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Water Butts - and birds


Like most of the country we have had a lot of rain! We have several water butts and tanks that collect water, two on the house, one larger one on the barn and one huge 6 ft long one which collects water from the old mobile home. This many butts involves emptying them when they start to overflow – usually when it is pouring with rain!
I like to keep water in them for the days when pots and baskets need watering, but of course as soon as you have emptied them it stops raining and then you have none.
All the emptying of tanks involves draining them into the pond. One with just a hose attached, two with a water pump and hose and the largest a really involved laying out of the longest hose, electric cables for the pump and the hope it has the strength to pump it all the way from the field to the pond.
Today they are all down to the minimum, but with more rain forecast no doubt they will be full again soon. Hopefully all this water is being stored in the soil and will help if we get a murderous drought like we did last year.
The pond is starting to green up around the edges, the waterfall has been repaired (again) where it keeps seeping where it shouldn’t, the pond man is as fed up with me as I am with him! Ho-hum, perhaps this time!
It’s even more green than this photo which was taken a week or so ago.

Last weeks sunshine had Peter posing beautifully on the front pillar of the pond, the Clematis is now going over and this rain will probably finish it off.

One of the other boys displaying to no-one in particular, unless it’s the collared doves after food in the barn.

A watery look at the pond today with self-sown poppies coming up in all the wrong places, can I bring myself to pull them out?

Most of the Iris’ are now over, but this odd Iris, which doesn’t look as if it belongs to the family is still OK. Iris confusa.

Also the variegated Iris in various places around the garden and pond.

Prior to this rain the birds have been busy nesting, though the Sparrowhawk had the Blackbird nestlings – no doubt she has young of her own, and you find heaps of feathers to show where she has been – usually pigeons, which we have LOTS of!
Also in a nest box are a little colony of the tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum) which is an amazing little bee. If you read the story here
You will see that it only arrived in the UK in 2001 and has spread rapidly.

Another visit from the fox on Saturday means more depletion of the chicken count – the last little Bantam cockerel and three hens tucked under the hedge for later by Mr. Fox. Not giving him that satisfaction, so they have been removed and the chickens kept penned – much to their disgust. After having the field re-fenced we thought we had solved that problem, but I think he just climbed over! We are now down to five hens and a large cockerel and sadly these will be the last we have as it is too depressing to see them come to a sad end and having had their freedom to roam it seems cruel to keep them shut in the run. Gracie and Lily, the geese, are being kept confined to the middle section between the two wired field gates for safety.

This blog set out to be about the water butts and garden visiting, but like most of my blogs it has rambled on and is too long, so I shall do another about the garden visiting season!
Meanwhile damp in the air and spots on the pond means that I shall probably be out emptying tanks again soon!

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Its not too long at all...its fascinating. Do peacocks require a lot of space HSG? I'm coming back to read this again more slowly later...I'm in a bit of a rush right now.

11 Jun, 2019


I enjoyed the blog. However sorry to hear about the chickens. As you say fox probably has their own young to feed and they cant know the difference between our food and theirs.
the peacocks are beautiful.

you can ramble on for me anytime :o)

11 Jun, 2019


The peacocks are so dramatic! On the bee subject, I found a very tired looking one yesterday, gave it a dahlia flower which it crawled onto, then a foxglove petal. Within a minute or two it rose like a helicopter and flew away, landing itself onto the irises, hopefully to feed itself back to health.

11 Jun, 2019


Lovely garden and pond sorry to hear about the chickens, this reminds of my youth, we had many breeds of duck and fowl etc and it was my task to pen them each night, it was not until the next morning that one of the Muscovies was quacking insesently on the pond that the realisation dawned on me that I had forgot to pen them, I quickly rushed down the garden when my heart sank as I observed the slaughter, all the silkies, Russian pheasants, crested ducks, polish hens, Indian runners, bantams and mallards had been killed the heads were gone, some buried under the fence but most left scattered all over the place, the shear terror I faced when explaining my mistakes to my parents was met with brutal Victorian discipline.

11 Jun, 2019


Your blogs are always a good read...
It's great to see nature at work...but when it comes down to can be heartbreaking too. I've often thought I'd like to get a few chickens...but we have hawks that nest in the area and I can just imagine the foxes and weasels who would make themselves known. not yet...maybe next year.
The peacocks are delightful and the pond is wonderful..
your "pond man" did a great job but there's always at least one small fly in the ointment, aye?

12 Jun, 2019


Thanks Karen and Seaburn for saying I can ramble on at will, you might regret that in future!

Glad your bee recovered Sunnydais. I too pick them up if they are looking a bit stunned or unwell and sitting somewhere where they might get stood on! Have to do your bit for keeping them going. I haven't been up to see how the colony of tree bumbles are fairing after all this rain, hopefully they hunkered down and the box didn't leak!

Oh Wow Julien! Foxes are so destructive, insane slaughter I know from experience when we had a fox dig in from the ditch and under the run one night - it was a bloodbath in the run with dead chickens and Call ducks, so soul destroying. I can imagine that you weren't the most popular person with your parents, but any other night you may well have got away with the oversight. All the wildlife programmes extol the virtues of the foxes and no doubt in the centre of a town to see them is quite magical, but then some of them get dumped in the countryside where they have no knowledge of how to fend for themselves, having been raised on being fed or bin raiding! The annoying thing is that we have loads of rabbits, the natural food for foxes, why can't they eat them?

