Picture Update 2022

Well, the year started uneventfully. Winter slows things down, time to catch up on repairs, relax inside, plan the garden for the next year, etc. etc. But sometimes random chance happens and stuff gets crazy, and so it was with me and the rabid bobcat in early February.

Then for about three months it was wound dressings, using a walker being half crippled and spending most of my energy fighting infection. Thanks to the people who drove me places, contributed firewood, and just generally showed their concern and gave moral support I was able to survive without too much extra trouble.

It did set me back a bit, planting trees that spring was both more difficult and somewhat less effective because they were delivered later than usual . Plans for a number of crab apples were thwarted when none of the seedlings survived, but paw paws and filberts seemed to do quite nicely and the serviceberry survival is somewhat questionable at this point, TWT

The greenhouse was the place for several tender plants , as well as where I overwintered the new butterfly koi.. Fish are pretty and these guys started to get tame enough to eat out of my hand, The main problems become the hyper need for constant aeration either with air or water pumps. Also, one issue I discovered was with feeding the fish when the water temps fell below 50.

They still wanted to eat, but couldn’t digest the food properly and I found one guy who was all but dead, and brought him inside to a warmer aquarium, and remarkably the little fish survived. I immediately stopped feeding until water temps increased and found no more floaters. So after totally emptying the first liner pond, 18 butterfly koi got released there in the spring of 2022.

The semi drought has also been worth noting, renovating the new koi pond and upgrading biofilters took lots of time away from the gardens but the ongoing building of the soil continues with or without my additional inputs. I did make a compost pile and have lots of new soil to play with when I start the garden annuals this year, and much of the clearing done for the tree planting has exposed additional areas for gardening possibilities. The rest of this post will elaborate on much of the actual work involved.

This may mean very little by itself, except as a point of development in the biofilter system for my liner ponds. Note the exposed liner between the gravel of the filter and water of the pond. Part of the process of removing the sand and general upgrade of the system meant actually taking out all the other elements, including the distribution pipes, draining lots of the water, lifting the liner of the filter and then going back to the original earthen wall under that liner and finally replacing the liner.

With a system dependent on rainwater, a semi drought in the summer can lower water levels and shut down the free flow to the filter. Lowering that separating wall and adjusting the liner between the biofilter and pond was a primary reason for the complete makeover of the biofilter. So changing the height of the water that could freely travel to the biofilter and substituting river rock and gravel for sand to allow a faster flow rate will hopefully make a big difference in water quality.

Also the pipes under the gravel are still partially exposed in this shot. needless to say this project took a couple weeks of the summer, emptying that area, sifting the sand out of the gravel, preparing the pipes, etc etc. Of course there was also lots of nutrient rich sand distributed to different garden areas. future filter cleaning will involve top removal of algae and excess plants.

The biofilter update completed, with water lilies starting and a small number of other water plants. Each plant will aid in removing fish waste from the water with or without active pumping. As you can see, the water is not clear, indicating a fair amount of algae.

Below is a slightly different angle of the pond later in the year,careful inspection shows the colorful koi at the bottom under 6 feet of water. At one point the water was crystal clear. Also notice the fine green string algae covering all surfaces. While many people might consider this messy, it can actually be beneficial as a water clarifier when controlled by some periodic removal. The removal can be coupled with fertilizing land plants with this high nutrient algae fertilizer free of weed seeds.

It is important to note when thinking of plants as water quality control, moderation is a consideration. Without some periodic removal of algae and plant matter, the natural inclination of ponds is to fill in, so keeping water spaces clear and oxygenated for the fish is important. It’s all about balance. Also, dead plants rot and consume more oxygen challenging the survival of the fish.

new liner pond(left) and enlarged biofilter (right)

The first part of liner pond work last year involved these two projects. The 6 big koi living in the first liner pond were transferred to this newer one, and the original biofalls filter from last year was changed to include the new pond as part of the circuit and the original waterfall biofilter (shown right)was increased in size. This filter proved quite successful, and cattails sweet flag,water iris and horsetail filled the bed by the end of the summer–fish waste is wonderful fertilizer. Obviously this was an initial setup to keep the 6 big koi happy while the 18 smaller butterfly koi were given occupancy of the original liner pond. The shot below shows the same pond and biofilter with a little growth and added window dressing.

And now the overarching theme of the year was drought. When this pond is full the bare brown walls are under water, so the overall depth of the water is less than two feet at this point. I think there are still catfish alive here but I’m afraid to feed them until there is sufficient fresh rain water flushing things out a bit.

