North Carolina – Getting ready for a new pond

January 10, 2021
December 2020 – photographing the Christmas Star – the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.
Cleaning up the back yard
the start of our log bridge
the great snowstorm of January 2021
snow disappeared in hours

November 29, 2020

We’re still a few months away from breaking ground on a new koi pond. No real plan on what we’re building but we’ve started with some ideas.

  • 99% sure this will happen:
    • will be only 5 feet deep
    • two bottom drains
    • a bakki shower
    • RDF
    • concrete construction
    • 10,000 – 12,000 gallons
    • must not obscure the view of the hayfields from the front porch
    • equipment must be “hidden”
  • random design thoughts:
    • curved walls (my daughter reminded me of a Feng Shui principle – evil spirits can only travel in straight lines)
    • some Japanese elements must be incorporated
    • a stargazing platform above the pond might be cool
    • maybe we design with a farm aesthetic, or better yet a Japanese farmhouse / haiku house (16th century Japanese architecture)
    • we think it will be placed in front of the house but that could change
    • we may need to tinker with some landscaping

The idea list changes daily. I’m guessing that my koi might be in North Carolina next summer. Of course if we set up an indoor pool in the garage, maybe sooner…

the rest of this post is just about landscaping around the property – nothing related to koi

We have spent about 70 full days on the farm since we closed on the property in July. We continue to work remotely and commute between the farm and Little Siberia monthly. The pond builder commutes more frequently than I do. Our landscaping chores get squeezed in and everything takes at least an hour. It’s two or three hours to mow the path around the property and the grassy areas near the house and barn. Landscaping is never easy when you’re dealing with an overgrown jungle of wisteria, greenbrier/catbrier (smilax), wild berry vines and all sorts of other spiky bushes. It reminds me of Sleeping Beauty’s castle. The work to tame and maintain is endless but fun. The right tools are always helpful. Most of our landscaping is done by a zero turn mower, a DR brush mower, assorted power hedge trimmers and chainsaws.

^ When they were clean – Ryobi 10/12/14 inches and Stihl 18/20 inches – plus assorted pole saws. Getting the hang of putting the chain back on the saw and hope to learn how to sharpen chains over the winter.
^ The brush mower is a tool from heaven. It is the best thing to mow down the brambles, vines and small trees. A little bit too large for me to handle.
^ We work on large masses of brambles that are choking trees. In the summer they are quite leafy but once fall comes around, the leaves drop and it’s much easier to mow it down.

We have to clean up trees that have fallen and we also do a lot of clearing of trees we don’t like. We’re not fans of the hackberry and half dead cypress.

^ Half dead and blocking the view of the barn.
^ In the way of my new fruit tree line. Nice to have friends who enjoy taking down trees.
^ Something to do after working remotely all day. The pond builder is always happy to tackle trees. Not quite like Mr. T’s 1987 Lake Forest Chainsaw Massacre – we intend to keep the property at least 20% wooded.
^ These trees were covered with wisteria vines and a little too close to the house. We have a few other trees close to the house that are far too large for us to safely take down ourselves. We have a lot of trees on our property that have keeled over and never been cleared or have a bad habit of falling over after a good storm.
^ This one fell over after Hurricane Eta came through. It will take several weekends to clear this tree since it came down with masses of brambles.
^ Several tress have fallen on my walking path through the woods.
^ This tree was only leaning over when we purchased the property. It continued its slide down during the storm.
^ A little forest management will allow all of the trees to grow better and we will be able to enjoy our walks in the shade.
^ We use some trees to make random sitting spots…
^ We cut the cypress into 3/4 inch slices for signage on our paths.
^ We’ve spent much of our time reclaiming our backyard.
^ the left side of our backyard…
^ the right half of our backyard…
^ Our goal for the backyard are is to replace the downed trees with pines that are all over the property. This spring I’ll be throwing down some Irish moss seeds and replanting some running cedar in the area to block out the bramble type plants.
^ As we clear woodlines, we rescue little pines to grow over the winter. Hopefully they will survive to be replanted somewhere else.
^ This is a stretch project but I thought I would try growing pine trees from seed. I read about the process and these will need to go in a plastic bag in the freezer for three months. I place the chance of successfully growing a pine at less than 10%.
^ On the south side of our house, we planted a few new sango kaku maples. While they are quite close to the house, they tend to be only 15-20 feet tall.
^ The sango kaku maples have some lovely red bark.
^ It’s a marathon of work ahead of us. One of our most exciting projects is to install a one acre Japanese garden on our property some day.
^ We have cleaned up the land closer to the house. Some day we will have lovely pines, maples and a carpet of moss or well behaved ground cover. It’s always nice to wake up and not feel like you are living in a forest of mean spirited vines.
^ Our koi will be able to enjoy the sunsets as much as we do!

August 2, 2020

I’ve added a new section to start recording our work in North Carolina. Not much going on here since we are busy battling undergrowth, fast growing grass and keeping a thumb on 41 acres. 😂