Tuesday, September 7, 2010

page one of Redigging our pond...

July 28, 2002 we lost our original house to a housefire, when the new home was put in some of the fill dirt was taken from a low area of our field, leaving a shallow scooped out area that filled with water, to be known now as the "pond".

The first couple of years the "pond" filled with water in the spring and dried out in the summer and then would fill back up in the fall and winter, to continue the cycle of drying out and refilling. Cattails naturalized in the pond in the most shallow areas, so we decided we would attempt to deepen the pond and see if we couldn't get it to hold water longer.

In 2008 we had access to a backhoe, and my son dug a very very deep hole in the pond, in an experiment to see how deep the clay was on the property. He dug it 7' deep and was still pulling out clay. So now we had a hole that was deep, but not very big, and it held water all year around, and didn't go dry during the drought.

In 2009 we had a couple of hours of access to a backhoe again, and so my son dug the North end of the pond larger, and dug that area deepr as well. this doubled the size of the pond and made it roughly a C shape..the top of the C being the newly dug part and the bottom left of the C being where the deep hole was that he had originally dug. This latest dig also left a large bank of clay on the North side of the pond. Over the fall and following summer, he used the tractor and began to spread some of the piles of clay out into the trails in the woods and the clearings, and make the pile easier to walk around on and use.
Here are some photos taken of Joel spreading out the clay bank North of the pond, and some of the pond construction to this point.
Here is June 10 of 2009 where Joel was expanding the size of the pond by digging on the North end of the pond, he just got started digging here.

Here he was continuing to enlarge the North end of the pond, the top of the C of the C shaped pond, which goes off to the south (right) of the picture about 100', the third picturre shows the North end of the pond after he enlarged it, all the pond you see except where the cattails are is new for 2009.
Here I began to work on a path and planting along the new North end dig of the pond. I planted a lot of evergreens, shrubs, perennials and marginals and also put some water lilies in this new area of the pond..he also dug out some of the cattails and slightly deepend the NW corner (bottom of photo), but this part of the pond still wasn't deep enough on the NW corner and went dry in 2010.Looking at the area from the SW Joel also dug west of the island removing some cattails.

This area Joel deepend some and removed cattails from, South of the new dig area at the top and to the right of this photo.

at the center west part of the C shape pond Joel levelled of a penninsula that comes out toward an island that is in the middle of the pond, in this photo, the new dig is to the left (North) and the old deep hold is to the right (south) visible in the photo..the pond continues to the right (south) and then back to the East as well in the bottom of the C shape, but in this photo it is obscured by cattails as it was SO SHALLOW in the south end of the pond.

here is a photo of the north end of the pond on June 14 2009, before we had a drought again. It filled in nicely, and eventually even got deeper after we had a good rain.

Here is a photo looking North from across the pond on June 25, 2009 You can see the rough bank of clay that was dug out of the bottom of the pond in this photo. We allowed that clay to break down over the winter and the following photos will show the work Joel did on the pond bank in the spring of 2010.

but first, here is a photo of the original pond in 2008 before any enlarging was done to it and before the cattails had completely filled it up, this is the south end of the C, the shallow part of the pond.

And this is another April 2008 photo of the pond before it was dug larger and deeper, this is the middle of the C where the island is.

Thisphoto was taken January 27, 2010. You can clearly see the pond was holding water nicely, and Joel was beginning to level off the bank north of the pond now and to clear part of the woods and move the dirt from the bank down into the woods to make a level area and clearing on the south side of the woods north of the pond.
Here Joel has a lot of the bank levelled out and is continuing to build the level area northward into the woods edges.
Here the bank is nearly level, a little more landscapingn to do, and after this point we began to build trails from the clearings into the woods, levelling the soil back onto the paths.

May 30 2010, North end of the pond, holding water, cattails growing in the shallower areas again.

June 8 2010 the pond is starting to go dry a little, you can see some of the higher areas sticking through in the center. Wildflowers have taken root on the clay bank.
August 17, drought has taken a toll on the pond and it is nearly dried up on the North end, you can see there is still water on the far west side, but the rest is completely dry.
This photo shows where Joel had taken the tractor in and backbladed part of the pond bottom, completely dry, so that he could get a backhoe in to start redigging the pond deeper.

This is where Joel brushhogged down cattails on the south end of the pond as it was totally dry. You can see on the far upper right hand side where it is holding water, that is a 7' deep hole, not very wide, but it never went dry. There is a bright pink water lily still growing nicely in that deep hole (just south of the island on the west side of the bottom of the C shaped pond.
September 5, 2010. Rented a backhoe and began to dig as far as we could reach into the dried up area on the North end of the pond. Can't get the backhoe in far enough to dig it all out, so this is where he started. You can still see water in the far NE end of the pond where he dug the deeper hole in 2009. There are still several water lily plants growing in the deeper area .

Redigging the North end of the pond, as started in above photo. You can see the island beside the backhoe. He was unable to move the clay piles on the bank, as they were just too wet, like mud pies, so we aren't sure what will become of that. Probably have to leave them for a while to drain and dry out. Water is filling in as he is digging, you can see he left a land bridge between the place where water was still holding in the deeper area in the upper NW corner of the pond, so that water has not been disturbed at all (note different color of water).
this is looking back toward the part that he left undistrubed and the land bridge that he didn't dig away, so the water would remain in the deeper area. You can see from this photo that he dug the new part deeper than the old part, however there will still be a large area of shallow close to the shore on the North West side of the C shaped pond, as he couldn't reach this area with the backhoe.

the water level in the part that he did NOT dig, was already down about 2.5 feet from normal, so this area should be about 5' deep when the pond is at it's full capacity.
Here is a photo of the 7' deep hole that Joel dug in 2008 on the Southwest side of the south side of the pond, this photo was taken before he dug around it, will show this area in later photos after he has dug around this hole. This is south of the penninisula and the island in the center of the C shape pond.

the backhoe broke, the hydrolic line split, so we had to stop at this point. This is the south east side of the pond looking toward the island and the penninsula at the center of the pond, the area north of that was dug fairly deep, but this area on the SE side wasn't touched.

This photo shows the same "old" deep hole as above to the right and a new deep hole to the left that Joel just finished digging. He also managed to get a little more area south of the island dug somewhat deeper before the hydrolic hose blew, but not a lot..this is at the lower SIDE of the C shaped pond, just below center..
this is a channel around the east of the island that is in the middle of the C of the C shaped pond. This channel will be quite deep when the pond fills back up to it's normal depth...so it will be kinda like a channel or river between the north and south parts of the pond, there is a channel on both sides of the island, but Joel didn't have a chance to dig the other side deeper before the backhoe broke.
So here is the old NE corner of the pond after the dig as of Labor Day 2010. This part did not get touched. You can see the water level is down about 2.5 feet from the normal level in this photograph.

This photo is just to the west of the one above, same area that did not get redug. You can see the water lilies growing (white) that are still in the undisturbed part of the pond..This area would be 2.5 feet deeper if the pond was at it's normal depth.

This is the shallow area of the pond that we were unable to dig deeper, if the water was full in the pond this would be under about 2.5 feet of water, but with the drought it is empty here..the NW corner of the top of the C shaped pond.

This is just below the above photo, where he was able to reach with the backhoe and start digging deeper, so you can see it will be about 5 feet deep once the pond refills with water..as the dry area to the top would normall be about 2' deep and the new dig is about 3' deep..so hopefully this will be a nice deep pond again someday..hope to put a freshwater inlet into it in the future so it never dries out from a drought again.
So here ends page one of the redigging on our pond. Labor day weekend 2010 has come and gone, backhoe broke before we could get finished. But the good news is, rental place said we could get the backhoe again for free, if Joel ever has any more time off..so here we are..pond half dug, dirt piles all over and still in a drought so to speak although we have gotten a little rain.

Page 2 will begin when we get the backhoe again and start to finish the rest of the dig, landscaping around the pond with the tractor, moving the dirt piles, and hopefully i'll be able to post photos of the pond with water in it again..like before..only deeper and better then.

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