vehicular access to the paths.

People seem to love or hate the posts and rails. I'm reserving my opinion. I think a redwood stain will improve them immeasurably.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Feeding the Lake

In 1990 then-mayor Al Fowler told me of his vision to create holding ponds for the water that fed the lake. Silt in the water would settle, resulting in cleaner water in the lake, and thus less sedimentation.

I'm happy to say Al's dream has come at least partly true.

I'll lead off with material from a November post from The Dredge Report.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Native Vegetation

Susan Ahl was wondering just which trees and shrubs the city is having planted in the wetlands.

This morning I asked this man...

... what he was unloading from his truck...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Early Clubhouse

The Pine Lake clubhouse sits on (not surprisingly) Clubhouse Drive on the south side of the lake. It's used for elections, city meetings, and can be rented.

Here's the clubhouse in (I have reason to believe) the early 1950s.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pine Lake Chapel

Here's an interesting tidbit-- in 1939 Pine Lake erected a nondenominational chapel on Pine Drive; it served the city's spiritual needs for some years. As of 1953, Sunday School was still being held there.

Today, of course, the chapel is the Pine Lake City Hall.

March Fruit Blossoms

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

We Get Trees!

 Melanie Preventing a Tree From Making an Escape

This afternoon I got a phone call from an excited Melanie Hammet.

"Are you in town?"


"Do you have your camera?"


Melanie told me crews were planting trees-- big ones-- around the lake and in the wetlands. Five minutes later I was at the lake.

Sure enough, there was a big bunch of trees stacked near the beach house.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pancake Breakfast

PLAIN Folks: Hard-Workiing Volunteers
For years now the Pine Lake Association for Involved Neighbors has hosted a pancake breakfast the first Saturday of every month at the beach house. It's mere feet from my door, and I sometimes walk down and partake.

PLAIN volunteers serve up pancakes, bacon, hash browns, eggs, and meatless sausage; there's orange juice to drink.

The cost is $7-- $6 if you bring your own plate and utensils, and $5 if you're a member of PLAIN.

I wandered down this morning shortly after 9:30, wondering if it had been called off due to the storms. Far from it. There was a row of cars parked alongside the lake.

 Inside there were more than the usual number of breakfasters:

 They were already out of food!

Oh, well. I at least got some photos.

Crick's Up

After last night's heavy rain Snapfinger Creek is running high and at places almost out of its banks.

Here's the creek just before the rain: