It took 10 months for us to dig a small pond on the farm.
We started slowly – one wheelbarrow at a time.
Deeper and deeper we dug.
We took a break for a birthday party.
Fun was had by all.
We soaked willow cuttings for six weeks…
…and then planted them around the pond.
The supervisor made sure it was done properly.
Then it rained.
The goats were excluded so that the willows could grow.
Muscovies took up residence.
And raised a family.
The willows grew.
And the bare paddock became a more diverse ecosystem.
Six of our interns were involved in digging the pond and transporting soil to other landforms nearby. It is one of many approaches to water management we use on the farm that simultaneously drought-proof the land and reduce runoff during heavy rain events, which reduces erosion and slips, and helps protect those living downstream from flooding. Ponds and swales slow water moving across the landscape.
For our interns, the process of making the pond was a lesson in slow learning. We encourage slow learning on our farm – it is at the heart of our PDC internship programme. It’s a place where theory and practice come together in best practice teaching and learning – one shovel-full at a time.