Backyard Pond

Discussion of backyard pond, frogs, goldfish and plants.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Greenhouse Upgrade

I upgraded the greenhouse that I build last year. The greenhouse now features new shelves that utilize the available space better and shallow lined vessels to provide a watery spot for all the plants. The heater should prevent the temperature from falling below 40 degrees. After removing the plants from the pond, I took a great picture of a bunch of the Goldfish including the giant multi-colored Shibunkin. The fish are much slower since the water temperature is nearing 50 degrees.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Raccoons Return for Three Nights

I reset the camera in the front yard around the bee's nest for three nights and every night the raccoons returned to scrounge for bee food. They would nibble on the honeycomb laying around and scare the bees all over again. In the second picture, this raccoon decided to strike an interesting pose just when the flash fired off. He looks pretty aggressive in this picture.
The bees have been very active until today when the temperature was only in the mid 40's. Maybe I'll be able to fill the hole tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Catching the Hole Digger

I set up the wildlife camera near the hole in the front yard and the guilty animal returned to the scene of the crime. It turned out to be a family of raccoons that dug up the bee's nest. A side effect is several hundred bees are buzzing around what used to be their home. I'm not a fan of bee stings so I stay at least 10 feet away from the swarm. I hope they will give up and move to a new location - in the woods would be good.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tough Times for the Bees

A couple of days ago, I was surprised to see some bee's honeycomb laying on the landscaping bricks in the front yard. I investigated further and found a big hole in the yard about 10 feet away. I assumed a critter had dug up a bee's nest in the yard. We seem to get several of these ground bee nests every year but this is the first time I have ever seen one dug up. As you probably can assume, I wanted to know who the heck was digging a hole in the yard. The Internet offered several possibilities like skunks or raccoons. The hunt was on.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Squirrel Loves Veggies

We noticed one of our pond plants was really chewed back . I suspected a rabbit and set up the wildlife camera to see who was chowing down. It turned out to be a squirrel. In these pictures, you can see the squirrel grazing at the edge of the pond. In the second picture, the squirrel pulls off a juicy piece and stands up to munch on it. The camera presents the evidence once again.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Frost and Elephant Ear Doesn't Mix

After the first frost the Elephant Ears quickly went from glad to sad. We've had a couple of nights where the temperature dropped to just under 32 degrees. All of the Elephant Ears and pond plants are drooping and turning yellow and brown. So now the work for this week begins. I need to cut back the Elephant Ears to ground level and mulch them for the winter. The pond plants need to be cut back and the delicate one need to be moved to the greenhouse and I am already looking forward to spring.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Waterfall Cleaning Time

Its time for the annual waterfall cleaning and so I got right to it last weekend. Here are the before and after pictures. The before picture, you can see how the Sweet Flag has taken over the entire 20 gallon waterfall reservoir. As I removed the plant, I disturbed 5 napping bullfrogs. Two of them were snuggled into the plant itself and the other three were in the inch of mud at the bottom of the reservoir. It looked like they had already started their long winters nap and were pretty upset that I bothered them and messed up their bed.
Now the waterfall is clean and I hope the bullfrogs have found a good nap spot under the Sweet Flag.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Cistern Number 3 Installed

In my quest to work with Mother Nature, I installed my third cistern. This one is like the 2nd one using two 55 gallon barrels joined together with pcv pipe and a hose faucet. I finished this cistern just in time for a 3 inch rainfall so all three cisterns are full to the top.
The second photo is of some of the plants in the new Frog Pond. The Black Magic is easy to recognize but the other plant is what we call the Starburst. The Starburst spreads when the spiked flowers bend over and root themselves in the water. Once the roots develop, the plants can be set in pots and disconnected from the mother plant.