Sunday 10 March 2013

Too Cold for that Caper

As predicted (but not with any credence from us!) our poly tunnel is delivered this (Sunday) morning. This unlikely event, a bloke doing a delivery of building materials with a lorry on a Sunday is only happening because bloke's Mum and Auntie both live in the nearby village of Loughglynn, it's Mothers' Day and he is bringing his wee daughter over for lunch.

Daughter is fascinated by the rabbits and geese but declines a look around because it's lovely and warm in Dad's lorry-cab and 'out here' there is a fierce Nor'Easterly charging through at what feels like about minus 4 degrees and the forecast is for snow. Donegal, a couple of counties north already has snow. If you stand in the Tígín with the east side door open, the wind chases in behind you and howls out through the gaps around the west door with a noise like a Scott of the Antarctic sound-track. Lawrence Oates quotes resound in our ears. "I am just going outside and I may be some time".

What ever, it's way too cold to play poly tunnels and would be downright dangerous in the wind, so the bits and pieces come off the lorry and will pretty much stay put till the weather improves. Not only do you need it reasonably still to be handling huge sheets of plastic, but it is much easier to get the plastic correctly taut around the frame if the plastic is warm and supple.

Meanwhile, a new complication develops in our gardening, and that is in the pond department. We had hoped that the apparently sticky, heavy Roscommon clay might be gloopy enough to give is a waterproof lining to our intended and half-dug big pond. I have posted in an earlier post about digging a test-pit, filling it with rain water and slapping it about a bit to smear out any obvious worm-holes before leaving it to the geese. Well, to my amazement I woke up on the 2nd morning after creating the test-pit to find it drained dry, so not that waterproof at all! So much for all the 'living in a bog' no drainage nonsense.

Liz and I decided to research this 'puddling' a bit further and the methods as described in our internet searches involve scooping up tennis ball sized lumps  the clay, squishing it in you hands, forming it into hamburger shaped 'tiles' and then creating multiple, interlocked layers of these tiles to 6 inches thickness. This is all totally impractical on a 20 foot by 30 foot pond as is the commercial/industrial/contractor method involving 20 tonne excavators etc. We had a little poke about with our own hands and shovels and discovered that the 'clay' when wetted is actually quite gritty, more like a silty-clay than a pure clay. It definitely did not feel as smooth and clay-like as the stuff I can remember trying to spin on the potters wheel at school. When you try to puddle it with water it falls apart and, even when squished into a ball-shape it splits and breaks apart when kneaded.

The net result of all this mud-pie puddle-ducking is that we now think that a clay liner would not work and that we will have to go for the butyl rubber liner. Butyl rubber round these parts comes at around €8.50 per square metre so you can probably do the sums and see that we are talking about a several hundred euro spend. We have seen the advice which says length is pond length plus twice depth plus 500mm margin but we have also seen the little footnote which says 'if you have dug your pond already, lay a hose pipe along and down into the pond hole and then measure the hose'. The latter is much more efficient and will result in much less waste of expensive rubber sheeting. So I am back in the pond digging game but not in this wind.

Today I am staying indoors for the most part, doing all the cooking to give Liz a Mothers' Day break and keeping the home fires burning. Love to my own Mum (Pud Lady) and Liz's Mum, (Steak Lady) plus to any Mums of our animals; Deefer's Mum (Molly), Towser and Poppy's Mum (Lily), the cats' Mum, and so on. Off to walk the dogs now, though.

"I am just going outside......"

1 comment:

Renovation in Galicia said...

So glad the tunnel has arrived but it is a shame that the weather has stopped play. Too damned cold to do much outside, having said that OH has cleaned out two hen houses today, that kept him warm.