Yesterday I posted this picture of our pond’s exit pipe in the Facebook Small Farm/Sustainability group I recently mentioned, asking if anyone was using anything similar to generate electricity, and if so how. I got lots of responses and they generally confirmed what my prior research had told me–that it wouldn’t be possible to produce much electricity from it and that what little could be obtained probably wouldn’t be worth the effort.
That’s disappointing. Water flows steadily through that pipe 24-7 (assuming we keep the beavers away) and it’s a pity I can’t feasibly put it to work.
When we started on this journey one of my priorities was to generate our own electricity on-farm. Believing solar power would become better and less expensive over time, I kept putting it off. Now it’s probably not in the cards. So for now at least, we’ll continue to depend on the utility company.
But even thought it won’t be generating power for us, the pond does contribute to the homestead.
It is the source of the fish I eat. I pull enough bass out of it to enjoy fish suppers frequently in the summer. Usually we’ll freeze one of the fillets so I can have fish during the winter too. They are an important, nutritious (and delicious) part of my diet.
On a few occasions my neighbor has used the pond for irrigation. He sets up a gas powered pump and runs irrigation pipe to his fields (a job I remember really disliking in my childhood). We’re seriously considering putting in an irrigation system of our own that will enable us to irrigate most of our gardens from the pond. If it works out, then the pond will be contributing to the farm in that way as well.
Our daughter enjoyed swimming in it. Our son enjoyed paddling the john boat around on it.
I spent a couple of hours there late yesterday afternoon sitting beneath a tree. I didn’t see any deer, but I did discover that the otters have returned. The pond is a great draw for wildlife. Ducks, geese, herons, turtles, otters, bullfrogs, and the dreaded beavers all love it there. Of course for them the pond is already plenty useful.