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Big day here....

PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:33 pm
by matt walker
I'm ready, after a long weekend preparing. I'm expecting to hear the machines rumbling up the drive any minute now, wish me luck!

My plan:

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Some preparation:

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Re: Big day here....

PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:15 pm
by mannytheseacow
Good luck, Matt! Looks like quite a bit of work ahead of you. Machines do the big jobs and leave us with lots of little jobs. I'll bet you'll have some real positives coming out of this one for you. Once the work is done you'll have some amazing improvements.

Re: Big day here....

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:01 am
by Lollykoko
Feel like I wasn't paying attention somewhere or I would know what you are preparing for today. The blue patches designate berm/hugel beds and you are expecting heavy equipment for digging our the swales to cover your rows of woody material? Did I completely miss the mark?

Re: Big day here....

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:21 am
by matt walker
You got it Lolly. Pretty much exactly. I only mentioned it in passing somewhere, but I did a bunch of work in January in trade with a friend who does excavation work. I made a plan for the upper half of my property, and today we got about halfway through it. He won't be back for a while since he's squeezing me in between paying jobs, but that's just fine. Manny, you nailed it, I've got a TON of work in front of me to clean this up.

It was a great day, but man, I'm kinda freaked out! I wish I could afford a hundred fruit trees! Anyway, here's a few pics. If you click on these I think it will take you to the album so you can see what we did. I uploaded a few photos from the day.

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Re: Big day here....

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 2:36 pm
by Lollykoko
Glad to see that you got so much done, Matt. Having heavy equipment available once in a while does make a big difference in how quickly your landscape will change. You are fortunate to have a friend that is in a position to give you a hand in between the paying jobs.

Re: Big day here....

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 2:58 pm
by matt walker
Thanks Lolly, I was so excited when he called and requested my services. I felt like I won the lottery, and still do. I actually can't believe I still get another day and then some. When I asked him yesterday afternoon if he was coming back for another day, I said "How are we doing on trade? Do I get another day, are we going to do the next stage?" His reply was, "we are going to do everything!" Man, so stoked. He wants an outdoor cooking/seating area like mine, in addition to more of my professional services which dovetail nicely with his equipment. I am dreaming big right now! Anyway, I'm waiting for the feed store to open so I can go buy grass seed. I've got a 5 gallon bucket full of radish, daikon, turnip, kohlrabi, buckwheat, rye, clover, peas, beans, and so on ready to go on the mounds. It's dry and sunny today, and a couple days of rain expected. Perfect seeding weather!

Re: Big day here....

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:00 pm
by matt walker
Oh, and he got so excited thinking about all the concepts I was explaining as we were working that he wants me to design some similar earthworks for his family's property and work with me on developing some growing systems there. Exciting!

Re: Big day here....

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 4:17 pm
by mannytheseacow
Wow, that is so awesome! I'm so happy for your good fortune on this project.

matt walker wrote:Oh, and he got so excited thinking about all the concepts I was explaining as we were working that he wants me to design some similar earthworks for his family's property and work with me on developing some growing systems there. Exciting!


Yes, sometimes the biggest benefit isn't our own properity but the benefit of opening other's eyes to the possibilities.

Re: Big day here....

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 5:17 pm
by pa_friendly_guy
That looks like a Great project Matt. It was great that you could get it done with Barter. ;) Those opportunities done happen that often. When you are done do you expect the swales to hold water in then? Or will they just hold the water back so that it seeps into the ground better and more slowly? Either way they will be a nice improvement, but having shallow ponds around the place would be nice as well. :D You will have a lot of hand work to get the land ready to plant, good luck.

Re: Big day here....

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:10 pm
by matt walker
Guy, the upper features won't hold water, just stop the erosion and soak it into the ground. A couple times a year we have massive rain events and in those cases there will almost surely be ponds. The lower features I believe will eventually develop themselves into shallow ponds after those heavy rain events plug them with silt. They do have year round water flowing, albeit very slowly, into them from seepage near my shop. In the meantime, I expect rich grassy areas of nutrient collection in the low spots where the animals will hang out since it's flat, warm, and grassy. I will fence off the berms and the nutrients will run under the plantings in the berms/mounds/hugels. Theoretically, anyway. In practice it may just be the perfect thistle/nettle/alder/willow habitat. We shall see.