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Monday, May 28, 2018

The Restoration of Our Farm Pond

To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment. ~Jane Austen

Our pond, originally dug in the early 1950’s, has given people and wildlife much happiness through the years. But over time it had filled with silt and could no longer support fish. The herons were lucky to nab a minnow. As the soil level raised, weeds appeared. Eventually, they would have taken over. Since my grandson, Ian, badly wanted to fish, and all of us wanted to see the pond saved and not disappear entirely, we had no choice other than to start over. This meant eradicating what we had, a tough move that elicited groans from me.

October before last, we undertook the draining of our much-loved waterhole. Storms and muskrats had already punched holes in the dam that should have been made of clay but was of softer loam; it didn’t require enormous effort for son Cory to make a much bigger gap in it. We sadly watched the water diminish. Disgruntled geese waded in the dwindling puddle until that, too, was gone. Months followed with no sight or sound of pond life, no photographs of sunsets reflected on the water's surface…no ice skating for two winters… 
Drought settled in. During the long dry spell, our one comfort was the thought that the sooner the muddy bottom dried up, the sooner we would be able to bring in the big equipment and get to work. 
Eventually, that day finally came, and stretched into weeks, then months. Late this past fall and winter, the pond was dug and reshaped, and the new dam packed with clay. Rows of soil from the bottom lined our meadow like trenches in World War One. Cory and 'team pond restore' laid the overflow pipe, built a deck, and did all the work in readiness for a break in the dry weather. We waited and waited. The pond was like an empty crater on the moon, and just as uninhabitable. I despaired of it ever being full again. 
We got some much-needed moisture in March and April, about the time forest fires were breaking out, but the bulk of the rains have only recently come. Some rain fell in torrents, with the biggest storm hitting yesterday. At long last, our pond is brimming. Great is our excitement

(Grandson kayaking)

Daughter Elise, the grandkids, and I have planted a lot of trees and bushes on the banks. Our goal is to bring back the wildlife. Birdsong resounds from the meadow and surrounding trees during tranquil walks around the pond. It’s incredibly peaceful there. We are planning further plantings, but for now, we’re savoring the fruits of our labor. It's a magical realm.

"I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in." ~John Muir (1838–1914)

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright." ~Henry David Thoreau

"I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. "~e.e. cummings

"The poetry of the earth is never dead." ~John Keats

"After all, I don’t see why I am always asking for private, individual, selfish miracles when every year there are miracles like white dogwood." ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

(Goose flapping his wings behind newly planted tree)

 (Grandson Owen kayaking)

(Red Wing Blackbird)

(Cory is building benches for the dock)

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  1. I love that you've planted trees around the pond. Now that it's filled, isn't it lovely? Your farm appears idyllic but I know a tremendous amount of work goes into creating that peaceful appearance. Thanks for sharing.

  2. What a peaceful place! Best of luck with the pond and landscaping. There is something about water that draws individuals to it. Our condo at New Smyrna Beach does the same thing for me with the ocean.


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