Winter rains have finally saturated our soils, bringing forth wonderful seeps and seasonal springs to the land. We addressed most of our drainage with initial earthworks, including the pond, and catchment basins which help collect and direct water flow down the hillsides and off roofs. In one particular area, a rain water garden has been a plan since the original design of Leafhopper Farm. This space hold a lot of run off, becoming swampy and soft along one edge of the graveled turn around space by the shop. Much of the well house roof run off also falls into this ditch space, creating a large pool and crating a muddy foot path to the bath house. I recently set a pipe in at the foot path, allowing the water to continue its flow, while raising the foot path with a few wheelbarrows full of fine gravel. Then I dug a few larger pools to hold more water. I used two old pieces of plywood to create dams, and designed more pipe outflows on the uphill side of the bank. What was supposed to be an afternoon play project turned into a two day mud and water fest with wonderful results!
Here are the two pools, the edge will be lined with poplar logs. There are some young willow shoots that have survived a gorilla planting from last year. Now that the bank is freshly mudded, wildflower seeds with be sewn to promote more pollination habitat next to the water. The logs offer cover for small animals like frogs and salamanders. Though the pools are seasonal, the moisture around these banks will remain with proper habitat restoration and cover.
The chickens are also excited about the new water feature at the farm. That sword fern was rescued from under the new cabin constructed last summer. Apparently there was enough ambient light getting under the structure to nurture the fern, because young new leaves were still succulent and green. Let’s hope the winter shock won’t take out the rhizome.
Some of the human residence asked if we could have coy fish. Though that would look very cool while there’s water in these ponds; when summer time evaporates these nice pools, the fish will need a new home, and our pond is not quite big enough yet to host large fish. Perhaps we’ll try out small gold fish. They might even attract and feed the GBH. There will be enough new life taking shape in these pools over the next few months, stay tuned for future updates!
View of the pools from the door of the bath house. Our rooster Sydney struts on the right, heading to the newly debarked logs to hunt insects. I know he’ll find a few creepy crawlies.
There are also some bullrushes transplanted from other wet areas of the parking lot. In the less than 2 days of redirecting water flow with purpose; the land now has 2 going on three rainwater pools, less muck in the parking area, beautification of a public area, and more habitat for vulnerable species like frogs and insects. Birds and other wildlife will be attracted to the open water both for refreshment, and sustenance.