Backyard Pond

Discussion of backyard pond, frogs, goldfish and plants.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Pond Cleaning Starts

Pond cleaning day has arrived and here is the pond before picture. The plants have been so prolific that they have taken over and you can't see the water. They do provide good cover and food for the wildlife and drink up some of the waste in the water. When you plan to clean the pond, it is helpful to have two Great Danes to assist (can you tell when I'm joking).

Now see how ugly the pond is with the plants removed. The plants filled up the temporary plant area I built.

Finally 3 hours later the pond is drained and we're already pretty tired and getting sore from using muscle that haven't been worked like this in a long time.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Preparation for Large Pond Cleaning Step Two

Last week I set up the temporary accomodations for the fish while the large pond is being cleaned. This week I set up a temporary pond for all the plants. I made a 2X4 frame and lined it with an old waterbed bladder I have been holding onto for 20 years. It is quite interesting to remember the comfort and challenges of a waterbed although I really don't miss it. I figured I'd find a use for this blue liner sometime.
I decided a month ago that I needed more space to house our plants over the winter. We always bring most of the plants into the house over the winter but the plant population has exploded this summer so we don't have enough space. So I have been building a 5 foot wide by 2 foot by 7 feet tall greenhouse on the south side of the house. The perfect spot I think) is between the fireplace and the house so I have some brick mass to absorb heat during the day.
Remember my post about the 3 frogs making eggs on August 30: well the eggs have hatched and the tadpoles are doing very well. There are a bunch of them and they are growing quickly. One problem is the puppy likes to drink out of the pan so some of the tadpoles may have become dog chow.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Preparation for Large Pond Cleaning Starts

I set up the Rubbermaid 150 gallon temporary tank where all the fish will live while the large pond is drained and cleaned. This will be an opportunity to count the fish and see what other wildlife is living in the pond. We also plan to rebuild river from the waterfall. My wife has plans to use the tank for a water garden after the cleaning is done.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Stare Down with Giant Owl

Late last night I looked out at the pond and there was a giant owl sitting on top of this bamboo pole. My wife setup this bamboo pole to support some vines she planted. The pole stands about 6 feet tall and is anchored in a pot of gravel. It is amazing that an animal as big as this owl (about 2 feet tall) can sit on topof this pole. When I turned on the light he turned his head and stared at me for almost a minute before flying away. It is so cool the way he can turn his head almost all the way around without moving his body. He didn't seem to be too frightened of me but finally he spread his wings (probably about 5 feet) and flew off into the woods.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Pumpkins Grow Almost by Accident

Last year we attended a fall festival and everyone was given a small pumpkin. After ours started rot, we just threw them into the garden. Low and behold this spring a pumpkin plant sprouted and started to grow. The plant spread with vines about 15 feet long. Eventually we found 4 pumpkins and harvested them this week as the vines were starting to die.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Puppy Learns He Can't Walk on Water

Last week I mentioned the addition of a new Great Dane puppy who joined our family. I tried to show him around the pond so he was aware of the boundaries. But... I turned my back and heard the big splash. I spun arround and there was Ernie struggling to get out of the large pond. I helped him get out but it was difficult because he was soaking wet and I was laughing so hard. He is no worse for wear and maybe experience is a better teacher than I am.

Monday, September 04, 2006

12 Years vs 12 Weeks

A new Great Dane Puppy, 12 week old Ernie, joined our 12 year old Great Dane Nick this weekend. Ernie weighs about 30 pounds to Nick's 170 pounds. The puppy is named after the stormed named Ernesto which blew thru Virginia last Friday. The storm with winds in the 35 to 45 mph range produced 12 inches of rain and knocked down a bunch of small limbs but thankfully no large trees in our yard came down. We figure we got about 12 inches of rain and lost power for about 4 hours. All of the pond plants survived just fine. I was feeding the fish the first time Ernie visited the pond and Ernie almost fell in trying to gobble down the food. All in all a fun introduction to the pond for the puppy.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Very Unusual Flower on Black Magic

Two of our Black Magic Elephant Ears have blessed us with a very dramatic flower. According to a website my wife found: "The inflorescence, which is rarely produced in cultivated plants, is a pale green spathe and spadix, typical of the arum family." The site has interesting information on how this plant is used for food. Of course I like the idea that this flower is unusual in cultivated plants because it reinforces how plant friendly our pondscape is.