Sunday 20 January 2013

No snow here but..

No snow here but plenty of rain. On this particular piece of ground at the end of this very wet year (last year, actually, I guess) any decent amount of overnight rain means we know we will wake up to some impressive puddles. My two pictures are of the pond garden; only the first is not meant to be actual pond. What we have, though, a-top our 75 m ridge between the valleys (and boggy land) of the Lough Feigh to the south and the River Lung to the north, are a good depth of lovely soil lying over clay. We are not convinced that the clay allows much downward drainage but we know that the soil layer allows good sideways drainage down the slopes either way so that when it stops raining, our puddles are generally gone by 12 hours later, certainly within 24 hours

The problem has been that in the very unusual year of 2012 (all the locals say "We've never known anything like it!") the puddles have barely drained away and the water table is still fairly high, before the next rains come and re-fill the puddles. Even in the summer, and the month of August when we had the Silverwoods up to stay for a week it did not really ever dry out to depth. They were able to camp and there was plenty of dry ground to play badminton on the front lawn etc, but nobody was kicking up any dust.

It can happen. I have seen video of the turf 'harvesting' machines down on the peat bogs in summer kicking up clouds of dust as they move about so we are hopeful that 2013 might give us some proper summer heat. In 2012 I never had to water any plants. Having taken a bit of a ribbing from some quarters for "moving to a bog" we were relieved that the wet also included the UK, where those taking the mick 'enjoyed' conditions as wet as we were. Mercifully the whole winter where we were caravan-based and building the house, was mild and dry enough that we were never prevented from working. The week we chose to do the plastering was exceptionally mild and the guys were all working in polo-shirts and short sleeves. Messing with plaster and cement is not a lot of joy when there's a frost.

As to the pond, when I get a chance to complete the digging of it, the plan is to dig down the 2 spade depths of soil to expose the clay, and then puddle and draw up a clay layer from this to form a bowl. We hope this will save us using a liner. Even if the pond does not become waterproof, if it rains in 2013 like it did this year
we should have no problem keeping it full. I will just divert the car-port run off into it via the sheep drinker. In the next few posts you will learn that we are soon getting some geese. I am hoping that these guys, puddle-ducking in the unfinished pond, might be able to help with the "puddling" of the clay.

The existing animals, of course, will always find somewhere out of the rain, even when, as sometimes happens with the cats, they are outside the house as we lock up to go shopping. The picture is of Blue on his hay bale in the chicken house, keeping an eye on any local rodent incursions.

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