Wednesday, 2 December 2015

NEW AIR PUMP

I took advantage of a’black Friday deal’ to buy a new air pump.
Just a little surprised at the size of the new one.
The new pump is 150 L/M The old 45L/M.

The new cost less than the old!

Saturday, 21 November 2015

NEW TROUT

At last the crucian carp have left the quarantine tank and joined the main tank.
I am about two months behind schedule.
Yesterday I picked up 15 trout. I followed the normal procedure. Equalized temperature by floating the bag in the new tank. Gradually introducing  water into the bag and finally they swam free.
Time for tea.
Quick check. Greeted by one trout lying on the floor, 3 meters from the tank.
Now this tank has a 2cm plastic mesh plus lid covering it. Amazing! I draped plastic bags over the edges. He went back in and seems OK.
I have nothing but praise for the people at Bibury.especially, Martin the Fishery manager.
I learn a lot in the short time whilst I collect the fish.
He showed me the eggs. The single main tube holds just under 250,000 eggs!

Cold today. no food for Carp. Trout ate settling in

, only had a had snack.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

OCTOPUS CARPACCIO

Although this is an Italian dish. I first tasted it in Spain. We had caught the,”Frexisenet Express” north from Barcelaona to the village of Sant Sadurni d’ Anoia. With a couple of hours to kill before our scheduled tour of the,”Cava” Centre we wandered up into the village.
The road bollards are the shape of champagne corks. Champagne is a protected name for wine from a distinct region of France.
Or to look at another way. The French word for The Spanish Cava.
OK I am a little biased.
We stumbled upon this little restaurant.
I enjoy talking to people.
I also enjoy listening to people.
Sometimes just a few words of encouragement is all that is required.
My open smile and praise for the wonderful, octopus carpaccio we had just eaten was enough.
It would have been rude not to buy the second round of Grappa but certainly the third was not needed to pass on the recipe.
I am sure there are other recipes equally as good but this is the one he told me.
Boil the cleaned octopus for one hour.
Leave to cool in the water.
Put the octopus into a plastic bottle.
I used a cut off UK milk bottle. Depending on size.
Push, pound it down into the bottle to eliminate air pockets.
Freeze.
I don’t have the skill to carve thin slices with a sharp knife.
I used an electric slicer. Carve, slice the frozen octopus.
Add paprika, oil and salt to taste.

My wife suggested using garlic infused oil. Hm. Maybe.



Thursday, 29 October 2015

BOTTLE TOPS

I have been stringing milk bottle tops onto cable ties for bio filters.
In my quarantine tank I use bottle tops scourers etc as the bio media.
Water test show low nitrite levels so I have been thinking of ways to improve the efficiency of the bio filter. I have not used k1 because with the current configuration there is a possibility that one K1 media could get into the pipe and block it.

One of those,’Doh’ moments. String the Ki on cable ties.

Monday, 12 October 2015

UV LIGHTS and OTHER DISTRACTIONS

They say that holidays are a time to recharge your batteries.
Trouble is when you hit 65, everything takes a bit longer.
In Barcelona on my birthday we were upgraded to the Presidential suite.
Gosh. If I had known how well Presidents lived I would have been one earlier.
Private bar. 15th floor. Lights of Barcelona at night!
Not bad!
Home to reality.
One small piece of advice I would give to those contemplating retirement.
Don’t!
You have more time so you need more money.
Plane landed at 23.50. Back to work at 7.55am.
I need to work to maintain my standard of living. Truth is I would also be bored.
Work however sometimes get in the way of doing the things I love.
I can buy pickled onions.
I choose to sit watching old movies wearing a diving mask. Peeling onions.
Pounding cabbage for sauerkraut and coring apples to dry.
I get distracted.
Robert Harris the author was launching his new book in Hungerford. A town about 8 miles away.
My son flew in to Bristol. I picked him up and we went on to The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Australia v Fiji . I have to confess I wore an Aussie scarf but chanted Fiji too. An evening to remember.
I wanted to take some local photos.
 This week is, ‘Mop’ week. In the past this was a time local landowners would hire new workers. Today the celebrations include a, ‘fair’ in the main street. I figure you have all seen fairground rides so no photos. Next week.
Busy busy.
 Also a time for reflection.
Five years ago I was diagnosed with cancer. Five year survival prediction. Less than 50%
It has been a great five years!
Looking forward to many more!
Oh! Forgot to say. Added 9watt UV light to my quarantine tank set up.
New fish coming soon.

