In the Spring of 2016 Griff Williams visited Amberations for the first time. He came with a group from the United Methodist Church of Marcellus; they were contributing a day of volunteer service to our organization.
When Griff heard of our dream of a pond at our barn site he volunteered to take on the task with his purple, Komatsu excavator. The first step was getting the necessary permits.
The Department of Environmental Conservation was easy to work with (to the surprise of many). Our barn is in a protected historical zone and the clearance we needed from the Parks Department was also easy. The Soil and Water Conservation portion was a bit more involved and took quite a bit longer, most of the very dry summer we had last year.
As soon as we finally received our permit, the rains began. Anxious to get started, Griff quickly did all the excavation he possibly could, then watched as the rains came, and came, and came. The saturated ground soon became unworkable and work had to cease until the Spring. Our 2017 Spring brought the 8th wettest April in local history followed by a May in which we broke a 100 year rainfall record.
Griff patiently waited and showed up to work whenever the ground dried enough. While it was too wet to work outside, Griff crafted a mahogony sluice for the overflow from our pond.
Something else was happening during this period; frogs moved in, laid eggs, and multiplied ten fold. They are a joy to watch and hear.
Before the rains finally dissipated, the branch from a large willow came down, rerouting our stream and jeopardizing all the work that had been done. John Wiley and Griff spent hours moving mud and rocks in the pouring rain to avoid additional damage.
An emergency vote was held and Amberations paid $1000 to have the remaining trunk of the tree taken down, as it was threatening to fall into the pond. This added willow timbers to the ever escalating project and the story of our “Willow Sculpture Garden” .
Now Griff has finished all the major excavation. The pasture is finally dry and once the final grading is done, which should be any day, it will be ready for seeding. Our boardwalk will be reinstalled and we have plans for a small foot bridge and hopes to make the area wheelchair friendly.
We want to thank Tim Wiley, John Wiley, and Jim Frary for their hard work in assisting with this project and Johnna Wiley for her part in helping with the application. We are presently determining how to adequately express our thanks to Griff, for now…
THANK YOU GRIFF!