Theoretically systems like this mature in about 7 years, but the actual timing of this project is off by about three years. An overarching drought/wet cycle of about 7 years seems to be the norm here. So while building the dam, fighting with excess water was a common occurrence. The current lack of water in the cycle now that the dam is completed means there is not sufficient water to saturate the surrounding earth and help the system mature. My hope is that this year will start the move back into the wet part of the cycle.

Of course I have already started enlarging the pond, so the longer it stays dry the bigger the eventual size becomes:-).

I will say that even with the lower water levels, this relatively dry hillside and gulley is starting to show signs of a wetland, Cattails are moving from pond to pond, and with minimal effort goldfish are expanding their domains.


Well, it’s been a while (as usual) but it has been pretty eventful, especially for winter when things are supposed to slow down. New experiences for sure with a little extra knowledge, and I guess that could be a positive side of every new experience.

Ever been bitten by a rabid bobcat?

Now I can say that I have been. I’m not sure if the knowledge I’ve gained will ever be useful or not, and I’m not even sure if it’s behind me yet. My hope would be that at this point in time I think the worst is over. I’m up and walking again, working more and more each day and gradually getting back into the swing of things.

Of course there were periods when I was fighting the infection where I wasn’t sure if I would ever walk again. Cat bite infections- even tame house cats are evidently very serious affairs, and my lack of awareness led to cellulitis which can do a lot of damage.

Even though I pride myself on natural remedies, and was boldly telling the doctors that I didn’t need their antibiotics, after about three days watching the infection spread, I got that prescription filled and was sorry when it ran out, but continued trying to treat what was left of the infection with my garlic and goldenseal…

Fast forward a week or so and I was going to another doctor to get a new prescription.He saw me three days in a row and was quite concerned about sepsis which can evidently kill you. Lab tests turned up a cat bite bacteria the prescribed antibiotics weren’t effective against, so add a new antibiotic to the regime .

Fast forward a bit as the infection was getting under control and I was going back for another prescription because I wanted ALL redness and swelling gone before I gave up those miracle pills.

I’m not saying natural antibiotics don’t work, the theory is that they should work even better, but in trauma experience Doctors certainly have an edge on us natural healers. I’m only used to dealing with small cuts and sprains-simple stuff, So maybe the lesson I learned is to not be so casual about treatment in really serious stuff.

A dose of golden seal powder here and there, or chewing on a garlic clove now and then needs to be replaced with serious overdoses of garlic and regimented ingestion of your natural antibiotic of choice, which brings us to the next item of business.

If you’re purchasing herbs to use in medical type treatments, use only trusted sources-Better yet, your own home grown and processed herbs will be more reliable than almost any store bought.

I certainly can’t advise anyone what to do about any treatments for anything, but I can certainly suggest not to take any cat bite lightly. The reality is a cat bite can lead to a life or death situation, not so much from the wound itself, but more from those microscopic critters that might get planted under the skin in a puncture wound- especially from a cat.

Photo update 11/14 /02020 (pt 1)

These koi are growing out in this small patio pond, while their bigger pond is under construction
great fun sculpting the earth, trying to get all sharp rocks and roots out of the way
this pond gets a liner, previous excavations in this area showed the clay was not good enough to have a reliable mud bottom pond.
The first rock-in was underway when rain flooded behind the liner and totally screwed up everything, the second attempt will have extra experience to build on and a built in siphon hose to drain water if necessary
Although aqua blox are the preferred structure for a wetland filter because they allow a faster transfer rate, these septic lines should handle the lower flow I’ll be using, but the question is whether these filters will be adequate to keep the water clear.
the septic pipes are first covered with coarse rock, then the finer gravel sand mixture from the creek. Water from the pond flows in and covers the sand continuously, making this filter act as a skimmer. Notice the white PVC access pipe that contains two submersible pumps.
this second wetland filter has water pumped up from the first filter, sent to the water chamber underneath , The water then filters up through the gravel, and acts as the source for the waterfall/ stream that oxygenates the water and feeds it back to the pond.
The skimmer/first wetland filter is slightly left of center beneath the solar panels. The second filter is top right center. Note the black liner to the right that will be the waterfall stream bed coming back to the pond
Top sees a small cold frame(lettuces anyone?) on the upper wetland filter, coming across to the waterfall bed. Working with the big rocks is no fun alone, so I’ve settled on a method where the big rocks are outside the liner, making it easier to manage.