Life is not about delivering a perfectly preserved body to the finishing line.

It’s skidding across,  at the last second. What a rush!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

PICKLED ONIONS

I am making pickled onions. 10Kg maybe I should have bought the 5Kg bag.
Peel. Soak in brine for 48 hours. Add pickling spice and non brewed condiment.
Easy.
It’s the protective suit goggles and gloves I find a little awkward. 

About half way!






Saturday, 26 September 2015

CRAYFISH

Many people have expressed an interest in keeping Crayfish so I thought I would share this information from Cefas

Saturday, 29 August 2015

BAQUA CONFERENCE

I had a great time at the annual BAQUA conference.
I would like to thank the organizers and speakers for all their efforts.
It was especially nice to put faces to all the people who have helped me over the last year. Thank you.
Part of the time was spent in a version of ‘speed dating’ Five minutes to chat to other people. Networking. I learnt a lot. Special thanks to Wilson Lennard PhD. After talking to him for five minutes I commented on how much I had learnt during the networking exercise. “That’s because you networked with the right people” he replied! You gotta love the Australians.  Round fish tanks was his message.
Antonio and his wife Amanda from Bioaqua Farm were an inspiration.
They use an organic food for their trout. This does not contain carotene.
The fish thus have white flesh resembling Sea Bass.

A great day.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

ALL YOU CAN EAT

I thought that the new 90 L grow bed would be as rigid as my existing 40 L ones.
Unfortunately filled with clay pebbles and water it started to swell.
A bit like me after visiting an, all you can eat restaurant.
The ratchet strap helped. Today no choice but to empty all the media. Build new braces and then refill again.

I won’t make that mistake again.


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

UPDATE

I have been doing some tinkering with my system. The whole system occupies a foot print of approximately 3 square meters.
A 5.5k L/h pump runs 30/30.
One IBC cut BYAP style FT1
Two 225L olive barrels ( 1 vertical 1 horizontal) sumps
One 250 L (UK loft cold water tank) FT2
One 200 L GB (cut from IBC
Two 40 L GB
One 90 L GB
One 60 L GB
One water cooler RFF
One up flow static filter (K1)
One 10 L submerged horizontal bio filter(K1)
One DIY pre filter 10 L
One DIY bio filter 20L (bio balls, Rawl plugs and bottle tops.

The oblong GB 2*40 1*90 are stacked vertically above the horizontal olive barrel sump. These will be covered with a plastic greenhouse. Readily available here in the UK as Tomato houses 100 wide 50 deep 150 high.
Site conditions prevent me from sinking sumps into the ground This will be above the horizontal sump. A maximum height of 2.44 M  Yes, step ladder. Yes, warning light for low flying aircraft.

With the use of an additional pump FT2 can be isolated as a quarantine tank.
IMHO an essential in any system.
Filtered by the two DIY filters.
Fish are being introduced in batch of 15. As such the maximum at any one time will be 45. With a mean of 30.
The RFF (25L) is small. It only serves the IBC FT1
I can immediately see debris build up. I place another 25 L bottle on the outlet and drain it in less than 20 seconds. Allow to settle. Pour back 95% of the water into the GB and use the remainder on the soil garden.
In practice about once per week.

The up flow static is new so limited experience yet.



Sunday, 2 August 2015

UP FLOW BIO FILTER PART TWO

A few system changes were required before I could add the new filter.
The new grow beds will sit above the second sump tank ( orange barrel) so I had to reverse it. I also wanted to bring the inlet/outlet, as close as possible to the ground. The ball valve allows me to isolate this sump. Useful when cleaning. In addition when i have to add tap water I can add it here. i can then wait 24 hours for it to off gas the chlorine before mixing it with system water.
The various heights were critical. I incorporated a non return valve in the filter outflow. This will prevent back flow when the system is filled to capacity.
The draining point will allow me to clean the submerged bio filter behind the orange barrel.

