With rolling hills, lots of rainfall, and several springs on the farm, it is natural to have drainage ditches for the water to flow. One main ditch is a boundary for a large chunk of our property. Unfortunately about a third of our property is on the other side of this ditch. The land on the other side of the ditch contains the only flattish areas that can be used for row crops. It is currently being used to grow corn. There is also a wooded area that I’m sure the goats will love.
There is an area where an attempt at a crossing through the ditch was made. Basically several bricks, logs and other debris were piled up to block the water flow. Unfortunately this just caused a blockage for the water, forcing it to find other means to get to the other side. The crossing was also steep and posed a serious “getting stuck” issue. To top it off, my horse even refused to go down in this ditch to cross. I didn’t want to push her too hard because there are a couple large sink holes on there other side and she has a tendency to jump across things. I was afraid she would jump across and land in a hole.
So we decided to put in a land bridge to enable an easy crossing to the other side of our property.
The first order of business was to use the tractor and backhoe to dig out the ditch so the natural flow of water was restored. Steve thought it would be good to dig from the other side of the ditch, but when he tried to drive the tractor through the ditch, he got stuck! Fortunately he was able to back the
tractor up and get out. He turned the tractor around and started digging out ditch so that we could put a culvert in. After we got the water flowing and the ditch deep enough, Steve did some shaping with the ditch. We place the culvert in the ditch to make sure water went in – and out the other end, then we covered up the ditch.
While we were working on the “Cross the Ditch” project, I found some native wildlife – a Crayfish! He was a cute little guy, but I’m not sure where he came from. I think all our water comes from springs. Is it one of those things where if you have water, they will come? Eventually we will stock the lake we build with a bunch of these to feed the fish. Maybe we can grow crayfish big enough to make some crayfish gumbo! Yummy.
We piled a bunch of dirt on top of the culvert to level out the slope. We are now packing it down by going over it with the tractor, golf cart, and horses. We’ll be building it up as it packs down, we just need to find a good place to bring the dirt from. If we bring it from too far away, we need to fix another area first. It isn’t a deep ditch like this one – it is surface water flowing to
the ditch. It will actually big a bigger project to fix this one since a culvert isn’t going to work (water coming from too wide an area). It is easy to cross with horses, but the tractor is tearing this area up as it passes through. We have a couple pieces of lumber laid across it for the golf cart to go through, but the tractor is making this more difficult. We might need to construct an actual bridge for this one. I’ll keep you posted!