Sunday, January 18, 2015

The story of my small garden pond

When I first installed my garden pond, it was an almost sterile environment.  I put some soil in the bottom and filled it with rain water and aquatic plants.

The first wildlife to arrive were, of course, mosquito wrigglers, so I installed some small native fish (Pacific Blue Eyes) to take care of them.  Goldfish would have been more "interesting", but they eat tadpoles too ... and I wanted to encourage frogs.

More insect life soon came - ones that swim in the water that I think are called daphnea; a water spider took up residence on the surface; and bees came to drink.

Then, two weeks later, I heard a strange noise at night ... like someone was using a hammer.  I eventually tracked it down to the pond.  My first frog - a male, striped marshfrog - was calling for a mate.  He called on his ownsome for many weeks until, one night, I discovered him with a female.  She was laying eggs and paddling like crazy to create a foam raft for them.

There were no predators in the pond so, before long, I had hundreds of growing tadpoles.  I fed them with frozen lettuce and every night I watched as they developed their legs, then lost their tails and hopped out of the pond as fully formed frogs.

I have devoted a shady part of my small garden to frog-scaping.  I only have to push aside some leaf litter nowadays to discover a marshfrog resting in the cool moistness among the ferns.  They are part of a natural garden.

Then I noticed a red percher dragonfly dipping its tail into the pond.  Before long, I had dragonfly larva.  This development brought about a reduction of the tadpole population, but a balance seems to have emerged.  A wonderful experience was coming out one morning to discover my first dragonfly larva had emerged from the pond and was coming out of its casing.  It opened its wings, dried them in the morning sun and flew off.  Magic.

I put a mesh fence around the pond to allow frogs in but keep cane toads out.  Cane toads cannot jump or climb over it.  Once, I accidentally knocked the fence open and a cane toad got into the pond.  I removed it, but not before it had poisoned the water and killed my fish.

So, I waited for the water quality to improve before installing more fish.  Naturally, there were heaps of mosquito wrigglers, which I removed every day with a plastic sieve.  Then one day ... there were no wrigglers in the pond.  And the next day.  And the next.  I thought that my fish must have laid eggs before dying and that these had now hatched.  Every night I looked for these elusive fish by torchlight, but none was to be found.  It's been a couple of years now and still no mossie wrigglers or fish.  I can only deduce that the dragonfly larva population had reached "critical mass" and were eating all the wrigglers.

So, a kind of ecological balance has developed over time.  It is its own little world.

As I sit by the pond, a bee lands on a lilypad.  Tiny insects skate along the water surface.  Tadpoles of different sizes dart through the water.  Some have legs and are nearly ready to go out into the world.  Others have just emerged from a raft of eggs.  A dragonfly larva casing hangs from a branch, evidence of a new dragonfly having just emerged this morning. And to think it all started off as plain water.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Gabby's health journal - November 2014

Well, it's been over a year since I last wrote a health journal entry.

I returned to injecting Kineret daily for a while, but now I've cut it back again to every 32 hours and have been happily at that level for a few months.

Things are going pretty well, although my MGUS (protein spike) went up from 7 to 9, but is still within the "monitoring" level. Apart from that and the occasional migraine, I'm feeling well.  Daily walking (at least 6km), gardening, Feldenkrais classes (wonderful), yoga, stretching and sensible eating are reaping benefits. After a blip with my weight where I ballooned to 95kg, it is coming down (82kg), with about 12kg more to lose; and my blood pressure likewise went up and down with my weight.

I have eliminated most dairy foods from my diet and I haven't eaten eggs for years. So, I'm almost vegan, but still have the occasional piece of feta or ricotta.  Have started taking B12 supplements. Also, I have increased the amount of raw, organic food in my diet, using a spiralizer and julienne slicer a lot; and am growing leafy greens in my garden.  My favourite raw food at the moment is julienned carrot/beetroot/kumara/parsnip/pumpkin/radish (or whatever I have); thinly sliced capsicum; shredded kale or spinach; pinenuts; walnuts; sultanas or cranberries; all dressed with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and sesame oil. Sometimes I stir through some fermented kraut. Add half an avocado on the side and that's it.

I've also bought a personal blender (NOT a Nutribullet) for making great smoothies, grinding seeds, etc. YUM! Another kitchen/health investment is a water filter - a ceramic one made by a local family company (Durand). How did I ever live without all these bits and pieces before?

Saturday, May 10, 2014


I've been learning to play the ukulele. I bought a cheap one first ($60)

Then I ventured out and bought a more expensive one (Kala).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"Dingbat" gift boxes

All the materials to make these little gift boxes came from Reverse Garbage, Woolloongabba. I designed the cutouts with the dingbat font called Linedings.

Vinyl for my bathroom

The vinyl for this bathroom wall decoration came from Reverse Garbage, Woolloongabba and I made it with my Pazzles Inspiration cutting machine.

A simple retro card

I created all the pieces for this simple retro card with my Pazzles software, except for the black stalks, which came from the Pazzles Craftroom.


As I walk by the river or sit in my tiny garden, not thinking of anything in particular, thoughts sometimes seep into my brain. If you'd like to read my seepage, here it is ...