Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘silt fence

Standing Corrected

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I stand corrected. My neighbor finally got my message and stopped by yesterday to discuss the soil eroding from his corn field. In my angst over the mess, I had jumped to the conclusion that he had neglected to leave a patch of un-tilled grass waterway.

In fact, he did, and it has a wonderful patch of grass, below which are some weeds taller than his corn. I had not walked far enough up into the field to notice the full scope of what was going on. Had I looked just beside my focus of the current source of sandy top soil, I might have noticed.

I think it was the willow tree that obscured a full view.

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The sad truth is that the heavy flow of downpour runoff has simply migrated to either side of his grass waterway.

There isn’t really anything he can do about it right now, but just the fact he is now acutely aware of the current situation helps my mind. When he cuts at the end of the growing season, he will better be able to see the whole picture of what is happening, allowing him to consider options going forward.

It may simply be that he tries making the grass water way wider. I got the impression that he believed it was just an unlucky timing of heavy rain in the spring, before the planted corn had sprouted, that created this situation, so the fix will rely on a hope we get lucky and it doesn’t rain like that next year.

I am more of a mind that the likelihood of heavy downpours will only increase until the global temperatures somehow reverse the current trend and drop a degree or two.

Either way, the solution appears to involve a wider portion of un-tilled soil, but that won’t take effect immediately. For now, I am facing the challenge of dealing with the filled silt fence and finding a way to stretch its effectiveness through the rest of this summer and fall.

I’m trying to decide where I can put the sandy soil if I dig out the front of my silt fence. I’d like it to go somewhere that doesn’t end up just washing away the next time it rains, and that’s a daunting feat. I love the hilliness of our terrain, but the runoff erosion tends to be a constant result.

I’m back to that challenge of striving to work with the natural order and not against it. I want to figure out a solution that involves allowing water to take the easy path it seeks, but without it causing such extreme erosion. It’s hard to convince water to flow gently when the land is not so flat.

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Written by johnwhays

August 20, 2017 at 9:31 am

Oh My

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Anyone need some August rain? We have extra. I’d be happy to share.

Unfortunately, all that water fell in a very short amount of time yesterday morning, so the result was something of a flash-flood type of runoff.

Our silt fence along the northern border below our neighbor’s corn field was already filled with sandy topsoil that has flowed with every rainfall since we installed it. That led to an overflow which flattened some of our grass beneath an inch or two of silty muck.

Balancing that negative with a positive, the trail at the bottom of our hill in the woods, where I placed the pavers, is working perfectly. There is a small lake-like puddle where I spread the salvaged landscape rock, while the pavers are providing excellent (dry) footing across that rest of that section.

The amount that fell overnight will get tallied after the sun comes up today, but by the looks of the radar and sound on the roof and skylight last night, we got a lot more of the unneeded wet stuff than we wanted.

I sure wish I could transfer a large amount of it to the drought-stricken regions that need the water a lot more than we do.

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Written by johnwhays

August 17, 2017 at 6:00 am

Silt Filtered

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The new silt fence installation mostly worked, but it wasn’t quite up to the task of yesterday morning’s deluge. We received 2-inches of rain in a span of about 20 minutes. I made a quick reconnaissance trek to assess the worthiness of our installation in the moments after the downpour and found this:

It was a little deflating, but not unexpected. Interesting to see how easily the water pressure pushed away the bales as it overflowed the plastic fabric barrier. The good news is that most of the silt did remain on the uphill side of the fence.

The water will not be denied. When I pushed the bales back in place and stopped the overflow, the soil beneath my feet simply bubbled up with flow out of the ground like a spring.

Five and a half years ago when we started this property adventure, I had no idea what I was in for in terms of actual land management. If I have learned anything in that time, it is that whatever the design might be that we conjure up to enhance this land, it better fully keep in mind and will be wholly subject to, the whims of the changing climate and the water behavior it will unleash, from drought, to frost heaves, to flash flood and everything in-between.

With reverent reference to the classic thriller, “Jaws” :

We’re gonna need a bigger fence.

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Written by johnwhays

June 12, 2017 at 6:00 am

Okay Already

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I’ll tell. I’ll tell. Enough time has passed that she’s gotten over the shock and trauma and has been able to have a few good laugh-till-out-of-breath moments over her escapade on Saturday.

Cyndie stepped on a rake.

There. I said it. It’s true. Yep. A rake.

I’m pretty sure OSHA would not approve of the unsafe work practice of letting a rake lay on the ground with the tines all pointing at the sky, but she somehow let that happen. How many times can you do that and not suffer any consequences?

Doesn’t matter. All it takes is once…

I gotta clarify, though, this was no standard namby pamby garden rake. She was working with the dreaded level head bow rake. Yeah. Ouch.

It wasn’t a slow roll up to her noggin’ it was a lethal instant THWAP to the head.

Cyndie was under the willow tree at the time of the incident, and a gust of wind blew the wispy branches in her face. In her (probably somewhat out-of-balance) reaction, she planted a foot to catch herself and stomped on the business end of the rake.

The sound made by the handle smacking her skull was frightening. Then, that was followed by equally frightening sounds of her pained reaction.

Thank goodness that’s behind us now and we can laugh about it.

We celebrated her birthday yesterday by installing a silt fence uphill of her garden of flowering perennials which¬†was inundated by the flash flood a few weeks ago. If the bizarre laws of “the way things go” plays out, now that we have this in place, it won’t rain again for months and months.

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Just in case it does, and comes in one of those all too frequent 4-inch-at-a-time hundred-year events that happen multiple times a year now, we think we have a better chance of controlling the flood.

Time will tell.

Moral of the story, be careful out there. And always lay your rake with the tines down.

Yep, just like the cartoons. WHAM!

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Written by johnwhays

June 5, 2017 at 6:00 am