Sunday, 23 March 2014

The questionable sanity of a gardener

I got some very strange looks from Mr TG and one of my daughters yesterday. I tried explaining to them that what I was doing was normal for gardeners but to be honest the more I said it the less I actually believed it.
I think us gardeners are a thrifty bunch aren't we? We learn to find a use for pretty much anything that comes our way don't we? And I'm not the only one that would sift through a trailer load of turf just to get a few barrow loads of soil am I! Am I?
Mr TG has recently dug out an area on one of my daughters garden so she could gravel it for the dogs. I had kinda hoped that the trailer load of turf removed would already be pre sifted into a pile of good stuff and a pile of rubbish stuff that was to be scattered on the land before the plough comes along - that was never going to happen really so I was left with no option but to sift through it myself.
Mr TG just looked resigned to what I was doing - let's face it he's probably seen me doing more bizarre things but my daughter just couldn't get her head round the fact that I had set up a sifting system for a few scraps of soil when we have 4 acres of the stuff - have to admit that comment was when I first started questioning my sanity.
Anyway, this soil looked particularly good and as our own soil tends to have a high peat content I figured waste not, want not.
Here's my little system on the go - a trailer full of turf and soil, 1 barrow for sifted soil, 1 barrow for the turf and weeds and a crate for all the bits and bobs I found in the soil such as old screw drivers, kids cars etc etc.

So far I've had 4 full barrows that were desperately needed on the flower beds and there's still more to go through. Although the system works like a charm I hadn't factored in that I would be bent over the entire time I'm sifting and let's just say it didn't do my back any favours. In fact I'm now on strong painkillers just so I can continue to work, but back to the original query - I'm not the only one who does stuff like this am I? We don't all buy in trailer loads of soil do we? I did buy some top soil a couple of years ago but to be honest it was naff stuff and I wish I'd spent the £60 on flowers instead.

I had a lovely surprise for Mr TG yesterday (or so I thought). I don't know how many of you remember me saying that we have a rather large natural pond here and we'd stocked it with Koi and gold fish over the years. A few years ago an Otter came along and wiped out all but the largest Koi, we restocked the pond as we didn't realise it was an Otter that ate them at first. A couple of years after that though the entire pond was empty of fish including our large Koi. We realised it was an Otter when the dogs cornered it one morning - I guess it passed through as it searched new territory.
Anyway we've refused to put any more fish in it for the last couple of years but each year Mr TG sits by that pond with his fish food in case a survivor shows up and I pretty much take the mick out of him for doing it.
Yesterday I happened to pass the pond and saw a bright orange fish in it so I ran back to the house to get my camera knowing Mr TG wouldn't believe me without a photo and snapped away, then another one appeared. I was so pleased for Mr TG and couldn't wait to tell him that night but his reply was

"Erm, well, a couple of years ago I put more gold fish in there to shut you up when you insist they all died. But once I put them in they disappeared. I've been watching for them every year but never saw them again, so I'm guessing that's what you've seen"

Well Mr TG doesn't deserve to see photos of them now so I'll post them here instead. Personally I think they're too big to be ones he put in 2 years ago as they're easy 6" now and he said they were only about 2" when he put them in. I really think they're survivors of the Otter attack.

This year we'll make it Otter proof as the garden pond goldfish need putting in there so we can rebuild the garden pond. Once the garden pond is rebuilt and enlarged I'm making it a Koi pond.

The Blue Tits are back! Last year a bit of fighting went on between the Blue Tits and the Sparrows over a particular nest box. One of the Blue Tits got a bit winded and sat on my shoulder for a while before flying off and not returning, I'm hoping the Sparrows don't repeat the attack this year as the box hole isn't even big enough for them to get in.

Blue tits.


  1. Some would love your peaty soil. As for the are you the only one - no comment. Our pond fiends are heron's which I think are easier to protect against than otters.

  2. We used to get Herons all the time Sue and there was even a nest in the forest at the edge of our land. Until we saw the Otter we figured the Heron had cleared the pond but it's so huge with loads of safe places that we couldn't figure out how the heron was managing it. Tootk the Otter one night or two to kill everything in there :( We've not seen the Herons for a couple of years but we're going to have to protect against those otters :(


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