The Pit

It all began with a science experiment.

As you may recall, we had some goats a few years ago.

They were constantly going through the fence and doing things like climbing on or into cars, attempting to get us to open the door so they could come in the house, eating things we didn’t want them to eat, etc.

The electric fence wasn’t quite as zappy as we thought it should be. All the advice we read said that we needed to bury our ground rods deeper. So I had the question–do they need to be deeper as in closer to the center of the earth, or deeper as in having more dirt on top of them? I thought I’d test the latter, as the river rock makes it incredibly difficult to dig very far down in a narrow hole. I started digging on the south side of the house and hauling wheelbarrowfuls of dirt around to the north side, where the goat pen was.


The long and short of it was, it improved the zappyness, but not much. I found out later that the problem is likely more to do with our soil chemistry and the fact that it drains very quickly and is not conductive. Science.

But then I had this little pit on the south side of the house and I thought, I could either fill it back in, or plant a shrub, or keep digging and make a water feature.

Because I’m so efficient and smart, I chose the last option. We dug a bit, and then it was fall/winter/coldness, and then I was away most of a summer directing, and life, and I’d get busy and forget about it, or decide to do some other thing, and the pit just slowly grew. When I got pregnant, I took a year off from the digging.

The kids played in it regularly. It was a fossil dig site for Petra’s dinosaur party.

And FINALLY this spring, I decide it was big enough. My granny’s Christmas gift for us contributed to the giant piece of rubber and the pump. I spent several hours at Valley Water Gardens, getting advice on the whole thing from Charlie (super nice, highly recommend).

Charlie, bless him, didn’t seem to understand me when I said that I didn’t plan on trying to keep my kids out of the pond. I decided to protect the pump by putting it inside a milk crate, sealed with zip ties and a piece of an old desk.

“Well, you’ll want to make sure the kids don’t step on the pump, of course.” Adorable, Charlie. Have you met kids?

We adjusted the contours of the pond. We dug a trench for the pipe. Digging is the theme here.

And then… we turned it on.

It still has some adjustments to make–there’s a spot where the waterfall is leaking, so I need to adjust that and probably add some spray foam. I’m also going to recontour the sides so that they’re closer to the water level (more digging!). And then I’m going to plant some things. I’m hoping to get some creeping thyme going among the rocks, and to move some irises closer to the water, and probably some water plants of one kind or another. We’ll add some minnows to the pond, but nothing more intense than that, fish-wise. We’re hoping to attract frogs!

And in the meantime, Petra and Esther created a beautiful moss garden. The pond is already drawing all of us to its splashing coolness.


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