Next step is to build the ladder supports for the grow beds.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

UP FLOW BIO FILTER


The planned changes to the system are quite large. So I have decided where possible to break it down into component parts.
The new bio filter is a modification rather than a completely new build.
The only parts I did not have were the 110 mm boss pipe and the 40 mm rubber bungs that connect to it. In a perfect world the drain would be at the bottom. I added a little bit of pipe to the L bend inside. No need to drill extra holes.
Gutter guard cut to shape and cable tied forms the bottom media holder.
The top is a sandwich of gutter guard and pan scourers.
The design is called an, Up flow bio filter.
Water enters at the top and falls to the bottom. Collecting  oxygen as it falls. It rises within the body of the filter through the gutter guard and into the K1 media section. This floats when new. As bio slime develops it becomes neutrally buoyant. Holding this in place is the scourer pad sandwich. It then exits through the side 40 mm pipe.
The 22 mm pipe at the bottom is for cleaning. Turn off main flow. Open 22 mm valve to waste. Drain down. Close one open the other tap.

 Once completed I put the whole filter assembly into the sump. This will start the process of conditioning. 




Sunday, 26 July 2015

RAY DAVIES and I

Ray Davies of the Kinks slips into the garden. Sits down at my table and disturbs my daydream.
A warm English summer afternoon. Later there might be tea and cucumber sandwiches. Crusts cut off of course. 
 I think it was last Thursday. Summer is erratic in Wiltshire.
I am sat with a cold Mojito in reach on the table in front of me. The mint to make the Mojito is growing nearby. I think I can smell it in the air. In my daydream I am walking in Northern Spain. On my way to Santiago de La Compostela. Wild Rosemary and mint have grown over the path we are walking. Crushed under our boots their scent fills the air.
Via, Waterloo Station I am instantly back.  I forgive Ray. Like me he is just ‘Lazing on a sunny afternoon.
At that moment the pump kicks in. I hear the familiar sound of trickling water.
Except its not trickling. Its dripping. When I originally constructed this grow bed I used a 40mm stand pipe. Some time later I modified this. I ran a 32mm pipe  down through the bulk head into a T. Arms cut to fit inside the IBC terminating in contra flowing 45* beds. This rotated slowly. This reduced the height the water had to fall. Dripping not trickling. Water absorbs oxygen as it falls. The height of the fall is related to the amount it will absorb.
This prompted a complete rethink of all the component parts of my system.

The shelf system is ok but; move it out into the sunlight and I can dispense with the additional LED lighting. Cover it with a plastic green house and I can extend growing time.

The fines filter after the RFF is a pain to clean. Replace that with a MBBR and cleaning will be just turning a tap.

In quarantine mode I had to add large amounts of salt to the water in fish tank 2. With, the exception of the Samphire this devastated the plants in the associated grow beds. Alter this so only the pre and bio-filter will be operational during quarantine. Bacteria unlike most plants will acclimate to almost any increase in salinity.
The first and easiest step was to go back to the original stand pipe.
I have ordered the few additional components I require and will start construction soon.
I will be using K1 media for the filter this is already in a net bag in the sump. Bacteria takes time to grow.


I might have a ‘cherry cola’ for a change.

Monday, 6 July 2015

WONDERFUL WEEKEND


We sailed the boat down to Devizes on Friday. A boat on an English canal travels at around 7 Km/hour. Walking speed. Time to think.Shake the concerns of the World and relax. Watch baby ducks skimming the water surface, to get back to Mum.
Drink tea!
Smoke a cigar!
There are no locks between Pewsey and Devizes but there are two swing bridges.
A swing bridge allows light traffic. Pedestrians and cattle to cross the canal.
Constructed of Oak this is a heavy structure. Normally chained. So only boat owners with the BW ( British Waterways) key or a LOCK handle can open it.
Imagine an old fashioned car staring handle. This is a lock key. Sized to wind lock gates or open swing bridges.
By choice my wife chooses to operate the locks and swing bridges.
I sit on the boat!
Smoking my cigar and sipping my Mojito.
Initially I felt guilty watching her struggling with heavy lock gates and swing bridges.
Many other female partners choose to do the heavy lifting! I watch middle aged women running, lock handle in hand, whilst their male partners steer the boat.
Why?
On the boat twenty feet down in Bath deep lock.Wet,cold and dripping. The sky a small blue oblong above you. I understood.

