Sue arrives with serious intent to fulfil our streamwatch obligations today. So its thanks to her persistence that Supapon, Sue and I haul our reluctant bodies to the water’s edge along with our big box of equipment (see photo). On the way to water collection point we pass a number of apple trees. Except for a sick cox’s orange pippin, they’re all in bloom now. Supapon reckons its about 2 weeks later than usual, the end of september being the regular flowering time until this year.
We observe directly, that it is windy (and how) that there is alot of leaf litter on the surface of the stream which is not flowing, that there is some rubbish (plastic drink container) in the water, and the surface looks a little filmy. The water itself is quite clear. It has rained (medium) in the last 24 hours. A thermometer on a string is lowered in, and the temperature of the water in the stream is measured at 13 C. A bit warmer than it’s been for sure.
New gardener Andrew took care of this job for the last 2 months and I confess it was July since I streamwatched. Slowly we follow the manual’s instructions, and as it begins to rain, I wish for a laminated version of the book.
We combine our stream water with reagents and from their reactions viewed in a black box of tricks, numbers flash up on its little screen which indicate a chemical view of the composition of our streamwater. These numbers in turn are used to help make sense of the bigger picture of what’s happening to the water as it flows through our mountain villages, through our catchment, down into this water collection point in the suburbs. All those mentions in these pages “work continues on the creek” may in time along with our observations, gathered together with similar actions by landcarers and streamwatchers all over our area and regions beyond, eventually let us change that picture as we record it. Looking around today, it seems such a narrow view of what it means to regenerate and restore a landscape.
Our local viking group are part of this broader unseen view, for they built a table just a couple of meters away from our sampling site. It makes a perfect place to lay out our alchemical experiments as one has to be done right there. Inertia borne of wanting to get on with other, more directly useful work weighs in, but it is a strange weight which only serves to slow time down as we wait an interminable four out of five minutes for a single reaction to occur. The heaviness does not however help us hold down some of our lighter testing kit items which the wind attempts to blow away. The inevitable happens, a soggy notebook of previous readings is fished out (downstream of where we’re gathering our sample), and that at least gives us something to ‘do’.
Temperature: 7.5 C (cold)
Turbidity: 10 NTU (clear)
pH (potential Hydrogen) : 6.5 (neutral/acid)
Electrical Conductivity (tests salts) : 100 µS/cm (not very salty)
Available Phosphate: ?? mg/L
dissolved oxygen (DO) mg/L: 4.9
Don’t know what some of those things are?
Here ‘s more information about some of the less commonly used units of measure.
mg/L = milligrams per Litre – there are a thousand milligrams in a gram
µS/cm = microSiemens per centimeter – a microSiemen is the unit measure of electrical conductivity
The soup garden is abundant today, Supapon brings a pumpkin, to which we add garden harvested onion, kale, parsley, mint, sage, sorrel and two types of spinach. We plant seeds from the pumpkin around the garden, & tidy the kitchen. Ralph, Michael & Fred are all here too, although what they were working on today I’m not sure. Perhaps ‘work continues on the creek”….