Howdy A Tee welcome to permies.
When I am marking out a contour for a swale, I do not worry to much about getting within an inch or two on the first pass. I know that my shovel or machine will be digging out soil and placing it up on a berm .This is not going to end up being within a half inch, and maybe not even within a half a foot. I know that I will have to come back and redo the top of the berm to find my final level.
As the swale will be used to collect and spread water I feel that the top of the berm being level is more important than the bottom of the swale. The top will determine where the water overflows. Where it overflows naturally becomes the spillways. If I need more soil to make the berms more level I can always take more from the bottom of the swale even though this may leave small, deeper , ponds than what may be elsewhere all along the swale.
In your example, If you are getting point E from point D and then points F and G from D than everything from D onward will be lower and possibly lower still as you continue?
To compensate you may have to make two more points, C and a half, and C and 3/4 to get 28" on either side of point D ? And get point E from point C and 3/4 ?
James, Just wanted to do some brain storming but everything I ask might be really stupid so take this with a grain of...sand.
I am trying to visualize what this looks like underground. Seems that there is a formation that is almost like mud? Like an underground river or pond that has a lot of sand/silt in it? Does the sand/mud settle out or is the underground reservoir an emulsion of sorts? I wonder if the drillers can pump the well at a max rate , one that would begin to suck the sand out forming a void underground. Moving a bunch of the sand/mud to the surface. The recharge rate of the water would begin to refill the void. The trick would be to find a pumping rate that would not move sand from farther away from the well hole thus just refilling the void with sand. Seems to me that if you could ever create this void and then pump just enough water out to not create an underground flow, which would carry more sand with the water, you might be able to solve the problem?
I was once a plant operator for a company that pumped water into an underground soda formation. Then brought the brine up and boiled it, which separated the soda from the water. The water came out pretty clean. The article above talks about desalination plants being held up in bureaucracy. I have never understood why any large city by the ocean would not be using this technology. They can use solar concentrators to heat the water and power the plant.
Other than that it seems that there are just to many folks in that drainage wasting too much water.
Never been there but looking at a Google map tells a lot of the story? Massive amounts of farm land under conventional modern farm management. Lots of plowing, dry land left fallow, etc. Do the irrigate all of that?
The forum is divided into all sorts of categories. Do you see all of the buttons along the left side of the page, with those different topics? Click on one of them and another page opens showing already existing threads. You can add to those threads if they resemble your topic or question. Or start your own thread in that topic.
Along the top of the pages you should see buttons to Post a reply or start a new topic. Do you see those?
Michael, I hate living in an HOA. Have you checked with your city, county, and/or State laws to see if rainwater collection is allowed. In Colorado some of the "real government" laws allow for some permie things and it turns out that they trump the HOA rules.
Howdy Shana, welcome to permies! Could you tell us a little more about your property? Do you have any microclimates , or areas that might be out of any wind, have more sunlight etc?
I have a couple of peach trees in Denver that always bloom in the spring but then we usually get a spring snow storm. So we only get peaches every few years. It might be worth planting a couple and just seeing if they produce nuts every once in a while?
Howdy Paige, welcome to permies! Great looking pottery there!
Do you have a studio at home or make them at a local school? I used to take classes at a local college and learned a lot. I even had the chance to study under a master potter from Germany . I just did it for fun.
Have you already sold some of your works? I see a few folks at craft fairs, especially around Christmas time, selling stuff.
Very inspiring Jonathan ! I will be watching this thread to see how this all turns out. When you said in the first post that you were doing this by hand I was wondering how long it was gonna take you. When I was in my 20's and 30's I cannot tell you how much shoveling I did , now that I am old I love my tractor!
Howdy Mary Beth, welcome to permies! Sounds like your family has a nice place to work on in the future. Here is a link to contact the railroad to ask about getting permitted to work in the right of way. BNSF CONTACTS
Sounds good to me Carl. You might want to keep an eye on the water flows because you will be changing that by putting stones in the way of the normal flow. Over time the rock walls might become terraces so watch for small waterfalls to form over the walls which might cut out more soil. Try to keep the water in a sheet flow rather than causing it to become many small streams. I like what Wayne said about one stone height. That means you can build more walls closer together.
