Heavy Use Area Blog

What is a Heavy Use Area? Well let me share; it is the area that gets walked on, driven on, played on the most in the pasture by animals, humans, trucks, and tractors.  Our heavy use area is not only qualifies as all of the above,  but; it is an area where rain collects during any heavy down pours,  during the freezing/thawing time of year which creates big issues because it gets really mushy in that space.

So how do you fix that? Let me share how we did it, some things we are learning to help you in the event you too, need to make some changes or adjustments to your heavy use area.

There were going to be multiple blogs to this topic since we have multiple stages of development. But we actually finished it while in the process of writing this so you will get the whole picture.

One stage is to divert as much rain water as possible and that update will come in the future.   The phase we are working on has to deal with making the ground stronger.  We are doing a 2400 square foot area, well, maybe a bit more.  It is about 32’x85’.   After scraping out all the loose soil, weeds, grass and whatever else might have been down there,  we laid out and staked in place an 8oz Geo Textile that we picked up from CMA Supply or currently known as Carter Waters.  They are located in Fort Wayne. I have to laugh, even though it is 8oz fabric,  I thought it would be really heavy since it is a roll 15 feet by 300 feet.  Yes, it sounds huge!  However, it fit nicely on the trailer.  Thank you Clint’s Auto Repair Shop in Columbia City for letting us borrow your car hauler.

We got it home and it sat on the trailer for a couple days while I waited for assistance to unload and roll it out in the pasture. Due to nasty weather which was on its way, we started to get concerned that the help would not come in time prior to the storms coming that week and we would be delayed another week waiting for the ground to dry out.   Late one evening,  two days prior to the storm, I went out and started unstrapping the fabric and realized with some leverage I could actually maneuver that roll and slide it off the trailer if I could get it close enough to the fence.  I went out, moved the animals into a separate pasture, then drove the truck and trailer in and unloaded the roll of fabric.

My daughter was actually helping me and she was awesome.  After I got the role unloaded, she would lean against it to prevent it from rolling down the slopes on its own.  We got it unwrapped and started staking down the edges as you can see in the photos.

At this point I am going to back up a few days and share my lack of experience in this entire project.  I think it’s kind of funny. In the weeks before starting the project as I was preparing for this, I contacted Tim Moyer with South Whitley Excavating and discussed the stone needed and the amount. (Putting stone down is another phase of putting in a heavy use area.) He asked that I call SDI to make sure that #53 was available.  Come to find out, they were shutting down the pick-up 4 days from the time I called.  We had to work fast! This is a special stone used specifically for projects like this so animals  won’t trip or slip and break a leg.  Anyhow, just knowing that this is an order only deal I was really hoping they would not run out before I got the fabric rolled. To my surprise, Tim asks, “is there an area I can bring a dump truck load out every day so I don’t have to bring all 80 tons in one day?”  I never thought he could just bring out 20 tons at a time, dump it in my drive and I could use the front end loader to move it once I had the fabric in place!   Such a simple solution to the time crunch!

Thankfully, we got the fabric laid out and after I moved the 20 tons out of the drive, the next day,  Tim could come out and back all the way into the pasture to dump the stone directly on the fabric.  Made it a lot easier to move with the front end loader.  Thank you Tim Moyer and South Whitley Excavating!

Now, we have spent the last couple days, a few hours here and there, working to bring more stone toward the middle where it is low, but taper out the edges.  We did get it all wrapped up Sunday afternoon and that allowed us to move on to the next phase of a final aggregate stone/powder to smooth it out.

Next order was for Lime Aggregate Powder.   For Powder, that stuff is dense and heavy,  we layered 2 inches of lime over the 4 inches of #53 to get us the strength and support needed that allows heavy equipment to move in and out of the pasture without sinking.   To my surprise, that Lime powder does harden for the most part.  Driving that 10,000 lb CASE 480 in and out of there, now that the project is complete,  leaves maybe a ¼” divot from the big tires treaded tires.  Photos of the tire tracks are attached and some photos of the Bison lounging in the Lime.   They tend to hang out quite a lot right up front here in the Lime.  We have noticed a major reduction in flies around the Bison while laying here in the lime.  We welcome folks from the animal and ag industries to help us determine if it is just a coincidence or if Lime tends to ward off flies and bugs.  That is all I have for now, hope you enjoyed the read and if you have questions,  give us a call or FB message us.