Monday, July 12, 2010

More On Ponds

It was an interesting discussion with the man and lady at the house with the free fish the other day. Some of their information totally opposed information I had received elsewhere - elsewhere being people with their own ponds.

From talking to dozens of pond owners now - all of them people that have had ponds anywhere from 7 years to 20 plus years - I find no unilateral agreement on most things ponding.

Apparently, one is left to try this, that and the other thing and use whatever works for you. Probably, you invent your own things - as I have seen many of these people do to pass by having to shell out huge bucks for expensive equipment.

And yes, when you start talking a large pond, you are talking some serious money if you cannot find ways to bypass the purveyors of all things pond related. I don't see that the man and lady I visited yesterday, however, were able to bypass on some of the stuff. For example, he showed me his version of a UV sterilizer after I started talking about them and the fact that - without it - my pond was pea soup green. First, he stated that if you could handle the look of it, the fish are perfectly fine in such water.

Yes, I know. I grew up in Pittsburgh, I visited many places in the east, I saw many natural ponds that were extremely green, yucky green. Fish thrived in them. No doubting that. I don't believe that a pea green soup pond complements my property in any way, shape or form. I do like the murky look - water this isn't green, but is "dark". Dark is in blackish, not greenish. I have seen plenty of natural ponds in such a state as that as well, and I find that very appealing. So much so that I shut my UV sterilizer off a few days ago. I intend on allow "whatever" to grow in there until it turns such. I will experiment with how often I need to keep the sterilizer on to get it fine tuned.

The man yesterday was a BIG fan of aeration. I am as well, though he was able to give comprehensive explanation of WHY the water should be aerated. For example, he had a small, plastic, blue, kiddie swimming pool filled with plant. There were no fish in it and there was not that much water, either. I was about 5 feet in diamter, a foot tall or so, maybe 5 inches of water - yet he had a huge aeration device in there.

Why, I asked, do you have aeration in a swimming pool that only has plants in it? Mosquitos. His explanation was that it keeps algae down and that keeping water well aerated keeps mosquitos away. Really? Yes, he explanation was they like standing, putrid water, not water that is well aerated. Okay. Good information.

I had already been thinking about getting an air pump and aerator stones after getting more fish, I don't think my small pond with what I have going will be enough aeration for all those fish to be able to breath well. And so it was, on my way home from work today, I stopped at Walmart. They had an aerator for $9.99 with 2 air outlets. I spent $2.49 a piece on 2, long aeration strips and less than $2 for some tubing. I have 8 very large goldfish in a pond that is averaging about 4-1/2 feet wide by 7 feet long.

Getting beyond all the advice and "information" that I have received from all these different sources, my 4 new, large goldfish are terrified of me, just as the previous 4 were when I first got them. It's worse. The 4 that would come right up to the edge of the pond to me to be fed? No more. The fish apparently speak their own language: fear. I don't blame them, plenty of natural predators that would like to eat them. In my area, specifically: Heron. I am still quite amazed that such birds dwell in these parts. I thought they only lived in much cooler climates. I guess nature will dwell where it wants to.

One thing I have heard over and over from many pond owners is the fact that, sooner or later, Heron have come and "visited" their ponds. In some cases, completely wiping out the stock of Koi and Goldfish. In others, people found out quickly and took measures to make sure the Heron could not step into their ponds again. A Heron wants to be able to walk into the water. If it's too deep, they aren't going to try.

I'm not going to address the potential problem yet. I acquired all 8 of these fish for free. I don't WANT them to be eaten, but it is the natural way of things. I love fish - I wouldn't eat a goldfish if you paid me, but certainly, fish is good eating. In fact, I have read about some people that have developed HUGE pond systems in their massive properties, stocked with fish, for the sole reason to attact aquatic wildlife.

You can build ponds with natural escape hatches for the fish. They can hide and the birds most certainly won't get at them. I have seen several of them now. One recurring them is to build a wooden walkway over the pond - in some cases very wide walkways - for a place to let the fish hide. No birds are going under there, I can guarantee that.

I will say that, in my pond that I have all 8 of those large fish, it is amazing at how well they can all disappear out of site. Oh yes, I do have the plastic containers with the plants sitting on the bottom of the pond and situated so the fish can fit between them and yes, hide there. Fish are very good at hiding.

I don't want them to hide from me. I wear a wide-brimmed, straw-style hat out there every time I visit them. That is, I believe, how the 4 fish started to recognize me and realize that I am not out to eat them. I will get them all eating right up next to me eventually.

However. I am going to split them up. As soon as I receive the pump I just purchased with the "rebate" money from eBay, I will be putting fish into the other pond. I would put them in there now, but it gets HOT in that pond during the day. I'll have to take a video to show you how I am keeping the bigger pond cool - but here's what I did: I took "pavers" that you buy at Home Depot and stacked them up on to of each other until just below the water surface level. I then stacked the small boulders I got from up North - nice looking rock - and build it so that that top had a rock that angles on both sides.

I then put a pump next to the rock, stuck a short tube into the pump standing vertically. The tube sort of angles - very little - but enough. The water comes out of the tube about 8 inches above the rock and falls back down onto the rock. It splashes over the pond and also runs down the rock. I fathomed that "evaporative cooling" would work as well in a pond as it does here in the dry, arid (and hot) climate we are in, and I was right. There is a 15 degree diffence between the pond that doesn't have that rock structure and the pond that does during the middle of the day.

