Spring is nearly here!

Advice on Koi,Ponds and Equipment

Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:35 am

On An Apple -Ripe September Morning

On an apple-ripe September morning
Through the mist-chill fields I went
With a pitchfork on my shoulder
Less for use than for devilment.

And I thought of the wasp's nest in the bank
And how I got chased one day
Leaving the drag and the scraw-knife behind
How I covered my face with hay.
Patrick Kavanagh

We went out a week ago to a new (to us) restaurant at Bodfari, The Dinorben Arms, (postcode LL16 4DA) It's highly recommended for really delicious meals in a lovely setting.
It was a lovely warm sunny day and as I crossed the patio area to enter restaurant I noticed an identical wasp trap fastened to the outside wall to the ones I had ordered. It was most gratifying to see lots of wasps buzzing around inside trap and quite a few crawling and hovering outside. It was proof positive that they worked: very efficiently!

I have never had so many plums as this year and despite freezing as many as I had room for and giving lots to neighbours and friends I've still loads left, so, I decided this year to donate most of my crop of Denbigh plums, about 8 kilos to the Denbigh Plum Festival (on the 5th October this year) so that leaves about 30 kilos of Victoria, Jubileum and Marjorie's Seedling plums to find homes for!

On the subject of the Denbigh Plum Festival, yours truly was asked by the committee chairman recently if I would be on their stand at the Plum Festival to give advice to the public on growing the Denbigh plum, I was also asked to run a seminar early next year to interested persons on growing, pruning and grafting techniques etc. regarding the Denbigh plum.

Andy Warhol once quoted that everyone gets 15 minutes of fame: --------mine's been extended to 30 minutes!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:02 pm

I had an email recently from a club member about his pond water being murky and green but that it wasn't blanket weed. He stated that his filter and UV were working fine so he was puzzled as to what had caused it. I thought about it for a while before replying and explaining about the problem I encountered below, re, green water.
The very first suspect would be the UV!
A lot of people assume that because it lights up its still working: Not so!
Quite a few years ago in the winter I took a TMC uv filter to their workshop in Stockport for a service and repair and a technician there told me that despite their UV tubes being made by a reputable company they could not guarantee them past the door of the workshop! The reason being is despite still lighting up they simply stopped producing uv light.
Proof positive about this was sometime later in April when I normally replace the 55w tube in my filter.
I noticed a fortnight later after replacing uv tube that the pond water had started to green up again.
Remembering what the technician at TMC workshop had told me, I checked that the uv tube was still lit up and then replaced the tube again for another genuine TMC replacement.
A week later, the pond water had cleared, so: that tells me the first TMC tube had worked less than a fortnight!
This has happened again since to my neighbour, so, the bottom line here is I now buy the cheapest uv tubes I can off the internet.

If you go to the Denbigh Plum Festival on 5th October this year and buy any plum products i.e. plum jam, plum chutney, plum cake, plum yoghurt, etc; you could be eating some of these plums pictured below that I donated to the Plum Festival.
Denbigh plums Trefnant  Vale of Clwyd.jpg
Denbigh plums Trefnant Vale of Clwyd.jpg (73.92 KiB) Viewed 2366 times
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:49 pm

Two firsts this week in the birdy spotting stakes. First one was Saturday morning walking our dog through the very large trees on The Common by the river Elwy in St Asaph. A shower of bits of bark fluttered down from above, I looked up and spotted quite a large bird, around the size of a collared dove, hacking away at a dead branch, it was a Green Woodpecker or Yaffle. When I first spotted it, I thought it was a Ring-necked Parakeet as they have been seen and recorded locally but I saw it's beak and how it used it when it flew to a lower branch to continue it's bark stripping and probing. I've never seen one in North Wales before so I was quite intrigued. I quietly stood and watched it feeding for about 3 or 4 minutes before it flew off.
I know someone reported seeing one a year or so ago on their lawn in Tremeirchion a local village quite close to us in the Vale of Clwyd, this was posted on the Fly Fishing Forum so they are about locally it seems, but very rare though.
My second 'first' was this morning at 8:00pm while making a cup of coffee a Red Kite flapped slowly out of the woods behind our back garden and flew low toward us and over the roof of our next door neighbours bungalow.
It was just about a 100 feet away so we both got a clear view of it. There have been quite a few sightings of Red Kites locally and we know from the RSPB that they have bred for the last couple of years on the Denbigh moor near Glasfryn but this close to home was something quite special.

