Backyard Pond

Discussion of backyard pond, frogs, goldfish and plants.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Oversized Load -- Not

What was this guy thinking. He must have had a bold opinion of himself going after a female that is a giant compared to his small frame. We don't know if he was successful but he sure was trying.

On another note, the tadpoles are growing a they number in the hundreds. Here are a number of new residents hanging out in the plant pond.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Water Hyacinth Arrive

Yesterday my batch of Water Hyacinth arrived for this year. This is the 3rd year I have ordered them from and the neat thing about these plants is they propagate like crazy. I order a dozen plants which are very small when they arrive but when the days and nights get warmer they will take over the pond. (and the stryofoam will go into storage) You can see them in this picture and in a month or so they will be three times a big and five times as many. Some states restrict them because they can take over a pond in no time and if you don't get a hard freeze, they will stay forever. Later this year we'll have them in pots and ponds all over and will be enjoying their beautiful flowers. We have tried to buy them locally but the supply is very limited if you can find them at all.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

What Does the Owl do in the Daytime

He poses for the best picture of him yet. I got this shot from the wildlife camera this morning at 9 am. So instead of sleeping off his night of hunting, he stopped by the pond to do some fishing. I have seen him at various times of the night and early morning but never this late. Notice I did trim the tree branch that was in the last picture.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Owl and Tadpoles

The owl was "back" last night - with his back to the camera. He loves to sit on top of the lights. I did remove one branch but another is getting in the way so that one with the flowers on the end, is now in a vase in the house. If he comes back tonight, maybe I will get a branch free photo.

The tadpoles have heads and they are swimming around eating stuff and growing up. I can't wait for the march of the frogs in a month or so.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Star Magnolia and White Amaryllis Bloom

Spring is popping out all over. The Star Magnolia is blooming in the front yard. It is quite a unique tree that is somewhat bushie. The flowers are beautiful (as you can see) but there aren't enough of them. Maybe that is the way nature meant it but I am greedy.

The 2nd Amaryllis bloomed yesterday and it is white. Sadly the red one (in the background) didn't last long enough to have them pose side by side. Never the less it is a beautiful display and in a day or two all four white flowers will be fully deployed. We do have one more Amaryllis in the queue with quite an impressive flower stalk growing so we are looking forward to another great flower.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Water Lily Rebirth

Here is a great shot of the Water Lily sprouting from the bottom of the pond 2 feet down. The Lily is the green leaves in the right of the photo. If Mother Nature is on target, the leaves will just break the surface of the pond and send up a flower or two. Last year we only had one flower so any more than one would be a success. The Goldfish have become much more active as the water warmed to over 60 degrees. Great stuff going on in the pond.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Frog Eggs are Growing

Here are the frog eggs after about a week. They are starting to elongate and some of them wiggle a little. Pretty soon the nursery will be alive with hundreds of baby tadpoles. Today was a multiple nature day. In addition to seeing frogs, goldfish and frog eggs, I saw the Great Blue Heron take off from the pond early this morning. And this afternoon I saw the Hawk take off from the Apple tree near the pond.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Sweetflag Coming Back Strong

You can tell the longer days and warmer weather has arrived with the frogs singing and now
the Sweetflag is emerging with new bright green leaves. I won't be long until it is growing so wild, I'll have to start cutting it back. We have Sweetflag all over the place and it all started with two 2 inch root cuttings. Makes me look like I have a green thumb.

In addition to the Sweetflag, the Vinka is bloom. Here are 3 pretty blooms next to one of the filters. They are such delicate blooms with a great color against the green background.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Check Out These Great Eggs

The evidence is clear, things were happening in the plant pond last night. These strands of eggs were not here yesterday. It looks like our frogs are pulling some overtime in making babies. The background of leaves certainly helps these eggs pop out in the picture. I'll keep an eye out and see how they develop. The large pond water temperature was about 68 degrees today and the fish were active. My wife commented some the the fish look extra fat - could that mean goldfish babies?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Swimmer and the Singer

We are blessed with the most photogenic frogs in town. These two guys are very

impressive. The first is the swimmer. He has incredible form and it is easy to see the perfect wake that is pushing out in front and on his sides. The second is our singer. The frogs were so loud last week that it was hard to sleep and this frog is demonstrating the form needed to bellow out the sounds. He sucks in air expanding the skin below his chin and then lets it out in a controlled stream to attract the ladies. I guess the ladies must be hard of hearing because these guys sound like they are plugged into an amplifier.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Amaryllis Puts on a Fourth Week Show

4 weeks after planting, we have a giant display of 4 blooms. It is quite a dramatic flower. The next Amaryllis is getting ready to bloom and it looks like the flowers will be white. I hope this red one stays around long enough so I can get a picture of the two of them side by side. That won't be the end since the third one's flower stalk is now 6 inches tall.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Picture of a Raindrop

I got lucky with a picture of a raindrop hitting the water while taking pictures of the frog eggs. The shutter clicked at just the right time to get the shot. Two raindrops hit the water in quick sequence producing small waves radiating out from the point of impact. A photo so good that my wife wants to frame it. Reminds me of science class.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Fun With Frog Math

Frog math is unique. One plus one (most of the time) equals hundreds or thousands. This is a photo of the freshly laid frog eggs. They are strings of small dots almost like black pearls on a necklace. Quite amazing to see the beginnings of new frog life. In the second photo, we see the eggs after 24 hours as they start to expand or grow - soon to be tadpoles. I don't know what the sudden change in weather from 80 degrees to 50 degrees will do to their growth but I'll try to watch the progress. We have eggs in the large pond, the small pond, the waterfall pond and the plant pond. If mother nature has her way, we'll have an abundance of new frogs very soon.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

