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Major earthworks starting -- central texas

 
gardener
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Lol mike. When zach was doing a presentation in austin i met a lady who has property 20 minutes from me. Zach did a consult there recently. No underground water anywhere. But zach is a genious. While there is no water, they do have a creek running through the property. Its full of fish.

I think zach came up with a plan to use the cliff down to the creek. Something like a switch back trail with terraces. The terraces could be planted. They may strike a deal to get zach here around november.

To even get a trail that an atv could use is impressive, much less a full.size vehicle.  The homeowner would probably allow me to document this.

The stuff he comes up with....omg. The only difference between Zach and Sepp (imo) is Zach is still reachable/attainable/hireable. Not sure how long that will last. At the presentation in Austin we went around the room introducing ourselves. I said we were in the presence of of a great man, only he hasn't realized it yet. I wasn't talking about myself.

 
wayne fajkus
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Swale with culvert overflow is done. This puts water in pond vs my shop. A terrace will channel water to the pond.
20190429_165243-756x1008.jpg
swale leading to pond
swale leading to pond
20190429_165340-756x1008.jpg
culvert in swale system
culvert in swale system
 
wayne fajkus
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Current pond pics. Dam top is narrower. Its 2ft above overflow height and has a lesser amount of clay than core. Soil going on next.

In the bigger pic you can see the terrace that holds flood waters
20190429_194335-1008x756.jpg
building pond
building pond
20190429_194446-756x1008.jpg
building pond
building pond
 
wayne fajkus
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Starting from the culvert exit at the diversion swale(2 thread posts above this one), they started the terrace to infiltrate water on the pasture and get it to the pond. I need aerial shots or video at some point. The pics don't show the angles.  It looks awesome in person.
20190430_170945-1008x756.jpg
building swales
building swales
 
pollinator
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hugelkultur forest garden hunting chicken food preservation bee
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Wayne, did they say why they aren't using a dozer for the swales? I remember Travis saying he could put in 2 miles of swales in a day and thinking it was hyperbole, but they really are awesome. I would love some overhead pics, and topo if you can get them. I think I understand what they are up to, but it would be nice to have an actual picture. It's funny, around here it seems every road has someone with an old dozer. Some even run!
 
wayne fajkus
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I would guess that the delivery and pickup fee for one day dozer is not worth it, when when the excavator is there for whole project.

I'll do a drawing this evening. See if it makes sense as a total project.
 
wayne fajkus
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Here's basic plan
20190430_205715.jpg
swale and pond plan
swale and pond plan
 
wayne fajkus
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More pics of the terrace. I walked it off. About 240ft long. It should drain into the rocky path between sediment pond and main pond.

Also seeing signs of overflow at pond.
20190501_105348-756x1008.jpg
terrace building
terrace building
20190501_105149-756x1008.jpg
building swales
building swales
20190501_105021-1008x756.jpg
building pond and swales
building pond and swales
 
pollinator
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Awesome project, Wayne.

Is that Nessie in the pond?

thumb-20190429_194335-1008x756.jpg
[Thumbnail for thumb-20190429_194335-1008x756.jpg]
 
wayne fajkus
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I've kept the sasquatch out of the pics with creative camera angles, but forgot all about the Lochness monster!
 
wayne fajkus
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.72" of rain last night. Pond is about 6" shy of hitting terrace which would put water out overflow area.
20190502_094124-1008x756.jpg
new pond filling wih rain
new pond filling wih rain
20190502_094630-756x1008.jpg
diversion swale leading to pond
diversion swale leading to pond
 
Tj Jefferson
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Wayne just ballpark what is the grade on the terrace? Did they use the backfill blade or how did they smooth it? Asking for a friend... I He has some gnarly looking swales. I assume you need a little more grade than we do, if you are prone to hurricanes (of course we had a couple that dumped on us last year). I have been making them with less and less grade as I do more of them. Interestingly, the infiltration has improved so much the pond I built doesn't fill.
 
wayne fajkus
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If i remember the discussion, i think they wanted a 1ft drop every 30- 40ft. I'll confirm and correct if its different.

Slope of pond was 2:1. 1:1 being a 45 degree angle so 2:1 would be 22.5 deg?

 
wayne fajkus
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Terrace is 1ft drop at 100 ft
 
wayne fajkus
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Sculpting the terrace so its not a cliff on each side
20190502_151647-756x1008.jpg
Sculpting the terrace
Sculpting the terrace
 
wayne fajkus
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3" of rain in 2 days. The first pic is water covering the surrounding overflow terrace. 2nd pic is terrace showing back up after pumping.

