The success of the earthworks from the previous year encouraged me to organise to complete the planned major landscaping in May this year. This time I organised to hire a bobcat digger from the nearby pastoral station. This piece of machinery was much better than the dingo digger that I used the previous year being a bit bigger and more comfortable to use. I had access to the machine for two weeks this time so I was confident that I would be able to get everything done. It certainly helped that I had used the dingo the previous year though because it only took me about an hour to get back into the routine of the skid steer mechanism so I was able to be much more productive.
I started by finishing of the ‘lake’, digging the deepest part that I hadn’t been able to finish the previous year and using that dirt to build ‘Hecate’s Hill’ wrapped around that cove. This will be the only part of the waterscape except the reed bed graywater system to have permanent water – being the retreat zone for our fish when the lake is finished… but that’s a ways off yet. After the end of the first day with the bobcat the shape of it was there though.
The hole looks much deeper than it is because of the hill right next to it – a handy illusion 🙂
With that area of the yard now finished it was time to move onto the second acre where eventually our animal yards will be situated. I had marked out the plan with spraypaint and pegs as that system worked well the previous year, but this design was about three times the size and much more complicated – basically a figure of 8 of ‘waterways’ with varying depths to encourage water flow when we get rain and deep areas to act a pig wallows. These low points were to be surrounded by the corresponding ‘hills’ formed from the dirt I was moving. None of the hills are particularly tall. It took me about 5 days constant work to get it all done but I did! It’s quite difficult to get good representative photos of it. I would love to get an aerial shot one day. Now we will leave that area to settle (although I may plant some green mulch species on part of it in spring) for a year before planting it heavily with fodder appropriate natives that will allow our animals to free range as much as possible as well as stabilising the soil, blocking wind and creating a micro-climate that will grow more effective the more trees we can get in.
Before I took the digger back we also got some local shale gravel delivered to spread on paths and clear areas. This fine purple stone is the most amazing material and we are blessed to have access to an abundant supply. I am pretty sure that will all that we had delivered we will have enough for all the landscaping I had planned. I spread it out into smaller piles situated near where it needs to be used but it still needs to be laid out on the paths and clearings – a big job!
It’s so amazing to have all the earthworks done though! The shape of the land is there, like the first pass on a marble sculpture; the details will come but the character of the work can be seen now I think.