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.  

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