Thursday, July 7, 2016

Pond Version 2.0

This is the pond we reclaimed after first moving to our little farm.  It's been here for ages, and we paid an exorbitant amount to have it scooped out several years ago.  A spring feeds it year round, but the person who did the scooping out burned through our budget before getting to any grooming around the edges.  

I've been disappointed with it, and recently started dreaming of something bigger and better.

After a visit from the NRCS guys to take soil samples, we had a good idea of where we could build a new dam farther down the valley.  (My original thought would have produced 4 acres of water reaching all the way down the valley to the edge of our property.  The sandy soil down there made that a no-go.)

A young man with a bulldozer, dirt pan, track-hoe, and very experienced grandfather came highly recommended, and I started prepping for their arrival.  First step, dropping the pond level so we could absorb all the spring output during construction of the new dam.

This was completely unnecessary, but I burned off the brush piles.

Then the boys and their toys arrived, and set to clearing out the remaining trees and stumps.

That saddle will be filled with the new dam, and the water will back up the valley to about where I'm parked.

Pushing the brush and stumps down the valley for future burning.

The core ditch, about 8 feet deep, was dug across the valley and packed with clay.  Then the dam started being built above that, with endless trips by the dirt pan, and the bulldozer packing and smoothing.

Gaining height.  The National Resource Conservation folks, who did the soil core sampling for free and came out with their laser equipment and helped flag the water line all around the pond, also worked up dam sizing, overflow pipe sizing, and a total volume of the dam.  Roughly 2400 cubic yards of dirt.

They pulled the dirt from all over the future bottom of the pond.

These poor guys had quite a time. Only one close call with the little pond, but the joy of big toys is that they always have expensive parts breaking.  The track hoe bucket split, and there was a fuel leak at some point.  The dozer had an electrical issue that required several hours of cool down if it was ever shut off before it would restart.  This tractor had a steering cylinder fail at some point.  As much as I love the thought of having some of these of my own to play with, watching these fellows deal with constant issues helped cure my desire.

Dirt, dirt, and more dirt.

Many days later, the dam was complete.

The water will reach back to my feet here, after we add a little over 10,000,000 gallons of water.

The back of the dam, with Caspian for scale.

And while we wait for grass to grow and water to fill up, I can go ahead and build the dock, and re-install the fencing for the pigs.  


Our bull returned to the farm and was parked in our shiny new freezer.

Alexe and I splurged on a date night in Memphis and enjoyed the prix fixe meal at Iris.  The meal, and the view, was superb.

Hazel met his cousins on Facetime.  Next month we're planning a get together to have a real meeting of the cousins.

Lazy summer.

Several weeks later the cow hide from our bull was cured, stretched, and dried.

I put this on our upstairs porch as a rug.  Alexe doesn't like it.

My corn, and a few tomatoes, before the drought wreaked havoc on my garden.

Happy boy opening birthday presents.

These kids are constant companions, and fight incessantly.  Many nights, after a day of squabbles and tears, and being tucked into their separate rooms, I find them curled up like puppies.

Despite our best efforts our house has another copy of this game.

A group from the inaugural class at Base Camp.  

Caspian worked for a day as Mr. York's production assistant.

Annaliese putting the newly repaired scissor lift through its paces.

Rice from the Mississippi Delta.  Corn from the garden.  Beef form the pasture.  Squash from the garden.  We didn't set out to be hippy-self-sustaining folks, but we're getting pretty good at it.

In that vein, we started work on the green house and small pond in the back pasture to provide irrigation for said green house.

Night on Main Street for a gallery opening.

After party at the pizza place.

Waiting for their ride to the Ecology day camp at Ole Miss.

The latest addition, he hasn't been named.  The guys working on the ponds got to be very fond of this little one, so he's headed to their house when he gets old enough.

Caspian keeping me company while I work on the green house.

Rookie mistake, I left the tractor parked in the pasture.  The goats flipped on the hazards and drained the battery overnight.

Belated present from u.William!

My girls.

When I first saw one of these in a magazine I thought they were super cool.  Seeing one in Water Valley, complete with lighting, gave me mixed emotions.  


We had to take down large sections of fencing to fit the dirt pan into the field for the pond project.  The goats immediately took advantage.

Base Camp classes in session.  A short visit from some marketing folks out of Jackson, in town to work on a promotional video for Mississippi.  Any visitors that come to town to check in on the school are encouraged to come prepared to share some knowledge with the class.

The baptist and methodists churches scheduled their vacation bible schools for the same week this year.  Regardless of religious leanings, everyone in town takes the churches up on their offer of a week of free child care, and we're no exception.  They spent the mornings with the Baptists and the evenings with the methodists, and the late evenings having discussions at home to temper the more vigorous lessons.

This was crazy hair day.

My little girl, who has always had a hard time transitioning from social settings to home, refusing any help carrying her garden post to the truck.  That's a heavy chunk of pressure treated 4x4.

Sneaking some video gaming during a birthday party celebration for Ace.

Some things you don't know to look forward to, but when they arrive you love them so much.  Matching bow ties with my son is one of those things.

The late spring drought arrived with 90+ degree weather.  We wait for the late afternoon to be outside, and the kids are on their own when it comes to entertainment.  I love seeing this when I check in on them.

I grew this meal all by myself.