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This is a badge bit (BB) that is part of the PEP curriculum.  Completing this BB is part of getting the sand badge in earthworks.

We are going to add a tiny bit of edge in your landscape.  A very small pond that will probably fill up with "stuff" and disappear in a few years - but that little bit of diversity will remain for decades.

You will build and seal a very small pond.  Very, very small.   Stupid small.  But easy!  Very, very easy.  And small.  And sealed!

There are several ways to make a pond hold water.  For this BB, we will emulate a pig wallowing and the hooves compacting.

To get your creative juices flowing, here's compacting with feet and water at the Krameterhof:


Here's Josiah earning the BB:



Make a hole in the ground that is 2 feet in diameter and at least a foot deep.
  - pour in 5 gallons of water and prove that the water is gone in less than 10 minutes
  - compact the soil (probably with different kinds of digging bars, or a piece of rebar stabbed into the hole a hundred times)
  - repeat the 5 gallon test with water remaining for at least an hour

To get certified for this BB, post:

- either a series of pictures or a video that is less than 60 seconds
- show the new hole
- show how long it took to drain 5 gallons
- show the compaction process
- show the new 5 gallons going in
- show a toothpick marking the water line once the water is in
- show another toothpick marking the waterline five minutes later
- show that the water level has not dropped more than a half inch in an hour


COMMENTS:
 
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I have a large pond that won't hold water.  I have very sandy soil.  I had the dam cored when it was built (important and I may have missed any posts dealing with coring a dam).  The 80 year old man with the bull dozer said there was a vein of sand that might keep it from holding water.  He dug 3 other ponds for me which have held perfectly, so it's the sand that's the issue.  He suggested a number of things  to fix it.  Bentonite of course, but the old time way was to pen a herd of goats or sheep in the pond and feed them there for a month or two.  There is an implement that they use to build roads etc. called a sheep's foot.  It has multiple little pegs on the outside of a heavy drum which sometimes can be filled with water.  They roll it back and forth repeatedly over the area to be compacted.  It still won't make a difference on pure sand, it needs some clay to really plug it.  The manure and rotting hay from the actual living sheep as well as their pointy little feet plug the porous sand area.  The old timers also say about adding material "Sand on clay is money thrown away. Clay on sand is money in the hand".   So the compacting method you are using is time honored. I guess now I need to get a herd of goats.  I'm going to try this.  Question:  When you say build this micro pond "at the foot" of the hugelkultur bed, is that uphill or down hill from it?
 
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Rebecca Gray wrote:I have a large pond that won't hold water.  I have very sandy soil.  I had the dam cored when it was built (important and I may have missed any posts dealing with coring a dam).  The 80 year old man with the bull dozer said there was a vein of sand that might keep it from holding water.  He dug 3 other ponds for me which have held perfectly, so it's the sand that's the issue.  He suggested a number of things  to fix it.  Bentonite of course, but the old time way was to pen a herd of goats or sheep in the pond and feed them there for a month or two.  There is an implement that they use to build roads etc. called a sheep's foot.  It has multiple little pegs on the outside of a heavy drum which sometimes can be filled with water.  They roll it back and forth repeatedly over the area to be compacted.  It still won't make a difference on pure sand, it needs some clay to really plug it.  The manure and rotting hay from the actual living sheep as well as their pointy little feet plug the porous sand area.  The old timers also say about adding material "Sand on clay is money thrown away. Clay on sand is money in the hand".   So the compacting method you are using is time honored. I guess now I need to get a herd of goats.  I'm going to try this.  Question:  When you say build this micro pond "at the foot" of the hugelkultur bed, is that uphill or down hill from it?



I don't think it matters which side of the hugelkultur bed it is on, just that it is placed at the base of it, probably so the runoff from the bed will continually add water to the small pond. Every little bit helps... especially for a very small pond! This BB certification sounds like a fun project I would like to try sometime soon.
 
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Rebecca Gray wrote:When you say build this micro pond "at the foot" of the hugelkultur bed, is that uphill or down hill from it?



Yes.



Whichever is most convenient for you.
 
paul wheaton
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Josiah just gave me this video to put up on my channel to show that he completed the BB

 
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My soil is really sandy.  I'm going to try this BB but what happens if after compaction it still drains a bit too quickly?  

