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Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Two days on, and two days off?

The weather seems to be doing an interesting flip-flop every 48 hours. Sunday and Monday were absolutely glorious and I was outside for nearly two full days, and now we have high wind, low cloud, blustery rain and it is forecast to be quite miserable today and tomorrow, which in truth I am pleased about - I have things to do indoors, really need to go food shopping, and two days working on the pond has been pretty tiring!



Sunday morning was spent doing a quick weed and tidyup of the little pond in the Cottage Garden, and arranging a couple of weldmesh panels (covered with fine netting) over the top. The idea is that the heron will not easily be able to get to the pond but I am not going to prevent frogs and small birds accessing the water. It seems to have worked because within minutes of finishing there was a blackbird splashing around for his daily ablutions, and yesterday I saw a frog in the water. An additional consideration is to use a mesh fine enough to stop the heron putting his head through, and keeping it taught so that the bird cannot get trapped.



The rest of Sunday was spent carrying weldmesh panels from the shed to the Big Pond, adding a few chunks of timber, continuing to pull dead vegetation from the marginal planting areas, and working out ways of balancing the steel panels. I am waiting for a large roll of netting to be delivered which we will cover the panels with. I have no expectation that I can keep every single frog safe from the heron, but with these barriers (and some more brightly coloured crime scene tape) hopefully I can tip the balance in favour of our amphibian visitors.





Monday morning was a lovely run to Keswick and back to collect Bill, who is now gas-safe, water-checked, and generally 'habitation checked' and with Boris' latest announcements last night, maybe I ~will~ get away this season? I am in no hurry, however, to book a campsite for the week of 12th April because I suspect everywhere will be jam-packed. I like my solitude far too much so locations are going to be very carefully selected. MOT next week so I will hold off re-loading the van until I know she doesn't have to go and visit any more garages.



Lunch was taken outside on both Sunday and Monday. A quick chickpea spicy dahl-type dish with chopped avodaco in an insulated pot, it was bliss to sit and eat in the fresh air. Whilst doing so yesterday I saw a massive frog swimming through the overgrown oxygenator weed, and as I got my "eye in" I noticed multiple newts.







Management was called in to assist, the little dingy was brought out, and we had an hour "pruning" weed from the pond. Dare not leave it any later and disturb breeding season but I really thought I might have until the weekend to tackle this job. No photos of me repeatedly sticking my arms into freezing water to pull out the weed, but I had the foresight prior to embarking on this "fun" task of putting my dressing gown in the bootroom, a laundry basket for wet clothes, and the water had been put on boost. The long, hot shower was rather lovely . . .









22 comments:

  1. I can honestly say I have never needed a dinghy for gardening from!! Good job though, it all looks great and what a view. It's so nice to think of all that life springing into action in the pond.

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    1. Me neither Sue, until I came here. Management finds it amusing to remind me that I am now gardening on a somewhat larger scale than in the past :-)

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  2. That's a beautiful photograph of your pond against the blue sky. The news sounds positive but, just like you, I will be carefully selecting my places to visit, although I might come to regret promising Lily a Kayak in lieu of a holiday this year 😀

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    1. Cheers Jules, it certainly wa beautiful yesterday but today is a completely different story.

      Kayak? You might be mad . . . have you considered inflatable SUPs? Possibly easier to transport around than a full-sized Kayak for you btoh.

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  3. I'm grateful for the fact that the heron's have ignored my tiny pond. However a black backed gull got two of the five goldfish when they were smallish. One died recently at over 10" long and the last two are doubtless waiting to the tadpoles. I've never understood how my frogs arrive in their dozens, spawn almost covering the shallow end of the pond and then one day months later all of a sudden the last batch disappear almost overnight and I never see another sign until the following spring. I often wonder how many the goldfish eat.

    I'm glad that Bill is ready for the off when the time comes.

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    1. Goodness Graham, I did not know that gulls would go for garden ponds, but given where you are I suppose I should not be surprised.

      Like you we have dozens of frogs appear as if from nowhere in February/March, they b*gger off after a couple of weeks and I don't see them again. I suspect they spend the rest of the year in the thick mulch and under hedges and I credit them (and the blackbirds) with not too much slug damage.

