We have a pond! Well, to be more precise... we have a great big hole in the ground. Someday it will be a pond.
A couple of days ago, we all went out and marked off where the pond was to be placed. It was a real-life example of the Pythagorean Theorem in use.
In fact, as part of our math work that day, the girls figured it out. If a pond is square with all sides being fifty feet, what is the length of the hypotenuse? The answer came to 70.7 feet. So we all went out and marked things using the length of the hypotenuse to make sure the marked off pond space was perfectly square.
Then yesterday a couple of inches of snow fell, the first snow in a long time. This morning was decidedly brisk.
The day started with the arrival of a huge rig driven by a fellow named Gale.
Though Don had peeled back some of the fence along the road so Gale could come in over the pasture, I couldn't figure out how he was going to unload his rig. What he did was detached the front portion of the lowboy and move it out of the way...
...then offload the trackhoe and move it out of the way...
...then re-attach the rig together...
...and move IT out of the way, just in time (since a neighbor drove up in his pickup).
Then Gale drove the trackhoe through the pasture, with Don leading the way to show him where to go.
This is where the pond is to go.
Breaking ground, about 8:30 am.
Gale knew exactly what he was doing. In fact, watching him operate that trackhoe was like watching poetry in motion. He started at the deep end and worked his way to the shallow end, piling the dirt on one side. (Another neighbor will come later to get the dirt.)
See that whitish layer? That's hardpan, about 18 inches below the surface. It's why my fruit trees keep dying -- the roots can't punch through that hardpan.
The trackhoe bucket was huge and probably scooped out a cubic yard at a time.
Can you see my shadow as I take pictures?
It was amazing how precise such a big machine can be in the hands of a master -- look how closely Gale aligned the hole with the original boundaries.
The pile of dirt grew and grew.
With about half the hole dug, Gale moved over and started a second pile of dirt.
Then -- get this -- he drove his trackhoe into the pit, back and forth, back and forth, packing the clay-y dirt firm.
Here's Gale, checking out his superb handiwork.
Here's Don, standing next to the bucket...
...and standing next to one of the dirt piles.
And that was it! It took Gale five hours to dig that huge hole. Can you imagine how long it would have taken by hand? He came back through the break where Don had peeled the fence back...
Here's the pit with the twin piles of dirt on either side.
It's important to remember that right now, this isn't a pond. It's a big hole in the ground. There's still lots left to do before it turns into a pond. A neighbor who wants the dirt will come collect it when he has a chance. We have to put guttering on the barn and on one side of the house, then dig a trench to lay pipe to move the roof runoff into the pond. We have to trench an outflow as well.
But without this huge pit, of course, we would never have a pond. Oh, the potential for both usefulness and recreation! The girls plan to swim in the summer and ice skate on it in the winter. We can water the garden and the livestock even if we lose power (since our well pump is electric). A pond will make as much of an improvement on our farm as a barn!