We had a downpour on Tuesday night which resulted in, amongst other things, our community hall being flooded. This is for the second time in five years. A combination of high tide and unusually high rainfall (10mm plus in 1 hour) meant that most of the flood plain of the river was being used. A family of holiday makers who unaccountably had chosen to camp next to the graveyard (!) had to call out the emergency services at 4.30 in the morning after the vehicle was surrounded by water and started to float. It could have been worse, the only casualty was the vehicle. A few residents have had water ingress through houses or barns on its way downhill. We’re a bit higher up the valley but the river was higher that we’ve seen it in ten years. Some trees beside the river have been damaged and some torn out. The river was going in our pond at the top and coming out at the bottom, but we’ve got away with no major damage this time. This sort of weather event may be more common in the future of course. The other thing I noticed was erosion of the trackway down the hill to the orchard. The buried watermain acts as an interceptary drain and the low point at which it overflows is about at the trackway. It’s not been so bad since I repaired the burn bed, but in heavy rain it obviously still does divert a bit. Something to bear in mind when S. does refinish the trackway. Since the orchard is on a slope, and I’ve raised up the level for the trees, I don’t think it will be an issue for them.
I went down to the bottom pond today for the first time in weeks. This was not because I didn’t want to go down there recently, in fact it is one of mine and the dogs’ favourite bits, it was because for the first year this year we have had frog spawn turn into tadpoles. In previous years it has generally just disappeared, or the pond has dried out too quickly. However, this year we had quite a few large porriwiggles in the murky depths, however, since we have had so little rain up to last week, the pond level was down to a much smaller pond with water only at the deep end. Douglas, our cross collie/Labrador (or ‘labradollie’ since he’s such a softie), loves to run down to the deep end and stands there splashing and whining with excitement. Every now and again if it is deep enough he launches off and swims round in circles. It is quite cute and quite neurotic.
Anyway, since the water has been so low, I didn’t want him mucking up the water and maybe suffocating the poor little tadpoles. Today however, since I was pulling bracken along the fence by the river, Douglas got bored (they had lost the fetch ball) and took himself off to the pond. Once I had finished that little stretch, Dyson and I went down to join Dougie with a spare ball (I generally take an emergency back up). Luckily it seems that the rain we have had this week has been enough to start the surface water springs off again. Although not completely full, the pond has much more water in. I didn’t see any tadpoles however. I’m not sure whether they would have already turned into frogs yet? We had a good look round whilst we were there, and took the camera down later. There are several new orchids that have appeared this year. Quite a few along the spoil line where S. dug the cut across to the pond. That was eight years ago now. So that’s about how long it takes orchids to reestablish themselves. I had wanted to level out the spoil and trackway, but I guess it’ll have to stay as it is now.
We have at least four different sorts of orchid around the holding at different times of the year. I like to play orchid spotting, looking for the same ones to return, trying to keep the dogs from trampling them and S. from mowing them. I thought this had been a poorer year for butterfly orchids, the ones at the top of the gully field by the road seem more sparse than usual, but there are plenty down by the pond, so it’s still early to judge. The early purple orchids that grow along the river bank had their season cut short by browsing sheep.
I’ve also seen today what appears to be bunny poo by the river fence whilst pulling the bracken. We haven’t seen bunnies around here since we had our previous cat Percy, who was a vicious killing machine sweetheart whose favourite snack-toy was baby bunnies. It may be hare poo, we have had those on the land before (unfortunately it was Douglas that caught that one – although it did feed the equivalent of us for a week) I do occasionally see those elsewhere in Glendale.