From the start of our homestead building venture I have wanted a pond. It was high-up on my list of wants as we went land shopping. I have an idyllic picture in my mind: rippling blue water with ducks paddling about and a lazily rotating windmill off to the side.
We were just fortunate to find a place with a good sized pond and in planning the barn home we decided to situate it just so to where we can sit on the back porch in the evenings and take in the view.
The trouble with the pond is that the edges are not very well defined. I am sure there is a more articulate way of describing this, but I have yet to learn pond lingo. When it rains (which unfortunately is not very often these days) the pond looks more like a very large puddle than a pond.
Until we bought our property I didn’t know that ponds could be rebuilt. Neither did I have any idea of whom one should call in order to have such a job done. So when I saw one of those homemade signs hanging on a fence post advertising “Pond Work” (among many other farm-ey things) I made a call to see about what could be done.
Turns out “Pond Work” is carried out by a back-slapping, guffawing, story-telling duo I have come to refer to as the Bros. Pond. Husbie has stated that if this were a Beatrix Potter setting, they’d probably be represented by a pair of jolly toads.
The Bros. Pond arrived one stifling afternoon to have a look at our project. Within five minutes they had launched their scare tactic: freak the woman out about the construction of her home. I was promptly informed that unless I had a pad, come the first downpour we’d be standing in our living room in water ankle-deep. We discussed this for several minutes, and yes, I confess, I did start to buckle. (A pad? Do we have a pad?) It never crossed my mind that perhaps they were wanting the job of building the pad, hence the suggestion, nor did I remember until later that “pad” is the first item listed on our contract.
Scare tactic launched we moved to the pond, me still a bit wobbly kneed thinking about the pad. At this point, being ignorant of ponds, I stood back and allowed the Bros. Pond to discuss the situation between themselves in their affable manner. Although their conversation was punctuated by trips down memory lane “Hey, didn’t we do something like this for Jed? Whatever happened to Jed? Heard somewhere his wife took sick…” I did learn a few things about ponds:
~The gentle slope towards the road is called a dam. Should the pond ever overflow (ha) the dam is engineered in such a way that the water will flow around behind it.
~The unsightly vegetation around the edge of the pond is there because the water is so shallow. Deepen the pond, get rid of the vegetation. And the unfriendly snake* that made an appearance during our discussion, whom I’m sure has relatives and offspring.
~In order to deepen the pond, it must be drained. This is accomplished by cutting a trench through the dam.
~Something must be done with the dirt dug out of the pond. It has to be dumped in such a place so as not to wash back into the pond.
~The best way to get rid of said dirt is to cart it back to the far end of the property line where it will cure for two years before it can be used for anything (such as a garden).
~The entire process only takes about a week but costs a fortune.
There was much discussion, and more reminiscing, but no formal decision was made – the Bros. Pond want to bring out their back hoe to find out how deep the pond really is, would we run into rock underneath potentially rendering the situation undoable, etc. etc.
I confess that husbie and I were disappointed. We were hoping this would be an easy and relatively inexpensive fix. Since it is deep enough that it holds fish (we’ve seen them jump), and could house ducks as it is, we’re wondering if letting well enough alone might be a possibility; provided of course we could control the vegetation.
So the pond problem becomes a saga and on it continues…
*The Bros. Pond were positive this snake (not the one pictured) was a water moccasin and up until a few days ago I believed them…until I did some research of my own. I’m convinced it was nothing more than a harmless water snake. Another scare tactic perhaps?