Friday, September 16, 2011

Pond life

drying pond
On warmer days when I feel restless and need some outdoor exertions, I generally turn to the pond aka Lac Woebegone next to the house to do further clean-up work. This long drought has been tough on it and it’s lost about a third of its surface area. The loss in aesthetics is my gain in being able to dredge many of the fallen trees slowly sinking into the ooze of clay and rotting leaves.

Pond, coypu holesThe dry bed is a bit deceptive – only the top crust has dried and when you step on it, you quickly sink to your knees or further in the ooze. I can crawl around the edges in my wellies, and pull out dead branches, beer bottles, baby nappies and all the other thoughtless crap in this watery midden.

The coypu damage to the edges is extensive: they’ve hollowed out stretches of bank so there’s a shelf of half a metre or more that provides hiding for their burrow openings into the water. The weakened banks are now crumbling as they dry out, and every few days continued coypu tunnelling is dropping some of the dying trees into the pond.

I spent nearly 4 hours crawling around the pond-bed backfilling the undermined banks; fantastic exercise for me but sometimes gross as the methane comes bubbling out, and then lots of scrub down in the shower afterwards.

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