25 – Creating Permaculture Swales

The amount of work just to bring the keyway back to the original grade was staggering. Next, we had to plumb the overflow and irrigation pipe. The orchard is below the grade of the pond and will be irrigated by pond water full of life and oxygen. The top of the pipe going through the dam wall will be cut at the full level we choose and any overflow will run into swales with fruit and nut trees planted on them.

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We made our own anti seep collar to keep water from traveling down the outside of the drain pipe and weakening the dam wall.

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Now that the prep work was done it was time for the dozer to come in and start shaping to match the keyway.

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From here it was several days of pushing material then digging and extending the keyway up.

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Fast forward several days after wheel rolling with lots of water and the loader this is the completed shell. Looks are a little deceiving size wise as Amy is pretty small and there is still 24″ of clay that will line the pond bringing the average depth to 6 feet.

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Over the next few weeks we screened tons of clay and started laying into the pond and compacting it in short lifts until we had about 12″.

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We made more good material and mixed it with our compost on the outer shell. The idea was to get grass growing for erosion control as soon as possible. It also gave us an opportunity to try different seed mixes and amounts of compost to find a good combination.

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