While the rain complicated the koi pond, washing lots of mud into water that had finally started to clear, the rains filled and clarified the upper “catfish” pond. It’s especially true that larger ponds require less maintenance.

Note that these ponds are mostly unavoidable when doing erosion control . A pond lined with sedimentary rock in many places like this might be expected to empty as fast as it fills, but what actually happens is the back country around the dam starts to fill with water, and slowly the dam will start to hold water longer and longer.at higher and higher levels.

The catfish pond reached a new high over a week ago, but still not full
here’s another perspective from a couple weeks ago
And another image looking straight across the dam
This is looking down from the spillway area on the ramp leading down into the pond before this last big rain.
With another monster rain the pond finally fills. The water foreground to the right is actually the spillway, and will eventually feed a swale that runs all the way to the northern boundary, that then feeds another swale that runs back to the main garden at a lower level.
This shot is taken from a new garden that was created by the pond clearing. When full the pond practically touches it. Most of the time this shallow area next to the garden will be dry. Still, with the water table this high, the soil and plants should do very well.
another perspective of the full pond.

Stay tuned for part 2

photo update 07 2020

Usually I pick a theme and possibly support it with pictures, This post is going to just show pictures with brief descriptions, and maybe a theme will develop

exceptionally warm weather early, the bananas were suckered into coming up early, and then were hit by several hard frosts, still, they managed to thrive. I transplanted about three backhoe buckets of roots this spring down to the middle swale and those bananas are also thriving. I like banana leaves for mulch applications to control weeds.

Now, if you look close there is a wire cage (lower left), protecting a slew of hot peppers just put in where bananas used to be.

Backhoe, front loader bucket needed welding, seems like with machines there’s always something. This is not the only repair this year, but the backhoe got some good use when I was digging swales , pulling stumps, planting trees. I don’t mind a little TLC for all the work it does.

This is the middle pond after a heavy rain, note the limestone gravel at the back of the dam, any water running down the gully gets filtered through that limestone, and this year the water has been much clearer.The muddy water was temporary, due to 5 inches of rain in a 24 hour period.

This is a snake I’ve been watching for several years down in the gully ponds, and he started foraging up to my little ponds near the house. When I found out what he was doing I was trying to figure out what to do, little goldfish were disappearing rapidly, how soon would he start to look at the koi? The problem solved itself, he got caught in a stray piece of chicken wire and died For the time being the koi are safe, but how soon will other critters come by to threaten them?

This was the little Koi pond back in April,
Here’s the pond in June, Elephant ear tarot, tumeric,lemon grass, sage,lemon sage, banana, lemon verbena, ….. There’s even a place for marshy plants that like their feet wet, bulrushes, snake plants and most recently some horsetail starts.
cruciferous aren’t fond of the heat, but i’m still harvesting kale, broccoli, and I think there’s some cabbage in those overstacked plants.
This is the biggest pond, and the highest. Not as much rainfall this year, so after building it about 6 feet higher and a good deal wider as well, the dam is cracking a little–from the dry conditions, The arch of black pipe there is meant to be an irrigation pipe, and when the dam fills, it will send water anywhere it needs to go. When the pond finally does fill the green vegetation lower left corner will be underwater, and at its peak even the vegetation upper left, and several feet of the vegetation on the right side will also be underwater.

This pond also has some new mulberry trees planted on both sides, and to the left of the water level is a long area partially shaded where a new garden is taking shape. several tomatoes and peppers are planted to start conditioning the soil, but also a blueberry, grape vine, and kiwi have been started to be part of the perennial crops there. Even the top of the dam, which is clay, got a few mounds of topsoil and watermelons are planted there in full sun.

It is a Wardrobe!

Bill Mollison described a class he was teaching and a stranger who lingered on after the meeting . The stranger said you know what you’ve done, you’ve arranged all the elements of life in good order in a wardrobe or closet.

Bill seemed to like that description about how Permaculture made good order out of all the different elements of life on earth. Others might say it is a toolbox . One may use hundreds of different tools and tricks along the way, and the result hoped for is improvement of our lives and the health of the earth as a whole.

So Permaculture to me is much more than a simple wardrobe, it is also the design that knows when and how to put different elements in the wardrobe together so that they work together in a way that benefits us and life on the planet.

To that end, Permaculture continues to collect those methods and tools that will help the earth continue to sustain us as a species.

Big Developments

It has been some time since any substantial developments and I’d like to talk a little about the psychological side of this work/ fun. Many of these techniques are as yet unfamiliar here in the states, so implementing them is more a question of trust or belief, or possibly just being able to grasp the theory and take it to the level of practice.