Is the point of the BB to do a test to see IF your soil can hold water?  Or is it to make it hold water no matter what?
 
paul wheaton
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Mike Jay Haasl wrote:My soil is really sandy.  I'm going to try this BB but what happens if after compaction it still drains a bit too quickly?  

Is the point of the BB to do a test to see IF your soil can hold water?  Or is it to make it hold water no matter what?



Let's have the problem first.

I would like to see the experiment done with the digging bar going the correct way - pointy end down.   Pack, pack, pack ...  

This soil was very sandy.   We call it "arrakis" because it is like beach sand back there.   And it sealed.


 
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The first 2 pix shows the 2'x2'x15" deep hole & the first 5 gallons of water. Third pic is at the 10 minute mark.

Pix D through J show how it sealed after some sledge hammer work. No toothpicks on hand so knives were substituted. Also added some very fine clay obtained with a 5 gallon bucket, scoops of topsoil, & some water. It maintained right at 1/2" per hour loss for at least four hours. Since then more fine clay has been added & it's holding water longer than 36 hours now. I'm ultimately aiming for 2 or even 3 days retention but it seems to meet spec now so here it is for review.

The last 3 pix show some of the initial sledge work on the next hole & a comparison between the two holes. One pic is after an overnight rain. Notice the difference. The last pic is after both were completely filled & left to drain.

Our cow watering hole was built with this same method, except a hard wheeled tractor was used. Hasn't been dry in over 50 years. These holes will be joined together soon. Wild rice awaits!



a-before-first-fill.jpg
[Thumbnail for a-before-first-fill.jpg]
b-5-gallons.jpg
[Thumbnail for b-5-gallons.jpg]
c-10-minutes.jpg
[Thumbnail for c-10-minutes.jpg]
d-filled.jpg
[Thumbnail for d-filled.jpg]
e-5-minutes.jpg
[Thumbnail for e-5-minutes.jpg]
f-30-minutes.jpg
[Thumbnail for f-30-minutes.jpg]
g-1-hour.jpg
[Thumbnail for g-1-hour.jpg]
h-2-hours.jpg
[Thumbnail for h-2-hours.jpg]
i-3-hours.jpg
[Thumbnail for i-3-hours.jpg]
j-4-hours.jpg
[Thumbnail for j-4-hours.jpg]
k-sledge-work.jpg
[Thumbnail for k-sledge-work.jpg]
l-after-rain.jpg
[Thumbnail for l-after-rain.jpg]
m-5-hours-after-both-filled.jpg
[Thumbnail for m-5-hours-after-both-filled.jpg]
Staff note (Nicole Alderman):

I hereby certify that this badge bit is complete!

 
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We've no shortage of clay here. My son and I dug a pond here a few weeks ago, but it wasn't quite big enough for the BB, and was expanded:

(This spot was chosen because in 8 months living here, it's only hosted oxidizing grass)

The photo filenames bear the timestamp of when the photo was taken.
IMG_20200505_163301_1.jpg
Hole, about 16" deep
Hole, about 16" deep
IMG_20200505_162846.jpg
Hole, 24" across
Hole, 24" across
IMG_20200505_164454_1.jpg
First 5+ gallons
First 5+ gallons
IMG_20200505_165418_1.jpg
Drained about 12 minutes later
Drained about 12 minutes later
IMG_20200505_170028_1.jpg
Artisinally sealed pond!
Artisinally sealed pond!
IMG_20200505_172159_1.jpg
New 5+ gal
New 5+ gal
IMG_20200505_172313_1.jpg
Popsicle Stick #1
Popsicle Stick #1
IMG_20200505_173015_1.jpg
5 minutes later, the popsicle stick is still in meniscus range
5 minutes later, the popsicle stick is still in meniscus range
IMG_20200505_182600.jpg
An hour later, it's hard to measure water drop, maybe 3/16"?
An hour later, it's hard to measure water drop, maybe 3/16"?
IMG_20200506_090154.jpg
The next morning, yes, the water level is dropping
The next morning, yes, the water level is dropping
Staff note (Mike Haasl):

I certify this BB complete!

 
Ash Jackson
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I can't seem to add more pics to my last post, so here are close-ups of the tape measure
IMG_20200505_163305_1.jpg
16 deep
16 deep
IMG_20200505_162856.jpg
24 across
24 across
 
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https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/paulwheaton/greenhouse-1
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