Thanks Lori, I hope your weather has settled into a lovely Spring now, it was amazing how long your Winter weather lasted! The peacocks are out today, having spent about three days moaning in the barn because of the rain! Beautiful they may be, noisy they are, at the moment they are shouting every time a 'plane goes over (we are not far from a military base) - or a motorbike, tractor or rattlely truck. This afternoon is due more rain, so they will be back in the barn, though it doesn't stop them calling out at any noise they don't like.
The pond is great, still not sure that he has completely cured the leak, but next time I might just have a look myself. I can see why you would want some chickens, living where you do, a really strong run would be needed I expect, we don't have problems with large hawks, we only have the Buzzards which are carrion feeders, so won't take a chicken. I haven't seen the Stoats or Weasels lately, but I am sure they are still about, something was eating the chickens eggs in the nest boxes (not the chickens) so that could have been either of those or the Hedgehogs we have about too, or even the Rooks, Crows and Jackdaws that come to feed on the chicken food! Ho Hum! That seems to have stopped for now thank goodness.

12 Jun, 2019


On the subject of predators...did you see Springwatch last night? Oh my..was like a horror film! I know its nature’s way, but I think the news was enough suffering for one night. The deforestation of the Amazon, plastic rubbish from our country lying in Malaysia rotting and poisoning their people. I won’t even mention the Tory Party Farce (not that the other side are any better). The tainted blood enquiry....And after all that I sat and endured the wood mice murdering the baby birds!! I needed a sedative for supper last night!

12 Jun, 2019


Oh my! Karen, the hub and I had our cable pulled and stopped watching TV altogether about 12 yrs ago! We get our news via internet (satellite dish) and occasionally watch an HBO special, but that's it. Even the worthwhile programmes on science and nature leave me in a state of panic for our poor old globe.
If I can offer some advice I'd say: stop watching the news before you go to bed! lol... We've opted out!
Honeysuckle, I was totting up the list of live in a sanctuary! lol... I envy all of it...even Mr. Constant Comment Peter. ☮

12 Jun, 2019


Yeah...keep saying I'm going to stop watching it Lori. :)

12 Jun, 2019


Wow Karen, We didn't watch Springwatch, but have it on record, planning to watch it. At least I shall know what to expect now. As for deforestation and plastic pollution, while it affects big business and profits, nothing will get done. Sad but true, I only know that I shall be long (or not so long) gone before it completely destroys the planet.

We do have a lot of wildlife Lori, weeding the other day I had a Vole saunter across the patch I was actually weeding, they don't seem to care! My neighbour tells me I have a mole, but I feel so sorry for them, that if they can plough their way through the solid clay of the fields round here to get to mine, I tend not to worry about them. There are enough holes and runs of the Voles to twist your ankle in without worrying about a few more!

12 Jun, 2019


I can recommend a Jack Russell Terrier for the rodents! And after watching Springwatch, I shan't hesitate to deploy mine!!

12 Jun, 2019


I have a Yorkie and he's a mouser! when I take him out for his walkies I have to coax him away from the composter. Dad saw him pounce into the snow, shake shake of his head and a mouse goes flying! Terry praised him to the skies and Ryot was anxious to get back out there to see if he could find anymore!

12 Jun, 2019


:) All Terriers are great...well...most. Perhaps not a Schnauzer..not sure about them.

13 Jun, 2019


Honey your blogs are always interesting, I myself would never tire of reading about your garden, the field with all its visitors, how your pond is doing and your lovely peacocks, it must be heartbreaking going out and finding your chucks, it wouldn't be so bad if the darned fox took just one to feed its family, you could tell your yourself its natures way but the fact they kill just for the sake of it is enough to make you wish the culprit suffered a similar demise..
Last week I was praying for rain, however its done what many of us said would happen and now doesn't know when to stop, I've caught up with indoors chores and now I want back outside, I have been brave, donned my waterproof and ventured out to tie up my sunflowers, everlasting sweetpeas and delphiniums, the rest are fending for themselves, so far there hasn't really been much damage as although the rain has been coming down in torrents, we've not had the high winds like other parts..
Lovely photographs Honey, I was especially taken with your variegated Iris, never seen that one before, the peacocks are always a favourite of mine, hope your pond does get sorted, I don't blame you for trying to sort it yourself if it hasn't worked this time, can't do any worse than your pondman can you, wait for the rains to stop though, lol,......

13 Jun, 2019


I agree Karen and Lori, you can't beat a terrier for ratting - or mousing. Sadly the peacocks don't like dogs (or cats) and create if there is either about. Strangely my new neighbour, not knowing this, came down the path with his two elderly rescue dogs and Peter, who was sitting on the path, didn't bat an eyelid - if peacocks have eyelids and could be bothered!

Thanks Lincslass for your commiseration, it is soul-destroying to think they are ex-battery and were leading a nice life, only to then be taken by the fox.
We have had so much rain, like you I was praying for rain as this side of the Country is always the driest. Now I keep trying to convince myself the ground is storing it up in case of a hot Summer. My plants have survived fairly well, not much drainage here on clay, so I would really like it to stop now before they all drown. But we haven't had the wind which is cut down lots of my Daughters plants, so annoying as they are newly moved into their house and trying so hard with the garden. Daughter is also fond of any type of Iris and has a variegated one, but hers is paler. Keeping my fingers crossed regarding the pond.

13 Jun, 2019


Oh dear, what a sad story Honeysucklegold. . So sorry about your chooks. At least they did have a pleasant life while you had them. Your blogs are always fascinating!

13 Jun, 2019


I always enjoy reading your blogs, they are interesting :)
I hope your water butts fill up again soon, it would be no good if we had dry weather before they do. It's been terrible here today.

Sad about your chickens etc. There was a field around the back of here with lots of free range chickens in it but I don't think they're there now (haven't walked around there for a while) … maybe it's the same reason as with you.

Your pond area looks nice. I like the wrought iron fence.

Interesting about the bees. I'll have to keep a lookout to see if I can spot one.

16 Jun, 2019

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