Monday, March 26, 2012

Pond update

Some of you may have noticed a photo of a full pond in yesterday's post. Here's the photo:

Note that operative word: full. Yes, our pond is full!

For those new to the blog, we had a stock pond dug last January. It's been the one critical thing we've needed on our farm, since water is a constant concern for us. We have abundant and delicious water, but it's over 600 feet below ground, and our pump is electric. When we lose power, we lose water. We've researched endless options for deep-well extraction (solar, wind, etc.) but they were all far too expensive for our budget.

So last January, a friend of my husband's came and dug us a stock pond for a budget price (photos of the whole procedure are here).

At first it provided some sledding opportunities for our kids and friends:

But then the pond started accumulating water. This photo was taken January 30:

February 8:

March 9:

March 21:

And yesterday, March 25:

Right now the pond is about as brimful as it can get. All this water was accumulated merely by ground runoff -- surface water falling into the hole, so to speak.

But technically it can't be called a pond, at least not yet. It's more accurately called "a big hole in the ground full of water." To make it into a proper pond, it needs an inflow -- eventually roof runoff from our barn -- and an outflow -- a pipe for drainage that will feed into a channel that drains into a pond on a neighbor's property. We also have to have those huge honkin' piles of dirt removed. (A neighbor wants the dirt, but he can't fetch it until the ground dries out, so that probably won't happen until June or so.) The pond needs to "settle," where all the dirt and clay moves out of suspension and drops to the bottom (making for clearer water) -- that process should take about a year. We also need to aerate the pond, so we're looking into solar-powered aerators. We also plan to stock the pond with fish (after the pond has settled) -- not so much for food (although that's a consideration) as for weed and mosquito control.

But nonetheless, this pond -- er, hole in the ground -- is a critical lynchpin for our continued efforts at self-sufficiency on our homestead. Without a reliable source of water, we would be lost if the power went out. We specifically designed the pond to be deep enough not to freeze all the way down in very cold winter weather. We already have a handpump, so we will install it with a pipe at the deepest end, which will provide water for the livestock in winter if necessary.

We also placed the pond next to the garden, so if necessary water can be hand-pumped to water the vegetables and fruit trees.

And besides, it's purty.


  1. That is great. We have a year-round stream through our property but it isn't clean. People here drain raw sewer into it. I would love to be able to clean/filter it for garden and livestock use. It's a shame that the kids can't use it to play in. There are bass and muskey and some people eat them but I wouldn't! We need another source of water. The sunset(?) over your pond---er hole--- is beautiful!

  2. Patrice, Yes, your pond is purty. I think you and hubby made a well thought out plan. I will pray that all of your plans go without any problems. Thank you for sharing your plan,this is something we must keep in mind for our future when we settle in on property.

  3. very cool! Have you thought of aquaponics?

  4. Love your pix, Patrice. LOVE 'em! You really do need to get a new camera, though. I know good ones aren't cheap, but if you have a Kmart in one of your nearby towns, you could probably pick a pretty decent one up for under $200 and put it on lay-away! Kmart still does that. Walmart only lets you put toys and one other type of item (I forgot what it was) on lay-away, so we do most of our shopping at Kmart. Lay-away is the best way to go when you don't have or don't want to use credit cards! --Fred & Deb in AZ

  5. If your non-pond was in Texas it would be called a tank. No idea why.