Garden gate is open ~ come for a stroll

Garden Gate
Garden gate and fencepost

Come for a stroll with me. I won’t be long. I need to check a few things. It’s quite dry underfoot and there’s a cool breeze blowing.

Mind, be careful, don’t touch the electric fence wire and gate tapes are switched on. We won’t go into that paddock. The animals are friendly but they can get frisky when people are about as they expect to be hand fed goodies. They don’t realise they’re not pet calves anymore.

Gosh, the grass has grown fast even though the cattle ate the paddock out a week ago. The growing conditions are good. The paddock gets topped with the tractor and mower after the cattle are shifted.

Mmm! Just noticed that the cattle troughs  need cleaning out. Leaf litter and twigs fell into the water when we had that last lot of windy weather. I’ll have to do that soon. The liquid amber is showing its colours. Leaf  fall later during autumn means work.

Woops!  Didn’t mean for us to disturb the mother Pukeko on her nest. The native swamp hens hide their nests well in the grass so we don’t always see them.

Stream reflectionMy favourite place anytime along the stream. We see eels and freshwater mussels in the stream.

It’s always tranquil and cool under the totara trees. I’m proud of the way native ferns are regenerating along the stream bank. It’s taken lots of hard work over the years to clear inorganic rubbish and pest plants from this area.

Stream protection in New Zealand means “if you have water supplied by a stream, you have an obligation to safeguard the quality of the water leaving your property – for downstream users and for other stream life.” 

There’s a couple dead rats over there. An unpleasant fact of life. I can’t bring myself to photograph these creatures. These pests seem to live well off creatures in the stream. We need to reset the poison bait traps. It’s an ongoing battle against these pests that also want the yummy food we put out for the chooks. We have predator proof netting on the chook house.

The dwarf heritage Captain Kidd and Golden Delicious apple trees look healthy and happy in the sun. I’m hoping the branches don’t break under the load of the fruit. The pears and quinces are looking good.

Himself made this footbridge across the drain as a shortcut to and from the back paddock. Trouble is that the grapevine is claiming the garden gate. I keep meaning to prune the vine back. Meanwhile, it’s hard to shut the gate after us.

 

 

 

 

Our rainwater storage tank needed cleaning

Many rural properties have a concrete tank for rainwater supply storage. Our tank has been cleaned once in the ten years we’ve been here. Over time salts leached from the tank walls and cracks have appeared in the walls. This year, Himself and I decided our tank should be cleaned and resealed by a professional contractor. We thought our backup fibrolite tank should have enough rainwater to see us through.  Simple matter. All good.

Learning curve. The best laid plans of mice and men go awry. That one task and cost leads to another. Remove some Alders screening and overhanging the tank to reducClearing ALders by the tankse leaf litter and the potential for invasion by tree roots. Clear felled trees.

SONY DSC

Firewood
Firewood

Use the wait-time for the sealer to dry and do water pump and other maintenance tasks.  Buy replacement inlet taps and pump filter and install a float and floating arm. Seal the hole around the tank inlet pipe. Replace roof guttering and downpipe filter. Inspect backup tank and discover a near-invisible slow leak. Plan to demolish and replace this tank.

So we had less stored rainwater than we thought. We siphoned water from the second tank. For a week now, we’ve been into water conservation big time, safe water use and water recycling strategies. As we face the prospect of an El Nino climate situation this summer, it’s a timely reminder for us adults about respecting the preciousness of a clean supply of rainwater. Great first-hand life lessons for the kids in the household.

Their greatest source of fascination was when the contractor flushed out the carcass of a dead possum from among the black sediment from the bottom of the tank. Their words to the effect, Yuk! We’ve been drinking that water! They took some convincing that as they’d never been sick they were okay. Guess it was a case of what they didn’t know didn’t harm them. Still, this week we’ve been drinking boiled or bottled water.

Now it’s a case of hurry up and wait for rainfall to refill our cleaned concrete water tank.