Backyard Pond

Discussion of backyard pond, frogs, goldfish and plants.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Plant Eating Squirrel

Once again this year the squirrels are eating the Spade plant. In this first picture, the squirrel is almost buried in the plants with his tail hanging out. You can see some of his handy work with the chopped off plant stems laying on the patio. After he is done, he poses for the camera.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Solar Power for Fountain

Remember this beautiful fountain we added to the pondscape last year. My wife didn't like having to turn it on when she was enjoying lunch by the pond. She asked me get a solar powered pump so it would work automatically when the sun was shining. I found a pump with solar panel at that fit the bill. I installed it last week and it works great in full sun. What is neat is you can move the solar panel in and out of the sun and watch the fountain go from dead stop to a good flow of water on the fountain. It works just the way my wife wanted it to.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Picture Magic

A couple of interesting pictures from the wildlife camera. The first is amazing with the separated foot. Look close and you see the foot close to the camera as you see the leg without the foot attached walking away. I don't know if my wife was walking particularly fast to cause this picture. This is the first time I have seen this very nifty effect by the camera. The second picture shows a swirl in the trees while the Black Magic and tadpole buckets stay in focus. Very cool stuff.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Giant Frog, Tiny Frog

A new batch of tiny green frogs has emerged from the bucket and climbed up the Sweet Flag leaf. Here are two of these cute critters trying to decide which way to go - up or down the leaf. After the tiny frogs leave the buckets, we don't see them again until they are much larger tree frogs. Meanwhile in another bucket is a giant Bullfrog. This guy is huge - his foot is bigger than several of the tiny frogs put together. From reading, he is not against eating tadpoles and other small critters. So these tiny frogs better watch their backs.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Banana Success Story

A couple of months ago, we added some new plants to the back yard and I'm happy to report they are looking good. The Banana plant pushes out a new leaf weekly and is now five feet tall with a number of giant leaves. We are starting to discuss how we'll mulch this plant in hopes he will make it through the winter. They are very sensitive to the cold. The other new plants, the Encore Azaleas are also performing well. Although they haven't grown much, four of the five are blooming which is going to good for the view in years to come. We're hoping they will get to be three to four feet tall and wide with many blooms several times a year.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Black Magic Flower

Two of our Black Magic Elephant Ears surprised us with flowers just a couple of days apart. The yellow flower is about six inches long and comes out from the base of one of the leaves. This one was recently re-potted and has been sitting on the back deck. It took a couple of weeks for the plant to recover and out came the flower.
This week my wife decided to join the composting community. She purchased a composter from Lowes and set it up last weekend. She liked this composter because it is easy to flip to mix the ingredients. With luck she'll have great compost for the garden much faster than Mother Nature's normal process.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Off Grid Solar Panels

To continue learning about Solar Power, I purchased a 60 watt off grid solar system. The difference between this system and the grid connected system is the off grid is completely separate from the commercial electric supply. The off grid system included everything except a 12 volt battery. The four 15 watt solar panels charge the battery when the sun is shining. I am using this system to power the lights in the garage. The first picture shows the frame I mounted on the roof just under the solar water heater panels. The second picture shows the four solar panels installed on the frame. The cables from the panels lead to a charge controller which is connected to the battery. The charge controller protects the battery from being overcharged. Finally a 200 watt inverter is connected to the battery and the garage lights are connected to the inverter.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Streaking Squirrel

The squirrels love the stream leading from the waterfall to the large pond. This little guy just got a big drink of pond water from the stream and something must have startled him so he jumped. The camera caught the action shot as he streaked faster than the shutter on the camera. This created a fun action shot stretching the squirrel to a really long critter.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Stream Walking Squirrel

The stream continues to attract the local wildlife as during our hot dry summer. First the squirrel jumps the stream but then says what the heck and gets right in. The angle of the camera doesn't show the water in the stream but I think the squirrel is up to his ankles drinking away.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Beautiful Bird at the Pond

The stream between the waterfall and the large pond attracts a bunch of wildlife. Last week we had a couple quite attractive birds stop for the camera to get a shot. The back bird view in the second picture is particularly colorful. It looks like the bird is wearing a brightly multicolored coat of flowers.