A potato finale plus animal nightlife

And here are the last of the spuds we dug up yesterday as we don’t want them going rotten with all the wet weather we probably get in the forthcoming months. These were originally from seed spuds we bought from Shannon’s and it’s taken us years to work out if you leave the potatoes in for longer they will grow larger. Sometimes it takes a while for the penny to drop. But when it does…

Also the other week we noticed a small tin of opened sweet corn and an opened bread packet down by the pond and thought nothing of it. Then we found that something had severed the lead from the little solar panel that powers the battery of the pond pump. Now yesterday we found they’ve all been severed. We have a couple of cats and they usually keep the vermin away and we’ve never had anything like this before. Any ideas?

Could the above be anything to do with it? We have a big pile of broken slabs piled up at the back of the pond (that we took from the area that has now been seeded) do you reckon there’s something that has made their home in there who likes gnawing through wires? Rodents perhaps? Suggestions please. We are putting an ad on Gumtree today for anyone who wants a load of 70’s slabs for free as hardcore for an old shed or something. That should do the trick to clear the area. Trouble is we still have to buy another pond pump next year. That’ll be the third in as many years, damn!

A fountain faux pas

There were big plans in store for the Weeds garden this weekend but due to the cold weather nothing was actually done. As reported last week, a new solar-powered pond fountain (due to the last one going for a burton after just two years or so we thought) was purchased for £49.99 but it was a small price to pay for keeping the midges away and the fish and pond skaters happy.

The whole kit and kaboodle was to be replaced Saturday afternoon combined with the pond being given a good clean-out but due to the weather all we did was plugged in the new charger unit (the model purchased was exactly the same as the last one and the old pump and fountain were still ok). As we said, we were initially fed up as the last fountain didn’t have that long a lifespan. And then we read the instructions…

Let’s just say the words “Bxggxr” and “Dxmn” came to mind. We must remember though there was a point when we moved in years ago (pic below) where we were going to fill the pond in but it was thanks to our good friends Anu and Chris who suggested we keep it going. Thank God we listened!

We’ve had problems with it but here’s to the pond and its many visitors over the years. Big shout to all of the Forest Hill pond dwellers!

In for a penny, in for a pond

There’s eight fish in there, go on count em! We’re so glad those eight goldfish are still alive as we haven’t seen much signs of life over the last few months. The water has been well cloudy as the pond pump went for a burton earlier this year but one has just been ordered so normal service will resume soon.

To add to that, we spotted the Lewisham Heron on Good Friday evening on the roof of the prefabs behind our garden. It has been making regular visits to the neighbourhood of late so we feared for the worse. The picture below taken earlier this year gives you some idea of what we’re dealing with. Look closely for the pterodactyl type thing standing motionless on the edge of the pond!

And here it is again giving it the freeze frame business on the fence, there’s no stopping the thing. Thank god we stuck the pea wire obtained from Shannon’s over the pond or the goldfish (bought from Lewisham’s Number 1 pet shop!) would now be goners!

Chucked out for the binmen OK*

Row fisherman* Sung to Crass’ “Banned from The Roxy”

Here’s a nice fish related object found by my wife outside a house thrown out for the binmen this week. This’ll look great by the garden pond!

There’s a connection with the fish and this week’s Sounds From The South on The Dirt‘s Christmas Special this Monday night from 7-9pm on Fab Radio International. Tune in live here and turn on (man)!

Everyone loves the sunshine…

It’s been a terrible start to June, the bank holiday was a right wash-out and on the way home from work last week getting soaked in the rain I passed an upside down plastic “darlek” type compost bin outside a house with a note saying “please take me”. Have you ever tried carrying one of those things? When we got ours delivered (free from the council) I had to roll mine down to the back garden so carting one a few streets away would have been murder. I had to pass on it and I’m not usually one to turn down free stuff!

Talking of something for free, I discovered the first bit of liquid that seeped out of my hi-tech “I didn’t buy it” wormery this morning. Total cost so far is a grand nowt as the top area (where the worms do their work) was a bucket I found outside a shop and the smaller bucket underneath (which collects any liquid deposits) once kept tile grout. The worms I got from my compost bin and I feed them kitchen waste about once a week. It’s looking horrible in there at the moment with mould and fruit flies but I think that’s a good sign.

The liquid that drains out of the wormery is an excellent plant feed when diluted. The little I got today I slung into a small bucket of water and did some pots and me sweet peas. Last year I was paying about a fiver for a bottle of liquid feed in the shops so a big cheers to Scarlett for getting me onto this worm composting lark.

Also the water lily we bought three years ago for a fiver from Lewisham’s “premier” pet shop is starting to get a flower bud. I think the guy felt sorry for us when we said we couldn’t afford the £20 for a big one so he done us a deal. I have no idea if this is normal to wait three years for one to flower or is that what happens when you buy one for a fiver! Most of the other plants around the pond I got for just the cost of postage and packing a few years ago from an offer in The Guardian and the Iris’s were given to us by a good mate. Who needs expense in this day and age?

State of the nation

Here’s another pic from the ”five years on” series and as you can see it’s a garden pond with a path around it (and a new fence that needs some protection!).

Five years ago when we moved in it weren’t so clear, we couldn’t even walk down the garden because of the undergrowth so it came as a shock to find that we even had a pond. It was full of dirty water, the result of ten years of debris and as stagnant as anything, the soil surrounding it was grey and compacted with lots of ground elder, bindweed and a large pyracantha gone crazy.

Before clearing, we had to chop down a couple of very tall self-seeded conifers with help of a mate (thanks Marc!) and rather than waste the wood we used it to put around the flower beds. When I first cleared the area I just threw a lot of woody stuff on the compost heap in desperation hence the first heap full of material that hasn’t rotted down and now needs to be burnt. A lesson well learnt!

It took me a whole saturday afternoon in the late autumn to clear out the pond and a couple of baths to get rid of the stench of ten years worth of decomposing debris. When I finished, I stuck a taurpaulin over it so it would stay dry as I was going to fill it in a couple of weeks later. Weeks turned into Months and it was only when I was showing some friends of ours around in the spring (hi Chris and Anu!) they lifted up the taurpaulin and said had we put this over the pond to keep the tadpoles warm. What tadpoles? The pond had filled itself up again (god knows how as it’s a submerged metal tank!) and was teeming with wildlife. There was no way I could filled that in with all that going on, hence the decision of keeping the pond.