Its cool how the terrace around the pond IS the overflow path.  Seems that this method will keep a lot of fish from going downstream. The water reaches the entire terrace, which covets6the entire circumference except the dam. This keeps the flow shallow as it exits. Another brilliant method od pond construction.

Crew is gone til monday. Zach comes back on tuesday.
20190503_095414-756x1008.jpg
new pond filled by rains
new pond filled by rains
20190503_095735-1008x756.jpg
new pond filled by rains
new pond filled by rains
 
wayne fajkus
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Zach wasnt here to say we couldn't .

I don't think carb vehicles can take that angle. It died on them.
20190504_140841-1008x756.jpg
truck caught playing
truck caught playing
 
Timothy Markus
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I think an old Toyota Landcruiser could take that angle, but it's always hard to tell from pics.  Looks like fun, though, and you'll need to re-hydrate after with a beer...
 
wayne fajkus
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These last 2 to 3 days are giving me the realization of the benefits i am giving to the surrounding landscape.  I am having to drain the pond so they can finish it next week. 16 hours of running a gas pump with a 2" hose has me rufflly half drained. I am continuing today. I should have opted for a monk pipe which can drain the pond via gravity. I will probably include those in future ponds. I didn't anticipate the benefit of it during the actual construction.

All that water would have drained off my property and under a big culvert under the hiway. Now (when finished), all this water will slowly infiltrate the landscape. This gas pump, if used on the 4 swales i have built, would drain the swales in 10 minutes. It is such a huge difference. Almost unfathomable to compare the two.

Here in Central Texas where we can get no rain from june to september, this will help....a lot....
 
wayne fajkus
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Look at what i almost stepped over. A baby fawn taking a nap. So cute....

Ben is back. Zach shpuld be here sometime tonight. Weather may be an issue to get things finished up. Also hoping to take them on a little kayak trip at the coast if time permits.
fawn-taking-nap-in-tall-grass.jpg
fawn taking nap in tall grass
fawn taking nap in tall grass
 
wayne fajkus
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Yesterday,  working on sediment pond. This is just above main pond. Water will exit this pond, run over a bed of rocks to churn/aerate the water , then enter main pond.

I am interested to see how the long terrace at culvert enters into there.

We are closing in on completion,  assuming weather cooperates.
20190506_195436-1008x756.jpg
building sediment pond
building sediment pond
 
wayne fajkus
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This is view from higher ground. You can see terrace, sediment pond forming,  and main pond below that
20190507_095124_crop_856x737.jpg
swale earth works
swale earth works
 
wayne fajkus
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They were busy bees today.  I would call this finish work. We are getting close.

The long terrace that carries water from culvert/swale is getting sloped with top soil.

Top soil is going on both dams (main pond and sediment pond)

Rocks were dumped in path between sediment pond and main pond.

Looks like main pond is at final depth.
20190507_180247-1008x756.jpg
earth works
earth works
20190507_180620-756x1008.jpg
building terraces
building terraces
 
wayne fajkus
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Big burst of rain this morning. Both ponds filled up and overflowed.  A few hours layer its blue skies. Al is lining the overflow from.sediment pond to main pond with rocks.

Ben is applying topsoil where he can. He needs the pond to go down another foot to get the ponds edge done. After that we shouldnt have to drain it again.
20190508_180244-756x1008.jpg
new pond filled
new pond filled
 
pollinator
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So fantastic, wayne.  Looks great!
 
Tj Jefferson
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Pretty awesome. It is amazing how much water is wasted from sheeting on degraded soil. Nice work. Can't wait to see the plants in place, making shade and soil for you.
 
wayne fajkus
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Pic of sedimemt dam that is mulched with hay. To right is pond edge terrace mulched with chips. To left is topsoil tapered from main pond edge to terrace coming from culvert.
20190509_165408-1008x756.jpg
mulching new pond banks
mulching new pond banks
 
wayne fajkus
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Scary story here. They are chaining the stumps together to sink for fish habitat. They encountered a black widow spider and a scorpion in the stumps, while in the water.  

Zach lost a shoe in the bottom muck.
20190509_165331-1008x756.jpg
fish stump habitat
fish stump habitat
 
wayne fajkus
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We are hours away from completion. I'll do my best to film a short video showing everything. I know the pics can be confusing

Right now everything is being manicured (seeded and mulched). Only one pile of soil left at this point. The last project (overflow from main pond)  is being finished.

