Liberty Nature Preserve

 

New year, new warm weather, new phone call...

They're baaaack!  John blows in the call that kicks it off for phase II..."we're gonna drop off equipment on Friday".  Hoo boy, here we go again!

The first small project is to set the laser level and strike the grade to completely drain off the original pocket of water that still exists.  We want this entire basin area to drain away and dry up.  We are still planning on moving a bunch of the excess topsoil from within the basin.  This entire zone needs to dry out so the train of trucks can loop around, load up, and still climb the grade to get back out when full. 

We all meet the following day on Saturday morning to walk the entire site, update the plan, and make sure that we are all on the same page.  3 hours of constant rain and chilly weather provide a miserable backdrop, but surely stops nothing as we share ideas and plans.  There will be a pruning of about 75% of the perimeter to push back the tree-line.  This is a result of Brett and Donna's Christmas gift...when we re-shot the elevations as they related to backing water up in the limiting draw. (detailed excerpt from Winter-Spring 05-06 Updates page)  The other 25% of the perimeter will remain low and untouched.  It will be the zone where the shallow pond depth and flooded timber & vegetation will create a wetland environment.  There will also be clearing of the building site and about 150 ft of new driveway to this site.  Also gotta clear out the west draw, cut a road thru the timber behind the southern point (this road is part of the perimeter road), and clear the .22 acre knoll on the north side (also location of a small sand beach).  There are a dozen or so trees along the main driveway that the Electric Co guru told me "gotta go so we can get your underground juice installed".   Oh yeah, don't forget the road that splits off north-east to access the meadow.  These are all the prepatory projects that are to be completed before the big dig. 

The flouorescent green trails are the new roads to be cleared and prepared.  The pond perimeter road will connect to and run right across the top of the dam.  A small light brown square depicts the location of the small sand beach within the Knoll.

...timber is gone, building site is cleared!  How's this for a view?

This shot is a stitch of 3 pix taken from within the building site clearing.  It is nearer the back of the building site from a place where a house may someday stand.  Other than this building site area on which we now stand (approx 1/2 acre), the balance of the clearing will someday be water.  For reference, look very closely at the far end of the pond.  The small white spot is the stack of PVC pipe for the drain.  To the right of the stack, the truck and utility trailer are parked.  They are located right on the center-line of the proposed dam, some 800 feet away from this reference point.

What's up with this Knoll thing?

The knoll is the little bump-out into the woods, center of pic above (just left of center is the west draw).  This pic is taken from the south shoreline, high up on the point.  The dam will be to the left, outside of frame.  The building site will be far right, outside of frame.

The knoll is a reward for waiting to do this project over the course of 2 years.  Quite frankly, there are a number of such rewards...waiting was one of our best decisions.  Anyway, the knoll came about as a result of having a good idea when it makes the most sense...before the water backs up and while the equipment is on site.  It is an area with a terrific southern view and exposure.  It is naturally high ground and there are some very nice Cherry trees hidden back there.  They are now exposed as we cleared away the icky Black Locusts that covered them on this .22 acre zone.  The Cherry trees are now the forest edge along the curving back perimeter of the knoll.  We envision this as a "destination" zone.  A small sand beach will be located here, a small pier, and perhaps a small picnic shelter.  The views from this destination, like the building site, should be spectacular....

This is the opposing view, looking south toward the point (opposite the above pic).  We are standing at the center/back of the Knoll.  The building site can be seen left and at the east end of the pond basin.  The damsite can be seen right, at the other end.  The truck, trailer, and load of white pipe are barely visible at the far right; they are located at the center-line of the proposed dam.

This knoll area will be where the perimeter road terminates.  This road will follow from the building site, along the opposing shore, tuck back behind the trees at the "point" and pop back out at the dam.  It will then follow across the dam to this side, cross a soil bridge/culvert at the west draw, and wind up right here; a very special destination, indeed.  If all goes as planned, a small sand beach will reside at this location along with a short pier.  We stand here and mentally paint all the exposed soil with shining blue rippled water as the warm breezes rustle through the trees.  The concert of songbirds over our shoulder in the forest lends perfect harmony.  It will be difficult selecting a better overall view.  Life is good at Liberty.

The end of Week 3.....DAM!!! 

Well, we finally got down to brass tacks and moved some dirt...a whole bunch.  Donna stands on top of the dam, near the center.  It is somewhere close to 80% completed.  It is still 1 foot short of final height where Donna stands and this shot shows how the elevation slopes down on either end.  You will note the equipment tracks running up/down at both ends of the dam at these low points; there is a reason for leaving them low for now.  The idea is use the earth mover (scraper) in a "circuit" of sorts.  John will scrape up soil on the water side of the dam mass, thus deepening it.  When the scraper is loaded (and it doesn't take long or far to scoop up 8 - 9 yards), he runs up one side, follows the length of the dam while unloading, and comes back down the other side to continue the circuit.  He will continue this same process to fill in the valley behind the dam.  When all this production dirt-hauling is done, they will return to the top of the dam for completion.   This pic is from behind the dam.

The same scraper circuit will be used to fill in this valley behind the dam (the above pic shows a few feet of fill that has already been deposited).  When all the volume soil (largely clay) is moved, the top of the dam will be completed perfectly level across it's length to proper elevation, and the entire area will be dressed with the top soil that was dozed off in the beginning and stock-piled off to the side.

This is the inspiration that keeps us diggin' deeper into the clay (and our pockets): 

   

 

Hey!  What about that dang drain pipe? 

Ya know, I nearly forgot that little engineering project.  Click here for the details. 

....and, what about that dry hydrant thing?

OK, OK....click away


Whoa, what the heck happened....did you finish digging, or what?

Yep, sure did...finished near the end of July.  We have been pretty busy bustin' butt on various other periphery projects.  You know, the stuff that really needs to be addressed soon...or...right now!  I am remiss for not updating this website...sorry.  The final product has exceeded our expectations.  Awesome continues to be the buzz word.  Sometime in the near future I'm gonna clean up and organize this second phase a little (maybe alot).  Until then, though, I'll take a shortcut and post some of the cooler pics of our post-excavation progress.   Take a quick ride to this page for a brief summary and more links to photos and videos of Phase 2 completion.

 

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