No matter how reasonable any theory may sound I still have that element of “show me”. I need to have my hands or attention in it to really understand any new principle, and when it comes to water management there is a great deal of faith involved when investing thousands of dollars in a system, not to mention time and energy, in order to get things started and working.

Even after systems are up and running it can often take years before any visible results are observed. With this in mind I went ahead and hired a forest mulcher to facilitate the next part of my water management system.

For those unfamiliar with clear cuts, around here there is a massive pulp wood industry, that relies on fast growing pines and miscellaneous deciduous trees. For me , unfamiliar with this industry, I thought I would have to start planting trees on a property with nothing but briars everywhere., but here in this climate trees regrow almost immediately, some from seeds or low sprouts, but often from the stumps left behind.

This means several sprouts from each stump and other seeds all competing for light, shooting up fast and tall and thin.So these trees are efficiently harvesting light, sequestering carbon, but producing little in the way of useful lumber or fruit.. Also, removing 20-40 years growth when the trees were cut does not improve the soil quality as much as if the tree had simply fallen and rotted into the ground. So soils around here would not be that good for regular orchards or quality tree systems.

A friend suggested 20 years ago that I should walk around with a sharp machete cutting off extra sprouts to make the remaining trees stronger, At the time I didn’t know about Permaculture, had no extra money to install special dams or swales, and spent all my energy off the land just trying to pay the mortgage.

It is into this tall thin jungle of trees I went on different occasions trying to build ponds and swales with a backhoe. Yes, it can be done, but it is tedious and time consuming. So after surveyors marked my property line, yesterday I had a forest mulcher come through and clear a path about 8 feet wide that outlined the boundary and then followed various contours around the land scape.

Recent windfalls financed this project, and this is the big development.It is quite unusual to see a landscape change so dramatically over the space of a few hours. The boundary line painted by the surveyors now has a sight line hundreds of feet long, and actually seeing the contour paths cleared gives many new insights into the actual “lay of the land”.

Of course keeping my backhoe running through this next phase will actually allow the project to become functional, but overall just having the paths cleared to give the backhoe freer access should make the project move much faster with better results.

One unexpected outcome was the nature of the soil left behind. I expected wood chips, but the mulcher did more than that, it also mixed up the top soil and left behind a rich resource of garden soil that will soon be installed in my gardens and likely create many new ones as well.

It’s like turning a corner, or moving to the next level of productivity, what an exciting time!

Managing Hot Water

Talking with a weekend friend the other day who is starting to contemplate country life full time, she mentioned it had occurred to her in the shower the other day just how nice a hot water shower can be. In fact, she continued, she believed it to be an essential element for survival.

I added to her declaration that the shower needed to be at least under 45 lbs of pressure or I could never be satisfied. But I said this after a summer of almost entirely cold showers with no hot water at all. This was mostly by choice, but the best hot water heater I had during the summer would have also heated the house, which would have just added to the cooling issues of summertime.

When I first came here 18 years ago I had a gas hot water heater in my RV, and that was ok sometimes, but in winter, with freezing pipes; often that hot shower–or any running water at all, was unavailable. Still, even back then I understood how valuable hot water could be, and have spent a fair amount of time over the years making sure I could cover that need.

For several years now I have been heating water with wood. It started with a small Appalachian style coal(wood) burner water heater attached with a thermosiphon to an old water tank. Fire it up and maybe add wood a couple times and then close the pressure relief, turn on the 12 volt pump and shower as long as I wanted.

I also used to play with 2-300 feet of black poly pipe in the sun to avoid lighting fires in summer. Now that I am in this house (I use the term loosely), the ease of that little stove or even the poly pipe in the glass covered box are unavailable. And my aspirations have moved further on.

I still am heating water with wood, but now it is a sophisticated rocket stove, and every year there’s a new type to play with. It started with copper coils on a 55 gallon barrel, and now it is a 20 gallon tank inside a brick and clay “bell”, extracting heat from the DSR.

I’m actually quite proud of all the different ways I have played with producing hot water, and the latest toy should be arriving soon, an evacuated tube solar water heater. True to form I will not be following recommended procedures, and perhaps I will waste a little time reinventing the wheel, or perhaps I will find a way to make do with much less than the recommended equipment.

