Backyard Pond

Discussion of backyard pond, frogs, goldfish and plants.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Squirrels 5 Me 0

The squirrels have continued to outsmart all of the defenses I have erected to keep the squirrels out of the feeders. I wish I could tag them to see if it is only one really smart athletic squirrel of are they all smart. In the first picture a squirrel is staring up at the feeders about 5 feet above. And the second shows a squirrel calmly chowing down in one of the feeders. Behind him against the brick is the shutter that he climbs up and then jumps the five feet across space to land on the feeder.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fierce vs Gentle

An interesting dichotomy this week. First the Owl came to visit the Goldfish buffet late one night, thankfully I did see any evidence that he was successful in his fishing trip. Second are four Doves hanging around on the front porch. The Owl looks very fierce and aggressive and the Doves look very peaceful. I don't know if these critters are closely related but they do seem on the surface to be opposites in their demeanor.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Not Snow Again

It is hard to believe the weather report after we had a pretty nice weekend. Tomorrow could bring another three inches of snow. These pictures are from last weekend when we had 2 days in the low 50's. The best in way too long. I took the opportunity to do a little pond housekeeping cleaning out leaves and algae. It is amazing how fast the algae grows when you have a couple of sunny days. And the sun is now noticeable higher in the sky as we slowly move toward spring (obviously very slowly with the weather report). You have to be very careful when fishing out leaves - I accidentally caught 2 giant tadpoles and quickly returned them to the pond.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hawk Back the Next Day

Looks the Hawk is going to be a regular visitor to the pond scape. Here he is again just a day after he showed back up after being away for several months. This time he posed for six pictures and we got a good front view and a great back view. Interesting how the wing feathers are black and white while the body feathers are brown with a touch of white mixed in. Shortly after the back view, he flew up into the Cherry tree and I didn't see any evidence that he had a captured a Goldfish. Maybe the fish won this round.

Friday, February 19, 2010

February Hawk

It has been several months since we have seen the Hawk visit the pond. But yesterday we captured six pictures of this tough guy hanging around. I didn't get any pictures that shows he had a successful fishing trip so I hope the Goldfish are happily staying near the bottom of the pond. When we let the dog out yesterday morning, he was sniffing around the pond like crazy - I guess he knew we had a special visitor just a few hours earlier.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Am I Smarter Than The Squirrel

Continuing with yesterday's Squirrel adventure. After he dumped the feeder, he performed an acrobatic flip and landed on the feeder where he proceeded to chow down on the few seeds that were left. He wasn't too concerned when I opened the door to scare him away. I made some modifications to the route the squirrel was using to climb up to the feeder in hopes that he will be prevented from getting there again. Only time will tell if I am smarter than the squirrel.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pretty Smart Squirrel

I guess it is true you can't outsmart a hungry squirrel forever. We hung this bird feeder on the front porch four months ago and have really enjoyed watching the birds. Until this weekend the squirrels were restricted to picking up seeds on the ground. I don't know if the squirrels sent out for a really smart squirrel but this guy figured out how to get to the feeder. He climbed up the side of the house, jumped 3 feet to the top of the porch column and then jumped 3 feet to the chain holding the feeder. In the first picture, he is trying unsuccessfully to chew though the wire holding the feeder. In the second picture, he gives up on the wire and dumps the seeds for all his friends waiting on the ground to enjoy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bamboo and Snow Don't Mix

It is very sad what happens to 40 to 50 foot bamboo plants when you get a bunch of sticky snow. These are pictures from the snow storm five days ago show how these giant plants suffer under heavy snow. They bend under the weight of the snow all the way down to the ground. Sometimes the bamboo doesn't ever spring back up to it's original straight tall stem. It will be forever bent over just not touching the ground. They got a double whammy today with another 4 inches of new sticky snow. And I had to clean off the solar panels again. Maybe I jinxed the winter by installing the panels - Mother Nature said "I'll show you - watch me send the snow."

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Eighteen hours after the snow stopped, we had beautiful sunny blue skies but closer to the ground was a winter wonderland. The driveway looks pretty as a postcard depicting a road after a snowfall. We drove up and down the driveway to pack down some of the snow and were able to get down to the dirt and gravel base in some places. Even the tall branches still had a thick coating of snow that looked sharp against the deep blue of the sky.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Clear the Solar Panels Again

During last weeks snow storm, I broke the brush I had devised from stuff in the shed. It was time for a better solution so off to Lowes to see what they had to offer. I wandered around the store for a while until I entered the swimming pool area (ironic for the middle of a very cold winter). There was a pool cleaning brush with a pole that extended to 20 feet. It looked perfect. I had a chance to use it in this storm and it did the job. I still have to get up on an eight foot step ladder to reach to the top of the panels. I cleared the panels several times during the snow storm so it wouldn't pile up too much and then a final cleaning the morning after the storm and the panels were ready to heat water and make electricity. The first picture is the solar water heater panels and the second is the handy brush.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Herd of Snow Deer

Yesterday afternoon during the snow storm we were excited to see a herd of deer in the front yard. They are so much easier to see against the snow instead of the usual brown of winter. This year for the first time we can remember, they are chomping down on a large evergreen tree in the front yard. In these pictures they are surrounding the tree and then going in for dinner. With all of their eating, the bottom four feet are stripped pretty clean of green. This sticky snow helped weigh down some of the higher branches bringing them to the right height for the deer. We'll see what it looks like after the snow is gone.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Another Snow Storm

Today's snow storm is very different from last week. This is a very heavy sticky snow which is causing a new set of problems. So far we have had five inches of snow in six hours. One of the large branches on the Peach tree couldn't handle the weight of the snow and broke as you see in this picture. It just barely missed one of the new Crape Myrtle trees we planted last summer to eventually replace the Peach tree. That may come sooner than we planned with today's event. The other picture shows how the snow is piled up 2 to 3 inches on the smaller branches of the Cherry tree. The snow has to be very sticky to hold on like that. This is the type of snow that causes power outages so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Snow Bird and Full Moon Over the Pond

These two pictures are from a couple of days ago before any significant melting, but even this morning six days after the snow, we still have a bunch of snow around the ponds. Here's a thirsty Dove looking for some unfrozen water in the river from the waterfall. Everything else was still ice. Later that day in early evening, the sky was clear and the full moon rose over the end of the pond. A rather pleasing winter scene that could be a postcard. Now even before the snow is gone from this storm, they are predicting another 2 to 8 inches of snow tomorrow. I am not looking forward to this next storm which is predicted to start as rain today and turn to heavy snow tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Great Dane in the Snow

The world looks so different to a outdoor loving Great Dane when it changes overnight. The addition of ten inches of snow changes everything. Here is Ernie surveying the pond area trying to recognize places that were so familiar just 24 hours earlier. He did step a little close to the large pond and one foot slipped in. I was thankful he didn't fall in because a rescue with all the snow and very cold temperatures would have been less than my idea of a good time.