Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee

This afternoon I pottered down to the allotment determined to make a start on the community garden pond. Over several months, the weed in the pond has started to choke the water plants. When I arrived, Cliff was busy putting the finishing touches to Sarah and Liz’s pond so I went to sort out the chickens in the main coop. I think we are making progress with Aggie as I only had to turn her upsidedown once today.

Up in the greenhouse, I found a freshly laid egg in the nest box. Leia lays a very pale brown-cream egg so it should be easy to distinguish from Pop’s if she gets back to laying in the future. I put Pop into her wheelchair and left her demolishing some courgette. The way that chicken ways courgette has to be seen to be believed!

With the weather still looking like it would stay dry, I made a start on the pond. It’s not very deep but the middle where the weed is wound around the lily is difficult to reach. Carefully, I used my hands to scoop out the weed near the pond edge. Each bit of weed was thoroughly checked it to make sure any wildlife was returned to the pond. It didn’t take too long to fill the first bucket of slimey weed. By now I had got the majority of the weed on the easily accessible side of the pond. Next I walked around the back of the where the tumulus meets the pond. Another bucket of slime later and my shifting of the water had pushed the remaining weed back towards the other side. Lugging the bucket around with me, I felt a sudden pain in the side of my face. I dropped the bucket and felt something sticking out of my skin. I yanked it out (ouch!) to find I had been stung by a bee. There was another one loitering with intent so I pulled my t-shirt up to cover my face and legged it for the main path. The second bee followed me. I washed my face in the tap in the hope the sting pheromones would be gone. It must have worked because I wasn’t stung again. At this point, I decided to call it a day and planned to get home quickly to start the usual rigmarole of antihistamines, hydrocortisone cream and ice packs. I made sure that Leia and Pop were all safe in the greenhouse and took a minute to sit down.

Cliff appeared after a bit and we sat down to have a chat over a drink. As we were chatting, Liz arrived. We all went to see Cliff’s hard work on the Ponderosa. It’s stunning. I confess to having pond envy – if that’s a thing! Liz explained she was finding a special fancy solar powered fountain for it. I now feel the pressure to jazz up the edges of the bog garden pond. No idea how yet!

It’s so handy having a doctor on site – Liz always has something in her first aid kit. Miraculously, she appeared from the shed with sting cream which definitely took some of the sting out. The debate about the path going between both parts of Liz and Sarah’s plot continued with Liz wanting concrete slabs and Cliff insisting that a more natural look (bark chippings or grass) would be better. Who will win? Watch this space…

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