I have already found I can get by with smaller pumps and less energy and still enjoy similar results with many of the much more elaborate and expensive solutions.The new solar project will be a similar process, finding out the extent of it’s capabilities and then making use of them

When I built the house I did anticipate the possible use for radiant water pipes in the floor, although with my limited budget I had no idea how I might generate that much hot water, or even how I might get it through the pipes. Today my budget is less restricted, but continuing in the use of renewable resources puts a whole different spin on things than just buying a new propane hot water heater complete with expensive automatic controllers and pumps.

For the time being the solar collectors I’m playing with are more an experiment than a completed plan, but they do seem to have enough promise to invest in, and then fully explore their potential here.

One of the keys to Permaculture Design is to have several backups for every important system, and since hot water is one of those systems I continue to investigate and establish multiple ways to generate hot water.

DSR 2019 build

Well, a new heating season is begun and with it a new iteration of the previous Rocket stove, called a Double Shoebox Rocket.

The group over at the Donkey forum did some experimentation back in 2018 coming up with this concept, which was later abandoned by Peter van den Berg, the chief experimenter on the project, as being too unreliable.

By the time he had moved on to a different design I had already started building, it was getting colder, and looking at the elements that seemed to make the DSR run away with the burn, they did not seem as relevant to my design, so I just continued to build according to his best guess dimensions.

My 2018 build used a number of walls that were simply formed of clay, or a clay perlite mix, and a couple of the sides around the water tank were taken from an old washing machine, with some fiberglass insulation hastily fastened to the inside of the walls, with clay slopped around the top and edges to give a seal.

The door to the burn chamber, as in many projects done on the cheap was a problem until I finally bought a couple pieces of neoceram stove glass, which cost more than all the previous stoves from the last several years.

While this new glass has proved very durable, having a door that really is robust requires more than just a glass pane, so that is still in the development phase, although I’m pretty sure I have a workable solution which will likely happen sometime during this season. For now I continue to get a potholder if the glass is hot, and as gently as possible remove it and then wedge it back into place.

The other main change is the use of bricks to give a substantial continuous exterior that is well sealed and even looks a little better.

One other important note, my exhaust was set up for a low temperature ground level “stack” and to use the push of the j tube rather than the pull of a draft. Since the first batch box conversion about three years I found it necessary to install a fan at the end of the exhaust pipe to aid with the draft. This totally eliminates smoke at start up and keeps the draft more even.

while it may appear the smoke is being pumped into the ground, the downward tube is actually wide open at the seam, this arrangement helps prevent sudden gusts from totally disrupting the draft
The brick exterior is continuous back to the poured concrete wall as I continue to remove clay from the previous construction. the removed clay goes right back into the new build
note the wet perlite clay mixture formed in place around the DSR core. The stack/exhaust is on the floor at the right side of the shovel
the clay perlite insulation layer continues across the concrete wall in back
The second chamber is now well defined and the brick courses are starting to grow
Note the rectangular passage on the right where the exhaust comes in to the first bell from the secondary burn chamber. The rim of the duct to the water tank “bell” can be seen just opposite this entrance and further down in the chamber
The right side of the water tank shows the location of the duct from the first bell just visible above the top of the front bricks
overall layout of stove. note exhaust moves from right to left through the chambers and at the bottom of the water tank chamber it turns back and flows under the construction to the exhaust “stack”
salvaged glass stove tops are sealed with wet clay to the top. Note the left side galvanized pipes exit and the blue pipe insulation for the hot water outlet
proof of concept, the first fire verifies the exhaust, now the drying process begins
looks just like the pictures I saw when I first started last year, note that the bricks are joined with a clay “mortar”, if I want to rebuild, everything is easily recycled with water as the solvent
I usually have a small piece of ceramic fiber board over the glowing section of the stove top. Temperatures are way hot, and after passing 1000 degrees F it just registers as “HI”

cooking can be done here, very carefully, but I like the idea of more insulation to increase efficiency of the burn. The second chamber still has plenty of heat for a more reasonable cooking surface, and even the water tank chamber can keep things warm
with the top cleared and clean


This has been a drastic change from last year when it was too wet to do much. This year it has been very dry, and instead of water, dust, dry powdery clay is the issue.

It’s kind of interesting to watch the tendency of the mind to be so centered on the moment and when right in the middle of a situation things can seem so permanent that it’s difficult to remember there can be another condition. When it’s dry for a long time it’s hard to remember the water, and when it’s wet, it’s hard to believe things will ever dry out.

Puts me in the mind of the Arkansas Traveler, and the man with the leaky roof who doesn’t feel need to mend it when it’s dry, and when it’s wet it’s impossible to mend it. The end result is the roof continues to leak.

