Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Watching the water flow

     It's been a rough last few weeks out here, including a couple rounds with the common cold combined with a few good snow falls.  I'm getting to that point where I'm just plain sick of winter.  Still, I have it on good authority that Spring is just around the corner.  On the last day of February, 4 sandhill cranes took a walk through the alfalfa behind our yard.  Now I happen to believe that the cranes have a much better perspective on these things than a groundhog ever will, more at stake too.  The snow is lingering despite several days above freezing and about an inch of rain.

     The chickens have tracked a lot of that moisture into the coop, leading to damp conditions inside and a bit of ammonia odor.  We have had to add quite a bit of dry straw and pine shavings to keep it under control.  I plan to clean out the bedding again as soon as things are dry enough to get the wheelbarrow around.  Otherwise they are doing well.  We still have all 20 birds (17 hens and 3 roosters) and the 6 that we moved to a farm are also still kicking.  I'm really proud and a little amazed that we have managed to keep everyone safe and healthy for this long.  Egg production has been really good at about 12-15 a day.  Yesterday we got 17 for the first time.

     The great part about this time of year is the opportunity to get out and observe the water moving over the landscape.  It is a great way to understand the direction things are flowing.  Which is an important thing to consider when building, laying out gardens, or planning rain collection or water harvesting land features such as swales and ponds.

     Tracing water's path can also help to locate and identify areas with erosion damage.

      One thing I have noticed is the way that the chickens work to help us capture water and recharge our aquifer by creating texture in the landscape.  Watching the snow melt and slowly seep into the dust baths our hens made has driven this lesson home.  It also leads to another profound concept.  That just as an arc between two points is longer than a straight line between the same points; textured land has more surface area.  Thus, we can literally make the world a bigger place, or at least add square footage to our yards and gardens.  This has me motivated to try my first true hugelkultur bed this year.

No comments:

Post a Comment