Of Monkeys and Building a Pond by Maretha Botha– Part 5
Grandma and the family are very excited and she says, ‘Perhaps we should build our pond over there. It will attract many wild birds to our garden.
Look! The striped kingfisher is already waiting. I think we need to plant succulents as well.’
‘What are sekkelunts, Grandma?’ little Josh wants to know.
‘They’re called, s-u-c-c-u-l-e-n-t-s and they store water in their leaves. Don’t you know that they suck water and get fat leaves, stems and roots so they can survive when there are no rains?’ Kate answers before Grandma can do so.
Grandma just smiles and says, ‘I’ve many extra potted succulents which we can replant. I’ll be happy to have a small rockery there under the trees as well. Then we can also see what the birds are doing. Don’t you think that’s a good idea?’
‘Sounds like a great plan,’ Grandpa says and continues without taking a breath, ‘We should have all the materials needed to build a small pond. Let’s check our delivery. It’ll only take a moment. You children might like to help us with the digging.’ Grandpa smiled and winked at Josh and Kate at the same time.
Fortunately, they forget all about Child Monkey lying on the table. He has woken up in the meantime and stares at them through half-closed eyes, waiting for an opportunity to dash over the kitchen stable door.
The family has forgotten all about the previous day’s “monkey business” and the honey, because they have something important to do – building a much-needed pond.
The children want to start straight away, but their grandparents first walk around under the trees, looking for the best place. Suddenly, they stop and call the children.
‘Someone has done most of the work for us. Look over here. The pangolins have burrowed right down into that anthill. What a large hole! Well, the termites are gone, so I think we’ll open up the hole a bit more and then we can lay the plastic,’ Grandpa says.
The jittery troop of monkeys, the striped kingfisher and a mass of smaller birds are so curious that they stop doing what they normally would do – chitter or chatter. The goings-on under the tree are far more interesting.
Yet, Wisdom sleeps through it all, keeping his head safely tucked under his wing.
Later that afternoon, they line the new pond with very thick black plastic. Everyone collects rocks in different shapes and sizes to cover the edge of the plastic.
Grandma and the children plant a few of her aloes and succulents among the rocks.
Josh and Kate scatter old pieces of bark and rough pebbles around the plants, while Grandpa drags the lodge hosepipe all the way to the pond.
As soon as water begin to trickle, the children cheer, ‘Hooray!’ waking Wisdom in the tree.
‘What did I miss? Oh, the pond is almost ready. I’m sure you jittery monkeys will also drink water from there, and I heard a little bird tweet that a certain monkey child must do pond duty – caring for the fountain. I only hope he doesn’t get into any monkey business again,’ Wisdom hoots and then looks around, ‘but where is our child monkey, then?’
‘You scared him stiff, don’t you remember? And now my naughty child is gone forever!’ his mother gibbers sadly.
‘Okay, okay. I’ll go look for him and bring him home,’ Wisdom hoots before flying off to look for Child Monkey who has escaped from the lodge kitchen.
Meanwhile he is slowly moving further and further away from the lodge, swinging from tree to tree. He looks back once and sighs, ‘I’m really going to miss this place – even the striped kingfisher.’
About Maretha Botha
Author, illustrator Maretha Botha admits to being addicted to black coffee and chocolate. She and her family loves the outdoors and hike on the moors whenever possible. Gardening and bird watching are favourite past-times. She has written and illustrated a series of children’s books for young readers 9-13 years, called “Fauna Park Tales” (See Below).
Books 1-4 are available in Kindle as well as black and white illustrated paperbacks, approximately 20,000 words each, and make excellent middle-grade chapter books.
African Adventure Books:
Book 1 – Flame and Hope: An African Adventure
Book 2 – Friends: An African Adventure
Meet Maretha Online: