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bob day
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buckingham, virginia, United States
Climate Zone:
Warm Temperate

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There are two sides to everything

Posted by bob day 11 months ago

This past summer saw major upgrades to my house and for whatever reasons (mostly money), I have slowed down on the finalisation of the dams and swales, and decided to put that part of the project off for a year. With the major dams holding back run off water and erosion controls already in place, I figure that I have a jump start on the full hydration of the landscape and even though it would be nice to have everything finished and growing, it will not be a great setback. To be really effective the growing systems will need more water than is currently available, so the extra time here might end being beneficial if things are planted into a wealth of water which is slowly accumulating.

The upper dam almost dried up completely, and it is dubious whether the stocked catfish survived. So with the coming of winter I have stopped feeding, and I'll have to wait for Spring to see what happens next with that dam. The size of the dam, and the quantity of water it held far into the dry season was encouraging, and the enlargement and reinforcement of the dam and pond area will likely see even more water retained for a longer period.

I finally got around to installing a RAM pump in my creek, and once it was in place I could only wonder why I hadn't done it sooner. Granted, plumbing parts are getting more expensive, and even though I had lots of parts in my storage, including the two most expensive one way valves,  just the incidentals to complete the build were 50$, which seemed like an awful amount for a few elbows and adaptors.

Anyway, I ran a long piece (actually three pieces) of 1/2 inch black poly up to the goldfish pond, and with a short learning curve on the operation and length of supply line, with a change of placement it soon had a steady trickle of water flowing into the pond.

Granted it wasn't much(I wasn't even sure it would work with only 4-5 feet of fall), but the experience of the free water pumping action that could go on for a very long time was magical.  I have already removed the pump from the creek for the winter, (no sense taking a chance on freeze breaks), and the next larger version is already in the works. The change from a 1" input to a 1&1/2 inch valve and pipe should double the water pumped. I will likely only be using it 4-5 months a year when the ponds are losing water, and for a while that energy will be directed at the goldfish pond since they are my  favorites, but over time it will probably become a more or less steady input into the high dam.

The good, the bad, and ...

I will refrain from passing too many judgements on the 42" natural gas pipeline that wants to come through my front 15 acres, except that at times I thought the survival of the planet depended on whether this natural gas upgrade actually went into service.

As the time gets closer to when I expect to be sued for the eminent domain rights to my property, the time also gets closer to a relatively large influx of money. I won't bore you with the details of what this might cost me or what I might recover. It will definitely be more money at one time than I have seen in quite a while. Like Bill said, when too much money accumulates it becomes a pollutant. His solution was often to throw a party;-)

So as deadlines approach, and more permits force their way through reluctant environmental protection institutions that have been overtaken by the Trump appointees, this great boon doggle of a pipeline, may actually generate a few positives in my world, and like everyone knows in Permaculture, changing a great evil into a great blessing is what we are supposed to specialize in, so I suppose whatever amount of money I end up with the real test for me will be what sort of good use I can make of it.

I can see a speedy installation of swales, completion of dams, and thousands of new trees in my future-The mostly oak and poplar forest over here will have honey locust, persimmon, apple, red bud, and many other types that used to grow around here more abundantly. Those would have been in my plans anyway, but now they will accelerate rapidly.

Of course the loss of the front 15 acres will be an overall hit to the value of the land, but perhaps with some wise investments I can recover that value in other ways. I made a decision early on not to let the potential pipeline stop my forward motion, and all the major upgrades to my systems have been made since the threat of a Pipeline first reared it's ugly head.

With enough of us working to make these sorts of infrastructures obsolete, my ongoing hope would be that it will be used less and less until finally it will simply be removed. I would say that these destructive forces are only bad if we fail to turn the evil back on itself to create good.

Speaking of upgrades, I'm turning my rocket stove into a batch burner, who needs natural gas when there are solar panels and coppiced trees to provide electricity and fuel.

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My Permaculture Qualifications
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Geoff Lawton online PDC 2014
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Teacher: Geoff Lawton
Location: Online
Date: Apr 2014

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