Lollyland

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Re: Lollyland

Postby Myrth » Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:35 pm

Wow!

Seatbelts and roll-over bars definitely save lives. Farming is amongst the world's most dangerous occupations in good part because of the use of heavy machinery that lacks safety features. Be careful!


Looking forward to future updates.
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Re: Lollyland

Postby Lollykoko » Sun Mar 23, 2014 5:47 pm

It's been a while! There has been too much snow for me to go visit Lollyland since early December when friends and I made a trip to do some target practice. One of the young women was thinking about buying her first bit of home protection and wanted to try some things out before spending any money. We managed to step up and make her wish a reality, providing 7 different weapons for her to compare.

Winter has been bad this year, as everyone knows. We had snow on the ground constantly for 3 months, which is unheard in my lifetime! Well, in my memory bank, anyway. There was always a thaw in Feb. sometime. :) But this year saw deep snow, heavily packed even on the roads that get maintained, so I wasn't about to take my light truck up into the rolling hills and county roads to get stuck! But spring finally got here with weather that made it possible for me to make a trip to the farm yesterday. That doesn't mean there wasn't still snow on the ground, of course!
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Remember me telling you that I got the backhoe stuck, down by the wetlands last summer? This is the spot. There is a broken drain tile from long ago that brings water to this point. We plan to open this hole up some this year, and I'm thinking of burying a stock tank in it. Eventually, this corner will be a pond, an acre or two in size.
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The guys that were deer hunting this winter were pretty unhappy. The county decided to get ditch work done in Dec., instead of waiting for the new year. They provided me with another pile of resources.
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When I bought the place, (nine years ago this June) this whole length of ditch was shaded on both banks.
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If you can spot the little mounds on either side ... That is the closest I am supposed to allow trees to grow to the water now. I had talked to the dozer guy a few years ago and explained what I was hoping to do with hugelculture and such. As they removed another dozen trees, he stacked them with the beds that were already in progress, then covered them with the dredged soil. This year we plan to plant the ones on the left (east) bank with all sorts of bulb plants and quick grow ground covers. If, five years down the road, we have enough to share with others on a cash or barter basis, call it a win/win. Right now we will get the beauty and hopefully attract pollinators, encourage reptiles, etc. Yesterday I talked with my brother-in-law about using some tree trunks (that we will be removing from the hillside) as uprights in these hugelbeds, so there is a place to plant kiwi, goji, and a host of other climbing, viney things to break the view from the road. If they provide fruit for us and the deer, turkeys, future domesticated animals, etc., even better. :D BTW, you see the trees that are near the water in that photo? They have been pretty well completely ringed around the base by wildlife. It won't be long before THEY are falling into the water and the county will have to send someone back out again. :roll:
So, one more picture. As I said, they had to dredge the ditch again. I didn't grab a handful of this to throw in the fire, but it looks like pretty decent clay to me. What do you think? I've asked BIL to find me some 55 gallon drums, because I might want to save this for cob later.
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Re: Lollyland

Postby mannytheseacow » Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:58 pm

That looks like quite a project you've got there, Lolly. Won't it be great when it's all done? I've always wanted a pond but don't have a suitable site for one. I'd be eating fish like crazy if I did. With all that clay you shouldn't have any problem building the core of the berm for the dike.
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Re: Lollyland

Postby matt walker » Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:40 pm

Great to read your update Lolly. That ditch is something, why on earth do they want it bare? Here they can't touch the trees within 50' or something like that, while there they won't let them grow? At any rate, it looks like you received complimentary hugel berms all along the ditch? Win/win for sure, that will be a great place to start your food trees.

I'd save that clay for sure, maybe not barrel it up, but make a pile or fill a depression where you know where it is, and have good machine access to it. There's nothing that starts a impromptu work party like a tractor bucket full of clay on a tarp on a warm summer day. I'm planning on having my friend set aside some large clay piles for me when he comes for my excavator work this spring.
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Re: Lollyland

Postby Lollykoko » Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:14 am

I'm not sure why the ditch is supposed to be bare, just that I was told not to plant trees within 60 ft. of the bank. Of course, I know how much bank I've lost to the ditch since they took out all the trees. :shock: When the job was done in '08 they butchered it, badly. The trees that came down this time were due to damage from earlier bulldozer action or the bank washing out from under the roots. Time for lots of erosion proof planting, once they get done smoothing out the tracks this spring. As to trees, I did notice that there are lots of black walnuts laying around on the ground there. If the squirrels happen to plant a few ... maybe the next county surveyor will be a little more tolerant.

