Devonviolet Acres

flowerbug

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if you are going to do that kind of work you can include in that a 4ft block in a U shape to have the water flow around the house. dig the trench 3.5ft and use a permanent waterproof material to construct it and fill it back in. the 6 inches above grade is your berm and then cap it with another 6 inches above the material so that it won't be disturbed. water from uphill will flow down in the ground and then seek it's way around. you may not have to do as much other digging and redirecting then. actually if you have gardens you can incorporate the flows so they are used by the gardens as during dry spells it is nice to have use of anything extra.
 

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oh, i forget to mention that you do want to make sure that you are stopping and sinking enough water between any septic drainfield and your well so that the well doesn't end up sucking in the other...
 

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All those beautiful comfry plants, that I showed above, eventually did get into the ground, along our driveway. However, only one managed to survive our hot, drought this past Summer. It isn’t big enough to divide, so I think I may just order some more shoots and give it another try. It will be a great addition to our goat’s diet. :)
 

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Thanks for your suggestions, @flowerbug. When you say dig the trench 3-1/2 feet, do you mean deep? We do have about 8” of sandy loam on top of clay. So, I would think digging down to the clay level would be sufficient, right? We are planning to fence the area about 40 feet out from the house (to keep the chickens out of the garden), and tilling the dirt to plant more veggies there. The plan is to trench and berm at the fenceline, so the water runs off to the property line. Since we have clay, I’m not sure we would need to line the trench with anything, would we?

Hopefully, when we trench and berm, it would stop any water runoff from reaching the house. As far as the septic goes, it is an aerobic septic system, since we have the clay under topsoil. There is no drainfield, as by nature, the aerobic system consists of tanks and the excess water is sprayed in other areas of the property.
 

flowerbug

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Thanks for your suggestions, @flowerbug. When you say dig the trench 3-1/2 feet, do you mean deep? We do have about 8” of sandy loam on top of clay. So, I would think digging down to the clay level would be sufficient, right? We are planning to fence the area about 40 feet out from the house (to keep the chickens out of the garden), and tilling the dirt to plant more veggies there. The plan is to trench and berm at the fenceline, so the water runs off to the property line. Since we have clay, I’m not sure we would need to line the trench with anything, would we?

Hopefully, when we trench and berm, it would stop any water runoff from reaching the house. As far as the septic goes, it is an aerobic septic system, since we have the clay under topsoil. There is no drainfield, as by nature, the aerobic system consists of tanks and the excess water is sprayed in other areas of the property.

oh, ok, thank you for the clarifications, when you berm just make sure that the core of the berm is clay then. and yes that will slow it down. i thought you had a lot more sand on top than a foot.

to cut down on crawlspace moisture you can wrap the foundation in thick plastic after spreading some tar on. will cut down on water from the sides. can't do anything about water coming up from below without knowing your entire geology/ground layers. sometimes uphill to downhill can mean you get a spring...

anyways, i hope the berm helps. :) do you guys know how to do contour detecting and trenching to follow the contour? that will stop the water the best and then you can direct it from there to places where it may be needed/wanted.

i've never heard of a system that sprays water from a septic system. i'm not sure i'd like that.

with all of the clay here we do have a septic drain field but it had to be sized larger than if we had been in more sand. they brought in a lot of sand for it and then put some topsoil over it for grass/lawn, but it is all gardens now except for a tiny strip of grass left (you can see all the info you want at the website i keep http://www.anthive.com/) :). i wished they'd have brought in a lot more sand and topsoil considering all the issues over the years with water/flash flooding i have had to deal with.
 

Devonviolet

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WOW @flowerbug! I just took a look at your blog. You do have a LOT of water! I’m not sure what your average rainfall is, there in Michigan, but it MUST be more than our’s here in Texas! When we moved to Texas, from PA, following our daughter, to Dallas. We looked for land in the NE quadrant, of TX, because when DD was small, my EX- and I moved to Lakeworth, in NW Ft. Worth. Average rainfall there is 32” and I remember how difficult it was to maintain a garden there. I remember 1981 when we had over 90 days of 100+ degree days. It was MISERABLE! So, when DH and I moved to TX, I looked to see where there was more rain, so it wouldn’t be so hard to grow a garden. Average rainfall for this area of NE Texas is 42-45”, which makes it do-able. Well, there has been nothing “average” about rainfall here, in the past four years, that we have lived here. In the Winter of 2015, we had an extremely soggy month of December, with 20+ inches of rain. All three roads that lead to our farm were flooded. One road was taped off by the county, as the culvert under the road had washed away. The other two flooded areas were shallow, but I didn’t want to drive on them, because I didn’t know if the road was gone there too. So, we waited for the water to go down. That year, we had 62 inches of rain, which was a record.

2018 started out wet, and in June, the rain clouds dried up and we ended up with a drought. Neglible rain for the next three months and 1/2” cracks in the dirt. Then, in November, the heavens opened up again, and it seemed the rain wouldn’t stop. We ended up the year, with the 2nd highest rainfall amount, at 58.65 inches of rain!!! At least the roads didn’t flood this time! And, the sump pump kept the crawlspace relatively dry.

