Our land is a series of ridges.
The house sits on the highest elevation which is on the base of our triangle shaped property. This is good because it means the house has excellent drainage. It also means that our collected rainwater can be gravity fed where ever we need it, another plus. Going toward the back of the property means going downhill through the woods. Last year we fenced an area of the woods to let our goats do some clearing there. It was loaded with poison ivy, kudzu, saw briars, and blackberry brambles. One year later, the goats have done a good enough job so that we can better see the lay of the land.
|Randy getting ready to jump over a ridge long puddle of rainwater.|
|The same puddle continues along the ridge on the other side of the fence .|
|The next ridge had collected more water in a wider dip in the terrain, but ...|
|The water drains from the ridge by running down the path on which|
you can see Waldo and Polly (our pigs) scampering down the hill.
The water continues to drain down the hill toward the back of the property, where it seems to disappear into some sort of indentation in the ground. I got to thinking that the ridges are almost natural swales. What I need to do is to stop the water from running down the hill.
The ridges are clearly defined with a short, steep drop.
|Not a terribly good showing of the ridge. Randy is on the top of it.|
I've also been thinking that the downside of the ridges would be a good place to start placing all our tree debris, in hugelkulture fashion. We had to do some clearing for the fence, but most of the debris has been fallen pine trees. These are mature, end-of-life trees that have done their job in forest succession. The pines were the fast growing, light loving pioneer species which gave shade tolerant hardwoods an opportunity to establish themselves. Now more hardwoods are establishing themselves, but the pines are tall and spindly, like light starved tomato seedlings. Because of that their trunks are weak, and it's amazing to watch them bend and sway like tall grasses in strong winds. And a little bit scary. It seems that after every major storm we can find new pine trees falling over. We've tried to clean the area up a bit.
|The wood piles are all pine from wind-downed trees|
What to do with them has been a concern, but I think lining them up parallel to and below the ridges might be a good plan. Perhaps in the future we could even plant something there. After Dan read Sepp Holzer'z Permaculture he envisioned a orchard on our downward sloping property, if we could ever get it somewhat cleared. It seemed impossible then, but now it looks as though it might actually be a possibility someday.
Two other natural swales are in the front pasture. A small one sits along the ridge where we are planning to plant a forest garden hedgerow.
|Surprise & Lily. The fenced area contains our|
blueberry bush and is downhill of the ridge.
The other collects at the top of this same pasture.
|A puddle collects here anytime we get a good rain, but this was the largest |
I've ever seen it. There is another ridge just to the left of the puddle.
I know from experience that these are not a year-round solution to water conservation. But if we can stop the runoff where it exists and build up the soil on the downside of the ridges, we can certainly help.