Build It and They Will Come

We have put in two small ponds of the eight planned. The first one is located at the top of the property. It was a small, seasonal pond M dug by hand summer before last. We used it to pump water into a 3000 gallon cistern which in turn was used to drip irrigate fruit trees planted on the swale berm during their first year. We referred to it as “Pondle”. When we had use of the excavator a few months ago, M decided to dig it deeper and a little wider. It didn’t take long before local flora and fauna started to settle in.

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The second pond is actually a 4 x 4 x 4 silt pond at the end of our curtain drain. It too has only been around a few months and already has algae growing in it and now salamanders and frogs are using it as their breeding grounds. I counted at least 12 salamanders in there last weekend.

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A few frogs frequent the joint as well. In the next year or so a larger pond (the largest one we have planned) will be dug into this area providing more habitat for the locals as well as our planned flock of Cayuga ducks and other waterfowl.

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We have about six large compost piles cooking in different locations around the property. The field mice have been taking up residence under the tarps to stay warm. When I pulled the tarps off to turn the piles last week, the mice came scampering out. This one seems to think he is “hiding” from me behind that clump of grass.

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He made a run for safety in the slate stacks, but unfortunately Magpie caught one of his buddies. You have to look closely to see the tail sticking out of her mouth. I felt bad, but it’s hard to discourage her from doing her job as a ratter. When we have the farm up and running, we don’t want the field mice taking up residence in any of the outbuildings or the house.

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About La Femme Farmer

Starting up a small farm is the goal for the second half of my life. It's a late start I know, but better late than NEVER! Growing food, cooking and eating are my passions and now I get to do it full-time (and then some). and yes, that's a tomato from my garden!
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8 Responses to Build It and They Will Come

  1. mashazager says:

    Are you lining the ponds at all? We have one that is filled from the drainage around the house, but it doesn’t stay full long enough to attract much wildlife.

  2. No, but we have clay soil that seems to seal quite nicely on its own. As a “belt and suspenders” approach to the silo that we turned into an underground cistern, we did toss a couple bags of bentonite in the bottom as added insurance. You might try that instead of installing plastic liners.

  3. DM says:

    I am constantly impressed by the intentional planning and follow through you guys have done and continue to do. I would benefit from some long range planning on our set up. Thanks for the update! DM

  4. Thanks DM – we hope that all of the planning ahead will pay off for us in the end. Since we aren’t spring chickens, we need to get this pretty close to right. We joke about it all of the time, but it’s true – we are designing the farm for “old people” because by the time we get it up and running as an actual income producing farm – we are going to be old!

  5. The pond areas look great and seem to be giving the living things a place to flourish and have fun! I used to love searching for and finding salamanders as a kid. They’re so unique!

    • Thanks Caitlin. I agree – the salamanders are pretty cool. I stumbled upon a mama and her babies in my yard last summer under a piece of rotting wood. They were soooo cute! Wish I had my wits about me and taken a pic, but I was so freaked about disturbing their nest I thought it best to leave them be.

  6. Bill says:

    I wish our dog would do that. She loves chasing squirrels and such but I’ve never seen her go after a mouse. It’s great that you’re bringing so much life to your place with the ponds.

  7. I’m happy she takes the task of rodent control on, I just wish she didn’t have to “play” with them first. Poor little creatures…

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