THANK you Jen and Miles, excellent information, and yet it just raises more questions!!! Isn't that always the way...
Jen and Miles: I would like to make this area suitable for growing fruit trees, I have plenty of veggie garden. Some areas of the land slope more gradually than others, so some parts might be slightly steeper than 17 degrees. There is a forest there now: lots of young but tall trees with not so much underbrush. There are lots of drainage ditches that I thought were called "cuts," but which Darren, in his very helpful video series, (thanks miles!) refers to as a "runnel." There are many of these cut into the landscape draining towards the creek bed. This is where I get confused: these cuts are running perpendicular to the contour, whereas the Swales run parallel to contour. How do I mix and mingle Swales and the "runnels?" Should I put a pond in the runnel, which then spits overflow into a swale? Should I block the runnel with rocks to divert it into a swale? Jen, you mention using nitrogen fixers, etc. in conjunction with Swales...I used seedballs to cover my useless sod lawn with a winter cover crop, would it be beneficial to use seedballs to get a cover crop established on this land in preparation for digging swales? Or is that only for after they are dug...
The biggest obstacle to planning this out in my mind is the order to go about it all. Do I need to clear this land before digging Swales and ponds? Is it worth attempting any of this by hand, or should I plan everything out and just bite the bullet and call in the Cats and a steam shovel?
Darren shows something really cool where he puts a pond in the highest saddle, then pipes it into a drainage ditch which feeds ponds on lower saddles and irrigates the land underneath. That's SERIOUSLY freaking cool, and exactly what I would like to do, somehow incorporating the rainwater and gray water that is currently being unutilized.
You guys got the little grey cells between my ears working, thanks for all your help, and please offer up more input!!
P.s. The interesting thing is, I can't find info anywhere on the web of people "reviving" a dry creek bed. The neighbor tells me (I just purchased this property) that the creek has been dry over 30 years. My main priority I suppose is just to get this land rocking and rollin for some fruit trees, but I'd like to bring this old creek back if I can (I'm a dreamer!)