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  4. I was working today - that wind! gah - had to give up the afternoon slot, just far too windy to stand up. I gave my apologies after I'd been there about half an hour and have now retreated to the fire at home with a mug of tea, a warm cat and my laptop - I feel quite battered!
    We gave our pond a bit of a seeing to sadly after a hedgehog had fallen into the water and was unable to get out - we have ramps in on two sides but they obviously were not sufficient. So we had to drain out the contaminated water and rebuild the escape ramps and while we had the opportunity - made a wider pebble beach. Hopefully no more hedgehogs will fall this awful fate :(

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    1. Oh you poor thing, finding a dead hedgehog "on your watch", so to speak, must have been incredibly distressing for you all. It may well be that after a good rebuild your pond will come back even stronger this summer - I know ours all tend to respond well to a "good seeing to" early in the year.

      I think we have matching weather today - the front windows sound like they have buckets of gravel being thrown at them and I lit the woodburner half an hour ago.

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  5. Pretty much the same weather here too. A promising start with a lovely sunrise which soon disappeared, grey, cold and windy since then :( It sounds like you had a busy couple of days, and it still makes me smile that you go round your pond in a dinghy :)

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    1. Wheen needs must my dear, when needs must . . . and even though it was only my hands/arms in the water I still got very, very cold but I guess it was better than clumping around in chest waders :-)

      Filthy weather here, bet your little girls are not enjoying having to go out for toilet breaks!

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  6. Oh, brrrrrr! You do so spoil your taddies! These gorgeous days just tease us now and then disappear again. But, soon...... I have a couple of salvia plants that need to be pruned today or tomorrow.

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    1. You're right, two glorious warm, still days were nothing more than a tease. Right now we are in full on storm mode.

      Hope you get your pruning done.

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  7. Building a wildlife pond (digging?) is definitely on my list of things for this new patch....some discussion of doing one big enough for fish was had but our biggest predator problem wouldn't be herons, but raccoons. Hateful b*st*rds that they are. So we shall settle for a bird-sized paddling pool :)

    I am most amused by the image of you bobbing about in your dinghy pulling up slimy green bits....:D You are a steward-most-excellent. xo

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    1. Raccoons are not something I have to deal with, but by all accounts they are a wildlife battle I suspect I'd lose. From a wildlife perspective though, paddling pools (not the pural!!) can be just as useful.

      There are very good reasons for NOT having fish, other than herons and rqaccoons. Fish will eat just about everything else - tadpoles, beetles, dragonfly larvae and all the other 'good stuff' until there is nothing left except fish. 😟

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  8. Like your heading. Sounds like a shift workers days. Is that a newt in the first pond water photo? I always had a feeling they were like our skinks, but they only skulk around the side of the pond & not in it. We'll only go away when not many people are about & possibly not for some time yet as we see heaps of caravans on the road at the moment as freeway passes just the other side of town & you can see it from various spots. Take care & stay safe.

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  9. You could get yourself a pair of all-body waders, like Monty? Or failing that, scuba gear? The water is impressively clear.

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    1. Chest waders . . . weird things and I do have a set but standing up to my waist in freezing cold water leeches heat so fast that hypothermia sets in even faster (and the silt at the bottom of the pond gets churned up so much that very quickly I cannot see what I am doing).

      And thank you - yes the water is crystal cler at present but give it a month of brighter days and the algae will have grown like crazy - although I don't mind too much because it's what the tadpoles eat and the water will clear again by summer.

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  10. The weather's so changeable just lately, quite warm here this week. Lovely photos of your pond with the bright blue sky. The dinghy is a great idea for doing the pond weeding.

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    1. Thanks Eileen, and to my surprise the foreast is for sunny days from today for the next six ... eek! I'd better get out there whilst I can 😉

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  11. A pond that is large enough to have a dinghy ride wow! That must have been a cold job though fishing for pond weed.

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    1. It is on the large side Viv 😉. If you want to get a sense of scale, try this post: https://theviewfrombagend.blogspot.com/2012/09/a-big-big-pond-day.html

      (and yes, it was bitterly cold having my arms in the water!!)

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