One project I undertook at Ca Ira Castle this Fall was to build a pond. This after being inspired talking to Jamie Byron on our podcast over at Dream 10X about sustainable land management practices (among other things). The goal in building this little pond is to prototype a possible solution for rain water catchment using a big hole in the ground.
If water can be retained from rain fall over extended periods of time, perhaps it will attract additional wildlife to the spot, such as frogs, birds, snakes, deer, etc. Where the animals gather, the food chain thrives. The animals eat, drink and poop and they enrich the nutrient poor soil in the process, which hopefully leads to richer soil and healthier plants and trees (and ultimately more oxygen for you and me).
It never hurts to have a source of water nearby. I figured water catchment would be cheaper and easier than digging a well, at least in the short-term. Water can always be filtered in times of emergency.
That's the theory anyway.
On September 7, 2020, I dug the hole in a spot near our fire pit where water was naturally pooling. I facilitated the water runoff by digging a shallow trench from the highest spot on the land to the newly dug hole.
After leaving, I hoped that the frequent rains we were having this year would continue. True to form, the rains have continued frequently throughout the months of October and November.
On November 2nd weekend Cindy and I celebrated our first anniversary by running a 30 mile run in Farmville, Virginia. We stopped by the land to check on the pond real quick before coming home...
Sweet mud hole bliss! I could not have been more pleased to see something I made with my own hands so successful! No plastic liner used here, just dug a hole and tamped the clay down with the digger bucket as best I could.
We returned to the land again on November 28th weekend following Thanksgiving. It was cold at night, but my heart was happy to know that water was being retained in my mud hole.
So far, the water retention prototype is working. Deer sign all over and frogs have begun moving in. I am interested to see how this project holds water throughout the course of next Spring and Summer.