That little bit of bent metal in your hands empowers you.

We have been to The Devizes Beer Festival many times.
This was their sixteenth year. “ Sweet sixteen”
Organized by CAMRA ( The campaign for real ale) it is beer drinkers heaven.
You need to book online well in advance. They sell out very quickly.
You get an inscribed glass mug. This is your entrance ticket.
This year I lost count of the number of beers available.
Now this is real ale. A living breathing drink.
Two stand out.

White Gypsy(Tipperary Ireland)
Dubhain stout(ABV5.2%) - Classic dry Irish stout.Nice on cask. “ Hello darkness my old friend. I’ve come to talk to you again”

and

Waterloo (Devizes Wiltshire) ABV 4-0%
A special from our local brewer that manages to celebrate the 1974 Eurovision song Contest, a station and a battle, all in one.

Beer. Cigar. Reggae music and Chinese take away. Bliss.
Sailing home on Sunday. Roast Beef and all the trimmings at, The Barge Inn, Honey Street. The perfect end to a wonderful weekend.

I forgot to mention, “The Vaults in Devizes” Our Friday night began here. Our first visit. NOT our last!
Discover. Enjoy.


Friday, 26 June 2015

Friday, 19 June 2015

ON THE SHELF

These photos are of a part of my system I call the shelves. They face north and sit in the entrance to the shed. One hour direct morning sunlight on a good day. In the winter I can roll down a plastic curtain to keep the frost off.
I knew this would not be the most productive area. However it did allow me to increase the media in the system and play with winter crops.
Last November I planted small brassicas and they survived. I then transplanted to the main GB and we are eating them now.
I knew that additional light would be required.
I fixed a 20 W LED fixture above the bottom GB. To be honest no major improvement. When the filters above overflowed I removed it on safety grounds. I then saw some very cheap waterproof fittings on E bay. £7 each, 10 w per unit. At the same time as I installed these I added a RCD safety device. Now this was 10 W per shelf.
These shelves are part of my,’salty’ system so the choice of Samphire to plant in them was easy. This is a perennial so I was prepared to be patient. Growth to date has been disappointing. I stuck in a few watercress plants and a few sacrificial lettuce seeds to help combat the slug/snail problem I was having.
No surprise all plants faced the light at the front.
With the RCD now in place about a week ago I moved the two 10 W units onto one shelf and brought out the 20W unit for the bottom shelf. These run on a timer 9-21.
As you can see from the photo some of the watercress is now sitting vertical.
It has responded to the increased light source.

Now these shelves are not in the best position but in a south facing window with a small LED boost it could be promising.



Monday, 15 June 2015

IF I HAD A HAMMER

I posted recently about pounding meat to tenderize it but forgot to add a photo.
This is a shot of my meat hammer.
Do not buy one in a fancy high priced kitchen shop.
Instead look for them when you are on holiday, in the Asian shops in Spain and Portugal. 
These loin steaks will be cooked with lemon and garlic for tonights dinner.
Bit of a treat tonight!
‘Eton Mess’ for pudding!
Fresh raspberries, Meringue and fresh cream! Bliss!
Shop bought sadly.

My Raspberries are slow growing. So maybe later in the year.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

NFT UPDATE

I have a very small garden, so space is limited.
A reliable NFT system was therefore high on my priority list.
 Vertical expansion would also allow me to maximize on summer crops.
Some things fell into place immediately. NFT requires constant flow so an additional dedicated pump was essential. Flow rates of one to two liters per minute so only a small pump required.
One condition I set myself was to use only readily available UK  household plumbing parts.
Just to recap. NFT or near film technique requires just that a, “Film” of water. Say 1 to 3mm deep.
This means, ‘round pipes are NOT suitable’
Using round pipes of various diameters is a tried and tested method that works BUT I think it is better called, ‘Shallow DWC’
So the choice of 6 cm square line drain pipes was easy. 5cm holes cut at suitable interval perfect fit for net cups and a one centimeter gap at the bottom.
I use 22mm pipe for water supply. This will connect to a readily available four way manifold. Each of the four outputs are standard 10mm push fit. 10mm push fit ball valves on each allows individual control.
You can seal the open ends with a standard 90* bend glued into place. I found push fit end caps on E bay which with a little bit of silicone work well. Cheaper too.
The next step is the water outlet. Here I used 20mm electrical conduit bulk head fittings. The standard 22 mm bulkhead profile is just too high.
Plastic washer cut from old milk bottle seals it well.