But here that isn’t the case, I’ve had the backhoe in several places that would be impossible in wetter conditions. I went down to the oldest goldfish pond where I couldn’t begin to go last year at this time. With a firm footing underneath the backhoe can go more places and dig out ponds deeper and wider, with less mess.

Creating deeps in a pond is important for many reasons. It gives fish a place to hide to escape predators, provides protection from cold and heat, and also reduces surface area evaporation in extreme drought, giving the fish that last refuge when everything else has dried up.

Regardless of the purpose of the action, there seems to be a strange relationship between the opposite conditions, and often the solution for one extreme is found when the pendulum swings in the other direction.

When it is too wet it’s easy to see where water has found weaknesses in the design, when it is too dry it is possible to rearrange and correct the design for the next time when water is in abundance.

Close to 100 degrees yesterday, 80 today, and barely 70 tomorrow. This feels more like August than October. Just writing it has me even more amazed at the extremes.

It’s tough to keep the few plants left alive watered and with dwindling reserves and little rain in sight everything must be rationed. The middle dam gave some water to the goldfish pond, the small garden pond donated water to the pepper plants, and the catfish in the upper pond have to do without as I watch their pond recede.

Since dry clay does not compact well, backhoe work is limited to establishing the filtration system for the middle pond, and spreading gravel on the driveways.

Dry weather is a good time to work on the driveways, so scraping the drive on the front side of the creek yielded several loads of pine needles and wood chips for the gardens from the other side of the creek, and then adding gravel helps them become more even and dependable for wet weather that will eventually come.

The one area near the middle dam was a creative event to gather more clay for the middle dam, and the sharp cliff that was left will hopefully establish a micro climate for many of the fig trees that have been living in the green house. It’s time to put together mulch and soil there so they can be replanted for their first unprotected winter, and sand and wood chips with salvaged top soil from the pond sites will be primary soil builders for them. A little compost will help as well to contribute lots of soil organisms.

They will also get a very heavy mulch of leaves once planted and with some luck become a regular fig forest.

This post has now officially become a running commentary on the last several months. With other imperatives in my life aside from these projects in Permaculture my house and gardens have suffered serious neglect, but with luck that will change in the coming week.

The dry spell has definitely broken, and I have been told my ponds are filling up. Looks like I may be waiting another year if I want to do any more digging on the upper pond. In fact, back hoe adventures may be severely limited to smaller projects and times when driving it from one location to the next don’t dig deep ruts in the ground.

Retreating inside or to hand tasks in the garden does have its advantages. Rest and planning are at the top of the list. It would be easy to get bored and start chaffing at the bit, leading to misadventures and more harm than good, so having a variety of projects, both inside and out can be a very good thing.

As the weather gets cooler, I’m reminded that the newest version of the rocket mass heater needs to be built. There’s always inside cleanup, and the roof skeleton definitely needs some more work. Not to mention finally fleshing out this post with the pictures it so desperately needs to continue a complete coverage of ongoing developments.

With that I will close, but pictures will be added soon and maybe this post will actually get published. 🙂

Hot and Dry

These are the times a good water system is vital, both for crops and natural systems. With my dams still just babies, and deliberately draining the top dam early on, the water level up there is going down fast–but not as fast as last year. likewise the middle dam is going down, but even now it is still higher than at it’s peak last year.

As the dams grow in height and excavation inside the pond winds down, I will be able to fill that upper dam and keep more water for a much longer time. the swales (once they are built) will keep the water in the soil saturating much more of the landscape.

In a few years any carbon I lost cutting young trees will be compensated by faster, better tree growth during times like this. Also of course, the garden will have ready access to gravity fed water once the pipes are buried and the siphon systems are in place.

Way back before I ever suspected a dam or high water storage, I installed an extra 3/4 inch pipe from garden to cistern. I never knew what it might do, and for a long time I thought it was wasted energy, but now that pipe will be one chain in the link of the coming irrigation system.

Also, looking at the top pond, it is very green- thanks to the catfish-algae that will make excellent fertilizer for everything. Soiled water may not be ideal for house uses, but the plants love it.

Anyway, this is the weather I’ve been waiting for, time to get the backhoe moving dirt from the back of the pond to the dam. I’ll also have to dig the sediment pond in back and establish some sort of small fish nursery/ fish food cultivation system.

I don’t anticipate much swimming in that upper pond, but a sediment system could also act as a filtration system just by adding a pump if swimming does become popular.