Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Latest

Well, time for a catch up as we've been at it every day and a bit has been happening. We're nearly finished with the 12-ton excavator which has broken a bit of hydraulic pipe and once Jay manages to fix it we'll fill and ram in earth around the baffled pipe through the goose pond wall, put in a short swale and spillway off the goose pond, maybe make a start on the small swales in the house orchard (to be finished by hand) and that will be about us. We're planning to get a grader for the access track and to get the main crop terrace level. Then maybe a bulldozer for the wetlands - we'll see what happens.

But all the main swales are finished! They look just beautiful. Curving across the landscape like level snakes. We've also put a crossing pipe for access over each one, raked them smooth and removed all the remaining grass chunks, then sowed them with a cover crop including oats, fenugreek, barrel medic, wooly pod vetch, lucerne, red clover, white clover, sub clover, purslane, rape seed, rye corn, yarrow and BQ mulch (a brassica mix from Green Harvest). Yesterday Carey, Cam and I started scattering seed on the three swales on the north-facing slope. We took one swale each and none of us made it much further than half way with our allocated seed, which was already about four times too much seed for the whole swale! The problem was that all that you could really see going out was the oats so for those first halves we have probably about 8 or 10 times too much seed. Bring it on! Overseeding Mother Nature style. So over the next few weeks we expect to see the swales be seized by our cover crops - accumulating biomass, fixing carbon and nitrogen, and keeping the grass away. Given there were showers predicted for the next five days we cancelled the hydromulch and saved maybe $2000 which was a bonus.

Jessie has spent the morning planting out tagasastes on the mounds at four metre spacings and they look great. It's an excellent feeling to have the seed and trees in. It's as if step one is over. The swales are cut, shaped and planted. Still heaps to do but even if nothing more happened the swales will be doing their thing, fast-tracking soil growth and forest re-establishment.

Young Jay getting into the swale-making flow.

That's one buff lookin' swale.

The batter - what earthmovers call the angle put on any vertical cuuts so they don't collapse over time.

One of the three crossing pipes.

Cam putting a finishing touch on the swale and spillway that hooks into the east side of the dam.

The pipe going through the goose pond wall.

1 comment:

AdmiralBarryTwoSpoons said...

Good lord,

You fine folks are really doing something amazing, do you know that!?
Well, I suppose you do or you may not be doing it so enthusiastically otherwise - take a look at those photographs, you are all over the land like a streaker with shingles!
Heaven's above, I can bearly contain myself awaiting the next installment - to the swales men!!

Regards, regardless

Admiral Barry Two Spoons