HCW is looking for the perfect farm-could it be yours?
HCW is looking for the perfect farm—could it be yours?
Alayne Blickle & Horses for Clean Water are setting up the King Conservation District’s 2012 farm tour schedule and we are on the lookout for exciting horse places to show off! We are looking for tour sites that have excellent mud, manure & pasture management practices in place. Beyond that, we look for unique and clever places that speak to peers as far as chore-efficiency, horse keeping & "green" practices.
If you live in King County, WA and think your place is ready for HCW's good horse keeping seal of approval we’d like to talk with you! Email me at Alayne@... to show & tell me about you and your place. If it sounds like a match between our educational needs and your place, we’ll set up a time to visit in person.
We look forward to hearing from YOU!
In the meantime.... below are a few HCW ideas from me to help you prepare your place for the oncoming winter months when it’s dark, wet, snowy and cold.
Over the Holidays please keep HCW in mind when shopping online for gifts by using the HCW links (the ad boxes on the lower right side of the HCW home page) for Amazon.com, Cabalas, REI, Arbico and Patagonia. Clicking through these sites actually generates a small “finder’s fee” that costs you nothing and goes to HCW to help fund the HCW website and other free resources. Please tell others --we appreciate your support!
Reduce Barnyard Mud by Dealing with Drainage
A big fall “to do” is dealing with surface water that travels towards your barn and confinement areas, i.e. drainage.
Environmentally speaking, the golden rule on horse properties is to “keep clean rainwater clean” by diverting it away from paddocks, buildings, manure piles and high traffic areas. When you do this you keep nutrients and sediments (from manure and mud) out of surface water as well as reduce mud on your property—good news for winter time chore efficiency!
First, check gutters and downspouts to make sure they are in good working order and are diverting water away from confinement areas, buildings and other high traffic spots. Good places to divert clean runoff to include areas on your property such as a grassy ditch, a dry well, rain barrel, stock watering tanks, a well-vegetated woods or an unused portion of your pasture.
Next, when tackling drainage think “slow the flow.” The best and easiest way to reduce surface water is to slow it down. Many times just slowing water down will allow it to infiltrate back into the ground--perhaps all that’s needed to solve a drainage issue. This also helps recharge the natural hydrology of your property including ground water.
Runoff from driveways, parking areas, hillsides or slopes can add significantly to the problem of managing mud in confinement areas. Last winter on Sweet Pepper Ranch (our first here!) we discovered that roof runoff from our new guest barn was flooding the paddocks in our main barn—rain water traveled down slope across bare soil, quickly accumulating in the horses’ paddocks. Ugh!!!
Over the summer we worked on a few things to “slow the flow.” To disperse runoff from the guest barn we created a grassy swale that slows water down and sends it towards the back of the property, away from paddocks and high traffic areas. We also planted trees and shrubs in this area which help use up water.
Another thing we did was create a drainage ditch filled with round drain rock, the idea being that this ditch will intercept and catch water as it runs towards the paddocks allowing the clean water to infiltrate back into the ground.
For more ideas on how to reroute surface water runoff check out my blog Smart Horse Keeping post and Manage Surface Flows.
Alayne Renee Blickle
Creator & Program Director
Horses for Clean Water