Building the Ponderosa

When I arrived on site today, I found Sarah and Cliff hard at work digging an enormous hole for the new pond. Cliff had spotted a perfect container on another plot and the plot holder was happy to donate it. This saved huge amounts of time and effort as we didn’t have to buy pond liner or an expensive preformed pond. The ground was difficult to dig as there were lots of old bricks, tiles and even drainage pipe fragments scattered throughout. It took us quite a while to get deep enough so that the container was neatly level with the ground.

Sarah and Cliff took turns in removing the soil and bricks. My job was to try and drop the level of the soil in the middle to accommodate the rounded base of the container. We out it in several times to check how we were doing. Each time, we were a couple of inches off, so out it came and the digging recommenced. Eventually, we got to the right depth and I spent a few minutes curving the sides of the hole so the container would fit snuggly. Suddenly, the heavens opened and what can only be described as a deluge poured out of the sky. We all retreated to Sarah’s shed in search of shelter.

As we waited for the rain to stop (it didn’t look like it would ever stop!), we got chatting about this and that. Cliff and Sarah enjoyed a coffee and I dashed to the tap to get a drink of water. I really should’ve left a mug outside in the rain. I would have got less wet. But nevermind! Sarah and Liz really do have such a lovely view from their shed. From it you can see not only their plot, bit across most of the width of the site and lengthwise up to my shed. We enjoyed the view together for about half an hour before we realised the rain had stopped. Seizing our chance, we got the hole cleared of excess soil and put in the container. Cliff disappeared off to get the hose to fill it while I wondered about plants for the pond.

Between us, we organised some plants for the pond including the essential, and to my mind massively underappreciated oxygenating weed, to complete the pond. We plan to bank up the soil around the edge of the pond and use reclaimed stone slabs and bricks to allow easy access for wildlife. As everyone was pretty caked in mud and hungry, we all decided to call it a day and head home. We had a laugh about renaming Cliff as Capability Cliff and calling the new pond Ponderosa. Sarah seemed to like the name and I suspect it will be called the Ponderosa forevermore.

Before I left, I dashed into the main coop and gave the girls their treats. I had even brought some steamed carrot for them to try. As per usual, I felt a sharp pain in my leg and found Aggie up to her usual tricks. I grabbed her and held her upsidedown for a couple of minutes. This time, I tried holding her head downwards. Maybe I haven’t been holding her in a good position previously, as after the first pick up, she didn’t try anything again. In fact, she kept her distance a lot more which meant I could quickly sort out their food and collect a solitary egg. The past five days, I have been treating the girls with Flubenvet, a worming treatment. After losing Georgie, I was worried about the others catching something nasty. Two more days left of treatment should see all of the birds clear from any worms.

In the greenhouse, Leia and Pop were comfortable and dry. I put Pop into her wheelchair and helped her turn her toes out. Sarah had kindly let me pick a few white chard leaves and some broccoli leaves to go with the curly kale I usually give them. Both of them tucked in, the weather having absolutely no effect on their appetites! Again, the monsoon came and I spent half an hour trapped in the greenhouse. Why is it that it always pours when I am feeding the chickens? The rain lessened slightly, so I ran out and began to pick some blackberries that I had meant to harvest a couple of days ago. Inevitably, the torrential rain returned as I was halfway through picking. Within seconds I was soaked through. Rolling my eyes, I closed up the greenhouse and squelched back home.

Depending on the weather tomorrow, I plan to finish my willow bee and do some more weeding. Weather permitting of course!

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