I've not entered anything in my blog for months now, so a quick catchup:
The Ram pump has seen several more variations & bought parts. The latest incarnation is a hodge podge of some of those parts + a carbeurator spring and some wire. It has been working perfectly for over a month, with only 2 hitches. The first was a decrease in the volume of water being pumped. This was solved by reinflating the inner tube which had gone flat.
The second is a little more interesting. The pump stopped completely, and when I went to investigate I found a frog stuck in the workings! I pondered how it got in there, the entry points would be the spring itself or the water collection box. I suspected the collection box since it has more opportunity for ingress, but opened the inspection hatch and couldn't see very much - it's dark in there!
Hoping this was just a one-off frog who found himself at the wrong place at the wrong time I restarted the pump. A few days later the same thing happened. Ever hopeful, I tried once more, but this time it stopped almost immediately with another frog lodged in place. I then noticed several more frogs (all dead) around the pump.
Ok, I finally get it, there will be no more water until the frogs have been rehoused and the pump intake screened. My plan is to remove the pipe from the collection box and let the water gush out through nets held by the kids, in the hope that the inhabitants will all be collected and we can place them in the wet grass below the pump where we see others of their species. Then some kind of screening on the end of the pipe before reinserting it will avoid froggy water park rides into the pump in future.
We're at the end of the season now and had some excitement, including chasing a swarm down the hill with the boys, hiving another swarm, and seeing the bees fill out the top bars and starter strip frames with beautiful natural comb. Myself and a couple of other beekeepers from the area did apiary visits and inspections which was great fun as none of us have a huge amount of experience. Extra feeding was necessary to keep the bees alive and no honey for us this year (bees ate it before the winter even began!) Hoping for a good bedding down for the winter for them and that they have better weather next year!