Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Island, Dried Mud and a Little Rain

At last we've had some measurable rain; not much by most standards, but after three years of drought, our bar is set rather low.  It's time to take a look at that sorry depression in the earth that used to hold our pond.

In late August it looked like this.  The water had disappeared several months earlier and the willows on my island had finally given up and died.  The cottonwoods and willows along the dam were also going brown and fading out. The fish, frogs, dragonflies, egrets, grebes and other wildlife were long gone.  A dead pond is a sad thing.

The dried muck on the bottom was fascinating though.  At almost a foot thick and baked brick-hard, it cracked into a million crazy puzzle pieces.

After the first small October rains, the weather had cooled enough that we decided to clean up the island.  We cut down and removed all of the dead willows.

Then Bruce got on his Kubota and began scooping some of the dried pond mud up against the island in order to add some mass to it.  I worked with a shovel, lard bucket and my bare hands to haul dirt to the top.

There is something oddly satisfying about creating an island.

The mud "bricks" lift right off the rock.  The broken pieces went into the lard bucket, while I carried the larger pieces up to the top one at a time.  Good exercise, island building!

Even after several gentle rains, the mud was completely dry except for the very surface.  I think we have our own natural adobe bricks.  I neatly stacked some of them on top of the island.  Others I just hurled up to land where they would.  As I said, great fun.

The last few days have given us about an inch of rain.  We are celebrating even this modest amount and hope that this is the beginning of a very wet winter.

It's still only a tiny bit of water, but it's so good to see  glimmer and shine begin to creep over all that dried mud.


  1. Umm...sorry, not yet. I'll keep looking -- they'll turn up down there one of these days! :)