Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘landscape pond

Big Difference

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Last night I noticed that Cyndie was adding water to our landscape pond. I asked her if it has been needing as much water as the last few years. She told me that it didn’t, and that was a bit of a surprise. However, it leads me to believe that the changes we have made are likely responsible for the difference.

Since we moved here, each year the pond has needed more and more water added to maintain the level. We imagined there might be a leak, but we could never find any evidence of one. Then one day, I had an insight. Each year, the plants in the pond got thicker and thicker.

It seemed a surprising amount of water, but it occurred to me that the plants could be drinking it all up.

They were taking over, so we started pruning. We did a lot of pruning.

On top of that, we came across a valuable tip on keeping the pond clean over the offseason. We covered the surface with bird netting that caught all the debris of fall and winter. When we were ready to put the pump in this spring, all we needed to do was roll up the net. We were rewarded with a pond bottom of clean rocks, in place of the usual matt of rotting leaves.

Soon, the bundles of reeds that survived our pruning will start to sprout and we’ll see if the water level starts dropping at an increased rate.

I don’t mind so much that we have to add water, now that we’ve figured out it’s not simply pouring out some leak in the bottom. It’s just a little mind-boggling to see how much water the pond plants can actually consume if that is what’s actually happening.

I don’t know the actual science, but our anecdotal evidence about the big difference allows me to believe.

Especially given that I just really, really don’t want there to be a leak.

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Written by johnwhays

May 14, 2019 at 6:00 am

Downright Summery

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Warm, sunny days have been few and far between this spring, which makes yesterday special, relative to the competition. It was almost hot, at times, and there was enough sunshine to get burned, which I did a little bit, after sitting on the deck with our visiting friends, Jeff and Renee. We celebrated Jeff’s birthday with some berries over Cyndie’s homemade pound cake slices, and a lesson in the cribbage board-game, “CrossCrib®.”

Out of respect for those who were on the wrong end of an overwhelming scoring feat of 31-0, I’ll let the losers remain anonymous, but Jeff got a sweet birthday present in the win and I enjoyed the perk of being his partner.

Seeing our guests roll down the driveway on their motorcycles was inspiration for Cyndie to pull her convertible out for a thorough polishing, while I assembled and installed the pump and filter in our landscape pond.

I found Cyndie very agreeable when I suggested we celebrate my waterfall accomplishment with a convertible ride to the nearest Dairy Queen for a treat.

The buds on trees are hinting that leaves aren’t far off now, and we drove past several lawns being mowed for the first time, marking visible milestones in this year’s hesitant transition out of winter. Walking Delilah across the hill of our back yard, I quickly discovered our grass is definitely in need of a trim, too.

After a melty ice cream treat, Cyndie got us home just in time to turn on the 145th Kentucky Derby horse race and see a historic ending. In a first for the Derby, the first horse to cross the line in the muddy slop was not the official winner.

After race stewards reviewed the running, they disqualified Maximum Security for interference, bestowing the victory on 65-1 long shot runner-up, Country House.

The first leg of the Triple Crown is in the books. Can summer be far behind?

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Written by johnwhays

May 5, 2019 at 8:40 am

Soothing Interlude

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For your viewing pleasure, here is a thirty second distraction from your usual daily grind, courtesy our freshly tended landscape pond waterfall.

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Enjoy!
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Written by johnwhays

May 8, 2018 at 6:00 am

Pond Day

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We’ve put off tending to our little landscape pond this spring for longer than we probably should. Part of that is because it was still frozen solid just a couple of weekends ago. The reality is, we would have been a lot better off if we had given the pond more attention way back last fall.

I failed to take a picture of the pond before starting, and thus missed a wonderful opportunity for the classic “before/after” comparison, so you’ll just have to take my word for how neglected it looked. The primary plant already growing in the pond before we arrived here was variegated sweet flag.

It has shown itself to be very happy with our location, expanding its reach in the last few years to an amazing degree. The old shoots were a dreary mess, along with a thick carpet of dead leaves and pine needles.

We spent most of the afternoon yesterday pulling dead and decaying organic matter out of the pond, along with all the swampy odors that come with that.

Cyndie heroically wrestled to prune out the unrestrained expansion of the sweet flag in hopes of being able to see more water than grass this summer.

I gathered the pump and filter paraphernalia from the garage shelf and got it reassembled and reinstalled. We rearranged rocks, trimmed tree branches overhead, and by dinner time, achieved a much less neglected looking pond.

The serenade of falling water has returned to compliment the constant chirping of night frogs for our evening soundtracks.

It seemed like a lot of work for one little pond, but given that it was done in a day and now looks ready for the summer, we decided it was a reasonable effort to put forth.

