Rory – Pull The Boat Ashore, Hallelujah!
|Two and a half hours solid pulling ‘green’ from the pond and can you see a difference?|
|………. for those who like a smidgen of gospel!!|
I am absolutely shattered – there’s no other way to describe how l currently feel. My first day volunteering at Gazen Salts Reserve was today. This will become a new series in due time for The Authentic Recycler that will fall under the category of Nature Diary as the volunteering is to be a weekly adventure for me and the reserve isn’t going to run out of work anytime soon so the series will be a long running seasonal as well.
I have not been sleeping very well the last few days … again … only clocking in 5 hours a night if lucky so l am tired to start with. I have made a few changes to the way l exercise as well. I read an article not long back making reference to the 10K daily step count that everyone suggests and you can see it here if you are also interested Forget 10,000 steps — here’s how much you should actually walk per day, according to science and l figured ‘sure why not’, and so l reset my Fitbit to a maximum of 8,000 steps daily and lowered my expectations for achieving 10K daily which although l had been securing anyway, with increased study, writing and generalising as well makes 10K a hard expectation at times.
I currently weigh in at around 12.5 stone [80Kg] and l am happy with that, knowing that l am carrying 3 – 4 LBs in intestinal digestive weight anyway, hopefully once my teeth are repaired and functioning properly, l think that internal weight hold, might go, but until l know for sure, l think it might be dangerous for me to just keep losing weight. My diet is so damned awkward now, l don’t eat any surplus foods, no sweets, no confectionary, l don’t drink, smoke, do drugs, l don’t eat red meat, no processed or super processed foods and the list goes on of what l don’t eat now … my diet is bland and straight forwards and consists mostly of proteins. So health wise l am fine.
Even today my average step count is still 12,000 with the new minimum of 8,000, but if l don’t hit 8,000 daily l am not crying in a dark corner somewhere, l walk once a day and sometimes twice daily and if not twice, l am treadmilling for anywhere between 15 – 30 minutes a night so l am more than amply covered with exercise.
Today l hit my 8000 minimum step count by midday just in the reserve, although truth be known, l hit 5,600 in the three hours l was volunteering by just pootling between the points of A – B and then before l returned home l took a walk in the reserve and felt the glam rockets launch on my wrist when 8000 was breeched twenty minutes later.
I didn’t do much today in my eyes, but the rest of the volunteer crew said l was a hard worker which stumped me slightly, but l was in the direct sun being a ropeman and sweating puddles of water for 2 and a half hours straight! That’s what has knackered me out, totally exhausted me …. being a rowboat ropeman!
Now you have seen the photos of the ‘green’ on the ramparts walks and the reserve shots before and l always was under the impression it was an algae but l was wrong – it’s not that at all, it’s actually a form of ‘Duckweed’ which you can see when you are up close and personal with it as l was today.
|Duckweeds are small, free-floating aquatic perennials that combine to form a green ‘carpet’ on the surface of the water. Each plant consists of a single, rounded, leaf-like body usually|
|Duckweed / RHS Gardening|
Despite the at times ugly appearance, the wildfowl love them because they are filled with nutrients and proteins BUT that aside it is an eyesore that clogs up waterways and damages plants as we have all seen with my photography. It can be easily mistaken for algae as l thought it was because it is so small and the fronds or tiny green leaf closely resemble algae from a distance. The density of the weed causes waters with no movement like that of the Delf stream around the ramparts to lose oxygen which in turns kills the fish.
In the pond in the reserve, the water is moving as it is connected via sluices to the River Stour which runs behind as you can see in the image below … What l found out today also is that there are actually close on to four ponds in the reserve. The shot below is an old 2017 image and not a 2021 shot as Google Maps tries to inform viewers and if they were to take a more up to date image, it would display a marked difference. One of the wardens attends to the sluicing of the ponds from the river daily at present as we have high tides in Sandwich along the Stour and the ponds connected to the sluices are losing 3″ of water depth a day which is a considerable amount as you can imagine. Hence the current need for sluicing the ponds.
The reason some of my photographs have shown at times clearer waters is because if there is a hard frost it kills the weed and so what the wardens of the reserve are hoping for is come winter a few hard frosts which kill off the weed and then come the warmer months of spring again should any of the weed show in small clumps to start with then it can be removed as it is seen and this will stop the contagiousness of the weed itself.
However today, my main task was being one of two rowboat ropemen, my partner in crime was Todd the head warden who was on the other side of the pond. The two rowboater duckweed collectors were Mary and Sue.
In the gallery above you can see the rope l am holding as it goes out to the rowboat currently hidden as it was clearing the weed around the water lilies on the other side of the island and then the new few images show the two ladies netting the duckweed and placing it into boxes which once filled were then brought to shore or rather the whole rowboat is brought to shore – l hoist the weed laden boxes out from the banks and empty them out which l then sift through to make sure no Sticklebacks – little fish related to pipefish and seahorses are extracted and then once l find them l put them back into the pond. It’s the little ones that usually get netted accidentally during this process and not so much the bigger ones. Then the rowboat is pullied back out to where it needs to be. The last two images show the quarter ton of the duckweed on the bank, which will dry out and then be carted into the environment.
I am curious about this duckweed now from a composting point of view equally as much am l fascinated with researching organic ways of dealing with the duckweed impact on the pond. Two and half hours , one quarter ton of weed and looking at the pond – can you see the difference??
But l had a good time, and that’s the main thing …….. l finished off and walked around the reserve, returned home, made breakfast and then drank 2 litres of milk to replace lost fluids! Aside from that everything is good ………. well apart from the fact that my boiler packed in last night and l have no hot water! So l have to put up with cold showers and boiling kettles to shave and wash up in. Cold showers not so bad for now when it is stiflingly hot .. not great when the temperatures drop. Hopefully that’ll be fixed soon!