One of the biggest issues we have here on the homestead is water. We have abundant, delicious water... but it's more than 600 feet down inside the earth. Our well pump is aging and powered by electricity. When we lose power, we lose water.
The lack of easily obtainable water has been a constant concern for us. In fact, it's our biggest Achilles heel. We've discussed endless options for bringing that well water to the surface, but every option -- wind, solar, mechanical means -- is wildly out of our price range. We finally invested in a 1500 gallon water tank (as yet uninstalled) to be filled by the well (when power is available) or roof runoff (when power is not available).
1500 gallons of water is fine for household use and with care will last us through a few dry months... but it's not nearly enough water for livestock (who can suck down 50 gallons a day) or for irrigating the garden. What we need, in short, is a pond.
And rather unexpectedly, the opportunity just came up. Don has a friend who is out of work. This fellow operates heavy equipment and has the skills and time to come dig us a big hole in the ground, and he'll do so for a bargain price. Whoo-hoo, we're going to have a stock pond!
The pond will be filled with roof runoff from the barn. We'll have a drain outlet leading to a natural swale in our pasture, feeding the pond on a nearby property. (You can see the other pond in the distance in the photo below.)
Don did numerous calculations and came away with plans for a pond 50x50 feet, shallow at one end and ten feet deep at the other. Water at that depth won't freeze, which means we can pump water from the bottom for the livestock all winter if necessary. Since the pond will be right next to the garden (where the men are standing in the photo above), we can also pump water to irrigate the garden. We can stock the pond with fish for an additional food source. We can even use it for swimming and skating.
Don's friend is anxious to start the project and will come out next week to dig. Don and I are so tickled with this unexpected development that we're practically sputtering incoherently. A pond! What an incredible addition to the farm!