In a few weeks, we should be able to see new sprigs of variegated sweet flag poking up out of the water from what remains of the big cut back yesterday. Based on our experience here, I’m pretty sure we won’t wait so long next time to prune back the prolific advance of these happy plants.

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Written by johnwhays

May 7, 2018 at 6:00 am

Eight Weeks

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How long has it been since I wrote about the fish that appeared and then disappeared from our landscape pond in the span of one day? I checked last night and found it was almost 8 weeks ago. Why do I care now?

When we got home from our glorious celebratory weekend at the lake, I noticed the filter on the pond pump intake needed serious cleaning. The waterfall was down to a trickle and the overall water level was a little low. I got out the hose to clean the filter and add some water.

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I don’t see it.

While moving the pump in order to slide the filter back over the intake cage, I was startled by movement in the water from behind the pump. A somewhat lopsided, fat and ghostly goldfish made a surprise appearance from beneath the rocks behind the pump.

When I was done, it immediately darted back into hiding beneath the rocks at the edge of the water.

Really? All this time there has been a fish hiding in our pond and it has successfully remained out of sight until now?

Apparently so.

I wonder what it has been eating all this time.

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Written by johnwhays

July 6, 2016 at 6:00 am

Direct Hit

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DSCN4749eHaven’t swept up the cuttings yet.

What I did do was show Cyndie how I reach the input screen on the pond pump to clean it. It has needed attention about every other day, and I think I know why. A couple weeks ago I finally cut down a dead pine tree over the pond and suddenly there is a lot more sunlight inspiring green growth in the water.

My method of stretching into the water to reach the pump filter is a far cry from graceful or efficient, but it works for me. It involves some precarious balancing while reaching to my limit, so it makes more sense to me to just do it and not bother Cyndie with finding a way she would be able to take care of the chore.

Still, she asked to see my method and tagged along behind me out the deck door last night. I pulled up my sleeve, got down on my knees and placed my right hand on a distant rock at the far limit of my reach. Leaning precariously away from dry surfaces, I stretch to get a finger on the plastic media that surrounds the pump inlet. When I get it slid off, I toss it behind me onto the rocks as quick as I can, in order to restore enough balance to avoid an unwanted bath.

I was so focused on what I was doing that I had neglected to notice that Cyndie had positioned herself directly in the spot where I always fling the slimy filter. It is heavy, soaking wet, green, stinky, and entirely nasty. I nailed her with it, right on the shoe, soaking her pants, and sock with green stink.

Oops.

Not quite the way to treat a spouse who is making an effort to find out if there is a way she can help.

If you need me for anything and can’t reach me, it’s probably because I’m off searching of my dunce cap. I must have several stashed around here somewhere.

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Written by johnwhays

May 18, 2016 at 6:00 am

Making Changes

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On Sunday, in our 4th spring on this property, I took on the annual re-installation of the pump and filter in our landscape pond. For the first time in all those years, I went so far as to re-engineer the tubing that had been left by the previous owners, which is what I had used all the other times. Even though I knew little about it, I always felt there was room for improvement.

Initially, the pond was just one more thing on top of a multitude of issues with which I had little experience. Slowly, year by year, I began to gain confidence as I grew more familiar with the minutia of tending to our animals, acres, machines, and nature.

For the past 3 years, I simply connected a pump to the existing hose and filter and turned it on. The year we moved in, I left the filter sit, with water still in it, all winter long, not even knowing what it really was. The second year, I opened it up and figured out the charcoal media deserved to be replaced.DSCN4723e

Sunday, I was smart enough to pull the filter out of the garage where it had been stored all winter —clean and dry— and assembled it on level ground, before connecting to the hoses below the pond and filling it with water. Got it sealed on the first try, which never happened any of the other years of putting it together inline.

Setting Stones

With the extra tubing removed, I wanted to rearrange the rocks on the back side of the pond to accommodate a shorter route from pump to waterfall, and then cover it from view. There is an aspect of this creating that goes against my natural inclination to leave things the way they are.

To build up the rocks enough to cover my latest setup, I needed to go find them from other locations, and something about doing that feels to me like breaking eggs to make an omelet. I initially found myself hesitant about removing rocks from existing locations and leaving holes in the stony landscape bordering our house.

However, after 4 years, I am getting better at seeing how quickly the landscape scenery adapts to our alterations. It will only seem like a hole for a short while. I might know it, but others walking past probably won’t notice the difference.

I’m about halfway done toward achieving what I hope to create. The plumbing appears to be all in working order, so that just leaves a few more stones to turn before I’ll be ready to cross this off the project list.

Not that the list will notice the difference of having one less thing on it.

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Written by johnwhays

May 3, 2016 at 6:00 am