For the last two days we’ve experienced enough rain so that my permaculture adventures could be tested. Two storms, each bringing about half an inch of rain, created enough water for the watershed to begin to flow. Roger Boddaert and his team were busy rototilling urea into the areas which hadn’t yet been planted,
and Jacob from Aquascape and Jose were digging trenches for the drip irrigation system. They were very glad of the rain softening up the dirt!
Everyone was wet. Finally the rain gathered enough strength to flow down the street, under the fence from my wonderful neighbor’s property, and down the rain channel created by Jacob.
Some trenching had to be done to divert the water around the new Nest hut.
Rapidly the upper rain catchment pond filled then overflowed down the rain channel into the second lower catchment pond.
The scheme is that overflow from this pond will be channeled around the lower permanent pond and away so as not to overflow the big pond and erode the weakest and lowest end of the property around it.
However since we were eager to see the big pond filled, Roger cut a trench from the second rain catchment pond to the big pond.
Earlier I had been in and out that morning on errands, and had settled in the house with a hot cup of tea and comfortable fuzzy pants on, when I realized that I was wasting water. I have three fifty-gallon rain barrels set around the house, which fill up within minutes and then overflow. Why wasn’t I channeling that water into the big pond? So of course I exchange my slippers for outdoor shoes (at least I did that!), put on a windbreaker with a hood, and go hauling hoses around to connect to the rainbarrels. I’ve had a sprained right wrist for a couple of weeks and pulling hoses was not the best medicine. So of course I did it, with my fuzzy pants wicking up rain and mud and beginning to drag under my feet. That’s me in a nutshell. Loving every minute of it. With three hoses leading down to the pond, all that wonderful roof runoff wouldn’t go to waste.
The big pond had had some water in it, enough for my son and I to put in a few mosquito fish to eat all the mosquito larvae. That water had been evaporating so there wasn’t much more than a large puddle at the bottom. By the time I put the hoses leading from the rain barrels into the pond, it had already been catching a significant amount of rainwater directly. Too bad I hadn’t thought of the hoses much earlier in the storm!
The rainstorm broke up too early for me, but more rain was on the way that night.
Waking up to the sound of rain is one of the nicest experiences for me, mostly because I live in a dry climate, I expect. The rain had set in well overnight, and I could see from my bedroom window a reflection from down below which turned out to be the lower pond!
For a minute I thought it had filled up, but then I realized it was about a quarter full, and was impressed and excited about how it would look when completely full of water! The watershed rain was following the trench and going through the ponds, which were still holding water and allowing it to perculate into the soil.
The planted and mulched areas, and the areas newly tilled were soaking up water so well that there wasn’t any run-off from it. Of course, the rain was steady and we didn’t have any of those crazy intense rainstorms like we get in the winter, when it feels and sounds as if an enormous endless bucket has been overturned over Fallbrook. Those will be a true test of the system. Until then, I was very fortunate to have had this great rainfall to test the system right when the two major players were on hand. It was exciting.