I must have killed over 300 wasps in the wasp traps this past couple of weeks so they certainly work, the big problem is, it traps them alive and the only way to empty trap is to drown them, a risky and protracted process, so: the solution I found is, I sprayed insecticidal soap through holes wasps enter traps through, almost instant kill!
I then tipped out dead wasps and roughly counted them, I washed traps in warm soapy water, dried them and re-filled them with attractant: sugar, honey, plum juice and apple juice.
I suppose it would be regarded as a bonus but as an added attractant to my traps I collected all the damaged, manky windfall plums, pears and apples and put them in several boxes near two of my wasp traps under my roofed pergola.
I subsequently found that the rotten fermenting fruit has attracted quite a few butterflies, particularly Red Admirals and Painted Ladies.
I managed to get some good photo's as they appear to get drunk and fall asleep after feeding!

The photo of the Denbigh Plums posted above is now proudly displayed on the Fruit Forum the official website for Defra/Brogdale.
The editor Joan Morgan asked me to write an article and submit a picture after my enquiry re; the origins of Denbigh Plum, it was posted on the 11th September so I now have something more pleasant to remind me of this historic date, it's ironically also the birthday of a very longstanding close friend of mine who died last year.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:52 am

I forgot to mention that Swell UK Ltd have an end of season sale on and I bought 5 Cloverleaf Absolute Pearls the 3 by XL pearls for just £3.50 each plus p&p which worked out at £4.81 as opposed to the normal eBay price of £9.99 each, a considerable saving.
It's free p&p with Swell if you order more than £45.00 worth of goods and they are the cheapest for Cloverleaf Blanket Answer.
Unfortunately I ordered my Blanket Answer before I found out about the end of season sale!!

Oh well: you win some!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:22 pm

Tell me not here, it needs not saying,
What tune the enchantress plays
In aftermaths of soft September
Or under blanching mays,
For she and I were long acquainted
And I knew all her ways.
A.E. Housman

I refilled my wasp traps first thing yesterday morning and replaced them over fermenting windfalls. I photographed them later at around 1:00pm on a fairly warm sunny day, you can see the rapid results. There are still plenty of hungry wasps about as you can see from pic below.
Also below is a pic of about a third part of this years big plum crop from just two varieties, 2 boxes of Victoria plums on left and Jubileum plums on right.
Jubileum and Victoria plums.jpg
Jubileum and Victoria plums.jpg (72.9 KiB) Viewed 2325 times
Half a day wasp wangling.jpg
Half a day wasp wangling.jpg (51.18 KiB) Viewed 2325 times
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Wed Sep 25, 2019 5:27 pm

Walking the dog last Saturday a lady asked me why the carved wooden salmon by the river Elwy in St Asaph had a ring in it's mouth. I explained briefly what it was and why it had a gold (actually copper) ring in it's jaws, see pic below.

The Llanelwy Salmon

King Maelgwyn (Malcolm) of Gwynedd. c: AD 480-549 (a really bad dude by all accounts!) was married to a beautiful young lass, Princess Nesta of Southern Pennines.
One day she was skinny-dipping in the Elwy in Llanelwy (St Asaph) when she lost her gold wedding ring.
This special gold ring was traditionally worn by all Queens of Gwynedd.
Afraid of her husbands foul temper and a tendency to waste people, she went to see Kentigern, Bishop of Llanelwy,(later St Kentigern) a goodly pious man according to church records and she told him of her plight.
The kindly Bishop in order to pacify the King, invited them both to supper that evening and served them up a salmon fresh caught from the Elwy that day.
Low and behold: The salmon on being cut open had the gold ring of Gwynedd inside; the princess's lost ring!!!!.
Was it 'Divine Intervention'?
The King was moved and did not bash his Bishop but forgave Nesta and they all lived happily ever after: That is, until he caught the plague and died very soon after in AD 549.
The Llan Elwy Salmon.jpg
The Llan Elwy Salmon.jpg (77.52 KiB) Viewed 2140 times
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Fri Sep 27, 2019 7:27 am

A very interesting tale although I fear it may not be entirely true.

