Dear Blog – 15.56 – 21/07/21

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??

No.

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!

42 thoughts on “Dear Blog – 15.56 – 21/07/21

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    1. Hey Sadje, the boxes of duckweed were heavy and more so as l had to bend down and lean into the rowing boat and heft them out – the ladies couldn’t do it and the warden Todd in his 70’s couldn’t do it either. Quarter ton of that weed was about 20 boxes, so that was hard graft.

      But l have seen the agenda for the coming weeks and it will involve a type of work l adore and that is donkey work – good hard long grinding work 🙂

  1. 🙂 Rory, you can achieve your goal of 10000 steps by leaving your car at home. You can use birdwatching as an incentive (You will have to walk where the birds are and of course, back home).

    1. Hey Renard, l already achieve 10,000 steps a day, in fact my average is 12,000 – the article was saying that you don’t need to walk10K steps a day as that was a marketing ploy utilised back at the turn of the century.

      The other thing is l don’t drive anywhere anyway, l don’t have a car and l haven’t driven one since 1987 – l have walked everywhere.

      I set my Fitbit to 8,000 minimum so l don’t set myself stressful targets.

      I don’t suffer from a lack of incentive 🙂

      I have calf muscles that can crack walnuts – l just don’t have the time l used to have as little as four months ago when l was walking sometimes 8 miles a day.

  2. I found your description of the whole process interesting, Rory. Thank you for sharing! Although hard work, I feel it is good for you to be working hands on with nature like this. I’m sure your assistance is deeply appreciated by everyone involved, too.

    1. Hey Betty, being in the reserve and working with nature is more in tune with who l am these days.

      I have more stress on board these days than l ever write about and it’s a great way of keeping my sanity.

        1. Hey Betty that is exactly the term l call it earthening, but they are both the same as each other.

          I was there this morning, and l will probably see if l can volunteer a few days a week, just to get me a bit more centred.

  3. My phone came preset with Samsung Health which counts my steps & set a 6000 step goal. Unfortunately it doesn’t count my steps I make on my property 😂

    Interesting that the algae is actually a plant. After our recent comment chat about the ugly green, I was reminded of a water plant that choked off a local reservoir that is used for recreation also, Hydrilla.
    The same method of pulling it out by hand was used, as well as divers vacuuming it up. It took a long, long time.

    1. Hey Grandma, well l was shocked to learn the truth, but pleased that out of the two as in algae and duckweed, the latter is way easier to remove ..but it will take a long time.

      I was researching it this morning, and there are a few ideas that popped up that may be of help to them so will broach the subject – l will offer my time also as l would prefer to put my money where my mouth is so to speak.

      But they are also now contemplating having a living compost pile and l am thrilled as they are suggesting if interested l could maintain it.

  4. Congrats on your volunteering ❤️❤️ sounds awesome!

    I hope your hot water fixed soon – don’t they have to fix that right away? Isn’t that a violation?

    1. Hey Trisha, it is in fact something they have to fix – you are quite right – not a violation per se, but it is classed as a basic right – so is that maybe the English version, but maybe violation is the same terming.

      1. At work before I was there, the water heater died…

        It left them without hot water … and for us that is sanitary issues which would be same for you.

        But because mine is a business it falls under OSHA (occupational safety and health administration) and that IS a OSHA violation

        Having hot water is essential especially in covid. So I’m gonna say they better get that fixed like yesterday ✌️ that sounds like a violation to me – they should fix that ASAP!!

        I hope they fix it fast!!

        1. Well the engineer came out today and basically said that the boiler is over 20 years of age and basically is getting older. The ignition button has failed and the cost to repair it is around £400 whilst a new combo boiler is around £2000 so l guess it’ll come down to what the landlord wants to do? Invest in the property or bodje job it.

        2. Ooohhh I am sooo curious!!!

          Well – it’s a nice place you say right? Maybe they will just get new …

          Because if you only fix button – it will eventually suck more and more money… you get what you pay for ✌️

          Or they can just bite the bullet and be done with it?

          What do you think they will do?

        3. I don’t know what might be done. I remember waiting two months over the Christmas period to get my shower fixed. Back then l had to bathe using a kettle and a jug, they put the slowness down to the pandemic and okay l accepted that.

          But here l am now on Friday, the hot water stopped Tuesday – l have had a total of four cold showers since then. The weekend is coming up, so it’ll not be fixed over these two days. Because it is a rental, it’ll more than likely hopefully be fixed before the following weekend.

          Now if the landlord chooses to repair then that means the engineers have to try and find a replacement ignition for a boiler that is twenty years old and that could mean l am without hot water maybe two weeks more …. but if he agrees to a boiler – he will probably go for the cheapest model he can which he did for the shower and that means l will have to wait for it being ordered in and then fitted.

          So? What will he do? Good question – if he opts to cheaply repair, by this time next week, l will probably be enjoying my first hot shower again in well over a week and if he opts to buy new, then by Monday 2nd August l will probably be enjoying my next hot shower …

          We shall see l guess.

        4. California gives landlords 30 days to fix issue like that. You set reasonable deadline with the landlord and have communication …

          In California we “supposably” have protection? You can inform you intend to with hold rent if not completed within reasonable time line

          You can also contact building inspectors for same reason.

          Or you could pay for yourself and deduct from rent

          Depends – if you have a good landlord – work with them on a reasonable time line or solution.

          Protect yourself too! Document document document!!

          They do have time to fix because it includes new or fixing old …and getting correct technician in there, within a timely manner.

          A week isn’t bad – way better than a month lol … sounds like you have a good landlord 😊✌️hopefully 🙏🙏🙏

          If you have a tub 🛀… just boil some water a couple times and nice warm bath for you ❤️🙌

          Lol Icy showers are not fun 😮😳🚿🥶

          Good luck 🍀

        5. Lol … well my mind thinks like that – in what way can I simplify and make faster, easier and better?

          That’s what I would be doing… faster so I be done

          I have survival gear for that reason lol 💋✌️

        6. Hmmm 🤔 lol … I do not know we understand each other? Lol

          So you have a sink and you have no current hot water…

          So boil on stove and one with electric kettle (which are amazing!) … and that will fill the sink enough to wash the dishes in nice hot water 🙌

          Or do you not wash dishes

          Do the knives scare you? Hmm 🤔 so you are not good with knives… ok well you can soak them in the hot water after doing the dishes and then wash how you normally would?

          I don’t know 🤷‍♀️

        7. I thought you were implying we should bathe with the dishes hahahaha!! Oops what l mistranslate from me.

          I don’t actually have any pots for starters which would make boiling the water awkward on the stove, but l do have an electric kettle,.

          What l meant was that my kitchen sink is very large and to just get the water to the right temperature at present is to boil two very large kettles. if l had a washing up bowl inside the sink, that would be easier as the space would be smaller.

        8. Hahaha- no worries – I am a clarifier lol 🙌✌️😄

          Ahhh you wish for smaller less filling. Lol I see

          You want the ease of filling a smaller basin

          I just like large stuff. Lol… of course I am not filling that basin all the time either lol

          You don’t have pots? Do you cook?

        9. Yes of course l cook, l am a qualified chef, but since the demise of my diet, my requirements for cooking have shrunken also and ‘pot’ cooking is not something l do anymore.

        10. It’s sad, but life – l have had to get used to it. i used to do a lot of wok cooking, but l can’t digest that anymore – so now l mostly cook using frying pans. Hey ho 🙂

        11. Nothing wrong with that. You can still make some pretty amazing things 🙌❤️

          And you control what you want or need. 😊

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