Getting the Dam Work Done

The dam weedeating is done for the year.

Our dam is too steep for me to use the bushhog on it.  So twice a year I have to mow it with a weedeater and cut out any saplings with a machete.

It’s not a fun job but yesterday was a good day for it–not too hot and not too cold.

Before

Before

After

After

It’s important to keep the dam maintenance done. Trees are especially problematic if permitted to root and can affect the dam integrity.

It felt good to look back, see it all nicely mowed, and know that my dam work is done till next spring.

IMG_4863

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41 comments on “Getting the Dam Work Done

  1. Jeff says:

    The title of your post startled me, as I thought there was a swear word involved! Not like you at all. I was wrong, but the context of the word in the title brought to mind how the phrase “tinker’s dam” is often used as a swear word but the second word almost always has the extra ‘n’ added to it. How many people know what a tinker’s dam was, or, for that matter, what a tinker was?

    For those scratching their heads (and I know Shoreacres isn’t!), a tinker was a person who fixed holes in the bottoms of pots, back in the day before our throw-away culture came to dominate us. To fix the hole, the tinker made a dam out of clay so that the molten metal s/he used to repair the hole wouldn’t run. And that, my friends, is what a “tinker’s dam” is. This, from the department of nearly useless information.

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    • Bill says:

      Interesting. I didn’t know that.

      This year I learned how to repair holes like that. I repaired leaks in our watering tub, saving me from having to buy a new one. I also fixed a hole in our air compressor.

      But you’re right about our throw away culture. I remember when people still earned livings with jobs repairing things like shoes and televisions. These days we just throw them away and buy new ones.

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      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        Oh, it’s true, all right! We found that out when Black Locust were allowed to colonise the dam at the farm): The result was slow seepage and a drop in water levels – until the offenders were brought back under control and kept cleared away.

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      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        According to the Cobbler I spoke to, a lot of the shoes these days are not made in a way that they can be repaired… Something to research and keep in mind when buying your next pair, hey?; )

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    • shoreacres says:

      But only “nearly” useless. There still are people who hang on to those techniques, not to mention the language!

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  2. bobraxton says:

    might it be
    possibly
    that I spy

    Andropogon virginicus

    Andropogon virginicus L.
    Broomsedge bluestem, Broom-sedge
    Poaceae (Grass Family)
    Synonym(s):
    USDA Symbol: ANVI2
    USDA Native Status: L48 (N), HI (I), PR (N), CAN (N)

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  3. My weed whacker and I are on very friendly terms. Our hillside is so steep I almost have to rope up to cut it. 🙂 –Curt

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  4. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, Nebraska and Iowa are littered with farm ponds. Iowa has many more than Nebraska. Most of these ponds are stocked with fish and have some of the best fishing. However with the run off from the farm land around the ponds, I seriously doubt that it would be a good idea to eat the fish. Nitrates and pesticides rule the farm land in both states. Of course I don’t know where a person could find truly unpolluted fish any more. There are many water shed lakes here in my city that are fully stocked with fish. I always have intentions to catch some and put them in my rain water storage tank to keep the algae down during the summer months. Some of their diet would be from the bug zapper hanging over the tank. I haven’t brought that to fruition just yet but maybe next year. At the end of the year I would just take them back to the lake. I still wouldn’t trust eating fish that grew up on nitrates and pesticides even after a summer of clean diet.

    Wow, you must have a powerful Weedeater. I don’t think mine would choke through grass that dense. Those weedeaters are a life saver for the areas that the lawnmower can’t reach.

    Have a great day enjoying the dam maintenance being finished.

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    • Bill says:

      The weedeater gets a lot of work around here so I have a heavy duty one. I also use it clear along fence lines.

      I think our fish are safe from runoff. I hope so since they’re a part of my diet. 🙂

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  5. Couldn’t help thinking of your goats when I saw that big stretch you had to weed whack, but I admit I’m getting a brush cutter in January for just that sort of work, and look forward to a similar feeling of job well done after a day of use.

    And I too work in the dept of nearly useless information and know what a tinker’s dam is :).

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    • Bill says:

      It would be a real challenge to move goats to that part of the pond, but it’s a good idea. We thought about adding sheep to the farm to reduce the amount of mowing we have to do but that idea never got off the drawing board.

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  6. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    You’re having all together TOO much fun saying that, LOL!
    So, are(were) those “saplings” a poplar of some sort? Pretty big for only a year’s worth of growth (just sayin’ ; )

    Liked by 1 person

  7. EllaDee says:

    I’m glad you reflected that it looked good because it was all nicely mowed, because that’s what I thought but hesitated in case it was too “urban” a comment… Much as I enjoy a wild, natural vista there’s something attractive about neat, tended space as well.

