Category Archives: farm

Pond work

We had a depression in the ground that used to be a pond in the back pasture. The dam had been blown through and couldn’t hold much/any water. DH asked his dad how long it had been that way, and his dad said when he was in grade school (!) So, 50 years or so? This land was his dad’s cousin’s and they mostly raised hogs, so they didn’t really have a need for a pond. Thus they didn’t fix it.

We have been watering cows with rural water, which at ~$7 / 1000 gallons, is expensive. Like, $600-$700 a month in the winter when all the cows are home. We have a well, but no windmill, and no electricity out to the well. DH used to pump out of it using a transfer pump run with gas, where he would have to start it and wait hours until the tanks filled because it couldn’t be automatically turned off when the tanks got full. Like 2-3 hours a day sitting and waiting for water to run. Not efficient. So using rural water is better time wise, but more expensive.

But what is better than a well and rural water? A pond!

Friends of DH started doing dirt work recently, so he had them come and start work on the pond. I didn’t know they were going to be showing up, or I would have taken before pictures. Here are the after (or the during…it isn’t after until it has water in it).

DH and Boobock climbing down the dam
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They pushed the willow trees out of the way. Willow trees, cottonwood trees and cedars suck up an unbelievable amount of water, and we were hoping that if we got the trees out of the way, maybe there would be some seepage and the pond might draw from an underground spring. No such luck yet.
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They scraped down to the bottom of the original pond, and built up the dam with the dirt they removed, making sure to include a spillway.
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You can see the change in elevation and grass where the pond used to be full to.
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The pond bottom was muddy, but they didn’t break into any springs. The cows must have come down to check it out sometime overnight.
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For scale…the pickup on top. Boobock is halfway down the slope.
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Coming back up. It’s a real haul.
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The backside of the dam is very steep. No way you can climb down that.
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We are talking about planting something on the dam and on the more gradual slope to cut down erosion until grass can be established. It is a bit late for planting any grasses, but we might go with some winter wheat which will grow and stay green all winter…as long as we get some rain. We can’t use a drill/planter on the back side of the dam, but the seed guy at work suggested getting some brome bales and rolling them down the slope on the back side and letting the brome in the seed heads self seed. That’s a possibility.

Of course, this is now just a great big hole in the ground. We missed another substantial rain last night…went north of us by one county again. We need a real turd floater to get this one full. But once it does, it will be a real relief to let the cows drink from a pond instead of a stock tank. Ooh, and we could stock it with fish! And we could swim in it! And we could…well, let’s not get carried away until it is full.