As far as the aerobic septic, it is a multi-tank system. The sewerage goes into the first tank, where oxygen is added, to faacilitate bacterial growth, to consume the organic parts of the material. Next it moves to a tank where chlorine is added, in the form of tablets, in a tube, which allows water to flow over the tablets, so they gradually dissolve and kill the microbes that make it unhealthy. Once the bacteria are killed the water is filtered and pumped to sprayers, that spray the water over the land. If the chlorine is added properly (which apparently quite a few people don’t do), it is a perfectly safe process. However, since not everyone does it properly, laws have been passed preventing the use of herbs, fruits or vegetables on which the discharge water has been sprayed.

Some people don’t use chlorine at all and some people use swimming pool chlorine tabs (which are cheaper than septic tabs), and which don’t dissolve the way septic tabs do. So, thee bacteria aren’t properly killed, and the discharge spray isn’t safe.

I’m not 100% sure what you mean by “contour detecting”. Is that where you find the high areas and trench around them? If so, I don’t think there are any. We have 4.90 acres. I told my hubby I didn’t want a ”spaghetti ranch” and that’s exactly what we got! 150 feet wide by 1460 feet long. UGH! We currently have about 2-1/4 acred open. It is so difficult to work within a 150 foot width, when placing buildings, paddocks and pastures. We need to add perimeter fencing, but we can’t afford to pay someone to do it, and these old bones only allow so much hard labor. So, we plod ahead, putting one foot in front of the other. It seems like nothing gets done. But, if one looks around, you can see that we have really accomplished a lot since we moved here four years ago.

I have looked at an elevation map, online, and we have a high spot, that is about 500 feet back from the road. The slope goes down, to both ends of the property from there. It’s pretty flat, so there wouldn’t really be any mounds to go around. It’s been a while since I looked at the map, but I think there is a difference of 30 feet from the high spot to the road.

I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but our house is on a solid footer all the way around, with a footer “beam” down the middle, for the length (about 30 feet) of the house. The footer is 24” at the base and 18” at the top. I think it is about 18” high, but the previous owner dug about a foot into the clay (in some spots), when he did the footer. So, there is a crawl space of about 2-1/2 feet, for working space under the house. Although, it isn’t evenly dug, so in some places it is only about a foot between the dirt and a floor joist, making it difficult, for DH when he needs to get under the house for plumbing or electrical. NOT FUN!!!
 
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Devonviolet

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So, what do you do with the goat's milk? Is it just for baking? Drinking? Do you make any products from it - food or otherwise?
I love to make cheese, from the milk. Mozzarella is my favorite. But, i really want to buy a used refrigerator, to make a “cheese cave”, so I can make hard cheeses, which require an aging process of 8-12+ months at temps between 48-52F. The longer it ages, the harder and stronger the flavor, depending on the culture used to make the cheese. I’m thinking a nice mild cheddar would take about 6 months.

I can also make butter, ice cream, sour cream and cream cheese, with the cream we get when we use the cream separator. And of course, depending on how much cream we pull out of the milk, I would also have either skim milk or whey, both of which are high in protein. If we had feeder pigs, which DH isn’t ready to get into raising, we could feed the skim milk and whey to them.

Another way to use the whey is to spray it on the garden. It adds nutrition to the soil. But, it is also good for stoping mildew on plants in the garden. The way I understandd it, there are naturally occurring bacteria, in the milk, that kill the mildew spores.

Another thing that I use the milk for, is to make goat’s milk lotion. My lotion is the foundation for a couple of the natural products that I make to sell at the farmer’s market. I make one, that @baymule and her DH think is wonderful. To the goat’s milk, I add about 10 essential oils, that have anti-inflammatory qualities, and it works wonders on sore joints & muscles and even takes the itch away for fire ant, mosquito and chigger bites. I call that “Violet’s Lotion”. It is a spin off from “Two Old Goats”, but it is my own formula and I, personally think it is much better!!!
 

flowerbug

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on contour is just a way of finding a level line across an area if there is any slope you want to trench on contour because that way the water does not flow and create erosion problems. you just catch it and soak it in or redirect it very gently. you can do this in as many layers on a slope that you want (but obviously those of us with limited time and energy will do this only enough to deal with a problem :) ).

https://gisgeography.com/contour-lines-topographic-map/

for a very gentle slope you can find the level with water and a length of hose or you can use an A frame. both are low tech enough that anyone can do them.


as for rains, we get an average of about 3 inches of rain a month, but it can vary as much as it seems for you except we also get very long cold spells and we don't get hurricanes or tropical storms.

with all the clay we have around here and because we are also in the middle of the downhill flows we do get the flash flooding when it rains hard enough long enough or in the spring when the snow melts and the ground is still frozen.
 

flowerbug

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if i were close enough i'd love to have a good source of yogurt. sounds like you are having a great time and enjoying your life there. :) i'm glad you have found a good place to be even if it does have some challenges. :)

and thank you for the clarification on the water spraying system. oh, that sounds pretty extreme, but i guess that is how it goes these days.
 
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