We had our first campfire of the season Saturday. The temperature was in the low 40's and I found myself talking about rocket mass heaters, again. Reading the threads you guys have in the heating folder makes me anxious to try one. It's time to check out the bits of ductwork that are tucked away in the basement, here and there, connected to nothing. If I'm lucky, there will be enough to make a good start, at least. Nicest part of living in a 100 year old house is the "stuff" that the previous tenants didn't bother to take with them. There is a small pile of old water pipe that could come in handy too. A recent video for the Permaculture class showed a RMH created by one of the instructors and it has 11 functions. While I'm thinking stove and warm seat, I might as well plan ahead for a shower! :D
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Re: Lollyland

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:35 pm

There is a Federal Flood control project in our area along Jacobs Creek. There are 3 large dams that are designed to hold back spring flood waters. The Creek is a High Quality Trout Stream at its head waters and along much of its length even after the 1st Lake. As it continues through the 2nd and 3rd Lake in rapid succession the water warms too much to hold trout. As it continues toward Scottdale Boro the creek is left wide open with no trees or shade of any kind. I suggested to the Borough Manager some years ago that they plant trees, create an in-town green space and make a walking trail along the stream for biking and hiking. I was informed that because it was a Federal Project and the funding had come from the Federal Gov the Borough was obligated to keep the stream banks mowed and free of trees at least twice per year. The Federal Gov's thinking was that if trees were allowed to grow along the stream they could fall into the water and create a dam that would impend the flood waters, and since this was a " Flood Control Project " they didn't want THAT. So what was a high quality trout stream up above is reduced to an open drainage ditch down below by our tax dollars. My guess is that your situation is very similar Lolly. I am guessing that the County is required by who ever put up the funding to keep your ditch open and free of trees or debris to control flooding. That of course is not the best thing for the stream. Having trees along the stream keeps the water cooler, helps to aerate the water, improves water quality and provides valuable habitat for wild life. It is sad that our Government does not see the benefit or wisdom in that idea,
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Re: Lollyland

Postby GrahamB » Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:00 am

Yet another case of where the knowledge of local people is ignored by the powers that be. My home county back in England has just experienced the worst flooding in its history, with whole villages, farms and all the infrastructure being under water for about six weeks. About twenty five miles from where I used to live is a low, flat area called the Somerset Levels. It's about 65 sq miles of land that is just below sea level. It runs out to the North Somerset coastline where they have a sea defense system.
All over the levels are a series of rhynes or ditches that drain the flood waters in to a large canal called the Kings Sedgemoor Drain. This in turn drains into the River Parret which flows out to sea, but is controlled by a huge sluice gate at the river mouth. This sluice is to stop the tide coming in and flooding the area with seawater. There are small pumping stations scattered about the levels to move the water to the Drain.
The Environment Agency is the British government agency that is supposed to keep these rhynes clear but the European Government stopped them cleaning them because they wanted a certain amount flooding to happen to produce wetlands habitat. For this, the British government got grants to carry out studies and research. So for the last twenty years the local people have been asking for the rhynes to be cleared and nothing has been done. Around Christmas time the South West experienced some of the worst storms in years, at the same time the spring tides were due. The sluice gates could not be opened due to the high tides and the rhynes were too shallow to take all the water.
People and livestock had to be evacuated. Businesses were lost due to water damage to the buildings. Farms were lost and all the wildlife that the government supposedly wanted to encourage were drowned. All the rescue work was done by volunteers and neighbors from the hill country (my people). The government didn't help out until local media shamed them to do so. It will take years for these people to recover, and all because the so called experts wouldn't listen to the people that live and work the land and know how it "breathes".
I read your post Guy and the parallel about the commonsense option being ignored due to money changing hands just struck too loud a chord.
http://www.buzzfeed.com/alanwhite/27-staggering-new-pictures-of-the-somerset-levels-floods
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Re: Lollyland

Postby Lollykoko » Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:19 am

The funding comes from a levy on my tax dollars. :( Last year the farm taxes jumped 600%. I don't know how many folks are involved in the projects, but they did/are doing about 15 miles of government maintained ditches in one swoop, over a 3 county area. Thank goodness the levy is only for 5 years, and this time the fellow doing the work isn't ruining my property in the process. They did fix a broken drainage tile on my land a couple of years ago, and cut out a nice drive into my place from the lane used to get to the fields on my south. I have gotten my money's worth, so far. :)
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Re: Lollyland

Postby Lollykoko » Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:26 am

Wow! That is quite a bit of flooded land, Graham. I hope that most folks were able to clean up the muck and get back to normal. Since the drain tile was repaired, I haven't had a problem with flooding anywhere, other than the wetlands and it is expected. However, the farmers around me that till their fields spend a lot of time every spring, waiting for the water to go down.
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Re: Lollyland

Postby GrahamB » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:22 am

Lolly the waters only started to go down a couple of weeks ago. It will take a lot of time and money to clear it all up. I feel so blessed that I live on the side of a hill and I'm well above the flood plain. I could deal with most catastrophes but I don't think I could deal with a flood. Just before we bought this place, the city works did some work on the road ditch and they re- routed the ditch to run under the road to the other side, just on the uphill side of our driveway. It's a concrete culvert and then a concrete spillway running down the other side of the road. Apparently, before they did that , the storm flows used to cut under the bottom of the driveway, threatening to wash it out. It also now makes a great snake crossing. :D
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