Saturday, May 10, 2014

Pecan Trees and Rebuilding a Pond

About three years ago, I bought some pecan tree seedlings from the Oklahoma Forestry Department and planted about 10 or so of them in a line in the weaning pen hoping that someday I'd have a miniature pecan tree orchard.  When I planted them I went to the extra steps of digging nice holes for all of them, adding some compost to the holes (the good stuff made from cattle manure instead of the citified "compost" they peddle in the stores), and I protected each one of them with some tree tubes. I swear that as soon as I planted the last tree, the temperature almost immediately rose to HOT, and the last cloud in the sky left for parts unknown.

We had two straight years of drought and heat with me hauling water once in awhile (but not too often, I don't want to deal with a bunch of spoiled trees in the future) trying to keep them alive, while I wondered if they were actually still alive down there in those tree tubes.  Last year, I had a glimmer of hope when it actually rained once in awhile, and I was able to see a little bit of green when I looked down the tubes.  

This year, they look like real honest-to-goodness trees, bursting out above the tubes and leafing out.  So, maybe there's still a chance that I'll be able to make a pecan pie sometime in the future.

I've been working off and on for about the same amount of time on rebuilding a small pond.  It all started out simple enough, there was a small pond in a pasture that had silted up and washed part of the dam out a long, long time ago.  It looked like an easy job to dig it out and fix the dam since it was such a small pond to begin with.  But, once I started it seemed like a shame to not put a little extra work into it and make it just a little bit bigger, so I started making the dam just a little bit taller. 

Then, it occurred to me that it would be foolish to just make the dam bigger and not make the pond deeper, so I started digging it just a little deeper.  So, with that sort of logical thinking, I've been digging down and building the dam up off and on for three years.

Since I didn't have much of anything else to do today, I went over and started moving dirt with the bulldozer. It's almost meditative to drive down into the pond, then push the dirt up the dam making sure to stop at the top, back down the dam, drive up out of the pond, turn around,  and drive back down into the pond again. 

Maybe, I'll finally finish this pond this year.
Down Into the Pond

Driving up the Dam

Cresting over the Top of the Dam


  1. I put in a bunch of trees about the same time you did, and the drought that year sucked... I dragged 300' of hose around all summer, feeling like an idiot, thinking they'd all probably die anyway.

    The only trees that haven't made it are a few of the pawpaws, which is no surprise... they'd much prefer the moist understory by a creek. There are a few other random ones that didn't make it, but I've been happy to see the vast majority leafing out this year and doing well.

    Pecans would be great... maybe I should try to establish some of those where the others failed...

    I would love to have a dozer like that... it would be a lot of fun to build a pond. I've thought about building a smallish one here using the little backhoe... maybe someday if I'm bored... it is meditative to sit on the thing and watch it move earth...

    1. When I said "...I don't want to deal with a bunch of spoiled trees in the future...", I was only half-joking. I had some seedlings that I planted at the same time that I tried to dig up so I could move them to a different spot and the roots went halfway to China (or it might have been Japan). Tough love can be the best thing for small trees because it forces them to get out there and hustle up some water during a drought, so when the wet times finally come they can really take off and grow (or at least that's how I see it).

      The best advice I can give about digging a pond is if you take a transit or a water level and lay out the pond before you start digging, it's a whole lot easier to dig a pond.

  2. I've always wanted to plant lots of trees and I have a few over the years but my life has been so transitory that I never have gotten serious. One of these days I'm going to end up somewhere that I feel is for good and start planting lots of trees. By then I'll probably be too old to ever hope to make a pecan pie from the nuts but perhaps my kids or grandkids will be able too. That is if they aren't like me and lead transitory lives.

    There must be something about men and bulldozers. I've often seen a deep draw and have thought that if I pushed up a dam I could have a damn fine pond!

    1. About 20 years ago, I helped my brother dig up some redbuds off of the farm so we could transplant them at his house. He moved out of that house soon after we planted those trees, but I happened to drive by about 5 years ago and "my trees" are still there.

      Start thinking like Johnny Appleseed and start planting trees anywhere and everywhere if you have ever thought about planting trees in the future. They'll always be your trees.

      Bulldozers are similar to the idea of the duality of man, I can destroy something with it or I can build something useful with it. If I build something with it correctly, it should look like I didn't do much work at all when I'm finished.

      It might be obvious that I do a lot of thinking and philosophizing while I'm using a bulldozer.