Friday, July 15, 2005
This is where I've been spending most of my evenings after work lately. We had this pond dug in 2003 to provide gravel for our driveway, which was a mess at the time. The front part of our property, towards the road, was at one time a gravel pit. You can still see some of the old banks and piles that were left from the gravel mining. I don't know why they stopped mining gravel here; maybe it wasn't high enough quality, or maybe since it is right at the edge of the gravel deposit, maybe there wasn't enough to be worthwhile digging. When we first bought the property, the area where the pond is was a low spot, too low for haying, and thick with willows.
The pond is maybe 10 or 12 feet at its deepest. We had the backhoe operator dig as deep as he could, with the idea of using the pond to raise fish. The depth allows groundwater to seep in and maintain the pond's level; in two years we have not yet had low water. It also provides water that is much cooler than the surface water, cool enough for trout. The pond has filled in somewhat with sand and silt but there are still parts that are over my head. The area where the kids swim is shallow enough for them, but it drops off steeply a few feet out.
The pond is home to numerous frogs, a few painted turtles, and some small fish, probably sticklebacks. How they got in there is unknown; after a heavy rain there is the possibility that something could swim up from Sand Creek through a shallow ditch and two culverts, but that seems unlikely. I hope to stock some trout in there some day, but it probably won't be this year. Ideally the pond should be dug a little deeper and bigger for trout, but I think the fish would survive as is.
The pond provides year round recreation; the kids spend hours splashing in the shallows, swimming or catching tadpoles during the summer. In the winter the pond is a perfect size skating rink. As you can see in the picture, it adds much aesthetic appeal to our land. But most of all, I enjoy lounging on the beach after a dip in the cool water, watching the reflections of clouds and white pines while sipping a beer. I have it all right here at home; I don't need to pack the kids in the car and drive to some overcrowded beach. This is heaven!