Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Seeking The Water Table At Twig Forest


(This post is a respite from the fair)

Last week, Junior and his best bud, T. went with me to Twig Forest. This new property is still a mystery to me and I had two specific goals in mind.

GOAL ONE: Actually drive into the property for the first time. This would involve trimming and chainsawing a little more to allow the Jeep into the linear rows of pines.

This was accomplished without taking a living tree. I had picked a spot where two planted pines had died some time ago. All I had to do was cut them off near the ground so the Jeep could roll over their stumps. I worked at this while the boys hunted each other in the palmettos. They had brought their paintball guns and the rapid fire sounds of the guns were usually followed by yells of "Ow, Owww, Okay you got me, Owwww!"

I cleared the cut branches away and got back in the Jeep. There's a ditch with no culvert that separates the dirt road from the property. I slipped it into 4WD and climbed through the ditch and into the pines. The Wrangler is svelte and slipping between the rows of pines was not hard, but turns were interesting. I found out why the sideview mirrors are on swivels.

This goal was accomplished though, and the boys were surprised to see me drive up to the little clearing near their battle site. Wherever the Jeep is parked is a DMZ with no paintballing allowed. They moved deeper into the woods to continue.

GOAL TWO: Dig a post hole to find the water table. It was right where I suspected...about 5 feet down. There's standing tea colored water in the swamp at the rear of the property, so I knew I would not have to go far. For you soil scientists, as I dug, I passed through dark, peaty topsoil, then lighter sand, then a chocolate lab-colored clay, then sand with water seepage. I mentioned once before that I plan to drive a shallow well here by pounding a well point with sand screen down 10 feet or so. On top of this will go a pitcher pump for basic campy water service. This day was just a test dig, not a well dig.

It was a nice day, a little warm for my tastes. I relish the winter here in Pure Florida and hate to see it go.

That was a week ago. Monday was even warmer and along with blooming dogwoods and redbuds, there's one new sign of spring. I have taken off most of my winter coat (beard) and am down to a close-cropped goatee. Soon, that will go too as the thermometer rises.

This morning, I'm off to training in Starke. The training is called "Water's Journey", and it's a program that teaches kids about Florida's underground water supply. I'm really excited.

I get to work with adults all day!


Laura said...

I hope you'll share with us what you learned in training today. Don't save it for the kids! Us old folks could benefit too. ;)

pablo said...

I've been hoping for an update on the Twig Forest. I suppose this is good news about the water table. Around here any water that close to the surface would be suspect since it would be too likely to be tainted with chemicals (pesticides, fertilizers). Does ground water down there taste salty?

Rurality said...

I think my water table is higher than yours... unreal. But we couldn't dig down 5 feet without serious tractor assistance!

Hick said...

Digging 5 feet? Oh boy. We couldn't dig 5 feet without serious help either. I could sure use you and your jeep to clear out our brush. Either that or your boys with machetes.

roger said...

i don't see any paint on those fellows. what color do they use? our soil is sandy clay way far down.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

This sounds like a class that you will be teaching to other adult teachers to pass on to their students.

Here the wells are between 15 -30 feet depending on where you live.

Why do you call it your Twig Forest? Is it because of the size of the trees?

I spent most of my youth clearing, making trails for my kids to ride their ponies, dirt bikes and just plain walking trails...it's great exercise and who needs the gym when you do that?

I finally got smart and dug around a trees roots and just kept pushing & then digging, until it would finally fall over, roots and all. Then later my husband would come with his chainsaw and cut it up for our firewood...and then I'd burn the stumps.

Rexroth's Daughter said...

Looking forward to hearing about your day with other adults talking about water. Sounds like a great way to spend the day.

doubleknot said...

Sounds like a great place.Hope you didn't mess up your mirrors.
Sounds so healthy for the boys to be out and having fun with Dad near by.
Hope you enjoy your water class and maybe can share some of your new learned knowledge - I may not use it but you never know who I may pass it on to.
Have fun with the adults - my room mate and I are in our second day of watching three small grandkids - Mom is in the hospital and Dad is at work. Grandpa is getting a little impatient in his 'old' age but when he speaks they listen.

vicki said...

You're a regular divining rod there, F.C. A man who can find water always has a role in the village. This sounds like a good day of exploration with another good day of education coming up. Enjoy.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Can you get that water tested for chemicals, etc? I'd be interested in knowing whether it is indeed potable.

pablo said...

And what's that thing tied to the tree?

Floridacracker said...

To All,
You guys know I like to respond to each and every individual comment, but there's a thread running through most of your excellent (as usual) comments that requires a blanket answer to keep from repeating myself...

The groundwater quality question:
This is a 20 acre piece in the midst of a much larger forest. There's probably not much chance of pesticide or other manmade stuff in this water due to it's isolated nature. If I do stick a little driven well with a pitcher pump, it would not be for drinking,but for all those other watery uses at a campsite.

The training I went to was for teaching kids about groundwater, specifically FL's groundwater. It was centered around a locally produced PBS production called, " Waters Journey, The Hidden Rivers Of Florida". It is the most amazing video on the topic that I have ever seen...divers traveling underground through the aquifer for miles. Astounding.

The thing in the tree, Pablo, is an old deer feeder hanger someone stuck there before we owned the place.

The paintless boys have shed their safety gear and wiped off...plus I think they miss alot, DPR.

Twig Forest due to the skinny young pines, Abandoned.

Weary Hag said...

You have so much energy FC!

Nice descriptive on driving the Jeep through the brush and maneuvering it around.

Enjoy what little there is left of your Florida winter. Things are looking much brighter up north here as well!

Floridacracker said...

Hey Weary,
Thanks, actually I was wondering where my energy went tonight. I have a new Steven King to read (Cell) and am having a hard time keeping my eyes open...it's only 8:16pm !!