Okay, okay, I will admit it. With a part of my casino winnings, I bought that pond that had been listed on Craigslist for a long, long time. It is MUCH larger than any of the ponds I have. It is big enough. I got another pond with that deal. I got all KINDS of stuff with that deal. I talked the guy down - I had been working on him for a while.

They are sitting out there, waiting for me to dig the holes to fit them into. I have not had the umption to endure this heat and humidity. I am getting closer, though. Yes, I am starting to get accustomed to this heat again. It's taken much longer this year than any other year I can remember. I was out there today doing all kinds of things - but not digging.

Actually, I am going to fill both of them with water and make sure there are no leaks. I do not see anything in them that suggests any kind of abuse, I don't see leakage, but there is only one way to tell for sure.

My quest continues. There will definitely be a pond in my front yard, yes, there will. I have the setup for it, it's just even getting to it. I'm not a lazy person, trust me, I'm not. I have been going at it all day long - at work and at home. I just haven't found it within me to go out there and start digging. It's coming back to me. If it were fall, spring or winter this wouldn't even be an issue. If you think standing out in 111 degrees (in the shade) in direct sunlight is easy while you're swinging a pick and "operating" a shovel, you might have second thoughts if you are here, actually engaging in it. You can get used to it, yes, and then, you might say it's "easy".

Well, anyway, the quest is to simply formulate in my mind how I want to build my big pond. The funds are simply not there, but, I am finding, it is irrelevant, there is so much information out there to sort through, well, I will be happy with my small pond setup.

Me? It's getting late - for me. I'm going to bed soon.

G'nite.

ben

Monday - End Of Vacation

It's always a somewhat strange thing to come back to work after you have been gone so long. Don't ask me why - even trepidation as to whether my key will still work in the lock......I am always the first one here.

What did I accomplish during that vacation? Well, nothing grand. $300 win at the casino; 4 very large goldfish for free (I gave a small donation just to help the folks out with the food they had to feed the things while they had these fish in their stock, they were given to them by a friend who wanted them to give them away); gave away around $40 worth of food; got some very interesting and troubling news and information from my middle brother (I simply cannot go into it on a public, open forum such as this that is available to anyone on the planet) - and the best part: MOSTLY NOTHING!!

But, I am ready to go back to work. I spent the weekend getting my head back into that "realm". I got up earlier than normal this morning for a - silly - reason I guess: Cafe World is having a short time where cooking times are reduced by 50% on your Lightning Stoves, I am taking advantage of it while it's there. I became addicted to that game for about 3 months, got bored with it, then they started adding a lot of stuff to it - all kinds of things to make it interesting again - so I'm sort of half addicted to it now. 50% off cooking times comes only every so often, I wanted to get some of the dishes that take a day to cook out of the way. I probably shouldn't go any further with this, if you don't play Cafe World you undoubtedly will have absolutely no idea what I am talking about.

And, of course, I showed up to work early never-the-less. I came in here to find that the lady who is moving to this building had her stuff all set up and apparently is back at work - she was on maternity leave for quite some time. Heyyyy, a lady around here - cool! Yes, she's taken, but still.

Right now? I surf the web while I am writing these entries, I am on eBay looking for another pond pump. I have that free money in my PayPal account and yes, I need another pump. The free money was the money I paid that dufus seller who would not return my messages, sent me the wrong item, I made a claim against him with eBay, it took a while but eBay found me right and him in the wrong, they refunded my money AND let me keep the product. It was about $50 worth.

I am also trying to get one of the Australian Bottle Tree seeds I bought on eBay to grow. I am trying one at a time, I got 10 of them for about $5. If I even get one of them to grow, I'll consider it a deal. I'm not necessarily the greatest at getting things to grow from seed. I can get small saplings to take off, but seeds I just haven't really ever been good at. I'm hoping that trend will change as I saw a small little bittle of green coming out of the green where I planted that seed. Hoping, hoping.

Of course, reading the news in the morning is usually good for some entertainment, today was no letdown. Democratic governors are terrified that the lawsuit that the Obama administration is bringing against the immigration bill in Arizona is "toxic" to their bid to win re-election. I'm not sorry to say that the Democratic party is in SERIOUS trouble right now and they are going to be hurting come November. I hope so anyway, I want to see and immediate stop to all this outrageous spending that Obama seems to think prudent - just spend spend spend spend spend, don't worry about the HUGE tax burden that is coming, yes folks, you wait and see, our taxes are going to go WAY up if at least some of this nonsense isn't reversed, starting with that totally bogus healthcare bill.

I hope, very much so, that BP's latest bid to put a "tighter sealed cap" on that gusher works. They claim if it does, it will all but stop the leaking into the ocean. Please, God, let it work. The damage to the Gulf is already done, what I don't want to see is it spreading OUT of the Gulf and into the huge currents that could carry that S*** all over the world's oceans.

I have seen no statements that that is going to happen, but I am still concerned about that possibility, anyway.

Oh, here we go: a Libyan "aid" ship headed to the Gaza strip. Good luck with that. If you think Israel is going to give you carte blanche pass, think again.

Well, work day approaches. I was AMAZED this morning to get on the scale and find my weight at 195 pounds. Amazing because I haven't necessarily made good eating choices during this vacation - on purpose. I will be back to "normal" dieting stuff today, but I feared that I would get on that scale and it would be back over 200. Not even close! THAT made me very happy!

G'day.

ben

Sunday night. A bit after 10 pm I don't have an ultra early start tomorrow, so I am staying up a bit later than I normally would on su...