Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Forestry and Pond Projects

Mike Parkinson from the Soil
Conservation Service (SCS) taking
the first of many soil samples on
the Valhalla property
Been an exciting week at the Valhalla Project. On Tuesday we met with Forestry Service experts to discuss methods of protecting the house and eventual barns from wildfires. While thorough evaluation of the more heavily forested sections of the property will wait till late fall, when leaves are down and much of the undergrowth dormant, we can begin selective thinning of some of the dying or dangerous trees close to the house fairly quickly.

This will open the immediate area for more sunlight and grass growth while enhancing a savannah, park-like atmosphere.

On Friday representatives from Soil Conservation Service (SCS) came for a visit gsvand we drove out into the pastures and fields. Our main pond is bone-dry now, primarily because of being heavily overgrown with aquatic plants like cattails and bank plants that literally suck the pond dry. We're making plans to clean out the overgrowth and deepen and expand the pond.

This pond will be cleaned out, enlarged and fenced
off while a watering tank will be installed for livestock
A secondary pond still holds water and has been agreed to be our first major project. We will arrange, with assistance from the SCS, for this second pond to be deepened and expanded to almost twice it's current surface. By placing a holding tank at the bottom of the pond dam we will be able to tap the fairly constant temperature water for watering stock (that we plan to acquire) and even limited irrigation.

A holding pond within the dam itself will be less subject to summer heat and winter cold, and a series of buried water lines feeding off it will give us the option of using highly focused rotational grazing very effectively in the future.

Additionally, an existing stream will be fenced off to exclude livestock, thereby keeping the water cleaner and freer flowing, while still being available through a "ram pump" or solar pumps to fill water troughs for livestock.

All in all a win-win situation. We hope to begin serious work within two weeks.

While Valhalla doesn't have it's own livestock yet, one of the neighbors grazes his cattle on the property in exchange for mowing the pastures and keeping an eye on things until we are ready to
do so. The heat wave is hard on the cattle even though there is adequate water available; now the challenge will be to improve water quality in the creeks, clean and expand the ponds, and install
fencing and watering systems.

Our IRS application for nonprofit status is being processed, 
yet you can still donate to help Valhalla today!

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