Laser Light at Mystery Pond


I have always thought a laser level was a cool device. It is a great way of doing the task with a little technology and a lot easier than using a hose and water level. The laser level is also a lot cheaper than a decent transit – I got ours, after coventing it for years, on sale for $10. It even uses AA batteries, something I have quite a few of in rechargeable form, rather than those awful expensive button batteries I have seen in other laser levels. The only negative we’ve found is it does not work in bright sunlight so early morning or evenings are the time to use it outdoors.

Yesterday we got to use the laser level in a real project for the first time when we checked the height all the way around the question-mark shaped dam of Mystery Pond under the kid’s cable trolley run. This was to check the dam and spillway heights all the way around the complex curve so we would know where the water would overflow – soon. Eye balling it is rather tricky and not very accurate, as we discovered. Soon we’ll know for sure as the water is about half way up in the pond. The last two nights of rain helped.

Today I finished cutting the swale across the hill that will divert the remaining water from above the north home field over into the little pond. This will help dry up the north field and under the tree house making it more useful for grazing.

Holly, Will, Ben and Hope have almost finished up rock and stick picking so that the area will be friendly to small bare feet. They have raked most of the area to its final smoothness and seeded with grass. I moved several large boulders into place next to the yellow birch by hand to use for more benches. I had thought I would have to use the tractor to move them but was wary of doing that yesterday since the ground is so slick from the rain last night. Fortunately I found I could just barely roll them by hand. I built a little more stone wall today and have just one, maybe two more ten foot sections I want to do to complete the stone work. The other big thing we finished on the trolley run is seeding. It has been warm and with all this rain we may even get significant grass growth this fall to help tie together the soil.

We still need to put up the cable in its final configuration. I got some new, thicker and stronger quarter inch aircraft cable to replace the eigth inch cable we had been using. After that it is just a matter of waiting for the pondlet to fill and the grass to grow in. Either this fall or next spring we are planning to plant mint, day lilies and ferns around the area. The kids have four bonfires built around the area for upcoming cookouts after we get the trolley hung.

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor…

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7 Responses to Laser Light at Mystery Pond

  1. pablo says:

    Sounds like an ideal place for kids. With water handy, the fires will be manageable too. I hope you continue to post pix of your progress.

  2. charles says:

    You said you are planting mint. I assume with the lilies you aren’t planning on grazing the area. I know mint is very invasive so that might limit the possibilities anyway but does mint have a place in pasture? I’m in eastern nc and my mint in pots thrive in spring,most of summer and really takes off in the fall. Seems it and clover (which does better in the cooler weather) would help extend pasture days. I can’t find any info on this online. Is it safe? Is it nutrient dense?

    Its strong odor makes me think it is slightly toxic,most things are that smell strong in nature. Maybe worm control if not too toxic idk.

    Thoughts?

    • The mint plants are actually root transplants from further east along the mountain near our sugar shack. There is a spring where they grow wild and we moved some of them up to the puddle. Each fall we collect mint for making our tea.

      • charles says:

        It is amazing how mint will spread. I took a single leaf with about a 1 cm stem from my friends house in Charlotte (4.5 hours west). It was close to 100 degrees outside. I put it a damp paper towel. Well I drove it home and then forgot about it for a couple hours. Eventually I put it in a pot,in the shade and kept it moist.

        It took root and grew really well. This was last year. This year it sprung up and took up all the space in the pot. I completely neglected it this year and my chi kens pecked at it,I didn’t water it,I was sure it was dead. As soon as the weather cooled just a bit it took off again. I’m pretty sure it can not die. Maybe the fountain of youth flows through its stems? Maybe this was the secret for tuck ever lasting. I need to drink more mint tea.

        Have you given any thought to it as a pasture plant?

        • It doesn’t grow out in the pastures but rather in the shadier moist areas. I think it likes the moisture and rich soil around the springs which are in hollows. Most of our land has more gravelly soil. I would love to have a lot more of it. We have a few wild patches, including the one at Riddle Puddle, but they’re pretty concentrated and only produce about four gallon jars of dried leaves a year.

  3. charles says:

    I’m sorry wj. Didn’t realize this post was so old.

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