In the first pic you can see how the terrace from culvert no longer has cliff edges. Second pic is overflow.
20190510_122634-756x1008.jpg
terrace
terrace
20190510_122708-1008x756.jpg
earth works
earth works
 
steward
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Yay! Photos look great Wayne. What a great project, so glad we were able to work together and it was so nice to meet you in person too! :) Tell Elizabeth I said hi too!
 
wayne fajkus
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Thanks cassie. I just got back, been gone for 3 days . The main pond was pumped before i left as they finished the overflow. It was a nice surprise to see it within 18" of being full. This is best shot i could get from ground (standing on hugel).

Sediment pond, main pond, and a combo shot of both. Ill get overflow pics tomorrow. Kind of cool how they did it.
sediment-pond.jpg
sediment pond
sediment pond
20190513_184337-1008x756.jpg
main pond
main pond
sediment-pond-and-main-pond.jpg
sediment pond and main pond
sediment pond and main pond
 
wayne fajkus
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Now that project is over i have some work to do. The seed mix i got had 4 or 5 different seed types. Zach wanted more like 15 different types. We found a company that sells native mixes in groupings like dam mix, slope mix, etc. Those seeds should arrive tomorrow.  Zach generally seeds over the mulch, not under so it didnt impact the project by not having them. I opted to replant the trees that were pulled. I also have one pile of woodchips and topsoil i can use elsewhere. Mushroom spawn came in, i need to innoculate.

Zach suggested keeping cows and horses out of the area until a couple of wet/dry cycles were done. Plants need to reestablish anyways so it should time out right.

Figuring out a longterm plan is tuff. Its something we talked about at the consult. The thread titled " does anyone make money using permaculture" pops in my head. I disregard it. Its not my goal. My use for the land was basically:

"I want someone 2 miles from me who doesnt know me to develop a spring from what you do here. I want to feed myself, then feed my friends, maybe feed others. "

Pretty vague.

Deer pressure is an issue. We discussed a 7ft fence. Problem is the fencing is brand new. Phase 2 (2020) has stout fencing. The whole section of phase 3 (2021) has bad fencing that needs replaced. So it seemed reasonble that phase 3 be set up as a deer proof food section since fencing needs replaced. This project (phase 1) didnt have to be the everything. It was very difficult to come to that conclusion. I fretted over this more than anything. The scope of the actual project was easy - "zach, go do your thing!"





 
Cassie Langstraat
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Love those photos Wayne. I think Ben took some of the finished project too, so once he sends them to me I might post one or two here. :)
 
Tyler Ludens
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If you need water plants for your pond, wayne, I can send you a box of them.  I have Louisiana Iris, Lizard's Tail, Duck Potato, Watercress, and Chinese Water Chestnut.  I also have Cattail but they should not be planted in a pond.  They can be planted in a spillway below the pond.

Let me know if you want any of these.

 
wayne fajkus
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Omg. Yes! One of my worries was getting native/acclimated stuff for in the water.  

Zachs opinion was get the plantings in the pond this year and not introduce fish til next year. This wait will result in 5x healthier fish and plants.
 
wayne fajkus
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I found a drone videographer that can take pics and vids. Its in motion , should have it within a couple of weeks.
 
wayne fajkus
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Seeds came in. I got pile of woodchips moved out today. Still need to move topsoil but i am in the middle of a hugel project not related to what Zach did. I need to finish moving some stumps before i add the soil.

Seeds came from seedsource.com. Not inexpensive but i like how the seeds were sorted per location (dam, wetland, slope, pasture. We have 51 different seed types. Diversity here we come. I think seedsource.com is regional to texas and maybe adjoining states.
20190514_174749-756x1008.jpg
seeds for terraces and pond shore
seeds for terraces and pond shore
 
Tyler Ludens
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wayne fajkus wrote:
Zachs opinion was get the plantings in the pond this year and not introduce fish til next year. This wait will result in 5x healthier fish and plants.



If you are getting your fish from Dunn's Fish Farm, prepare to wait a long while before you are scheduled for delivery.  I think I waited at least six months for my Bluegill.  They don't deliver out this way very often.

http://www.dunnsfishfarm.com/

https://www.facebook.com/dunns.fishfarm/

They communicate much better on Facebook than on their website.  In fact, the only reason I joined the evil Facebook was to communicate with Dunn's Fish Farm.  I know of no other fish supplier.

 
wayne fajkus
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My feed store is on the rout for a fish farm. It may be that one, not sure. One year i went on delivery day and placed my order right there and got the fish. The rout guy was familiar enough with stocking rates based on pond size. It went pretty easy.
 
wayne fajkus
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Spillway for main pond going back into ravine. It not solid rock path. The water plumes out over the grass then meanders into these rocks.
20190515_123726-1008x756.jpg
spillway for pond
spillway for pond
 
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