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    • Bill says:

      In this case we don’t mow it for looks, but rather to keep the dam safe. It does look better once neatly trimmed, but it looked good to me because it meant I was done. 🙂

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  8. Joanna says:

    I was surprised that you said that trees would weaken the integrity of the dam. I always thought that trees stabilised banks.

    Your story though reminded me of a story on Snopes I read about many years ago, about dam beavers. It is hysterical.

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    • Bill says:

      Yes, I was goofing with the word a bit. The beaver dam letter is hilarious. Thanks for mentioning it.

      When we had the pond put in I was told that it is extremely important to keep the dam mowed, lest trees grow on it which can cause it eventually to fail. I don’t know how accurate that is, but I’ve tried to do it. Trees are great for stopping erosion, but my understanding is that the root system can weaken a dam and cause leaks.

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      • Joanna says:

        I can understand that point. I wonder if it is different trees that help or those that destroy? I guess we would need to speak to a forestry specialist. If I remember I shall ask my supervisor who used to advise for the forestry commission on landscaping

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      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        Hi Joanna, Years ago, when my parents’ pond slowly started losing water, it took them quite a while to discover the reason…
        At first, they just put it down to the general lack of precipitation over the past couple of years. Then, when the water level still hadn’t come back up after that winter’s generous snowfall melted, they thought the cause might be a muskrat burrowing around which – while looking for said rodent – is when they found the Black locusts that had started growing, out of sight, on the backside of the dam…
        Funny thing is, that Locust grove had been growing slightly north of the pond for decades and had never caused any problem until, that is, we had that extended period of extraordinarily dry weather and they were literally forced to go in search of water, or die):
        Once they were trimmed back, the water levels returned to normal; and thankfully the weather has never been that bad again since… (Knock wood)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joanna says:

        That makes a lot of sense. I know willow trees drink a huge amount of water and they often grow near water courses

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    • Bill says:

      We do have lots of tulip poplars here. Most of the trees you see in the pictures that have long straight trunks are poplars. There are also a lot of young poplars growing in the ditches next to the road on the hillside (a very good thing).

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  9. pattisj says:

    It’s nice to be able to see the difference one makes after working all day.

    Like

  10. avwalters says:

    I, too, saw that greensward and thought of goats. In California we used goats to clear all kinds of brush–to minimize the fire hazard. (And the wilderness parks used them to clear poison oak!) Oh well, it’s only twice a year–maybe you can forego the goats.
    (If you used them to clear the hillside, would they be scrapegoats?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Moving goats to that side of the farm wouldn’t be easy, but I’d much rather use them than a machine if it were possible. It takes me a couple of hours twice a year to do this job, so it probably doesn’t make sense to change. But maybe putting up a fence around the pond and keeping some goats there all the time would make sense, but I’d also have to build a shelter. Definitely something to think about.

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  11. shoreacres says:

    With all that talk up above about Tupelo, this just has to be added: Tupelo Honey”. It’s great music for post-weed-whacking.

    We had a dam up in the hill country that supported the only road going into the place. Erosion’s one thing, but watching that thing get washed out by flash flooding was something else. Needless to say, when we discovered the dam was gone and we had to walk out, it occasioned a different sort of “dam.”

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  12. Bill says:

    That’s great music for just about any thing. 🙂

    One my favorite photos is of me and Cherie sitting on the porch swing at Elvis Presley’s childhood home in Tupelo, Mississippi. She was pregnant with our daughter at the time and our nearly 2 year son was sitting between us. Another favorite is of all four of us (about 2 years later) sitting on the porch swing at Thomas Wolfe’s childhood home in Asheville, North Carolina. Good memories. Thanks for triggering them. 🙂

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  13. bobraxton says:

    Deb: a lot did come up after I googled “images pond back side”
    but no image looks like what I had in my imagination when reading
    “the pond’s back side.”

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    • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

      Ha! Nice one Bob! Always did love a good double entendre. Although, in this case (as you very well know; ) it would refer to the steep (and normally dry; ) side of a water-controlling device /barrier, lol…
      Now, if you’d put “dam pond/backside” in your Google search; well, all bets are off (giggle: )

      Liked by 1 person

      • bobraxton says:

        I was curious about the connection (etymologies) “Adam” and “dam” – Adam (Hebrew: אָדָם) … earliest known use … related to the words: adom (red), admoni (ruddy), and dam (blood)

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