Done Digging Swales

Updated: Apr 27, 2018


We have completed the swales and berms! And in my humble opinion, they look pretty damn good. All told, we ended up digging 6,083 feet of swales that get as deep as 18 inches, with berms that are roughly 24 inches high.


A huge thank you and debt of gratitude is owed to my neighbors, Matt and Will. They were the ones who brought over the massive excavator. Furthermore, my excavator skills proved to be very subpar—that’s probably no surprise to anyone who as ever seen me drunkenly play the claw game at a bowling alley. The nice-and-even digging was the product of Will’s talents. His mastery with that machine is awe-inspiring.

At one point, I tried to use the excavator to move some old bales of hay that have been sitting on the field. It was a lot of fun, but I made a huge mess.


My ineptitude aside, everything went pretty much according to plan. The soil had some rocks, but it wasn’t the New England gravel pit that I feared it would be. With a four-foot bucket on the excavator, the digging went very quickly. We cut a few of the swales short because of the extreme slope on the south side of the field.

Swales in action.

The locals enjoying the new swales.

The next step in the tree-planting project is on Saturday, October 28. That’s the date when we actually start putting the trees in the ground. If anyone is interested in coming up to the farm that weekend, shoot me a note. Any and all help is welcome! It should be a fun weekend.

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© 2018 by Gold Shaw Farm, LLC.