I have done all I can for now on the large pond. I will put more soil on the backside of the dam, and then in the spring I will lay down top soil on the dam and plant grass seed again.
I have now turned my attention to the second pond, which I have long referred to as phase two (out of three phases). I broke ground for this pond on the other side of the culvert, where the old hand-dug well is located. The first step was to burn the large wood pile just up from where the pond will be:
As we watched the pile burn, you can observe here the pond location in the background. Note also the fenced-off well. It took a full day for the pile to burn down:
With the pile burned, I finally break the top soil for the new pond. I used a potato plow (middle-buster) which I found for $70 new at a tractor supply store. It was the only one left of that model, and it works very well. Anyway, here are some photos of the sod and top soil initially being stripped away. The area with the tuft of high grass is the location of the wet-weather spring, which I will leave undisturbed. It brings much of the water from this watershed to this focal point above ground:
These are the drain pipes that go under the driveway and will distribute water overflow from the first pond to the second. Phase three will involve removing these culverts and the driveway above it and constructing a bridge across the chasm:
It took me quite a while to get all the stones from around the well removed (I will later use them elsewhere). This is what the well looked like with no stones prior to serious excavation. There is no telling how old this well is, but it goes back a long way. I have since kept much of the soil I took out of it separate, in the hopes of perhaps borrowing a metal detector and finding things former generations had tossed down into it (old coins, etc.):
I have more photos of my progress to publish in my next post. It appears one of my challenges is going to be in determining where to dispose of much of this dirt excavated from the basin. Much of it can go on the backside of the other pond's dam, but I am somewhat at a loss what to do with the rest. Perhaps I will post it on Craigslist for anyone to come get.