Backyard Pond

Discussion of backyard pond, frogs, goldfish and plants.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Herd of Deer

Last week I hung the camera on the fence toward the front yard. That afternoon a large herd of deer visited the yard to pose for pictures. I counted at least seven deer grazing just a few feet from the camera.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Turtle Week has Another Actor

Last night when I got home from work, another giant turtle came into the yard. This time in the front yard. This big lady went right to work digging a hole with her back feet so she could lay some eggs. These pictures show the front view with the pile of dirt behind her. The second shows her digging the hole using one of her back feet. She would switch feet occasionally until the hole was just right. After about two hours, she finished and covered the hole so it was almost impossible to see any digging had occurred. She walked back into the woods and we constructed another cage to protect the nest from the raccoons or other hungry critters. This means four turtle encounters in the past six days.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Giant Turtle is Egg Layer

An hour after we saw the turtle in the garden, she had moved about 5 feet into the yard. She remained there for about two hours while she dug a hole with her back feet to lay some eggs. Not being a turtle expert, we searched for info on the Internet which accurately described what was happening. The turtle was very skilled at digging a hole with the back feet and covering it over without even seeing it. Once she finished and headed for the woods, we covered the area with a makeshift cage to protect the eggs from predators. The web site we found recommended protecting the new eggs and said it would take about three months for them to hatch. The holes in the cage should be large enough for the baby turtles to get through and make a dash for the woods.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Giant Turtle Visit

When I arrived home after work two days ago, I found a giant turtle in the garden. This turtle is over 14 inches long and probably 8 inches wide. This guy was nibbling on some green plants as he wandered around the garden. This has been a turtle week that started over the weekend when I saw a small turtle crossing the road. I stopped the car and helped him across the road so he wouldn't get hit by a car. Then yesterday, I saw another giant turtle crossing a road at work. I stopped and helped him across too. Amazing to encounter three turtles in just three days.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tiny Frogs Hop From the Pond

The first batch of tadpoles has grown legs and lost most of their tails. Here is one crawling up the big rock in the large pond. This guy is less than half an inch long in a very big world. It is time to watch where you step because these little guys are all over the place. The cycle continues with a new batch of tadpoles being produced last week. This time I think it was the tree frogs that laid a bunch of eggs and now there are small tadpoles by the hundreds. They like to hang out on the Sweetflag leaves which makes a good background for a picture.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day and Night Visitors to the Pond

The visitors never stop. I think this is the first visit by a Raccoon captured by the camera this year. It looks like the Raccoon in either drinking water or doing some late night fishing for frogs and fish. I hope he just stopped by for water. The afternoon before, a Squirrel was at the same location satisfying his thirst with pond water.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Incredible White Amaryllis Squared

The red Amaryllis has faded but no disappointment here with the appearance of two White Amaryllis bulbs pushing out huge flowers. These are definitely what is referred to as plate size blooms. The one in the living room is on a three foot tall flower stem. The one on the back deck isn't as tall but the flowers are just a big. The flower in the bottom picture is in a long planter with a bunch of other Amaryllis bulbs that we had stored in a bucket in the garage over the winter.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Pond Plants are Back

What a difference a month makes. The plants are coming back like crazy. The large pond is almost over crowded but with all the hungry predators around, I am still leaving the Styrofoam in place to provide cover for the Goldfish. The Sweetflag is 3 to 4 feet tall and the Spade plant has created a hedge on one side of the pond. The small pond is dominated by a central Sweetflag growing from the bottom of the pond.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Plant Beauty Returns

This week we pulled all the plants from the greenhouses. One of the favorites is the Black Magic Elephant Ears. Here is one that is starting to push up a bunch of new leaves that should get very large. In addition, the Louisiana Iris started blooming and this year there are a bunch of flowers. They are crowding the pot so we have the figure out how to split these beautiful plants without hurting them. Time for some research.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Hanging Tomatoes and Glass Bird Feeded

Decorative way to grow tomatoes. This year we decided to try growing tomatoes upside down. This unit is topped by a gallon sized water reservoir for self watering. We've seen this idea for years so it was worth a try. Last year we got some good tomatoes the usual way until the squirrels found them tasty. We'll soon know if they can get to this one by climbing on the roof and jumping down. The other new fixture on the back deck is a blue glass bird feeder. I tried it in a tree by the squirrels got to it in only a couple of days. I moved it to hang at the end of the house so it is easy to see and maybe harder for the squirrels.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Amaryllis Won't Give Up

As usual last November we un-potted our Amaryllis bulbs and put them in a bucket in the garage to rest for the winter. This year we forgot to repot them in February as we have in the past. A couple of weeks ago, my wife stumbled upon the bulbs while looking for other plant stuff and surprise a flower stalk 10 inches tall was sticking out of the bucket. We rushed to plant it and had to lay the bulb sideways in the pot to accommodate the growth of the flower stalk. In two weeks the plant had 4 fantastic flowers gracing the living room. One of the other bulbs is also pushing up a flower stalk so we have more blooms to come.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

More from Great Blue Heron Visit

Here are a couple more photos from yesterdays Great Blue Heron visit. The first is great side view of this huge bird near the shallow end of the pond. The second is the Heron at the deep end with one of our beautiful Goldfish in his mouth. Look close and you will see the gold in the middle of the photo and you can make out his head and neck to the right of the Goldfish. I added back some more Styrofoam to increase the protection for the remaining Goldfish. Hope it helps but this bird seems pretty aggressive. The Sweetflag has grown at least two feet tall already and should be helping shelter the fish.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Great Blue Heron Returns Again

Yesterday the Great Blue Heron returned to the pond for the first time this year - I think. We captured a great head shot as he was moving to the shallow end of the pond. I think he had his eye on some juicy Goldfish. The second picture shows a close-up of the under carriage of the Heron as he walked very close to the camera moving to the other side of the pond. I don't know if it is a coincidence that I removed one of the Styrofoam floats last week and the Heron returns this week. Maybe he had a better view of the fish as he flew over and decided to check out the buffet.