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Posts Tagged ‘pond’

Japanese water cascade

March 13, 2013 1 comment
Japanese garden by blue pig

The Japanese-style cascade

Last night, just as we were about to go to bed, I happened to notice a different note to the water that always escapes from the blue pig water tank when the spring is running abundantly.

I checked the pipe that goes into the pond: nothing was coming out so the connection had to be broken.

While Clive leaned out of the bathroom window holding a torch for me, I put together the two separated parts of the 10 cm diameter pipe and directed the immensely strong flow of water down the proper channel, securing one side of the pipe with wire attached to a screw in the trunk of an oak tree.

This morning, I found my bodge job had held so far and the water was running through to the pond.

However the normal escape water was still saturating the soil at the foot of the blue pig and needed to be led away.

So I constructed a mini Japanese-type water cascade using old roof tiles – very rough but, if none of its elements slip, effective.

If the spring was abundant for a larger proportion of the year, I’d love to do a proper job – but preferably not propped on a slippery bank in the rain!

An ill wind

February 3, 2013 Leave a comment

Yesterday morning I spent a happy half hour or so in my dressing gown anchoring down a flapping corner of the pool tarpaulin.

It now has, weighing it down, a supremely heavy concrete kerb (hidden under the folds in the photo), 2 pieces of heavy concrete coping, some plant tubs full of rubble, an old paint tub filled with stones and water, and a log.

Several of these items, including the log, are extra to what there was before so it had better not DARE to come loose again.

The new hopefully windproof arrangement

The new hopefully windproof arrangement

Today I was walking near the house with the dogs when suddenly the tarpaulin which had been covering the blue pig flew up in the air and nearly took off.

Rather than battle with it in the teeth of the gale, I pinned it on the ground with a wooden pallet.

I noticed that the pipe which is taking the spring water to the blue pig (and thence to the pond) was all disjointed and water was flying out of the joints on the wind.

A stop-gap arrangement

A stop-gap arrangement

However, given that the pipe into the pond is still running full bore plus there’s water coming out of the top of the blue pig itself, the pipes are obviously managing to pass along a good part of their load.

Bearing in mind the adage ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,’ I’ve let them be for now!

Anticipating winter

November 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Upper pipe and lower pipe from the blue pig – notice the butterfly

Our spring is flowing copiously at the moment, and water is escaping out of the top of the blue pig water tank into which it runs.

This isn’t anything unusual. What is different, though, is that the overflow pipe which goes from the top of the blue pig into the pond is flowing at scarcely more than a trickle, which may mean that it’s furred up with the hard water.

This situation is only due to get worse, so I attached one end of a hose to the tap at the bottom of the blue pig and put the other end in the pond. Even with the tap turned on fully there is still water escaping from the top of the blue pig, which just goes to show how much spring water there is.

In the middle of all this messing about with water (one of my favourite activities) I spotted a red admiral butterfly sunning itself on a rock in the pond.

It was quite tenacious, returning again and again after my shadow scared it away.

It looked a bit the worse for wear. I expect it will be searching for a place to hibernate before long.

The red admiral butterfly

Rain and power cut

November 13, 2012 2 comments

Last night, between one thunder storm and the next, we had a power cut. It  prematurely ended the film we were watching on tv and plunged us into darkness.

Black water at night

The parts of the house endowed with emergency lights were plunged into light.

We had half an hour to get to bed before the time was up on the emergency lights, and we just made it.

After that we shone a torch on the ceiling for companionship.

The rain has been heavy and continual but our hillside is fairly well drained.

I discovered this morning, however, that the storage tank (the ‘blue pig’) which receives water from the spring is overflowing. The pipe leading on to the pond is too narrow to cope and probably furred up as well.

The photo shows the inky lake of water collecting on the pool tarpaulin. It must be at record depth by now.

Water, water everywhere

April 20, 2012 Leave a comment

… and plenty to drink, at least for the dogs.

The water started flowing into the pond last night. This morning Joules was weighing up whether to drink there or somewhere else.

Joules by the replenished pond

Because the flow of water is so strong, and presumably because the outlet isn’t big enough, water is seeping continuously out of the ‘hatch’ of the blue pig, underneath the lid. I channelled this overflow down some old roof tiles to a drinking bowl for the dogs, but Kepler being Kepler had to investigate the water higher up.

Kepler the budding water engineer

The existing flow is quite enough for the system to cope with. Yesterday afternoon, I deliberately broke the connection between the bit of blue pipe sticking out of the stone chamber where the water emerges, and the thin black pipe which normally conducts the water straight  into the red corrugated pipe which is underground at that point. This allowed me to plug the hole in the concrete basin around the black pipe – but not completely, as I found. The water has filled the basin to overflowing, but is still getting to the blue pig.

The basin where the water first appears

There’s now the sound of trickling water all over the place – one of my favourite sounds provided it’s not indicative of a problem.

I wonder if, during the drought last summer or maybe because of a minor earthquake, some form of syphon broke in the network of springs in the rock, and now the connection has been re-established. I do hope so!

Lost spring

January 6, 2012 1 comment

Right now, what with the rain we’ve had and the recent snow melt, our spring should be gushing, and the pipe that takes it into the artificial pond should be running like a tap.  Instead it’s just dripping.

Joules drinking at the pond - to his left the inlet pipe with green stain below

I’ve checked the Blue Pig, and all along the length of the pipework, and there’s no leak that I can see.

The pipe doesn’t catch the whole of the spring where it comes out of the hillside; some of it escapes and there’s a basin there to catch it. The basin is dry.

Something must have happened to make our spring reduce so dramatically.

We know that the earthquake of 1997 took away much of its flow. Could there have been another, minor earthquake recently that went almost unnoticed?

We think so.

In about mid-October Clive observed some landslips in the immediate vicinity for which he could think of no other explanation. 

The stream which goes under our road just where it climbs up from the valley, and the waterfall above it, have a lot less water now.

So maybe some fissure opened in the rock shelf that supports our spring, and now most of the water is draining through.

It’s a real shame. I hate to think that the pond won’t be continually replenished and refreshed in summer, but at least we’re not losing our only or our alternative water supply as would be the case for some houses.

Oh, willow

September 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Some plants don’t grow well here, like the rowan I wrote about. But others – wow.

The fast-growing willow tree

This particular willow has grown, in one year, from a metre-high sapling into a mature tree at least 5 metres tall.

It seeded itself at the foot of our home-made waterfall and so was definitely not there 2 years ago because the ground was completely dug over to make a pond.

That’s some going: 4 plus metres in a year.

I didn’t particularly want it there; in fact it’s ruined my landscaping ideas for that area of the garden, but I’m getting used to it. Its trunk and lower branches are so sturdy that I hang onto them while pivoting past on my way to pick figs.

I’ve no idea what kind of willow it is. I tried to look it up on the internet but discovered there are 400 species – even more if you count hybrids – and no site seems to be interested in depicting anything other than weeping willows.

It will just have to be ‘the giant willow’. I hope its roots don’t grow up into the septic tank and burst it open. I half expect to see a little fibrous root coming up through the plug-hole in the bath and waving at me.