Thursday, October 23, 2008
Cutting weed for most of this week, clearing the whole river channel and dropping the river level by around ten inches; the water is crystal clear and throughout the week there has been a steady hatch of fly throughout the middle part of the day. With the weed gone it is possible to make an assessment of the numbers of fish in the river and as I suspected towards the end of the summer, there are a lot. Quite a few are thinner than I would expect reflecting the poor hatches of fly and erratic feeding patterns during the second half of the season. In a relatively small river with gin clear water it is quite understandable to believe that you can see most things in the river, although it is quite remarkable how the Brown Trout if he doesn’t want to play will secrete himself away under a root or weed bed away from the angler’s eye.
While cutting the weed it is also apparent how much silt has been deposited through the season. The Ranunculas and Water Celery cut fairly easily, the Starwort however acts as a silt trap through out the summer and is a little more difficult to cut.
We have had two frosts this week, that have bought the leaves tumbling from the ash trees and willows, the oaks are still green and will require a few more frosts yet to make them yellow.
At this time of the year, leaves in the river can be a real problem to the stew ponds. The rearing ponds require a constant flow of water through them; fallen leaves flowing down the river can build up on the inlet screen restricting the flow. The ponds on this stretch of the river are not to affected by the leaves and will only require cleaning once or twice a day. While at college, a friend and I were employed for three weeks on a fish farm that had several thousand acres of forest a mile or so up stream; during our three week stay the screens required cleaning every two or three hours through the night, which meant getting up from the comfort of our twelve foot caravan walking a quarter of a mile to the top of the farm and cleaning the main inlet screen off with a rake. It is also a problem for water treatment works, who along with some of the larger fish farms have developed automated self cleaning screens; but why go to the unnecessary expense of one of those when you can use students.
I have trimmed the hides on the flight pond, and we now await the right weather for shooting ducks. The Carp in the pond are remarkably active. Cruising around, they are gorging themselves on the barley meant for the ducks when the lower water temperatures should be steadying them up; the spooky cormorant has put in another appearance as well. A barn close by the river that has lain derelict for twenty years is currently being converted into a house, the old roof is off and the skeleton exposed. The Barn Owl who has inhabited the place for the last five years at least, is a little perturbed to say the least at what is being done to his “Chez Nook”. With no roof for shelter he sits in the exposed roof timbers wondering what the world is coming to before roding the surrounding fields for rabbits and rats.
He is not the only one wondering what the world is coming to. This week on the radio a seemingly sane and reasonably eloquent lady of later years called for GPs to be encouraged to prescribe dog ownership for certain ailments. The example she gave was to prescribe a patient with High Blood Pressure a Springer Spaniel for stroking purposes; the effect was calming and beneficial for both the sufferer and dog alike. Spaniels in this parish have raised rather than lowered blood pressure in previous weeks. A call for dog ownership on medical grounds is irresponsible and further proof that the Loons have finally taken control of Bonkers Central. If dog ownership is to be prescribed as a treatment for high blood pressure, then like other prescribed medicines it should come with instructions on correct use and advice on side effects.
Misuse of prescribed medicines: A dog likes to know that it is a dog, it does not need humanising or Disneyfying it is happiest when it is a dog doing dog stuff.
Dosage: Take professional advice before increasing the dosage, for some people one dog is enough.
Storage: Keep in a safe secure place, do not leave lying around do not allow to wander.
Other Medicine: Take care when combining with other medicines such as Cats, Chickens or PHEASANTS.
Problems: If you suffer from any of the above side effects consult your GP and request another course of treatment, preferably a tortoise.
Rolf Harris has got a lot to answer for!