NFT requires super clean water so, in addition to the system filtration, I slip a plastic pan scourer under the water inlet. Ten for a £1. They also act as a spreader and help reduce pooling.

This is Plan H. So far so good.

Friday, 12 June 2015

FRESH WATER MUSSELS

A few kilometers south from my home the Kennet and Avon Canal wends its way through the Vale of Pewsey.
We were moored up for the night but the grandchildren were restless. I gave them a long wire rake and told them to dredge for treasure in the mud alongside the mooring.
Canal beds were traditionally constructed from clay. This was trodden by workers to form the watertight base of the canal. It was called “puddling” Think treading grapes!
i say workers, but in reality it was probably the wives and children of the ‘Navies’ or “Navigators” who built the canal who trod the clay.
The local pub is called, “The French Horn”. Tourists,  who inquire about the brass horn on the wall are told of how the prisoners from the Peninsular War were forced to construct the canal. French survivors from the battles at Salamanca, Badajoz and Cuidad Rodrigo. Reality is they were professional highly skilled Irish Navies.
Picks, shovels, wheel barrows, some horse power and sweat built this amazing, “ Linear water feature” A LWF? No! Its a F****** canal.
Standing on top of the sixteen lock flight at Devizes. The Caen Hill Flight stretches before you in all it’s glory. It takes the Irish to dig a big hole!
Any way!
Apart from various junk the grandchildren dredged up dozens of fresh water mussels.
Larger than sea mussels they soon filled a bucket.
What do we do now Grand father?
Well, of course we purge them in fresh water!
Now what?
We wait!

Possibly the impatience of youth.
Probably the inability of the adult; not to elaborate.
When can we look for the Pearls Grand father?

Two hours purging should be enough!
Boil them.
Well, you don’t find Pearls  in every one!
The hint of diesel on the tip of the tongue was distinctive.
Let’s just stick to the burgers on the BBQ

The canal is dirty slow flowing.
My AP water would be like heaven.
Is there a danger of importing parasites?

How do you put a piece of grit in a mussel to encourage it to make a pearl?

WARMER DAYS

Several days of warmer weather have brought a few challenges.
The temperature in the shed was 20*C yesterday evening and I was a bit surprised to find the air pump had cut out. Switched it off. When touched it was hot. I let it cool for a few hours and it restarted OK. A thermal cut out. To operate at around 20*C seems a bit on the low side to me. I will have to monitor it.
The inside Ft touched 17*C and the Trout are off their food. Carp and Perch on the other hand very happy. As you can see from the not very good photo.
Although the main pump runs 15/45 I tweak it a bit. It is now set to run a bit longer in the night. When it is cooler. Less in the heat of the day.
All the plants seem to be doing well. Some of the cucumber leaves are a bit yellow So I have increased the amount of liquid sea weed fertilizer I am adding. That accounts for the brownish tinge to the water.

