Hot weekend.  Spent most of it either planning or with the cows. 

On the planning front, we reached out to the USDA NRCS Soil Conservation Technician in Kirksville and fed him some ideas.  He came back on Monday with this posts photo.

For scale, the light blue rectangle in the upper left is our house.

Lots of things to think about regarding the lake.  Size, of course, relates directly to cost.  There are limits as well on size both from a maximum dam size, but also from the potential for water to back-flood onto a neighbors land (mostly down in the lower right).  I’ve reached out to that neighbor to see if he cares if our mutual ditch remains filled with water.  Add to that a 4 acre limit based upon our GRP contract with the government, which could, with work, perhaps be expanded, and a 5 acre limit before additional engineers need to be brought in.
  In fact, the local NRCS guy can do dams up to 20 feet tall (measured from the lowest point at the bottom of a ditch to the spillway).  The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has a limit of 35 feet (measured from the bottom of the drain pipe to the top of the dam – couldn’t have two agencies actually agree on how to measure a dam height could we?) before structural engineers have to be involved.  Between those two any plans just need to be bump up to an NRCS engineer.  Can’t forget about impacting existing erosion control structures on the land – the NRCS cares about those.  The Missouri Department of Conservation also cares about flooding out prairie ground they help establish – although that is just a money reimbursement issue (and small dollar at that).

Also spent time thinking about our future chicken coop.   We are going to build a 10×20 foot one – large enough to house about 40 chickens year round, although we highly expect that number to vary.  Found some good, simple, plans that take advantage of the low crowding that number represents (yeah, 5 sq/ft per chicken is about 5X more space than commercial places use, but also represents 1/5th the problems.)  I need to find a source of straw for bedding, although I would image hay would work.  You don’t want to use hay for dog or horse bedding because of flees and other bugs, but in a chicken coop – those bugs are just free food.  Spread out like they will be, they will scratch through the bedding looking for bugs and mix their droppings in the process.  End result is a clean smelling chicken coop and an annual supply of outstanding fertilizer for the garden.  Currently thinking of making it two stories with the top floor being a play area for the kids, with slides and climbing ropes and whatnot.  We had a nice one of those playsets for the past few years, but the local winds have knocked it over a few times.  I’m thinking we would be better off using it for parts than trying to repair it again.

Cow time was mostly socialization and getting photos.  We are at our target capacity of cattle now, and need to start selling some.  Weekend goal was to get photos to use for that sale.