The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Overhauling our ponds: part two


Irises in our pond last year

Irises in our pond last year

I left you last with the poor little pump having died within a few hours. I tried all the normal resuscitation techniques, cleaning and pulling the pump apart, changing the fuse. But like that famous Norwegian Blue parrot it was dead and had passed onto that big pumping station in the sky.

When we last used the old pond pump it blew the circuit. We have a special trip-switch fuse board so that if I’m absent minded and mow over the electrical cable I will survive to tell the tale. But there was another possible culprit – the waterproof switch box. A new switch box is about £25. A new pump of a suitable size for the pond is between £200 – £300. I clambered down into the pond and managed to hack the pump from the Sleeping Beauty roots of the irises. With any luck it would be the switch that was faulty.

I cleaned out the pump and then rushed back to the barn to get the giant JoJo (extension cable) reel. Lowered the pump into the pond and switched on. There were three reassuring gurgles and then silence. Danny found me trying to sort out the source of the problem.
“A circuit has gone down. It must be the pump,” he suggested.
“Well it did work for a bit. It definitely glugged.”
When I pulled out the pump for a major examination I noticed two small nicks in the cable.

All that I needed to do was to rewire the pump.
“If you manage to do this. I will kneel and kiss your muddy boots. Ten times over.”

It’s great to have a partner that has confidence in my electrical endeavours.

When I opened up the motor, it was absolutely obvious how to rewire it and I did that. I carried the pump down to the pond puffed up with pride. Plugged it in and nothing happened. A few minutes later I discovered that I had plugged in the Magimix rather than the JoJo reel.

Finally the pump leapt into action – pumping 150 litres a minute into the kitchen garden. Tiny hands clapped with glee and Danny refused to kiss my boots offering a takeaway as a celebratory ‘pump fixing’ alternative. I left about a foot of water in the pond as frog couples were already arriving for the frog fest.

We worked like daemons to cut the silt level from 6” to approximately 2”. Some silty mud is good but not too much. It was then that I spotted a dead fish in the reeds. It was decaying but clearly had just been dead for a few weeks. I put it in a bag well out of Min Pin reach and carried on clearing the silt, cutting back the reeds and avoiding amorous frogs.

The next morning I came downstairs to find The Contessa with muddy legs. She was guilty and clearly upset, lying like a dead thing on the sofa. There was sick all over the sofa, our comfy armchairs and the kitchen floor. Very smelly sick. She clearly had devoured the fish. I dialled the emergency vet’s number.

To be continued tomorrow…

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Everyone

    Poor old Contessa survived the dead fish eating episode but now has a gut infection – warning! Don’t eat dead fish. She’s being treated by our excellent vet and is doing fine.

    The pump was so easy to fix so than you for your comments but it was child’s play. I reckon that loads of manufacturers make money out of the warnings – don’t open up this box as it will affect your guarantee. Our pump was just out of its guarantee so ripe for investigation.

    I must admit that in the past I would have just bought a new one but times are different now…

    And yes Helen, I like instalments too – playing with my writing at the mo and having a bit of fun.

  2. OOh I like these serial installments is just like Bom Bom Bom on Eastenders! seriously I do hope the little mite is OK

  3. Well I for one am very impressed at your electrical wizardry and ingenuity! I’m also thinking you’ve got a lot of your strength back if you can go haring around digging up silt, cutting irises back and the like. Glad to hear it!

  4. Hope the Contessa is ok

  5. My mother and I were just discussing over the weekend the nauseating things that dogs will eat, despite the fact that they’re fed expensive dog food.

    I’m impressed you fixed the pump! (And I think takeaway a much better reward.)

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