Backyard Pond

Discussion of backyard pond, frogs, goldfish and plants.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Unique Pumpkin Harvest

We harvested our pumpkins and interestingly only one looks like a pumpkin. These were the fruit of the two pumpkin plants. I suspect some cross pollination, maybe from the cucumbers or the peas. These pumpkins were grown from 4th generation seeds. We started with seeds from a pumpkin 4 years ago, and replanted its seeds when it faded. That has been repeated each year.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Beauty and the Beast

Last week while mowing the grass I almost ran over this interesting looking mushroom, all white with just a touch of green. It reminded me of a brain with all the folds and cracks.
Then about 60 feet away was an ugly brownish mushroom that was very attractive to a bunch of tiny gnats. Amazing how two plants that emerge from rotting wood can be so close together but look so totally different.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tadpole Rescue Update

Just about a month ago we rescued some eggs that were laid in the cistern before they were washed overboard. Two weeks ago we had a hundred tadpoles growing in the bucket. And today the tadpoles are crawling out of the water, changing from black to green/gold and climbing up the Sweet Flag leaves. In the first picture the change is starting and you can still see the tiny tail. In the second the new frog is much higher on the leaf and his tail is gone. Very interesting in how fast this transformation took.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Four Years of Blogging About the Pond

Today is the forth anniversary of my homepond blog. It started Aug. 24, 2005 with a picture of a Bullfrog who lives in Large Pond. Here is probably a new Bullfrog but who can be sure. In the first picture he's floating in the small pond with only his head a in view. In the second picture you get a sense of his real size sitting on the side of the small pond. For perspective, the paver that he is sitting on is 8 inches wide and 16 inches long. He covers a good size chunk of the block. Yesterday afternoon, I surprised a Black Snake attacking another large frog on the waterfall and scared him away. I tried to pick up the frog to check on his status and he jumped into the large pond. I hope that was a sign he is ok.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Fastest Great Dane

While the camera was setup to find out who the tomato thief was, it snapped a picture of the fastest Great Dane in town. In the first picture, Ernie our three year old Dane is playing catch and is focused on the soon to be thrown ball. In the second picture, Ernie is just a blur running after the ball - obviously missed the catch so now he is playing catch up.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Goldfish Bonanza

The Goldfish in the large pond were very active the other night so of course, I grabbed the camera. They stayed around long enough to get a couple of good pictures of them swimming around near the surface. A couple of the fish are getting pretty good size and the different color schemes are always interesting. What you can't see in the picture are the black goldfish that blend inot the bottom of the pond.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tomato Thief Captured on Camera

Last year we had critters stealing our tomatoes so we moved the tomato plants this year to a new location. It worked out great for the first two weeks of harvest. We got a bunch of great fresh vine ripe tomatoes which my wife loves. But the fun is over. All the sudden the tomatoes started disappearing or they were left part eaten on the yard. I set up the camera to catch the thief and darned if it wasn't a squirrel. The first picture shows his nose in the tomato plant and the second shows him enjoying his spoils. Sadly he doesn't even let the green ones get ripe before he steals them.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Solar Power Update

The electric company installed a new power meter last week in response to my solar power installation. One of the really neat things about the old meter was if the air conditioner wasn't running and the sun was out, the wheel on the meter would run backward because the solar panels were producing more electricity than we were using. The same happens on this new meter but it is harder to see, there are three black dots below the digits that blink on and off either from left to right or right to left depending on weather we are using more than we are producing. We hit a solar electric milestone today. Our total electric production since installation 38 days ago is now just over 500 Kwh or just over 13 Kwh a day. According to the inverter, that production has saved over 850 pounds of carbon dioxide. My last electric bill was 468 Kwh lower than the bill at the same time last year so the system looks to be producing 25% of our usage during the heat of the summer.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tadpole Rescue

A couple of weeks ago, we were called on to rescue a bunch of newly laid frog eggs. A storm the night before had filled the cistern to the brim and some crazy frog laid a bunch of eggs. If we had any more rain, the eggs would wash right over the edge and be gone. So we fished them out with a net and relocated them to one of our 20 gallon buckets. Here we are two weeks later and we have what must be 100 tadpoles growing up fast. In the second picture, I threw in some fish food to offer some nutrition and some plants to offer cover.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gate Crashers

Last week I noticed a well worn path under the fence gate right in front of the apple tree. I decided to setup the camera to see who was using the path - I suspected rabbits but I was wrong. This may be one of the primary routes used by the Raccoons when they come into the back yard for apples, goldfish and frogs. Later that same night Momma Deer and one of her cute little youngins came by probably looking for apples that fall on the other side of the fence. Sorry to say, apple season is over. All the sudden the apples are all gone. One day the tree is loaded and the next day there are none left.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lovely Lizard

We have a bunch of Skinks in the yard but the other day I saw this Lizard on the front porch. This one looks very different from the rest of them and he stopped long enough for a close-up as he ran under the fence. Looking close, the toe pattern on his back feet is designed for grabbing and climbing. He is probably about 6 inches long not counting the tail.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Beautiful Baby

We're seeing Deer almost every day and frequently if includes a baby or two. Here is Momma Deer followed closely by here offspring. And the second picture is the baby deer looking right into the camera. With those ears standing up like that, the baby would be hard pressed not to hear everything that was going around.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

New Weather Station

I've been interested in having a weather station that connects to a computer for quite a while. A couple of weeks ago had one that fit the bill and was reasonable priced. The first picture show the view on the computer screen that displays: wind direction, speed and gusts, rainfall, indoor and outdoor temperature including max and min and barometric pressure. The second picture show the wind and rain equipment I installed at the roof peak. The system seems to work quite well but I'm afraid the outside temp is registering about 5 degrees high. I'll try to figure out how to calibrate it.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Raccoon Family Photo

We frequently get a picture of a raccoon in the area but last night must have been family night. I think they were attracted to the side yard where I throw the apples for the deer because yesterday the deer must have missed their dinner and the raccoons stopped by to clean up. I know these critters serve a great purpose of cleaning up the area and it is particularly nice to see them on the outside of the fence rather than in the back yard.