Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Duck Tales from the Frugaldom Microholding

The Frugaldom Pond is Nearing Completion!

I know that having a duck pond in the garden should not rank very highly when first moving into a house that needs so much work done, but it was something that I really, really wanted to have. So, the frugal duck pond project began as soon as we got here.

The good weather has helped no end and today was another scorcher. By 10pm tonight, Joey and Phoebe (pair of ducks) were taking their first splashy bath in their new pond!

After all the digging, raking, rock smashing and rock removal, it was a very exciting to eventually get to the stage that we could move to the next stage. Even the cat was in the pond helping to dig those big red rocks.

We gave up with the excavation, as it looked like it could have gone on forever. The gaping hole got filled in and pond making proper began.

With a bit more levelling, we were soon able to rake out the gravel, sweep over the layer of soil and we left one large boulder in a corner, just in case anything fell into the pond and needed an extra foothold to get back out of it.

Scruffy cat had a great time playing in there this afternoon!

We have used an old carpet to cover the bottom of the pond in the hope that it will prevent any stones from bursting the liner.

After laying the carpet, it was swept clean of grit and twigs then the excess trimmed from the side.

Next, we unfolded the liner and laid that over the top of the carpet to form the base for our duck pond. It has had to be dug to a depth of about 60cm but it gradually slopes to the sides, to allow the ducks to get in and out easier. Hopefully, their nails won't burst the liner.

As soon as we started to fill the pond, the sound of the water brought the ducks waddling along to investigate. They were very wary of the black liner, avoiding standing on it at first, but then started getting braver.

Eventually, we had to close them in their small run to avoid them getting in the way, or worse, getting into the pond before it was filled!

The cat thought this was a fantastic game, especially when she kept meeting her identical twin, who always seemed to be staring back at her whenever she looked into the water.

A couple of times, Scruffy cat got too close and ended up with wet paws, but it was mainly because the midges had appeared and puss thought it would be fun to try and catch some of them!

It took us until about 10 pm to get the pond filled, but it has been left a few centimetres short of that, as we still need to sink the overflow pipes into the ground. These are all salvaged 4" plastic pipes, which will be laid down the edge of the orchard, with the overflow by the side of the stream. We aren't expecting any floods, buit it's best to take precautions and it will help keep the pond clean.

It isn't anywhere near completed, as we still need to do the pipes and then pave around the edge. I also have willow for planting off to one side of it and would like a few water-loving plants. Having seen a spectacular pond surrounded by irises and other such flowers, my sights are set on smething similar, albeit on a much smaller scale.

For now, the liner is being held in place by many of the rocks and boulders that we dug out, but the ducks don't seem to mind. They were in their for their first swim as soon as we allowed them. It took them a little bit of time to get accustomed to walking across the liner, but they soon got to know that it was safe.

With the weather forecast saying the good weather is staying with us, we should get plenty more work done in the garden this week. For now, I am happy we have, at long last, got our duck pond.

Meanwhile, back in the incubator, the duck eggs appear to be doing well. With 12 out of 12 of the eggs proving to be fertile, we are now over halfway through incubation. With luck, we could see some new ducklings hatching 10 days from now.

Don't forget you can join us free in the Frugaldom Forums where frugal living is the good life. Join us there and set your own frugal challenges - see how far you can make your money go without breaking the bank.

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