Pecan Grove (www.pecan-grove.net) Pecan Orchard and Senior Residence

May 26, 2008

More Dirt….

Filed under: Pecan Farming — knewman @ 11:00 am

I guess all construction projects go slower than planned… we’re off to a slow start.

The problem of water flowing through the sand under the new road section through the woods has taken a lot of time to resolve. The underground clay wall to stop the water had to be extended. The following picture shows the depth that was needed to reach through the sand to clay… the orange clay at the bottom is the wall that was added.

Clay Wall

This wall is now complete, another culvert has been added… but the road has been too wet to add the stabilzing material (they’ve decided to use dry cement). Hopefully this week the stabilizing will be completed. Once that is done, dump trucks will be able to reach the building site, and work on the foundation can begin. Fortunately… we’re not in a big hurry, no deadlines that have to be met.

In the mean time, we continue to enjoy the farm. The small gardens are starting to produce…

Abigail learns to rideKim and Kathy gardening

Boating on the pondLarry and Jan on the beaver dam

There is a 10 acre piece of land sandwiched in between other parts of the farm, that we were unable to buy at first…. see the “10 acres not owned” in the “The Plans” blog below from May 3. The owner has finally agreed to sell, so we’re supposed to close on that on Thursday… thanks for the help Lounell!

Kathy, Kenny and I will leave for Paris in a week (June 2nd)… but we’re leaving the farm in good hands. Terry is looking after the building projects, Mike is farming the pecans and Dad is helping Terry (Lots of mowing and maintenance!). I hope to keep this blog updated from Paris… we’ll see how that goes.

Ken

May 8, 2008

Lots of Dirt

Filed under: Pecan Grove — knewman @ 9:15 pm

A lot of dirt is being pushed around at the farm.

New Entrance

This is where the new entrance to the property will be… west of the old entrance… to provide better visibility for cars leaving the farm.  The cement pile was the foundation of an old house.  The driveway will go out at the place where the old driveway was for this house.  A couple sections of the new fence need to be removed and a new gate constructed.

Y in the road

Turning around and looking the other way at the same point… you can see the new portion of the driveway joining the old driveway.  The portion of the old driveway to the right will be removed.

Road to Sr. Residence

The road through what was woods, going toward the Sr. Residence, is too wet.  The dozer is turning the ground over so it can dry out.  Once it is dry enough it will be sprayed with a stabalizing fluid (lime and cement mixture) and compacted.  Then it will be ready for a layer of crushed limestone on top.  A clay wall is being built from ground level down to the clay below the sand on the right side to keep the spring water from flowing under the road through the sand… a hidden clay dam.  Bet the beavers won’t bother this one!

Pecan Trees

The pecan trees are looking great!  We’ve had a good rain, so no need to irrigate from the lake. 

Mike and I went to see another pecan orchard about 30 miles away… it has no irrigation, and looks a lot different.  They raise hay between the trees.  These trees are 20 years old, ours are 9 years old.

A different pecan orchard

The owner of this orchard showed us how to graft pecans… very interesting… we (Mike) have a lot to learn about pecans.

Grafting 1Grafting 2

Mike already bought Destiny a horse, called Dude.  For now he’s Dude in Waiting, because there’s no fence yet around what will be the horse pasture.  Dude is still at his old home in Arkansas.  At the rate this fence is being built… Dude will have to wait for a long time.

Dude in Waiting

Ken

May 3, 2008

The Plans

Filed under: Senior Residence — knewman @ 6:04 pm

Our plans for Pecan Grove include the building of a Sr. Residence and two homes, one for Mike and Ronda Rosamond (Ronda is my sister) and another for my parents, Jack and Leona Newman. The following map shows where each of these will be. The yellow lines are power lines. The road across the bottom is State Highway 150… I guess it’s called Gibbs Street though I’ve never heard anyone call it that. At the bottom middle route 1097 T’s into SH 150. The current entry to the property is the straight sandy road that goes back to the barn and house area. We’re rerouting the incoming road with a gate further to the left on 150 to make exiting onto 150 safer. The red lines are the borders of the 3 properties, the large 101 acre farm and two 17 acre lots. Unfortunately, the man who owns the 10 acre lot between the two 17 acre lots is unwilling to sell…. so far.

Pecan Orchard Property

The pictures of the road shown on other postings are in the horizontal portion of the blue line above from the house to the Sr. Residence through the woods. The drives to Mike and Ronda’s place and to Dad and Mom’s place are still trails.

The floor plan for the Sr. Residence is shown below. It is very similar to the one at Redbud Canyon.

 

There are 10 apartments. The 4 on the ends are slightly larger for couples. In the center there is the great room and the kitchen. The main entrance comes into the kitchen area.

 Terry Hoffman is managing the building of these 2 houses and the Sr. Residence.  He’s moved into the small farm house with his family for the duration of the project.

