Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Can we fix it?

The well filled all by itself (over the course of a couple of days instead of the usual couple of hours), the toilet was unblocked (Pete the plumber/landscape artist tied a old towel to an old mop and used it as a mega-plunger).

So everything was hunky-dory? It was, until a certain nameless person put a pickaxe through the pipe that supplies water from the well to the house.

Wasn't me.

I went off to a far corner of the pigshed and swore a bit - for about five minutes. Then I had a look at the (very old and imperial) plastic pipe, rummaged around some of the spare joints and fittings (recently bought and metric) we have and decided to go to bed and worry about it in the morning.

The plumbing pixies were clearly otherwise engaged overnight, so I had to deal with it, waking with that feeling of not having done my homework. I thought about ringing Electric Eric (good man in a crisis) or the aforementioned Pete, but that seemed a bit pathetic.

The pipe is one-inch, while I had a 25mm connector. Are you thinking what I was thinking? Not much diff. Worth a try anyway.

I cut the pipe, filed the bits off and cleaned it, then tried to push the push-fit connector on. It wouldn't go. I looked at the pipe and compared it with a length of the metric. . . anyway. . . long story short. . . I managed to get the two ends of the pipe connected and we had water again. Hoo-effing-rah! I was pretty damn pleased with myself.

"So what?" I hear you cry. "So this," I reply. Two years ago when I moved to Orkney I had nothing in the way of DIY or handyman skills - I must have been out of my tiny mind - and a small problem like that would have me pogoing in the panic button. I've come a long way since.

And 'Pickaxe' Pat owes me a pint.

While I'm telling everyone how great I am, I'm chuffed to bits with the little kitchen garden I've got going at the front of the house.

It was very much an afterthought, laid out in April on previously derelict ground and hastily sown/planted with onions, carrots, cabbage, broad beans, butternut squash, beetroot and spinach beet - all of which seem to be doing just fine.

Few things in life give me as much satisfaction as a healthy-looking display of veg and this lot cheers me up every time I go out the front door.

The only problem seems to be these fellas. . .

They hang around in gangs and give the cabbages a Gruyere look. Removal by hand seems to be the only solution - I took more than a hundred off today - any other ideas would be gratefully received.


Jimmy Bastard said...

Duct tape my friend... duct tape and an endless supply of hoseclips.
It wouldn't hurt to keep a bottle of something 'strang' hidden in the shed also.

elizabethm said...

I tried the picking off by hand trick last year and turned my back for a couple of days. when I looked again the cabbages were skeletons. This year we are using enviromesh as a physical barrier. looking good so far.
and impresssed by the DIYing!

Rog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rog said...

Garden looks good. It's probably being irrigated from below via leaks in the pipeworks.

(I'm getting like Dave about spelling!)

Yorkshire Pudding said...

The cabbagey caterpillar worm fellas are delicious when cooked with garlic and a little tomato puree. Last weekend I replaced a syphon unit in our upstairs loo. Apart from saving ourselves an £80plumbing bill, I really felt that I had achieved something.

I, Like The View said...

spray them with diluted washing up liquid?

I'm sure we used to do that to try and get rid of something, once upon a time - so long ago now tho, I'm not sure if I'm remembering correctly or what it was we were trying to get rid of

sorry, that's probably not much help

I can remember the photos of last years veg, fresh from the ground - wonderful! and if they looked that good, I can almost imagine how great they tasted

here's hoping the bugs don't have too healthy an appetite

Sian said...

Garden looks great and seems quite sheltered so I'm sure the veggies are doing well. How about your tatties in the field - are you managing to water them??

Dave said...

Soapy water, I believe, may work.

A pathogenic nematode, Steinernema carpocapsae, is available by mail order from some suppliers of biological controls. The microscopic worm-like nematodes are sprayed or watered on to the foliage, preferably in the evening when the leaves are likely to stay wet for longer. The nematodes enter the caterpillars’ bodies and infect them with a bacterial disease.

For long term natural control, in addition to planting insect repelling plants like Tansy and encouraging birds and other caterpillar-eaters to the garden, it can often be a good plan to avoid having too many nectar-rich flowers right next to vulnerable plants. If fewer adult butterflies are attracted to the area, the number of eggs laid should be reduced; you can always find somewhere else for your buddleia – so you needn’t miss out on having butterflies around altogether.

Personally, I'd allow them to eat as many cabbages as they like.

Z said...

Don't, for goodness sake, ever let bloody tansy in your garden. It does nothing to keep away cabbage whites or their caterpillars, smells horrible and seeds and roots perennially. One plant 20 years ago and I still can't get rid of the wretched stuff.

I bribe small children to kill cabbage white butterflies.

moreidlethoughts said...

What an interesting field you have running in this race. I'd put my 6d on Dave, but hedge the bet with Z.
Oh yeah! I'm jealous as hell cos the palms have completely taken over here, with some fig-assistance.

zIggI said...

go Malc - and as you're on a roll please come and mend my shower!

Cabbage is meant for cabbage whites, that's why they're so named, grow something they don't like and you'll be home and dry.

Hope this helps :)

Cherrypie said...

Hey, You. Look out for a couple of labrador-owners by the names of Richard & Rebecca. They are heading to your parts and are absolutely lovely people who have heard all about you. They may not have any caterpillar solutions, but they might entice you to the Bar 'til you couldn't care less. I really hope you meet up. It'll make me feel like I'm there in a daft, distant way XXX