Pond Digging

The 32,000 pound machine rattled down the driveway, climbed up and was chained onto a big float that was hauled onto Highway #12. The roar of the massive dump-truck pulling the float faded down the road and then silence. The deed was done.

It was a long time coming. Most of a month before was spent preparing the area where the pond was to be. Friends of LEV were generous with their time: Tim Booth, Krys Gauthier, Lance Phillips, Brian Porter, Steve Sparkes, Keith Organ, Roxy Kossari, Colin Irwin, Andrew Drake, Phillipe Mineau, Andrew MacDonald and Ed Hanrahan all dropped by for a day or two, or three, to help. Claire made us food and provided beverages. We cleared trees and brush and carried all the useful wood to piles for garden fence posts,

future firewood,

and logs to be made into lumber for the sauna that will eventually sit at the water's edge.

Below our neighbour Jeff Beute drives his High-Hoe through the narrowest point on his way to the pond site.

The machine has an enormous iron grip.

First he pulled out stumps like he was pulling carrots.

Then he piled up organic matter to be buried under the excavated material for a carbon sink.

Much of the stumps, branches and brush got spread out and buried, tho some was burned.

Topsoil was piled out of the way for future use.

And digging began.

First he dug out the north end, farthest from where we might enter the water.

Then he worked his way around both sides of an island to the south end.

Above you can see him scraping the clay up off of a rock face that will provide easy access into the water without pond plants tickling your feet.

Now the hole is complete.

It was touch and go to beat the rain. Jeff worked after dark the last evening, to finish the job before forecast rain made the clay too sticky to work.

The next morning a walk about the excavation resulted in inches of clay stuck to boots.

Now we wait for the hole to fill with water from Fall rains and the Spring snow melt.

When the snow comes, we will have more than 100 feet of toboggan and ski run.

See the rock near the middle of the picture, on the pond floor? Next Summer when the temperature is 30º, you can dive to find it.

The out of water areas were next levelled, harrowed, and seeded with various grasses, clover and other ground covers. When the plants grow in, they will hold the material in place and prevent the accumulation of clay on footwear in wet weather.

These bales of hay await dry enough conditions to spread them around to protect the new growth, when the seeds sprout.