Backyard Pond

Discussion of backyard pond, frogs, goldfish and plants.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Solar Electric Producing Kilowatts

I decided this was the year to install a solar electric system to help produce the power I love to use. The system includes 16 Sunpower Photovoltaic panels installed on the roof. The DC power produced is fed through cables the the inverter in the garage. The inverter changed the DC to AC and feeds it directly into the breaker box. In the past two weeks, the highest kWh produced in one day is 19.5 and the lowest on a very cloudy day was 5.5. I hope that this system will produce a little more than a third of our electric needs - but that remains to be seen.

Solar Water Heater Cooking

We installed a solar water heater system to take advantage of the heat provided by the sun. The system consists of two 8 foot panels on the roof through which an antifreeze mixture circulates. Below in the garage is an 80 gallon tank that the heated antifreeze mixture transfers the heat from the panels above to the water in the tank. Several time in the past couple of weeks, the water temperature in the tank has hit 160 degrees. 160 degrees is pretty good since the incoming well water is about 60 degrees. The water in the tank feeds into the boiler that supplies the hot water to the house.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Growing a Rack

This isn't a very good picture but it is one of the few where I get a shot of a buck. Here he is with a small set of antlers growing in the company of three fine ladies. This picture was taken through the front window which accounts for some of the quality problems. (can't blame the photographer)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Deer times 4 Plus Baby

This has been a great year to view the deer and this week has been particularly good. We see deer almost every day and the camera sees the ones we miss. In this first picture four deer from the herd are grazing on the side of the yard. And then one of the really great pictures. A baby deer with her mom who I assume is teaching the baby how to find food to stay alive. We have seen a mother deer and two babies on several occasions so this may be a different family since there is only one child.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Crape Myrtle times 4

The time has come to plan for the replacement of the Peach tree behind the house. The tree has been there at least 20 years and is starting to deteriorate. We haven't ever been able to harvest any peaches since the squirrels always get them the day before. Crape Myrtles are very popular in the area but we don't have any in our yard so we decided they would replace the tree. We planted two Lavender and two White Crape Myrtles to add some color and hope that they can quickly replace the Peach tree. I plan to give the Crape Myrtles a year or two to get established and then remove the Peach tree.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Fountain Installed

Last summer we got a great deal on a bunch of brick pavers and in February we purchased the fountain from Home Depot. (See the post on February 22 of this year) Finally on vacation my wife spent several days putting everything together extending the patio past the frog pond. She installed the fountain and built the bench next to the frog pond. It has created quite a serene spot. I bet it won't be too long before my wife starts planning for the next expansion.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Goldfish Survive

After a long winter and spring when it seemed the Goldfish were being eaten regularly by the Hawk, Owl, Heron, Cat and Raccoon, there are some fish left. With the plant coverage on the pond increasing, we have now removed all but two of the protective floats and the population of Goldfish is looking good. Last year we were worried about over population but now the number of Goldfish looks about right. We don't have any really big ones yet but with luck we will soon.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Brave Baby Frogs

These tiny baby frogs are really brave. Here is one on top of a shelf about five feet above the patio. And he is getting ready to jump to a near by plant. In the second picture, a second tiny frog joins another first as if waiting to take his turn on the jump. It is amazing something so small can climb so high and jump without killing themselves. I guess it would be like me being 240 feet in the air and that would scare the dickens out of me.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Spendid Tiny Baby Frogs

A new crop of baby frogs appeared this week. These are very different from the little guys earlier in the spring. Those were ground based frogs or toads. These guys love to climb and they are deep gold or green as they hang onto the leave of the Spade plant. The plant is very bushy and if you look close, the little frogs are scattered all over. I think these are probably tree frogs.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Giant Yellow Lilies are Spectactular

Our giant Yellow Lilies are blooming again. They are so big and so bright that they catch your attention as soon as you walk outside. The Lilies are in the planters just behind the large waterfall filter. They present a beautiful backdrop. Too bad the blooms only last a day but luckily more are on the way at least for a while.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Deer and the Apple

This week has been very busy and I have a number of posts waiting to be composed. It was a vacation week for us which took us to a nephew's wedding and the 60th wedding anniversary for my parents. But the pictures kept coming. We'll start with the Deer enjoying the apples I throw over the fence. They clean them up within a very few hours after I put the apples out. In the first photo are a couple of Deer chowing down on the apples and the second shows a Deer with a mouth full of apple. I don't know if she was just showing off for the camera or we just caught the picture at the right moment.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Black Magic Comeback

On May 17 I posted pictures of these Black Magic plants that I pulled from wintering in the greenhouse. After 6 weeks, they don't even resemble the same plants. They are growing like crazy. And to think I started with one Black Magic plant 3 years ago and kept splitting it until now I have at least 6 good size plants and those don't include 3 that didn't survive the winter. That is certainly a nifty thing about the way some plants propagate so you really get value for your money. The top picture is the small pond and the bottom is the large pond.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Mother Nature Mixup

An odd fruit in the garden. Again this year we planted pumpkin seeds (from last years harvest) and we also planted cucumbers. Well, someone got mixed up. We do have a nice looking pumpkin growing up but we also have a strange looking fruit which we guess is a cross between the pumpkin and the cucumber. The bees must have been confused by the flowers and fertilized the with the wrong pollen. The mix creates quite and interesting offspring. Not sure what we'll do with it as it is hard to tell when it is ripe.