Backyard Pond

Discussion of backyard pond, frogs, goldfish and plants.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Black Snake Leaves a Calling Card

We have a small strawberry bed which produces abundant quantities of tasty fruit. Every year we get to enjoy the fruit for about a week. We pick the ripe strawberries in the early evening and have them with dinner each night. They are really better than the store bought fruit. The reason we only get to enjoy them for a week is something discovers them after the first week and strips the plants of both ripe and unripe berries. We suspect a black snake, rabbit or squirrels. This year we found some evidence that it may be the black snake as last night we found a 5 foot snake skin tangled in the strawberry plants. This is the first completely intact skin we've found

Monday, May 29, 2006

Be Careful Where You Step

Almost all the baby frogs have left the pond and they are hopping all over the place. It is kinda sad for them to leave the relatively safe environment we have created for them. You have to be very careful where you step because the little guys are moving through the grass. Near the pond it looks like black popcorn poping up in the grass because there are some many of the frogs. In order to give them a head start, I didn't mow the grass this weekend. I just hope they have moved on by next week.

Friday, May 26, 2006

March of the Frogs has Started

Last night when I got home from work, my wife pointed out a half dozen baby frogs in the grass outside of the pond. They are so small and delicate and my wife was telling them they were way to young to be leaving the pond and heading for the woods. Along with the baby frogs heading for the woods, we saw several hanging out in the large pond which is about 8 feet from the small pond where their journey started. We have noticed several who have died because they left before their tail was gone. It appears their tail sticks to the bricks and they overheat in the sun and die.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Spadix Appears and March of the Frogs Starts Soon

For the first time in the 3 years we've been growing Sweet Flag, we have a flower. Reseach indicates it is called a Spadix. Some good info on the plant is available at:
Illinois Wildflowers
The second picture is of one of the small baby frogs who is almost ready to march into the woods. Last years march was fun to watch so we are looking forward to the march this year. Interestingly the march will take off from the small pond this year as we have very few small tadpoles in the large pond. It could be the fish and bullfrog tadpoles in the large pond ate all the small tadpoles.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Baby Fish Rescue

This morning I was looking in one of the 20 gallon buckets holding some of the baby fish when I noticed a fish in distress. The fish who was floating upside down looked dead. Upon further inspection, the fish had somehow gotten caught inside a piece of tubular algae and couldn't escape. As delicately as a guy with large hands could I peeled the algae from around the fish. The operation was difficult as trying to hold a tiny half inch fish without crushing it and peel off the algae was a huge challenge. I finally removed the last of the algae and the fish swam away. I didn't see any one floating when I got home tonight so I'm counting the operation as a success.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

New Baby Frog, Algae, Tadples, Lily and Elephant Ears

While planting some butterfly bushes today we found this little frog in the dirt. He looks a lot like the silver frog I talked about in my post a couple of weeks ago. You can get a pretty good look at the long toes on his back feet. I imagine they are used for holding on when he is climbing.

Our first Lily bloomed this week but I must say it is not very impressive.

Got a good picture of the tadpoles in the small pond as they continue to grow. I have started seeing some small back legs on some of them so we should have the march of the baby frogs within the next month.

Here is a view of one of the kinds of algae we have in the pond. This one is geometric in design and comes in the flat shape like you see in the picture. It also comes in a tubular shape floating around the pond. In addition to this algae, we have string algae and some nasty looking floating algae.

A month ago, I started replanting the Elephant Ear bulbs I dug up last fall and I finally finished the last batch yesterday. Everything I read said these bulbs needed to be dug up and replanted every year, but last fall I didn't dig up a number of the bulbs to see if they could survive. I'm please to say many of them are already poping up and growing which is more than I can say for the bulbs I planted a month ago.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Garden Sprite Watches the Pond

Today I installed a UV filter at the small pond. The water has become murky with a dark green tint. When this happened in the large pond, the UV filter cleared it up in about 3 days. The picture is of our Garden Sprite who watches over the pond. She is circled by beautiful Vinka flowers. We planted several varieties of Vinka a couple of years ago and this year is their best bloom yet.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Almost a Frog

Check out this cute guy. He is one of the large tadpoles we've been watching grow for over a year. I think he will become a bullfrog as bullfrog tadpoles can take 2 years to grow into a frog. He still has a long tail but you can see he now has both front and back legs. He was very cooperative when I grabbed him for the picture but he was happy to get back into the pond.