Friday, April 16, 2010
It is time to talk about a birth. The announcement is a little late but I want to talk a little about it anyway.
Last year, with a little help from Maine's Department of Agriculture, we dug a beautiful pond here at the farm. The water from our well had a tendency to get 'salty' right around August when we really needed it the most. Our shrubs in pots, that looked so wonderful in July, would suddenly look like heck even though we knew that our water had tested fine in May. Finally, we smartened up and tested it in August. Sure enough, way too salty and we now know that it fluctuates from month to month.
And so....not this winter but the winter before, we began to dig an irrigation pond.
This was the most amazing landscape project that I have ever taken on. Never mind the imensity of the project but the placement and effect on the landscape did things that you could never possibly anticipate.
First of all, we asked Mark Welch to help us. We had cleared the brush and trees and knew pretty well what the shape would be but when you do a project this big you have to trust the people who know what they are doing. I can't say enough good things about Mark and his sons and crew. This was a wild project! They were patient and competant.
You would think that as a landscaper I would be more relaxed about this whole thing but the opposite was true. What if it looked like it didn't belong? What if the dam didn't work? What if I hated connecting the front fields with their greenhouses and cars to the back field which had always been a peaceful haven? What about the dogs and ice? What about snapping turtles? I think that is what I mean by a birth. All that work to make this pond, all the fears and trepidations, all the worry about the unknown and then......
I will let the pictures tell the story.
First, we had to construct a dam to hold the water and a pump to pump out the ever growing water that was seeping into the pond. This was pretty wild in itself. Rains melted all the snow and a couple of times we really worried about the pumps keeping up with the massive amounts of water. Still, it worked.
You can see that we had to dig down 10 feet to hit clay. The clay was beautiful marine clay that was necessary to hold water. Our sandy soil was excavated and brought to someplace in a near by town and the clay was dug into and spread on the sides of the pond like a huge bowl to hold the water.
It was amazing to watch this process. One huge machine would scoop up the clay and another would grab that and smear it on the side of the pond wall.
Having this pond is like having a living breathing thing. It is already attracting wildlife and new plants. It has affected the light on the farm and the way that the wind blows. It smells and sounds different here at the farm. The ocean noises are closer and the the diamonds that sparkle on it when the sun hits it just right are gifts for all to see.