Today we heard the telltale quack of a duck, but closer to the house than usual. Mama Mallard was making her way slowly along our garden path en route to our little pond in the back forty where the ducks more often hang out. She had a herd of little fuzzballs with her, and by the time I got my camera they arrived at the pond.
There are seven little duck puppies for now, let’s hope the local cat doesn’t deplete their numbers…
Our little pond has (or had) a “deep end” and a “shallow end” with a small island in the middle, accessed by a deathtrap of a gangplank bridge. The pond would typically spend the last 6 weeks or so of summer somewhere between almost empty and completely dried up. This led us (mostly Lynda) to think seriously about getting it lined.
The island was always the obstacle to that plan… you would have to cut the liner to get it around the island (there is a decent sized tree on the island so you couldn’t just cut a donut hole and drop it over the top). An obstacle, that is, until we talked to Ken Hutten at Hutten Landscaping, who had the idea to divide it into essentially two ponds, line the deep end only, and let it overflow into the shallow end if it needs to. Even if (when) the shallow end dries up, the deep end should still have lots of water. This involved connecting the island to the shore on two sides, with berms formed with the dirt dug out to make the deep end deeper.
The first step was removing the old “dock”, and cleaning up Kitsch Island before the crew arrived. I was able to do that part. I like demolition, and this was probably my last demo for a while, we’ve torn everything else down already that needs tearing down:
The crew arrived on Thursday morning with a Bobcat and a Dingo (construction machines have awesome names) which could be heard almost constantly over the next two days.
This video shows them deepening the deep end with the Bobcat and transferring material with the Dingo:
The first materials the crew brought with them were sand and topsoil, used to prepare the site to accept the liner:
Once there is a decent layer of sand, next comes a layer of landscaping fabric, then the actual liner, then another layer of fabric. The fabric layers protect the liner from objects in contact above and below:
On the top layer of fabric, the Bobcat (with its fancy new sideways-tilting bucket) skillfully places the river rocks, the final layer:
Bell admires the completed project:
All that remains is to clean up and repair the lawn where the machines chewed it up. They brought lots more topsoil for this:
They relaid the slabs where our Muskoka chairs go, improving on the pattern while they were at it. The dogs approve:
Literally the moment the crew left, the skies opened up and a rainstorm of historic proportions filled the pond in about an hour:
With only a few loose ends to deal with, I’d have to say this was a pretty successful project, executed with professional precision by a fantastic crew, and a real pleasure to watch from the safety of the sidelines as it all fell into place.
Continuing from the previous post, I started in on demolishing the old Dock of the Pond today. It went pretty well, if not exactly super easy for an old guy such as myself. But still, within an hour or two, it was done and dusted. Still need to lug the remains up to the front and haul it to the dump. So long, splintery rickety death trap, it was nice knowing you.
In progress (taking a break)
Saving this chunk to put potted plants on behind the shed.
We’ve been toying for a while with the idea of lining our pond, and have finally decided to go ahead with it. Our pond basically has a “deep end” and a “shallow end”. It used to have hundreds of goldfish but the heron got those. Lots of frogs still, though, and we’d like to save those if we can. We decided, in consultation with the landscaper who will be doing the work, to line only the deep end of the pond, and create berms that would allow any overflow from the deep end to spill into the shallow end, which will be left more or less natural and as is.
(click to view larger on Flickr)
The one piece of business for the shallow end, which falls to me, is to replace the ramshackle and unsafe dock, shown above. I’m determined to not overthink it, and will probably just make it the same as this, only safer and less ramshackle.
(click to view larger on Flickr)
Here’s a “before” picture panoramically portraying the pond previous to its being lined and landscaped later this month. The berms will join Kitsch Island to the mainland at front and back, defining the lined area on the right. The lining will then be covered with river rocks to make it look nice and hold the liner in place. There is inflow (when it rains) into the pond from the right, which will also be rationalized as part of the project.
The remains of our weeping mulberry tree is long past tears, and is in fact a terrific posing place for various birds, now that its long weepy branches, which used to provide them a place to hide, are long gone.