The Big Dig
It is sometimes funny how we arrive at an idea. Last year Walter from Sugar Mountain Farm had a post with a picture of one of his boys in a pool of green water with a frog on his head. The thrust of the post was that they had a small swimming pool that they allowed to go wild instead of treating it with conventional pool chemicals. That played into our long held desire to have somewhere on the farm that we could swim. Unfortunately, we do not have a suitable spring anywhere on the farm that would allow us to build a pond that wouldn't get stagnant in the summer. After a little time noodling around on the internet we came across a couple of sites related to "natural swimming pools". These pools, which seem to be fairly popular in Europe basically consist of a body of water held in place by a pond liner. Instead of pool chemicals the water is cleaned by cycling it through a biofilter which consists of a plant zone filled with wetland plants that grow in the shallow perimeter of the pool/pond. There is a submerged wall inside of that plant zone which creates the swim area and keeps the plants as well as the rocks and gravel they grow in where they belong.
A little further along our research trail we came across a downloadable book by a company called Total Habitat (www.totalhabitat.com) which is based in Kansas. The book is basically a step by step how to build a natural swimming pool. So anyway, we spent a lot of last winter planning out our pool and figuring out where we wanted it. Over the 4th of July we rented an excavator and roughed out the hole for the pool. We have been woking on refining the shape since then. We are now ready to install the underlayment for the liner (old carpets) and to order the liner, pump, etc.