Our farm came with six fields, but in the years that we’ve lived here, only five have been in use. The far east field has been “in rehab.” In fact, it’s also known as the rehab field. (This post shows a bird’s eye view of the property.)
The field is boggy with two marshy areas, one of which is right in the middle. It’s hilly and on some of the slopes the soil has washed away and the ground is very stony.
The farmer who rents our fields told us that several years before we bought the farm, one of the previous owners brought in some dirt and regraded the field, and after that it didn’t drain properly. In the time that we’ve been here, the farmer has augmented the soil with manure and tried various measures to drain the field. Nothing has worked.
In fact, he’s gotten more and more frustrated as his equipment gets stuck in the mud and the field remains unuseable.
This view shows the east field and the big field from the same vantage point a few years ago. You can see that the big field is a lot healthier looking than the east.
Every year we talk about tiling the field, and this spring our farmer decided to go ahead.
Note I wrote tiling, not tilling.
Tiling involves running weeping tile throughout the field underground to drain the water.
Our farmer hired a drainage contractor for this project. The first step was to survey the fields using GPS to map out the best drainage path.
Then the big stuff showed up. A backhoe, bulldozer, a drainage plow and biiiiig rolls of weeping tile.
The plow was a really cool piece of equipment. It was a large tractor on caterpillar tracks with a spindle to carry the giant spool of tile. The plow cut into the ground and fed the tile into the trench and filled it back in all in one pass.
Even after living in farm country for seven years, the novelty of farm equipment has not worn off for me. I marvel over the tractors, the combines, the plows and all the rest. So I loved seeing the drainage equipment at work. The maneuverability and power of the tractors was awesome. They went through the water, up hills, through trees–nothing stopped them.
The crew laid tile all through the east field, a bit into the big field and drained it all through the front field and into the creek that runs across the front of the property.
There is still work to be done before the field is finally out of rehab. There’s a big section where top soil was scraped off, and it needs to be pushed back. As well, the trenches and ridges from the plow need to be leveled.
The ground is still a little squishy in spots, as you can see by my boots (please give me props for not tipping over and dumping the baby into the mud).
But the tile is a huge step towards hopefully making the field more useable.
Do you have any muddy spots at your house? Or have you spotted any cool equipment at work? Is part of your property also “in rehab”?
There seems to be a lot of tiling done around here because I often see the equipment in the fields. But I’ve never been able to stop and watch them do the work.
With all the rain that we’ve had this spring I’m sure most farmers wish they were tiled!
It has been so so wet this year! Despite the tiling, we still have ponds because the ground is completely saturated. Hope it dries up a little bit soon for the farmers.