|No matter where you are at Brush Dale, you are not far from water. Besides Brush Creek, which runs the entire length of the Farm from north to south, and the Wetlands Project, which includes eight small, terraced ponds, Brush Dale has eight (8) ponds. The ponds range in size from 1/4 to 1.5 acres. Some were naturally formed, but most were carefully planned and built.
At Brush Dale's entrance is Gazebo Pond, which boasts a beautiful cedar gazebo, complete with ceiling fans and a sand beach. At the west end is a gorgeous Weeping Willow tree. In the warm, summer months, we swim and fish in the Pond. The kids especially have a great time on the floating trampoline and floating dock with diving board. The Pond was stocked with Striped Bass and Channel Catfish, a great, fighting sportfish. It is aerated year-round, continuously filled by its own well, and in the summer months the fish are fed to help them achieve maximum size. It is not unusual to catch a 20lb "Walter" in Gazebo Pond.
Close by and to the north of the Hawkeye Lodge is Loch Ness Pond, so named when an unsuspecting fisherman hooked a 40lb grass carp! Man-made Loch Ness is the Farm's second-largest pond and it is also stocked, well water-fed and aerated.
The Field Pond is one of the oldest ponds on the Farm, so named because it used to sit in the middle of a grazing field. It is surrounded by beautiful evergreens that pheasant like to roost in at night. The Field Pond is also aerated, stocked and well water-fed. On one fishing expedition, Dell and a friend caught so many large Channel Catfish they couldn't carry them. Dell ended up getting the tractor and they loaded their 100+ pound catch into the bucket and drove them back to the Lodge. The Field Pond can be seen from Highway 62 when driving to the Farm from Andrew. In May of 2022 the Field Pond was rehabilitated by digging out the silt and creating a new dike on the higher, west end, to help prevent the silt from ruining the Pond in the future. Over the years it had become too shallow to support large fish. One week during July of 2022 the Field Pond was visited by a family of River Otter. The otter caught and devoured every single fish larger than a guppy and moved on. The Field Pond has since been restocked.
Between Gazebo Pond and the Field Pond is Bullfrog Pond
. For decades it was a small, shallow, muddy pond hidden among trees and bushes. The Pond was originally stocked with Bullfrogs. They proliferated, and now during hot summer nights their croaking is often so loud it keeps you awake. In August of 2022 the Bullfrog Pond was completely rehabilitated to be returned to its original state. The trees and bushes were cleared from its banks and its dike repaired and enlarged. It is now a much larger, deeper, stocked Pond with wide grassy banks.
Near the Northwestern Grassland's northern fenceline is one of the Farm's original ponds, Judy's Pond. Twice each year, Judy's Pond is completely blanketed with migrating ducks. The Pond is densely shaded by trees and shrubs that surround the Pond on all sides.
Not far from Judy's Pond, near the intersection of the Northwestern Grassland's northern and western fencelines, is the Northwest Pond. This is also one of the Farm's oldest ponds and a popular resting stop for migrating ducks and woodcock.
The Farm's newest, largest, man-made pond is the Wood Duck Pond. It is a favorite Spring breeding and nesting ground for mallard and wood ducks, herons and Canadian Geese. The Pond is continuously filled by a springfed stream. Because the Pond was built in a timber-covered hillside ravine, it is heavily surrounded by trees on three sides. Thick stands of Willows grow along the banks and into the water, creating a great deal of cover for waterfowl. The Wood Duck Pond's dike was cleared and repaired in April of 2022.
Minnow Pond is a small, shallow pond in the Farm's Northeastern Field that can be seen from Highway 62. It is an old Pond that is used primarily as a source of minnows and crayfish (aka crawdads) for catching Channel Catfish. It's other notable attributes are the apple trees that line its banks.