Sunday, December 2, 2012

Gully

By golly I found the source of my gully on our new farm.  You wouldn't think the little bit of water that seems to come across the neighbor's field under this dip in the fence could cause the deep wash a few feet beyond!

I would say we have some Highly Erodible Land there!  I am not sure how I am going to try to fix it yet so I am open to suggestions.  I really need the cooperation of the neighbor but I haven't even met the man yet.  He is elderly so maybe we will get a chance to gain control of it by ownership in the next few years.  Then again, maybe not, who knows?

I am not sure if he even no-tills.  It's in bean stubble now so it should have been seeded down to wheat or a cover crop.  The fall has been dry so there is no increased erosion this year.  Much of it happened last year when we had double normal rainfall.  But the gully looks old so it has been happening a long time.

I do have a load of bricks from under the house I can help fill the gully with.  I think I want to run a tile down through it to the creek and keep the top in sod.  It lends itself to a sod waterway very well.

Speaking of the bricks, we were talking to our neighbor Roger and he said he thought the Turner Family built our house here on Martinsville Road.  He explained that the Turner Cemetery part of the Martinsville IOOF Cemetery was made from the digging for cellars on the Turner properties.  He said the Turner's were riverboat people in the late 1700's and bought a lot of land around Martinsville and settled here.  We did not know that.  The soil from under our house is probably on that mound of dirt!

I mentioned our crumbly bricks and he said the clay they used was probably part of the problem but the major problem was they didn't fire the brick long enough to burn off the impurities.  That makes a lot of sense, too.  Some of the old houses around here are very intact and others like ours, have had to have a lot of reconstruction to still be standing.  Ours is painted white to seal out the moisture and others are the still the red clay they dug back in those days to make the bricks.

We finally got a shower this morning to settle the dust and green the wheat back up a bit.  We only had an inch or so in November so it has been a very dry fall.  Not as dry as the center of the drought map, but pretty dry for southwest Ohio.

Who knows what the New Year will bring but this drought seems to be hanging in there.  Water erosion won't be the problem out west as much as wind erosion if this pattern doesn't change.

Ed

5 comments:

  1. It's always interesting to learn local history like that. I think your neighbor may be right about the brick. I think I've read that they fired the brick twice, rebuilding the pile and putting the outside ones inside and vice-versa. Any near the center of the "wall" that didn't get fired decently would normally be saved for inside work. Regretably, since you could buy the soft brick cheaper than the "face brick," some folks tried saving money and building whole structures with them. An incorrect proportion of sand might also make the bricks softer. I hope I'm not telling you whoppers here, I'm relying on memory of things read years ago, so take it with a grain of salt!

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  2. My home town of Toulouse is called the Pink City, not because it has a gay or girly lifestyle, but because it is entirely built of pink clay bricks:
    http://travellertribe.com/toulouse/files/2009/06/PONTNEUF.jpg
    Even the monumental cathedrals in the region:
    http://www.cite-episcopale-albi.fr/IMG/jpg/01groupe_c_piscopal.jpg

    I'd block the exit of that gully and let it fill with the top soil of your neighbor since he caused it, then block the entry point once it's filled. You never know if/when you'll have to dig this part around, so bricks today may become a nuisance tomorrow. Or maybe you can dig a small pond at the end and use the dirt to fill in the gully and plant that sod waterway (great idea by the way) once the pond is full. A waterway and a pond to catch the excess water seem to complement each other. And it will be a good way to start a frog farm activity if the soil of the new farm is too poor to grow crops profitably! ;)

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  3. I don't think you are telling any whoppers, Ralph. You have been a steady flow of experience on HyMark High Spots. I have always said this soil is great for farming but a little suspect for making bricks. I would sure like to see what they went through trying to fire bricks from this subsoil. I think I would have to dig a clay pit and reinact the process myself to find out.

    Chimel, you have the answer, block or divert the water flow through a system that can handle the water beyond the fenceline. I think I can handle the water flow if I rebuild the gully properly with tile and sod.

    The easiest way would be to block the flow but then I will just change the erosion on the property line and still suffer the consequences.

    My land should welcome the neighbor's water flow if I can figure out how to cash flow that idea.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whatever you do, don't put the dang bricks in that gully!!! You or someone else will have to dig them out in future years, don't ask me how I know!!!

      Delete
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