St Mungo was a Scottish saint also known by his birth and baptismal name of Kentigern. St Mungo was an apostle of the Scottish Kingdom of Strathclyde in the late sixth century, and the founder and patron saint of the city of Glasgow. He was reputed to have performed 4 miracles the last of which is very interesting.

The Fish: refers to the story about Queen Languoreth of Strathclyde who was suspected of infidelity by her husband. King Riderch demanded to see her ring, which he claimed she had given to her lover. In reality the King had thrown it into the River Clyde. Faced with execution she appealed for help to Mungo, who ordered a messenger to catch a fish in the river. On opening the fish, the ring was miraculously found inside, which allowed the Queen to clear her name. (This story may be confused with an almost identical one concerning King Maelgwn of Gwynedd and Saint Asaph.)

Does the story sound familiar.

Records do show St Kentigern visiting Wales and forming a monastery at St Asaph but he later returned to Scotland. Records from the 6th century are pretty sketchy to say the least and much of the surviving information was written later. Historical researcher Sylvia Mundahl-Harris has claimed to show that Mungo's associations with St Asaph were a Norman invention.

The above information was taken from Wikipedia (not always a fully reliable source)

Further information taken from the GENI website.

St. Cyndeyrn Garthwys ab Owain, Bishop of Strathclyde also known as "Mungo"and "Kentigern" was born c 520 near Edinburgh and died in 612 in Scotland, interestingly his place of burial is given as Bodfari, Denbighshire.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:35 am

October's the month
When the smallest breeze
Gives us a shower
Of autumn leaves,
Bonfires and pumpkins,
Leaves sailing down-
October is red
And golden and brown.

St Mungo is attributed with performing four 'miracles' commemorated in Glasgow Cathedral yet his tomb in the crypt of the cathedral dedicated to him, apparently doesn't contain any of his bones?
Perhaps he actually is in Bodfari?
You can see Colin, why I was so 'tongue-in-cheek about the 'duplicate miracle' in St Asaph!.
The fifth miracle? in Mungo's life happened when he was still in his mother Teneu's womb!
She was flung heavily pregnant off Traprain Law a 221 metre high cliff at Haddington near Edinburgh by her father King Leudonus ruler of Lothian who was furious at her for being pregnant and unmarried.
Having seen the cliff where she was allegedly hurled from it's definitely another 'miracle' to survive that long drop, pregnant or not!

Traprain Law is the site of a massive discovery of Roman silver, the biggest haul ever and the reason I visited the site when I was working up there as I didn't think the Romans had got that far north?
Back in the 1970's I had gone with a workmate to visit Haile's Castle a 14th century relic and a tour guide/warden told us of the massive silver discovery at Traprain Law very close by.
Curiosity got the better of us and went over to see the hill site.
Much to our surprise we found a positive mass of history there, including remains of both Roman and Iron Age forts.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Tue Oct 01, 2019 1:02 pm

Apparently his 4 miracles are incorporated in the City of Glasgow Coat of Arms.

glasgow_coat_of_arms9947v.jpg (20.99 KiB) Viewed 2048 times

There's the tree that never grew,
There's the bird that never flew,
There's the fish that never swam,
There's the bell that never rang.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:42 am

Rainsoaked spent raiment
That branches can't keep
Windblown and trembling,
The Autumn leaves weep.

Just a thought Colin, but the Glasgow Coat of Arms would look nice as a blazer badge for a fly fishing club, just substitute the word Glasgow for Fly Fishing and the Bishops staff for a nice Hardy 5wt.
Another permutation: substitute the bird bush and bell for five barley loaves and with the three fish you have another Christian miracle!

Despite the BBC weather forecast last night of a possible cold and frosty night, they got it half right, it was cold but; it never stopped raining.
My water butt by the greenhouse door was full again this morning, so it rained the equivalent of three large watering cans last night, that's what I took out yesterday morning from an overfull water butt.
10:00am and it's raining again, just a soft drizzle for now but so much for a clear dry day today!
My pond still remains clear this morning despite the lots of extra rainwater dumped in by the heavy rain we've had this past few days.
I would have thought this involuntary water exchange would alter the PH but surprisingly it's remained clear and within parameters.
Watch this space!
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