Land Listening: The Art of Excavation

After consulting the animals, the land, the water, we have finally decided where to dig the new waterhole. But have we picked the right spot? What happens when we hit gravel only 4 feet down. but I wanted it to be 7 feet deep? If I make the wrong call, I could end up with a water drain, not a water hole! There are huge consequences at stake…

And who knew excavation is like sculpting? Most of us think of excavation as simply a big machine digging a big hole. Watch and see the artistry involved when the operator is super experienced and fluent in his craft.

Part of the reason I’m sharing all these ranching, land infrastructure videos with you, is to provide resources I wish I’d had. But also to show how we can become much more aware, responsive, and plugged into the land, nature, the animals in everything we do on our properties.

Because land is not really our ‘property’. We are merely guardians and stewards of this particular piece of Gaia’s flesh. The responsibility of stewardship is both daunting and a blessing.

*If you missed the first video in this waterhole journey, you can see it here.


  1. Linda Miller October 30, 2022 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    Hi Jini! Please continue to share videos showing the evolution of the pond as it gradually fills and vegetation grows around it. I admire your patience in leaving the site alone – playing with rock and running water is my absolute favorite thing to do and I would not have been able to resist the urge to arrange decorative rock assemblages along the spring inflow.

    It’s fascinating that Cobra watched the excavation process so near the noisy machine – he’s semi feral yet it didn’t seem to make him nervous. Has he taken over the herd protector role from Montaro? You mentioned in prior videos that Taro injured his leg so you kept him separate for a while and he doesn’t seem to have gone back to being a dominant presence in the herd hierarchy.

    • JINI October 30, 2022 at 5:45 pm - Reply

      Ok Linda, I will! Kumba told me a few weeks ago that the waterhole would take two years to settle in and become integrated, to take its place in the ecosystem and be it’s full/true self. This really surprised me, because (as per usual human way) I was thinking it just needed to fill up with water and then I could see how it was doing and make adjustments. Honestly, I would probably do so many dingbat things if I didn’t have these other, wiser earthlings to guide me!

      I think the ‘fear of machines’ thing is personality-based, not whether they are wild, semi-feral etc. And of course, assuming they have no past trauma from machines. Current herd order is: Montaro, Juno, Cobra/Siyone/Posa (those 3 rotate) and then Zorra, Makah, Xadaa rotate in the lower positions. Pecking order (who can move the others out their way when desired) aside, they are becoming much more integrated and switching out leadership for different things, or in different situations. For example, 3 times in the last 10 days I’ve seen Zorra leading the herd down from the hills to the waterhole! And Siyone often leads them back out. Montaro has been back out with the herd for the last two months – ranging all over. He’s still in his process, but all is good.

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Jini Head



I am. an international bestselling author, health product formulator, horse listener, earth singer, mother, entrepreneur, medicine woman, fungi friend, elephant acolyte and regenerative farmer.

I value friendships, loyalty, community, compassion, authenticity, health, vibrancy, strength, courage and truth-telling. More…


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