Thunder storms forecast. I wonder if fish react to them?
Mirror Carp Fingerlings

Saturday, 6 June 2015

MIRROR CARP UPDATE

It is two weeks since I added 15 Mirror Carp to the main Fish tank. They immediately disappeared into the darkest corner. I let them be for a couple of days and then started feeding. Very small quantities of small floating pellets. The pellets seemed to disappear but I could not observe them eating. I wasn’t sure wether the food was simply sinking and disintegrating. So I did a test. A few pellets in a glass of water. Three hours later they had swollen a bit but were still floating. So now I knew they were being eaten. The fish were by now venturing out a bit but very much keeping to the bottom of the tank. Still not able to watch them eating.
Yesterday I dropped some sinking Trout pellets into the front corner. Soon the whole shoal were having dinner! Two more table spoons before they were full.
On the side of my tank there is a small amount of brown bio-slime. This morning I watched one carp grazing on this. A balanced diet! Protein and veg!
Water measurements are all good. Ammonia just a trace; Nitrites zero. Ph is about 7.2 The Nitrates are on the low side but I have some heavy feeding Brassicas etc and now the Carp are feeding well I expect a slight rise. The warm weather over the last few days has raised the water temperatures. Averaging about 15*C with a morning overnight low of 13 and an evening high of about 17.
I finally seem to have controlled the slug/snail problem. Still finding a few on my late night sweeps but none in the, “red” zone.
The purple sprouting broccoli is starting to develop the characteristic florets and the cabbages are bunching up to form heads.
I stuck a few cutting from existing rosemary and lavender plants into rock wool cubes.These are in the DWC time will tell if they root.

Fingers crossed all good.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

MAMA'S PORK CHOPS

Mama’s Sunday Lunch
My mother in-law came to the UK from Eastern Europe a long time ago.
She cooked this meal for us many times. I never quite achieve the same memorable taste of those formal Sunday afternoon lunches.
Horse racing on the TV. Table groaning with food. Handed a glass and a bottle of vodka. Sit! Drink! Eat!
We had a mutual respect. She never really forgave me for marrying her daughter.
Forty six years later! Maybe her opinion has changed.
Food was always important to her.  When your early years involve railway trucks and camps. Constant fear and hunger. Breadcrumbs are precious.
She had a lump hammer.
Pounding meat tenderizes it. I have a small meat hammer.
A vegetable cube would be crushed and mixed with flour. Dusted in this mixture the pork chop would then be dipped in beaten egg covered in breadcrumbs and very slowly fried.
This was always served with mashed potatoes. Cream and butter added and when available chopped dill. 
Sliced cucumber was salted and mixed with tinned cream. A little vinegar added to sour the taste. Today I buy fresh sour cream from the supermarket.
Pickled cucumbers were always on the table. The bucket full of them kept under the bed. Non’t ask.
Today we substitute white wine for vodka and add a salad.
Watercress, spinach and sorrel from the AP. Boiled eggs and anchovies.
Olive oil and whole grain mustard salad dressing.
A whole new generation!
Whisper it softly.

Mama’s pork chops were the best!

QUICK DWC SYSTEM

Two of the four tubes of the NFT system and now running fine. Purely for the sake of my own sanity I decided to switch off the top two tubes for the time being and divert the water to a DWC system.
The good news is that the two troughs I bought were cheap. £4.50 each The colour? Oh well you can’t have everything. Cut appropriate size holes in the ends and the plumbing was quickly completed using 22 mm push fit waste pipe. I cut four gaskets out of a plastic milk bottle for each side of the two bulkhead fittings. 
Two small sheets of polystyrene from B&Q were less than £6. Enough for two maybe three more troughs. 50mm for the net pots and 25mm for on growing of seeds germinated in rock wool. They both float on the water surface. Small cut out for the bulkhead fitting. Air is the next consideration. Approximately one air stone per meter is recommended. I have an existing solar powered air pump supplying two stones. I simply moved this from the FT to the DWC. This will only produce air when the sun shines. Not perfect but I think a fair compromise. Not seen in the photo but the water drops down into a 225 Lt  barrel underneath creating additional oxygenation.
So far so good. I may need to fit some sort of plastic cloche to cover them.
Planning on this only running during the summer but we will see.


In the rear of the photo you may see some of the anti slug methods I am using. Copper tape and wire and small quantities of Ferric Phosphate. I still do the late evening run with a torch but the numbers of slugs I am removing are dramatically reduced.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Monday, 25 May 2015

SLUGS


I am having a lot of trouble with slugs.
I placed small trays of beer in the GB and have taken to searching at night with a torch.
Not much luck.
The plants in the NFT tubes have been particularly badly affected.
The standard blue slug pellets contain METALDEHYDE  and are not suitable for use with the fish.
So I have done some research and come up with a few solutions.
Apparently slugs don’t like copper. I will get some copper tape tomorrow but in the meantime I stripped the insulation from some spare wire and wound this around the NFT tubes at intervals. 
Copper Wire Slug Barrier

Coffee grounds are another slug repellent. Apparently they find the caffeine bitter! I have also read an article about using coffee grounds to add trace elements but it was only in very very small quantities. So for the moment not my first choice. Need to do a bit more research.

