I would say the majority of the time was spent scraping and sorting with the excavator. Just a couple of inches at a time. That coordination was important. They needed the clay. It had to be placed where it wasn't in the way so they didnt need to move it, then move it, then move it.
That was the only equipment - the excavator. Although i had a skidsteer available. That was used to take the excess topsoil to make the hugel and take the "sand" which was used for a sunscoop. It also moved a lot of woodchips.
I think they are due back over the next few months for another pond at my place. Not sure the exact date yet. If still on schedule, in January they will be 15 miles away cutting a switchback road on a cliff edge so the owners have access to a creek on the bottom. It should be amazing. I should be able to get some pics.
Wayne: got any updates on how this is doing? How's your water levels and clarity? How are the crawdads doing in winter?
I'm starting my earthworks (cross your fingers for me!) in spring. Anything I need to know about what you like and dislike, I'd love to hear
Right now, fencing is the big issue. I got the terrace cow proof, but not deer proof. I am also putting spent hay/manure out with a spreader. Here is the most recent pic.
I had an issue with my cows. One ended up on the hiway. Not a normal thing as i just separated her from momma and she wanted momma real bad and she found a weakness. So i have to divert and get that resolved.
On the pond, it is dry. Sediment pond still has water. I've been in communication with zach about it. He offered to come back but i said just wait and do it during phase 2. If you look back at the project log, it was very challenging as the pond kept filling as they were trying to build the pond. This prevented them from compacting the bottom. There was much more water than anyone thought. Lol. The rain hasnt been here either. After he left the spigot in the sky turned off. We have got small events like .10". Nothing that would cause surface runoff to fill it or get the seepage flowing again. That should come in May.
But back to the terrace. This is my focus. I planted the big support trees (pecan). If i can get this fence done i can get a lot of planting done. Herbs, annuals, perrenials, vines. Its a game changer in my view. The basis for a great food production system.
On crawdads, i think the racoons got them. It was wierd. There were tracks all the way around the pond after i put the crawdads in. In hindsite, my guess is i stocked them way to early. Before vegetation got established. In doing so, they had to leave the water to eat, and the racoons got them. This is just speculation. In my original pond, i caught some crawdads in a minnow trap so they are in there. I don't think that is the case with these new ponds. There is not a lot of info about them. Eating habits, etc. I am just guessing.
I will say that in a permie setting with permie goals, a skidsteer trumps a tractor in my view. It pays for itself overtime when you have projects like this. 70 post holes for the terrace fence would be about $800 hired out. This is not deep soil. 4" thick rocks scattered in there. My tractor would not and could not drill through them, much less do it in a straight line. I think zachs crew used their excavator to dig out the tractor mounted post hole digger that snapped off in the ground years ago.
There may be better diggers or better lifters or better this or that, but who's gonna buy multiple pieces of machinery? The skidsteer kind of does it all reasonably. Digging, brush removal, forklift, trenching, hauling, lifting, etc.
It does tear up the ground. The price jump for tracks was pretty extreme.
Mine would be fine with over tire tracks and pneumatic tires but I have neither. That’s a $3k outlay on an 8k machine. I’ve been looking for used for over a year and they are irrational- wanting 80% of the price for a track that’s about spent.
Standing on the shoulders of giants. Giants with dirt under their nails
We made an arbor tee to test it. Its 2ft up and 6ft across. It is 2-7/8" pipe which slips over the 2-3/8" pipe posts. It is a little too short, risking me hitting my head on it. But we can lift it up 4" before we weld it on. Another option is to make it 2ft 6" up and 5ft 6" across so it rests on the cross bars. Either option is fine. We are using 8ft posts for the entire tee. We will not have any scraps left, which is good.