Ken

Bernice Faber and Emmy Nelson Visit

Filed under: Pecan Grove — knewman @ 5:34 pm

Bernice and Emmy visited the farm today…  they were staying with Patrick and Karin… so came out with the Newman clan.

Bernice and Emmy by the pond

Terry and Kim have learned the hard way that the Newman clan descends on the farm most Saturdays, so they made other plans… suddenly they find Huntsville interesting!

Birthday cake

We found out someone was having a birthday… but I’m not supposed to tell who or how many… don’t worry, it’s not Brent.

Group at farm

So this was the crew available to celebrate, with a total of 6 dogs…

Emmy found the weed below by the pond and instructed me to find out what it was… so if anyone knows, please let me know!

Emmy’s weed

Ken

Beavers

Filed under: Pecan Farming — knewman @ 8:15 am

We’ve learned a lot we never wanted to know about beavers at the farm. The amount of destruction they can do is amazing. We have a 7 acre lake and a 2 acre pond on the farm. The following are some pictures of the beaver damage around the pond. Note that all pictures in this posting were taken in January and February 2008.

 Tree partly eaten by beavers by pond

This tree was partly eaten, but failed to fall over because of vines that tie it to other trees. The beavers must have some safety regulations that prevent them from eating more of a tree that doesn’t fall over when it should! Note the size of the wood chips, some larger than a quarter… enough to make a chain saw jealous.

Tree eaten by beavers

I’m told that beavers actually eat the wood of trees (not the bark) for their diet. Talk about a high fiber diet! They try to fall the trees into the pond, where they can dine without coming out of the water. In this case they’ve eaten the whole tree. In other cases we see trees that they only eat a small portion of… no idea why. Note the pile of branches to the right behind what’s left of this tree. That’s the entrance to the beaver’s house. They burrow a long tunnel into the bank which in this case is part of the earthen dam which creates the pond. The pile of brush hides the entrance to their tunnel. There are trees like these all around the pond… some with just the bark removed (they seem to want to kill the pine trees) to some that are just sharply pointed stumps.

It’s disconcerting to have wood eating critters on a farm with over 900 pecan trees!

This pond is in maps from the 1960’s. It was created by a long earthen dam with a cement spillway where the water exits the pond.

Man’s attempt to build a spillway

As you can see… the man-made spillway washed out. When it did the water cut down through the dam under the spillway, so the pond was gone. The beavers came to the rescue and built a beaver dam in the gap.

Angela standing on the beaver dam

Angela Opel is standing on the beaver dam. It is about 50 ft long and 15 ft high. It slopes very gently to the right from Angela, down to the creek bed. It is made of sticks and mud. The grass helps by putting roots down through the sticks and mud, holding it together. On the back side it has dried out nicely and is easy to walk on. Amazing to think that this could be built by a “dumb” animal.

Pond with beaver dam in the distance

So this is the pond that exists because of beavers. It was muddy when this was taken because of recent rain. The beaver dam is the area just above and slightly to the right of the center of the picture, where there is only grass… no bank.

The pond is full of fish!

Bass held by Ed and Kay Smalley

Ed and Kay Smalley (Ed manages NOV CTES).

Mike with bass

Mike Rosamond has the best luck of anyone so far.

Kenny and Ronda with bass

Ronda and Kenny practice false advertising… a lot of these bass were caught by Mike!

So… thanks to the beavers, we have a nice pond! We want to keep the beavers in check, so they don’t develop an appetite for pecan wood, but if we get rid of all of them the dam will disintegrate and we’ll loose the pond!

Now I’ll switch to the beavers in the lake. There is a broad creek area between the location for the Sr. Residence and the location of Dad and Mom’s house, that flows into the lake. The beavers have built a number of dams in this creek. In this case the beaver dams serve no useful purpose, and again they are eating a LOT of trees. So I decided to dig a hole through 3 of the dams to try and drain that area…

 Ken digging hole in beaver dam

A few days later… all holes had been patched! I repeated this fruitless effort a few times (I learn slow)… and finally gave up.

 Beaver damage by lake

Here’s some of the damage done by beavers in the wide creek bed beside the lake. 

So… we’ve been trapping and shooting (at) beavers in the lake.  The largest beaver trapped was 80 lb… we’re not too sure how many we’ve shot.  We’re trying to drain the lake down some to  work on the dam, but the beavers keep damming up the cut we’ve made to drain the lake down.  One good thing… the lake if full of hydrilla… we need to get rid of hydrilla.  Guess what the beavers use to dam  up the cut we’ve made?  A mixture of mud and hydrilla.  So now there’s a section of the lake near the cut with no hydrilla!

So far the score is humans 6, beavers 20… but we aren’t done yet.

Ken

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