There is another form of slug pellets rated safe for organic gardens. These contain FERRIC PHOSPHATE. These are said to break down into Iron and Phosphate so should be safe.

Visiting the garden center tomorrow.

Smoked Haddock Stack

Not so much a recipe as a serving suggestion.
Creamed Spinach surrounds an island of mashed potato topped with Smoked Haddock and a poached egg.
The cream spinach is made with a simple white sauce to which I add grated cheese and the spinach. I wilt the spinach in a little water and then chop with scissors. I find a little grated nutmeg enhances the taste of spinach. Steam the fish above the potatoes.

As it is a holiday here we had this with a bottle of Prosecco and freshly squeezed peach juice. Peach Bellini.

Bliss!!!!
Smoked Haddock Stack

Friday, 22 May 2015

FISH ON FRIDAY

A long time ago, ‘Fish on Friday’ would mean the overnight lorry from Grimsby or Hull. In those days my family ran a fish and chip shop. The fresh cod and haddock would be delivered in the night.Kept cool on ice. Later on we changed to frozen at sea. Somehow getting a couple of blocks of cod  out of the cold room was never quite the same.
Today it means a live fish delivery.
I have decided to add some Mirror Carp to the main tank. This is the first time I have bought fish online. 
I bought  15 Mirror Carp from a well known Carp Co. This morning the driver texted me to confirm they would be delivered within the next hour.
On time my wife signed for a large box and placed it prominently on the living room floor. Bless!
Now at home I carried it through to the garden. Inside the twin oxygen filled bags the Carp were all alive. I floated the bag on the surface of the tank and had a cup of tea. This would allow the temperatures to equalise.
After about 30 minutes I removed the rubber bands and gradually added water from the tank. They immediately swam away to the darkest corner of the tank.
Delivery was right day right place and on time. I am happy with the service and would buy again.
They are slowly venturing out of the dark corners and exploring the tank.
Hanging around the SLO, and going with the flow.
Sorry couldn't resist that awful pun.
Bed with no supper. The tank is now closed up for the night.

Breakfast will be fun.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

PHOTOS FOR BEN

Ben asked me to post some photos of my system.
All water supply pipes are 22 mm push fit. The GB are animal troughs from E bay. They are drained by 21.5 mm waste bulk head fittings. Warmth and effort and you can, connect the two together.
The top shelf holds two filters. Both constructed from plastic storage boxes and then painted black.
The first is a 3 stage pre filter.  £1 shop heaven! Cheap plastic dust pan brushes ( with the handles cut off) The a 50 meter roll of gutter- guard . Then scourer pads!
Stage two is a bio filter The water trickles through holes drilled in a 22mm pipe. Through various multi fibre clothes and the base is filled with plastic bottle tops and Rawlplugs.


The LED light are only for additional lighting. These shelves are in the entrance to a shed and only get light from the front.
They are 10 Watt R/B spectrum cost £7 and waterproof. You get what you pay for!!
I love the ‘Purple Haze” at night!













The FT is a standard UK loft cold water tank. Price was right at £10 second hand. It was an exact fit for the space I had. 5 cm insulation under the cladding. I am unsure if I would buy again. There are baffles inside. The tank is centre drain. Fingerlings do not create the movement to move waste to the drain. OK  with the small power head or bigger fish.
However this is a particularly good photo of the anti-jump netting. Plastic cut to size.


The photo from the front also shows the fruit pot. In here I have three dwarf Raspberry canes and in the vertical tube Strawberries.

















At the moment this is all connected to the main system.
When I introduce new fish into the system I drop an additional pump into this FT. Switch off the feed from the main system. The additional pump then feeds into the 3 stage filter etc. This reduces the water level in this FT and isolates  this part of the system. I can then add salt etc as required.



Not seen but I have a plastic curtain that I can drop from top to bottom in the winter.