Part Seven

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Part Seven

You can use the Earlier Post link, above, to see the the previous part of the tour. Alternatively, you might prefer to start at the The Beginning.

The Steps To The Reed Bed
As promised, we take the opportunity to climb the steps, built in 2017, to see what is now in the process of being developed on the old reed bed. The reeds have largely been cleared from the site and the part we see here is being developed as a small wildflower meadow, although, currently the majority of the plants you can see are foxgloves.

The Green Team created the scarecrow that they initially called Steve. I didn't feel that alliterated as well as the various specialised lake maintenance tools that they have created and named. In a poor 1990s inspired joke, I named him "Old Spice", because he didn't look scary. And it seems that name might stick.

Back At the Ruston Bench Junction
Returning down the steps we retrace the steps we took at the end of Part one of our tour. This time turning left at the staggered junction, opposite the turn to the Ruston Bench, encountered in Part Two. This path starts beside the pile of twigs that have been accumulated over the winter months and, in the past, have been used as a "mattress" under the duckweed and lilies that have been used to surface the path ahead of us.

At The Rear of the Reed Bed
As we begin to turn, we pass the remains of the conifer that had stood beside the bridge. On the left is a stock of logs that have been built up of the last few years. These mainly consist of Crack Willow that, as their name suggests, have split and fallen in heavy winds over recent winters. But there are also some birch logs here, tree stakes  and even part of the pipe that used to take the outfall from the reed bed to the dyke.

Behind The Reed Bed
Now we are close to the two old oil drums bought to be used as incinerators. They, together with the paving slabs they stand on, were moved to this position last week. Beyond you can see the inspection chamber set in the now redundant outflow pipe from the reed bed. Beyond that are two compost bins each made last autumn from a pair of 8ft x 4ft galvanised mesh sheets. They are filled with the leaves that were cleared from the front garden of the house and those that dropped on the paths around the grounds.

Looking North Along the Dyke
Here we've taken a slight de-tour, coming through the connecting path that leads to the bank of the western boundary of the site, the dyke that separates the grounds from the Poors Allotment. Not really a path it is a strip of land on which has been dumped much of the lilies and duckweed that was surplus to that needed to surface the path behind the reed bed.

The South Eastern Corner Of The Grounds
Back on the path behind the reed bed we reach the south eastern corner of the grounds. The timber that forms the edges on this path was salvaged from the pergola that used to be above the patio before outside our Music Room in the house. The dyke ahead forms the southern boundary of the grounds.

The gentle slope on the path as it turns left is only a couple of months old. Previously the drop had been more pronounced, but soil was removed in order to build up level of the main path between the bridge and the staggered junction where we turned to come behind the reed bed. It also makes it much easier to push a laden wheelbarrow up the slope!

The Raised Vegetable Bed
As we climb the slope we see the opposite corner of the old reed bed than that approached from the steps. The small incinerator, which has never really been used as it proved far too small for the material we generate, is the one seen in 2015 behind the reed bed.

The Revised Compost Bins
On reaching the top of the slope we look directly across the old reed bed to a set of old pallets.  These have been reconfigured within the last month to make a set of six small compost bins, replacing the three much larger bins we had before. The theory is that this should allow the compost to be turned more often which should help it compact and form usable soil far more quickly.

To the right of the compost bins are three newly planted fruit trees, an apple, pear and plum. The Green team also tidied up a couple of the old telegraph poles, that used to mark the location of the fishing stands and topped them with more of the decking planks to form a bench.

The Raised Bed
As we begin to make our way along the path we pass our new raised bed, in which vegetables have just been planted. The beds were constructed from the old decking planks saved when the decking at the back of the house was replaced.

Beside The Reed Bed
On the right of the path beside what I shall have to refer in future as the wild flower meadow is a radically different view from that seen in 2015. That hazel which had been cut back the previous winter is now in excess of 9ft tall again and the view across our neighbours land is completely lost.

The Wriggle In The Path
Now, following the path beside our southern border, we approach a point about a third of the way back to the house. We zig zag around smaller and larger oak tress to left and right and rise to the highest part of the path. It looks as if we won't be short of foxgloves later in the year!

Lake Comes Into View
In the 2015 tour this area was awash with foxgloves that blocked the view of the lake, but at this time of year the lake reappears at this point in the tour as we approach the ground behind the arbour seat seen in Part One of the tour.

Behind The Arbour Seat
We are now beside the Arbour Seat and sight of the lake is lost again. Ahead we can see the bleached grass which show where the planks were laid, in anticipation of using them as path edging, but have now been used to construct the raised vegetable bed. The last of the daffodils that line this part of the path are fading.

The End Of The High Road
We now can see the house again and the turn to the junction that marks the end of the High Road.

The High Road Junction
At the bottom of the slope where the path rejoins the path from the house, we can look across the lake to the small area of lawn behind the house on which stands what was sold to us as a "Banana Bench", because of the slight curve it has. To its right a picnic bench sits on a small patio and behind that is a new shed that replaced the original eBay purchase in July 2017.

Immediately in front of us is the remains of one of the fishing stands. When it proved impossible to remove the posts that supported the stand we took advantage of their presence by topping them with an old branch that birds could use as a perch. This one became known as the Cormorant Stand.

Looking towards the house you can see a kink in the path where it is topped with chippings. If you saw it for the first time at this time of year, you might not realise that kink was deliberate. A look same view on the 2015 tour would have you realise it's just another of the curves designed to stop you seeing more than 10 yards ahead.

The Rear Of Ruston House
Our final picture completes the tour. You can see another of the bird perches, created from the remains of a fishing stand, the new balcony and how the decking now incorporates drains that take water from the gutters into the lake rather than the main drains.
Greg Chapman
Ruston House