Building Gander Hill Pond.

The first scoop of dirt from the pond site

The first scoop of dirt from the pond site

Bulldozer building pond

The bulldozer operator is Swede Hamilton who is 81 years old. He is a cousin of mine.

As I told you in my last farm report we wanted to get the pond that sits on our farm dug out deeper. I am happy to report that is what we are now doing. We were thinking about doing it next year but thanks to a suggestion by one of my readers and fellow blogger, Langela, at Iowa Farmerz Wife we decided to do it this year while it is still so dry. We want it deeper so we can use it for watering our livestock so it won’t dry out like it has the past two years.

The current pond was put in by the DNR in 2003 as a wetlands pond and is only about 2 feet deep. The contract expired in September and we decided we didn’t want to renew it. This is exciting and anxious all at the same time. We are so happy to see this going in but anytime we spend thousands of dollars I feel nervous about it and I have a hard time sleeping. Whenever we get ready to spend lots of money my wife always ask me if this is going to keep me up at nights and I always say no, but it does every time.

We had to drive back to our home in Illinois the first day the pond was started, and it won’t be done until Tuesday of this week. The size of the pond will be less with the new pond, we don’t have the budget to dig out the whole 4 acres that it is now. What ever they can do in 5 days will be what size it ends up being. We plan to go back soon after it is done and see what it looks like and I promise to have pictures and a complete update during the next Farm Report.

We got delivery of our new mower this past time we were at the farm.

We got delivery of our new mower this past time we were at the farm.

On top of spending money for the pond we also got delivery of our new Land Pride RCF 2060 mower. Needles to say with all this money we are spending I have not slept that well lately. We bought this mower to start taking back our land from invaders.

The new mower cuts down the willows and tall grass with ease.

The new mower cuts down the willows and tall grass with ease.

Willow trees have been slowly taking over our bottom ground and if not cut down before they get to be too big then our new mower won’t be able to do the job. Our old Mott flail mower couldn’t handle trees like the new one can. So for the last two years the willows have been growing like crazy. My wife who does most of the mowing when we are at the farm loves the way they new mower clears the land and our 30 horse tractor handles it easily.

We were at the farm all of last week and got a lot done with the new mower and the next farm report I will get you up to date.

About Gordon Milligan

I am a retired conductor for a commuter railroad in Chicago IL, I now live in and have bought a 40 acre farm in South Central Iowa that I have built from the ground up. My wife and I are trying to raise and grow most of my own food using sustainible and organic methods. I have a blog that journals my journey to becoming a farmer.
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6 Responses to Building Gander Hill Pond.

  1. Zephyr Hill says:

    Things are looking good! While I hate to spend money, too, sometimes spending a little money can get you a big return. I truly hope your pond will be like that! What a great idea to do it while it’s dry! I’ll be looking forward to seeing some updates as it fills. I truly hope it holds water for you. Our pond improvement was a complete waste of money. 😦 We consulted three guys and went with one who ended up cheating us. (Great your cousin can do yours!) When it didn’t hold water, we consulted three more guys. The first one proposed a huge cash outlay to line it with special clay trucked in from out west–that was a no-brainer! The last two told us that our ground is too rocky and our pond will NEVER hold water! Bad news, but at least the truth, at long last.

    Having the right equipment like your mower really helps a lot. It’s a great feeling to re-take your land from the invaders, isn’t it? 🙂

  2. jan says:

    HI Gordon,thanks your blog i made up small farming far from you but north west poland.I am 3 years old pensioneer and before been ships engineer.I made pond as soon as possible,and planted nearly 200 trees and usefull bushes as a plot is only 1 acre. last year weather was mostly dry and pond gave enough water for my my bushes are alive and i spent time with
    de-chaffing these trees with mantis, and it works,
    I bless you and go full ahead jan

    • Hi Jan, thanks for commenting. You are a lot like us, farming after you retired and planting 200 trees, bushes and putting in a pond. I am curious of your comment “de-chaffing these trees with mantis”. Could you explain more about that?

  3. Thanks for your kind comments Susan. Sorry to hear about your pond, I am hoping our pond will hold water, but you never know until we get some water in it. I have heard if the ground is rocky or sandy it will not hold water well. Our ground seems to be gumbo, what my cousin calls black dirt that plows up in big shiny chunks. After he makes a pass the soil is really shiny like it has a little oil on it.
    You are right about having the right equipment to do a job. I wish we would have bought the mower sooner. My wife said we should by a new mower a few years ago, but I didn’t want to spend the money. She reminds me she told me so 🙂

  4. Andrew says:

    You may lose sleep now, but it’ll save you sleepless nights later when you know it’s all fixed up right.
    We’ve been giving our new 7′ brushhog a workout knocking down all the box elder that have sprung up here in the past 10 years. Do you have many rocks in your part of Iowa? I can never remember too many rocks in Missouri, but here in Minnesota there are rocks everywhere. We’ve had the blades off for a re-sharpen several times now…

  5. Thanks Andrew, I have been sleeping better now that is almost done. We are lucky here. I have not seen one rock on our land so I am thankful for that. Our mower is considered a medium duty mower that will cut up to 2 inch diameter trees. With your bigger tractor did you buy a heavy duty mower that will cut up to 4 inch trees?
    Also, with all those rocks did you buy a mower with the slip clutch or shear pin?

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