March Madness Frog Style

Last year I learned about Frog Balls for the first time. A Frog Ball is created when more than one male frog tries to mate with one female. Last year the Frog Balls were in the pond, this year they connected a few feet from the pond. In the first photo, there are at least 5 frogs, the second there are 4. In the third photo, it looks like a Frog Ball is under construction with 3 frogs but a forth is about to join the madness. The frogs enjoyed 2 days of 80 degree weather, but then the high dropped to 50 degrees and we had 2 inches of rain. Since the weather cooled, the frogs have all disappeared again. Maybe tired from 2 nights of partying.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Frog Love is in the Air

After 5 months of sleep, the frogs seem to have one thing in mind. Love is in the air. In these 4 pictures we see 4 fine looking couples assuming the courting position. Soon we should be blessed with a bunch of tadpoles and tiny frogs.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Frogs are Back!!

The frogs returned last night if force. The daytime high temperature was 80 and I think that brought them running. Todays return is 4 days later than last year but they made up for being late with extra noise. They were so noisy, I was awake from 1 am to 3 am. Our Great Dane puppy had never experienced the return of the frogs and he barked frequently to protect us from the new threat. When I checked the pond at 5:30 this morning there were more than 25 frogs still partying. Here we see 3 frogs swimming around a plant pot with one standing guard in case that crazy barking gets louder. (he may be the designated driver) In the other we see the frogs stretching after a 5 month sleep. I know I can be stiff after a few hours - I just don't understand how they sleep for months.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Giant Amaryllis Blooms in Less Than 4 Weeks

The Amaryllis bloomed today - just over 3 weeks after planting. Mother Nature does some really amazing work in a very short time. The blooms are huge with dynamic colors. The other two Amaryllis plants are growing taller and we are looking forward to their presentation.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

An Explosion of Daffodils to Behold

Out back
Behind the workshop
Where the strawberries soon will grow
A spring display
Of vibrant colors
A deep Green base
Topped by Gold and White
Hundreds of glowing Daffodils
Enjoying the setting sun


Monday, March 12, 2007

Amaryllis 3 Week Progress Report is Great

This plant is incredible. It is as close to instant gradifacation as it gets. Here is shot from above of the plant that will bloom this week. Just 3 weeks since I took it from the garage and planted it. It looks like we will enjoy 4 giant blooms very soon. In the photo you see the next flower stalk at the far right and the one behind that just peaking up in the back center. It is hard to believe that just 3 weeks ago these were dried out bulbs on a shelf in the garage.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

In Memoriam for Nick

About a month ago our 12 year old Great Dane, Nick died. Remember, in my post on January 3rd, the wildlife camera got a picture of Nick when he went out at about 5 am. This pictures from last summer shows him doing something he loved. He would nuzzle around in the Sweet Shrub bush behind the waterfall and bark like crazy. It was quite funny to watch and we had to wonder if he had a screw loose. Ernie the puppy, now 8 months old and 100 pounds still checks the place where Nick used to eat for scraps. Nick was very messy when he ate and would leave the mess for Ernie to clean up. In this photo, Ernie is playing with his Christmas Bear in the midst of the clean towels.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Finally a Picture of the Owl

Last week I hung the camera in a tree aiming at the top of the lamp at the end of the pond. Finally this morning at 6:15 the owl landed and posed for 3 pictures. In this one he turned to look at the camera and the flash caught him. Too bad the branch is in the way. The lights were not on, the flash just makes it look like they are. I hung the camera back up and trimmed the branches in hopes the owl will return for a better photo. I now have pictures of 2 of the 4 predators I think we have, the Blue Heron and the Owl. I just have to get pictures of the Hawk and the Cat that I suspect visit from time to time.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Shibunkin is a Perfect 10

The multi-colored fish in this picture is our 2 year old Shibunkin. He is about 10 inches long and is quite a good looker. We bought 2 Shibunkins 2 years ago but one only lived a year. This is the best time of year to get pictures because the fish are really slow in the cold water. Today the water temperature was about 45 degrees. It won't be long before it warms up and the fish become very active and hide from the photographer.

Today I added 2 Barley Straw pads to the large pond and one to the small pond. The Barley Straw should help to keep the growth of algae minimized.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Blue Sky and Amaryllis 2 Week Update

This morning I got lucky with the wildlife camera again. When I was taking it off the mount, it took a great picture of the beautiful blue sky showing the vapor trail from a jet that flew over earlier. The weather yesterday and today has been gorgeous even though it was windy. We hit 70 degrees both days with bright sunshine. Today I cleaned out the tadpole pond and found only 5 of the tadpoles alive. The ice had killed a bunch of them. I transferred those hardy 5 tadpoles to the small pond where I hope they'll grow into healthy frogs.

Below is the two week update on the Amaryllis. The one that was starting to grow before we put it in the pot is now 18 inches tall. A second bulb is starting to push up a flower stalk and just a touch of green is showing on another bulb. If these plants can space the flower blooms by two weeks we'll have flowers for over a month.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

A Pleasant Surprise Daffodils Bloomed Today

What a joy today to see the first Daffodils of the season opened their blooms this morning. The way plants can impress with their beauty is so neat. Everything around them is still bare and they pop up and shine. It can only mean there is more good stuff to come.