As anyone who visited us last summer knows, hot, dry weather can wreak havoc on Lake Culpeper.  In the summer months, algae and other microscopic plant life thrive in our lake, and the hot, dry conditions of 2010 only made things worse.  As a result, on many days our beautiful lake turned into a green, soupy mess.  It was difficult for campers to paddle canoes, and nearly impossible to catch any fish because of the plant life covering the surface of the water.

Of course, we would like to make sure that Lake Culpeper is clear and clean for everyone to enjoy.  And of course, we want to do so in a way that is as respectful to the environment as possible.  So this year, we've decided to try something new: barley straw.

According to some scientists, barley straw in the water helps to curb algae and other plant life from growing out of control.  So last month, we began our trial with barley straw.  We stuffed mesh bags with 5-7 lbs of barley straw and threw them in the water.  Within a few days, the bags were soaked and floating beneath the surface of the water.  Hopefully, these barley "tea bags" will keep the lake clear and beautiful!