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Angela MacLeod's Blog (13)

13. Swales 3 months After Installation

Swale sunflower at dawn:

This post is a series of photos showing the swales and the progression of shaping and cover crop growth over the 3 months since installation (End of June).

There will be 3 consecutive photos of each swale. at 2 weeks,  at 6 weeks and at 3 months.

Swale 1 at 2 weeks:

Swale 1 at 6…

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Added by Angela MacLeod on September 20, 2013 at 12:28pm — 2 Comments

12. The Swales 6 Weeks After Installation

Since finishing the swale installation we have had dry weather. So I have been watering the newly planted covercrops and grass on the swales. I also continued shaping the berms, ditches and spillways.

The following is a series of photos showing the changes. The first photo in each set was taken at 2 weeks after the initial installation. The 2nd photo in each set shows 6 weeks after installation.

Swale 1 at 2 weeks:

Swale 1 at 6…

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Added by Angela MacLeod on August 12, 2013 at 9:47am — No Comments

11. The Swales 2 weeks after installation

It's been about 2-1/2 weeks since we finished the swale installation at our place.

Since then I have continued to shape the swale ditches, spillways and berms. And planted grass seed in the ditches. I've made the angle of the ditch walls wider so it will be easier to scythe the grass that grows on it later.

A deer got in and ate most of the leaves off the little apple tree that David planted. I hope it can recover.

For one of the spillways I carved a shallow serpentine…

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Added by Angela MacLeod on July 18, 2013 at 1:19pm — No Comments

10. Swales: Reframing a "Problem" and Cultivating Love:

Initially there was a "problem"...too much water in the landscape. And I wanted to get rid of some of this water so we could expand our growing season on better drained soil. Through this process of designing and creating swales I've changed my perspective and don't see the water as a "problem" to be exported. Brian has taught that it's more a matter of working with the resource in a way that maximizes it's many attributes through gently…

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Added by Angela MacLeod on July 2, 2013 at 11:30am — No Comments

9. Finishing the Swales

Yesterday we finished constructing the swales. The morning's project included moving gravel, filling and finishing off the sink holes with soil so they were level with the rest of the swale ditch. We got an early start as we knew it would be a hot day. We were joined by Jerry Schuster, Laura Sellens and Keith Marteny. Thanks you guys for lending your strength and lively spirits to the work.  Here's how the morning went:

First Brian and David made "socks" out of landscape fabric to…

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Added by Angela MacLeod on July 1, 2013 at 11:00am — No Comments

8. The Swale Making Event!!

First we'd like to thank those who participated last weekend in our swale making event. Thanks to Brian Kerkvliet who taught us and led us every step of the way. He did so with an easy going attitude and a passion for this work that he loves to do as well as a fantastic amount of knowledge.

Thanks to Larry Williams who operated the excavator. Janaki Kilgore and Kevin Finnigan participate from beginning to end, learning and working on every aspect of the project. Special thanks to…

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Added by Angela MacLeod on June 25, 2013 at 10:37pm — No Comments

7. Swale making: Concerns About Compliance With City and State Regulations

In spreading the word about our swale making event, David sent the announcement to a number of people and organizations we thought might be interested in attending.

From one of those people we received back a reply - from Eli Maciewicz, Engineering Technician,City of Bellingham Public Works Department. In his letter Eli, expressed concern about how the…

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Added by Angela MacLeod on June 20, 2013 at 9:30am — No Comments

6. Swale Making Preparations: The Excavator, And Sink Hole Supplies; Gravel and Brush

More preparations for our swale making event....

Excavator: We decide which excavator would be the smallest that will still do the job. The smaller the machine the less weight and so the less compacting of the soil. We actually did the research weeks ago. Brian decided which one he'd like to use and I called around to compare prices for renting one. He decided on a Kabota KX 41:…

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Added by Angela MacLeod on June 20, 2013 at 8:54am — No Comments

5. Swale Making Preparations ~ Using the A Frame to Map Contour Lines

Using the map of the elevation lines on the property to roughly gauge where the contours are, David used the A frame to plot the course of contour lines across the property where we plan to carve the swales.

Using this map with elevation contour lines:

2010_AP_wContourLinesFeet.pdf

Using a level and a plumb line to find the level spots at this contour…

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Added by Angela MacLeod on June 18, 2013 at 8:30am — No Comments

4. Swale Making Preparations ~ The A Frame

David built this A frame with a plumb line:

OK I thought it was going to be easy to describe how you use the A frame to mark the contour lines of the land....but it's actually difficult to put into words. So I'm including a couple videos that do a decent job of showing and explaining it.

Check out these videos on how to use an A…

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Added by Angela MacLeod on June 10, 2013 at 1:00pm — No Comments

3. Meanwhile.....In Another Part of the Garden....

We are getting ready to shape the earth in a wet part of our property. See previous posts to follow the process. (Part 1 and Part 2)

Now for the existing garden beds.....In a shadier location, but with much dryer soil. This would be a…

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Added by Angela MacLeod on June 7, 2013 at 8:00am — No Comments

2. Swale making ~ Next steps: Maps of property

The next step for getting ready to create swales was to find an aerial map of our property. We found the most current one taken just before we bought the place in 2010. The photo shows where buildings and trees are located. And also a map with the elevation contour lines. And finally sketch on the map where the swales will be located. If you only look at one of the following links try the 3rd one. It has the 3 superimposed - the…

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Added by Angela MacLeod on June 6, 2013 at 3:30pm — No Comments

1. Water Collects and does not drain well.....

Three years ago we bought our first house on a 1/2 acre in the Birchwood Neighborhood. We chose this size of a lot in order to grow food and keep chickens. It's been so beautiful to get to know this place and we started out working in the existing garden beds and just getting to know the property for a while without doing any major changes.

During these 3 years, we have continued to notice places where water collects and does not drain…

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Added by Angela MacLeod on June 3, 2013 at 10:30am — No Comments

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