Clay

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11 years 3 weeks ago #27467 by Ronney
Clay was created by Ronney
Does anybody here know anything about this stuff - apart from the fact that it doesn't drain well:(

When we buried Goldie, it was in a part of the paddock that is quite obviously different to the rest of it - slightly lower, rubbish grass, reeds and one does not drive a vehicle into it. It is next to a drain and after the heavy rain of last week, there was a high chance that it would fill up with water faster than it was being dug. Not so, far from it. 3ft of peat which was a surprise, followed by the normal clay we get around here then he started bringing up blue clay - about the same colour surrounding this message box, and in some cases even more blue. It looked different so when the bucket had moved out of the way I dived in and grabbed a handful. It also felt different. It was like plastacine, pliable, malleable, didn't fall apart with handling and I fashioned a very rough little bowl out of it. I brought it back with me and tonight put it on top of the fire to properly dry out expecting it to fall apart. It hasn't.

(Un)fortunately Ged is a good operator and the last out of the hole was also the first back in and it never occurred to me at the time to grab more of this clay before it disappeared. Does anybody know what it is and if it has any use for anything?

Cheers,
Ronnie

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11 years 3 weeks ago #377670 by Kiwi303
Replied by Kiwi303 on topic Clay
Sounds like saturated clay to me, just normal clay which has absorbed a bunch of water and can't take any more. It should dry out to look like the usual stuff.

You Live and Learn, or you don't Live Long -anon

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11 years 3 weeks ago #377672 by Ronney
Replied by Ronney on topic Clay

Kiwi303;370536 wrote: Sounds like saturated clay to me, just normal clay which has absorbed a bunch of water and can't take any more. It should dry out to look like the usual stuff.


So why would saturated clay turn from red to pale blue?

Oh, and forgot to say that it has now baked hard and is too hot to handle. Still the same colour, albeit dirty from my grubby hands when moulding it.

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11 years 3 weeks ago #377673 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Clay
You could try firing it! Pottery clay is like plastacine (sp?), so your clay might presumably be "pure" like those clays are, i.e. not contaminated with sand and other substrates. I think you need Mr Digger back and you can set up your own boutique potters' clay supply.

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11 years 3 weeks ago #377693 by kaybe
Replied by kaybe on topic Clay
Naturally blue clay is probably worth a fortune!

Tomorrow is the day I will stop procrastinating.

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11 years 3 weeks ago #377700 by Organix
Replied by Organix on topic Clay
The colouration is due to gleying which as the link describes is an anaerobic condition caused in waterlogged soils. I suspect that the clay would also have a sour smell which is another indicator of the condition.

In Northland you have a world unique mix of four different soil types: volcanic clays, basalt upthrusts, sand dune origin and a fourth that escapes me for now, together with iron pans which cause drainage issues such as you are experiencing.

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11 years 3 weeks ago #377725 by GloPony
Replied by GloPony on topic Clay
We have clay & terrible drainage issues where we are in Kaipara. :(

Ruth, we used to play with clay like that off the local construction site when I was a kid in South Auckland. It's nowhere near as fine as modelling clay & doesn't fire well but it does dry hard & will last a little while if you're careful with it. Eventually, it all starts to crumble though.

So Organix, any advice? Is there anything we can do to improve drainage? I know we should be feeding the soil to imrpove it but with what?

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11 years 3 weeks ago #377773 by Organix
Replied by Organix on topic Clay
Being Northland there's probably a good chance that an impermeable pan is to blame for the disruption of natural drainage. Usually heavy machinery is involved in the solution to such problems.

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11 years 3 weeks ago #377776 by GloPony
Replied by GloPony on topic Clay
Awesome! I LOVE heavy machinery! :D What should I be doing with it?

We've dug a few drains which have helped a little but we still have issues with pugging & water just sitting. There's a huge absence of worms too.

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11 years 3 weeks ago #377798 by kindajojo
Replied by kindajojo on topic Clay
If you have a clay area, you can apply a lot of Gypsum to sweeten the soil and break it up, rip it with a ripper behinf a tractor bull dozer.....however if it is a dense ;ayer in a low lying dip why not just fence it off so the animals dont pug it up and plant flax.

Dont fight the contour

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11 years 3 weeks ago #377857 by Ronney
Replied by Ronney on topic Clay
Thanks for the input and the link Organix - but that does not describe what I found at all. I've seen stuff similar to the photos on the link and this was nothing like it. It was a very clear blue, no grey or mixtures of colouring, no smell other than vaguely earthy (I do smell things[^]) and clean as in no sand or dirt in it. It was very malleable. I will do a bit more investigation I think, more because it's interesting than anything else.

Glopony, get somebody out to have a look at your place, there are some good people over your way that can help you with drainage. Ripping is an option but an expensive and messy one - I don't like large machinery romping around any more than I can help it. Avoca Lime might be a good source of information too for your lack of worms. They don't just do lime.

Kindajojo, in that case many of us would have flax farms[^] That's not an option for the most part and where it has been done here, the flax has died. The first time I've ever seen flax keel over although it grows well around the river. Good drainage, keeping said drainage clear, keeping heavy stock off the flats as far as possible, destocking over the winter, and, dare I say it, running sheep all help.

Cheers,
Ronnie

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11 years 3 weeks ago #377870 by Organix
Replied by Organix on topic Clay
What you have found may be a seam of fine particle volcanic clay. Google bentonite or kaolite to see what I'm referring to.

An American property owner in Omokoroa ran into a similar find while constructing a large house in the late 90's and turned the situation to his advantage by extracting and processing it into high value skin treatments and other products. You may be onto something [;)]

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11 years 3 weeks ago #377996 by Jack
Replied by Jack on topic Clay
Gidday

I agree that what was described is not gley soil but simply a clay with a different mix of minerals giving it that blue colour. I have also seen blue clay and it was not waterlogged but only mildly moist. And yes, it is most probably volcanic in origon because I remember seeing a quite blue clay at Rotorua and when I was a little boy my aunty had me rub a blue Rotorua clay on coins and they came up shiny just like new.

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11 years 3 weeks ago #378008 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic Clay
Perhaps you should get a test sample and have it analysed. Accidental finds have led to important discoveries in the past. South of Dargaville a seam of pure sand was found that is used in the processing of either fine china or some sort of delicate glass, can't remember which. You may have the type of clay from which they make Kaolin, the medical clay for boils or scours. May even be something for fine china, or it may be totally worthless, but you will never know if you don't investigate!

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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