It all began with 7 days straight of driving a bulldozer 7-8 hours a day.
The D5 dozer from Carson Rental in Ithaca was very affordable at only $2000 for a week (included delivery & damage waiver)
Cleaning off the frozen clay took me 14 hours with a pressure washer. I don’t advise doing projects like this in the winter unless you’re a masochist.
I was able to dig 14 ponds and swale out 30 acres in one week
I worked around existing trees to dig ponds that blended in with the landscape
I also put in about 2 miles of roads around the property
Swales on steep sections of the hill were cut into the hill and then the spoils were deposited on the downhill side (mostly clay)
The large shagbark hickory on the left produced hundreds of young trees under it which were all preserved
On the flatter sections, I rolled up about 5-6 feet of topsoil into the swales to plant trees on
In total, I made about 14 ponds, most filled up within a day of digging them
The swales are spaced out about 20-30 feet apart and keep water from running off quickly
The large pond is about 50 feet across and was a natural depression that only required one small wall to be built on the top left
Great views means that everything is going to grow better
The main swimming pond is about 30 feet across and 7 feet deep
Where water collected in the swales I made much larger ‘swale ponds’
Another extremely long swale pond
The smaller 20-foot ponds only took about an hour to make
Where it was wet clay the 30,000lb dozer made a big mess
A larger pond above my house
The pond above the bard drains out into a swale, making sure the pond drains out through a keyhole or the swale is important to keep the dam from eroding
This was one of the hardest weeks of my life, but also the most rewarding. It was painful to spend $100 a day on fuel, but the ability of that D5 Dozer to transform my property was remarkable.