Let There Be Ponds!

We are harnessing the power of water to restore, rehabilitate, and rejuvenate our property and make it more attractive to wildlife. One way to do this is to make a lot of ponds! The ponds catch and store rainwater so it can be used by plants and animals instead of just running off the land. We don’t use pond liners so that the water can eventually sink into the water table to recharge it.

We are making all sorts of ponds and trying different pond building techniques.

Our very first pond was built in February 2015. It’s our biggest and deepest pond. It was build by hand by 6 people.  We wanted Pond No. 1 to be deep so it would hold more water for a longer time The deepest section is two meters deep.

The workers also built two smaller ponds near Pond No. 1. We learned from these smaller ponds that even smaller ponds can hold water for a long time. It’s not that necessary to make the ponds very deep.

In 2016 Tonji decided that he wanted to build the ponds himself. We bought a small backhoe. He built Pond #4 in March 2016. This pond has a small island in the center. It was very popular with the ducks last year!

In 2017 we didn’t build any ponds. Tonji did some pond maintenance and enlarged Pond No. 3.

This year Tonji completed two ponds and is working on a third! It took him 9 days to build Pond No. 5. This pond has a back “wall” made up of mounded dirt that is supposed to hold water and add depth to the pond. At the other end it tapers out to a shallow overflow area. Tonji thinks his backhoe is equivalent to 4 men digging. This pond was finished quickly with the help of workers to move the dirt out and finish the sides by hand.

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First he clears the grass with the grass cutter
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Oops, stop digging while Barkely inspects the work!
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Momo’s turn to inspect the work
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Pond No. 5 after one day of rain

Pond No. 6 took only two days to build! It is a small pond that Tonji hopes will provide water for the trees growing by the side.

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start of Pond No. 6
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Pond No. 6 almost finished, will be tapered by hand

Pond No. 7 is still under construction. Tonji says this is going to be a big pond.

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Day one of Pond No. 7

 

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Tonji’s companion while digging for 3 days! 

Pond Stats:

Pond No. 1
built from 25 Feb 2015 to 27 March 2015
current dimension: 17m x 8 m

Pond No. 2
built 2015
did not measure

Pond No. 3
built 2015
current dimension: 7m x 4m

Pond No. 4
built March 2016
did not measure

Pond No. 5
built February 2018  in 9 days
current dimension: 7m x 10m

Pond No. 6
built March 2018 in 2 days
current dimension: 6m x 5m

Pond No. 7
started March 2018
still under construction

 

 

 

 

 

Duck Island!

We usually keep away from the ponds to encourage the ducks and other wildlife to stay there. When there’s a real need to visit the pond, all of us including Momo and Barkley hop into the golf cart to check out the pond together.

We were going to set up the trail camera at Pond No. 4 for the first time. We drove up to the pond slowly and quietly, staying on the path so we wouldn’t startle the birds. When we reached the pond, we saw two Philippine Ducks standing on an island in the middle of the pond! Continue reading “Duck Island!”

Fly Away Home

It’s been raining a lot in Manila. To the point of dams overflowing and school being cancelled. We were wondering how the pond was doing. Were pond walls being breached? How would that affect the ducks? I had visions of ducks toppling out of the pond, being carried away by a strong flow of rainwater. Continue reading “Fly Away Home”