Monday, November 14, 2011

Clean water ahead! Pond renovation project completed

Heavy equipment operator Rickie leveling out the
pond wall. Rye grass has also been planted on the
the top and outer wall to help prevent erosion.
Valhalla's pond has been completed! While a $3,000 electrical fence still needs to be installed very soon to keep cattle and other large animals out, the pond itself is finished while we all wait for rain to fill it up. Rye grass seed planted on the top and outer wall will help prevent erosion, and native wildflowers will be planted on top of the rye next spring. The result will hopefully be a riot of color that attracts humming birds and butterflies.

The new concrete watering tank
Once the fence goes up livestock and wildlife will still be able to drink all the clean water they want from the concrete tank that has been installed in the front wall of the pond dam.

With this incredibly dry weather it could take a while for the pond to fill up, yet a small storm that showered two inches of rain on the property last week proved that the pond will in fact hold water. Once filled, fish and specially selected underwater plants will be added to help keep the water fresh and clean.

There are times when progress on preparing Valhalla for the first Soldiers and war zone civilian workers seems to be moving very slowly - too slowly - and while completing the pond is a major benchmark, it can be frustrating to know that it won't be absolutely complete until the fence is installed.

The original uncropped photograph of Gordon and me in
Afghanistan with Soldiers from the 18th Military Police Brigade
and their Afghani trainees. A cropped black and white version
of this same picture appears in our book "Warrior Police"; all
profits from the book have been pledged to help finance
Valhalla operations. (Click photo to enlarge)
Yet then we remember something that seems extraordinary and almost impossible to believe: exactly one year ago today Gordon and I were still in Afghanistan with little more than a crazy idea in our heads to build a place called Valhalla! We had never even heard of Yellville, Arkansas back then.

The Soldiers in the photo above were among those who not only inspired the concept but repeatedly egged us on. And here we are, just one year later, making what is in fact major progress in preparing the house and property for their eventual arrival - and for dozens and dozens of other Soldiers and war zone civilian workers who we've never met before. Progress only seems slow to us... until we stop to remember how far we have come.

Photo credit: MRAP gunner / Sergeant Matt Kunz,
who also took the most excellent very-authentic
photograph of the US Army MP that landed on the
cover of the book "Warrior Police." Thank you
Matt for the excellent photography!

Valhalla will have goats - but not camels! Life is very hard on animals in Afghanistan, like these little goat kids that we saw strapped to the back of a camel that was walking down a dirt highway. The goats that will eventually live here at Valhalla will have clean water, proper housing and excellent care while we remember how things were in a war zone.

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

1 comment:

  1. That pond renovation project turned out great. I hope we can see the new pictures of Valhalla's pond with the water.