Screwing around with my old point and shoot (since I shit the bed with my fancy camera), I found this video:
This latest deluge of torrential rain has lit a fire under my ass about putting in a French drain for the barnyard. I’m worried about their little hooves and general malaise from the bog. But knowing my own laziness, I decided to commit to just five feet in the morning and five feet at night to digging a trench. If I had to do it all at once, I’d put it off for ever, and this way, a couple weeks from now, I’ll be able to put in the French drain and hopefully mitigate the barnyard swamp situation going forward. Yes, the worst of the rain will probably be over by then, but it’s not like it’s going to stop raining after this summer. I’m going to make it as long as the barnyard, a couple feet back from they hay shelter, and then tapering out at a 45° angle into the pasture.
Here’s my handiwork from last night and this morning. The ground’s so saturated that it filled up with water overnight. Once it’s done, I’ll need to give it another pass to deepen it a bit, then add a little gravel, and we have a bunch of that fabric-covered flexible French drain material. My only expense will be the gravel for the bottom and sides of the trench. Hopefully that won’t set me back too much.
I also want a more permanent chicken fence–I can’t energize my sheep fence and chicken fence, and the chickens just scoot under the fence half the time. It’s not a problem right now, but I don’t want them in my future garden, which I’ll be planting around the barnyard. But I am going to move the compost pile into their pen. Since they loving digging in it anyway–that’s they first place they head when they get out–I figure I’ll let them turn it for me a little. The trick is to keep them from spreading it out too much. Maybe a little barrier of some sort…
Anyway, I don’t really have a budget for any of this, so I think for now I’ll set up a cattle panel fence. I bought several panels when they were $20 apiece at Orshlen last summer, and I’ve got those clever spiral connectors from Premier 1, the place where I get my portable electric. I think it will actually pretty much stay up by itself if I don’t make it too big, but I might have a couple extra T posts laying around. I was going to use the panels & connectors to make big, sturdy cages for my hay bale tomatoes, but I never got around to it and I’ve got enough in the hopper this summer that I’ll probably just get another plant or two for my little hoop house garden and leave it at that. Besides, my bolt cutter is too small for the job, so I really wasn’t looking forward to cutting up all those panels.