If you run the wall up to a tree and let the trunk become part of the wall, keep an eye out for the water taking the path around the trunk and maybe exposing roots by eroding around the tree.
If you have dead branches or other cuttings you could add them uphill behind the walls too.
I have a nephew that lives out near falcon! There is a large horse boarding place near him where you might be able to get some compost? I did a quick search for horse boarding in falcon Colorado and it looks like there are a few out there. I think that any pine wood that you could find would be great for hugels .
Howdy Cale, welcome to permies! well you have come to the right place!
First lets get some more info from you. Where do you live? Do you have any forests or farms around you? There might be places near you where you can get some good soil for free. Start saving containers from your food. Milk cartons or butter tubs for example. Egg cartons are good for starting seeds but as the plants grow you will need bigger pots or a garden to plant them in. Do you have an area to start your garden outside? Or will you be gardening in containers?
I would bet that there are folks here at permies who would send you some seeds, you just have to ask.
What kinds of food do you like that you want to grow? Do you ever have fresh fruits or vegetables for dinner that you could save the seeds from? That's how I started. Mom bought a squash for dinner and I planted the seeds out side next to the house. In the fall we had a couple more squash!
So keep talking with us, keep asking questions and lets get you to gardening!
Howdy Emily so glad to have you here at permies ! It might take some time to find them but there are lots of threads around here about all of the things that you can do in our area, So take some time this winter and dig in !
In the mean time lets talk about wind, water and soil. So are you relatively close to the black forest area? To me , when I see those pine forests out that way, I have hope. There was a pretty good fire that went through that area a while back, and a big one in the mountains just west of you . Lots of folks have been thinning out the forest and there are places where there are many standing dead , burnt , trees. Maybe you could get some of those for hugels?
Do you get any snow drifts? Capturing snow is one of the first things to think about. So windbreaks are a must. Anything that will slow the wind will help pile up snow. They do not have to be anything expensive, you can use pallets or old deck wood. Craigslist is great for finding materials like this. Once you get a good drift, watch as it melts in the spring. Notice that you now have wet ground for a time. Hardy trees can be planted in this area. The snow fence could help keep the new trees shaded and out of the wind too. The soil conservation service has annual tree sales where you can get hundreds of small trees cheap, that are grown for our area.
The other thing to work on is finding sources of organic materials. Any neighbors have piles of horse manure that they will give you? Get some of the local tree service and lawn care businesses to dump wood chips at your place. Hay and straw bales that you find cheap or free are also good. Again craigslist has adds for these folks once in a while.
Put this organic material behind your snow fences to help mulch your new trees and start building soil.
Place your veggie garden in a relatively sheltered place, maybe downwind of the house or barn. Again building soil is a must. The same strategy as above applies! Cover crops are also handy. Weeds are our friends, even though they have been given a bad name. Look around to see what already grows naturally and see if you can use those weeds to help build soil. Do you have animals? Especially chickens? Chickens will help get a garden ready for you!
Hope this helps? You can do it but it might take a few years to get everything up and running. Take your time, observe your new home, and learn from nature.
Howdy Benjamin, sounds like you are talking about a "Savanna". I would be worried that I would kill more trees by trying to move them. I think I would try to improve the absorption of water into the soil using a Keyline plow, do you have one of those available? Or by building swales on contour as long as they do not harm any of the existing tree roots. Then plant new young trees in the soil around the swales or key lines. Hopefully increasing the total number of trees in your savanna without harming those that are already established.
Howdy Dylan, can you do one that is covered with dirt on three sides? In THIS THREAD, I posted a picture of one that I did in Wyoming. It got up to 120 F in the summer so I had to open up the door and roof vents. It cooled down in the winter but I didn't heat it or insulate it with anything. It added about a month on either side of my growing season.