Thursday 9 May 2013

A Little Drop of Rain

Coo! When it decides to rain round here, there's no messing about. Buckets came down overnight, hammering on the roof and windows, blasted against the front of the house on a strong southerly wind. From no puddles and reasonably dry last night despite a bit of rain on Wednesday morning while we were fencing, I woke up to the biggest puddles I think we have had so far. The local lough, Lough Feigh has trebled in size overnight from a raggedy ribbon of wet between rambling beds of rush and reed, to an impressive expanse of open water. The reed/rush beds are submerged and the 'banks' are now grass fields further out. The local river, the R. Lung has risen from showing a yard of exposed bank, to brim full. A pipe-drain emptying into it under the bridge with a gurgling splashy drop of 4 feet is suddenly half submerged so that the water joins the river on the level like a tributary stream.

My part-dug pond was an almost complete sheet of (muddy) water. I will not be digging any pond today; that's for sure, but it is comforting to know that the pond is pretty level and is also in the right place in terms of catchment area. We are actually on top of a low hill here so nowhere is going to be that 'right' but we do have a small hollow centred around this part of the garden, partly because of the TK Max and TK Min apparent habit of bulldozing all the top soil off the yard and piling it up in heaps against our western boundary hedge. John Deere Bob tells us that many locals see topsoil as an expensive resource worth stock piling, so if an area was to be used for storing bales or farm machinery, then the soil (they say it "sale" here) would be scraped off. The result here is a big dam of soil along our boundary which prevents rain running off so we have a bit of a 'bowl' in which to construct the pond.

There are other dints and hollows which collect nice puddles much to the delight of the gander who splashes about dipping his head and neck under the surface, then rearing his head to shower the water backwards across his back, wings and tail. Suddenly he will honk excitedly and charge across the puddle splashing his feet down like a child playing in his wellies. We guess he wishes his womenfolk were not focused on being broody and might come out to play.

It's comforting to know that at least it drains away almost as quickly as it arrives. Almost, but not quite. Within a few days of no rain these puddles will be gone and even the pond will be dig-able. The house and yard area are the same - one of the main driving forces to our building project was to get rid of the damp and let it stay away - ivy was stripped off the walls, rainwater goods and guttering were all replaced with new, down pipes were linked to gullies (4 inch pipes) under the yard to take water quickly away to the ditches we had had cleared by mini-digger. The septic tank got a huge pebble-filled pit dug just 'downstream' of itself to ensure 'water' cleared fast and efficiently. My veg plot got its ridges and raised beds and these were aligned up/down the slopes to help clear water and our use of mini-horses and sheep on the East Field is mainly about repairing the damage done by heavy cattle squelching up the ground into a non-draining foot print divot mess ("poaching" in grass management parlance). All the overgrown areas of this hectare have been cleared and turned, for now, into short grass to help drying out and run-off when it does stop raining. Our living-hedge wind breaks are nice, thirsty, willow.

Let it rain - we can cope!

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