Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Koi Pond

Won't Work Without Coffee!
Now before Buck goes all ballistic, yes, that's a Navy hat (East Coast RAG FWIW) but I am wearing an old Air Force BDU shirt under the fleece. Sort of mixing my services, I know. But that's just me. And held in my right hand is my Dunkin' Donuts Ice Coffee. The logo says "America Runs On Dunkin". I don't know if America does, but I sure as Hell do.

So there I am, in all my rustic, ancient glory, ready to assist the Missus Herself in the Annual Cleaning of the Koi Pond. 'Tis a day I look forward to as much as "How many yards of mulch did you order?" Day. (I will regale you with that one soon. 'Tis a sordid tale of WSOs hiding out at college and Nukes wearing "the wrong shoes". Anything to get out of the dreaded "Mulch Duty".


So yes, it's time to clean the Koi Pond at Chez Sarge. It's a delightful water garden which the wife decided was a "must have" shortly after arriving in Little Rhody. Now that oddly shaped bit of black plastic below is our old water garden. Back in the early days, we just had this buried in the ground. No bridge. No fancy waterfalls. Just a wee pond. But three local frogs moved in and made it their own.

But of course (sigh) it wasn't big enough.

So now it's "Koi Temporary Lodging" while we clean the big pond. (About which I'm starting to hear, "we need a bigger pond", perhaps I should give her Lake Michigan for her birthday?)


Now in this next photo is the "Winter Quarters" for the koi (that big bucket on its side). We put this in the deep end to give them a place to sleep during the winter. Fortunately, it doesn't get that cold in Little Rhody in the winter time. The pond will freeze but only the top couple of inches. One end of the pond is roughly three feet deep. That's where we put "Fish Valley Forge". They pretty much go dormant and sleep all winter. Kind of like I wish I could. (Well, not all winter, not until after the Super Bowl at any rate.)

In that same next picture you can also see the net the Missus Herself uses to catch the fish to transfer them from the big pond to their temporary quarters whilst we clean the pond. Catching the fish can be pretty exciting. Four of our koi are huge. We're not talking Great White Shark huge but they fill that net and weigh a good five pounds each. So yes, we do get wet during this endeavor.



Ever smell a half-empty fish pond after a long winter? Trust me, it ain't pleasant. For some reason the water this year was very green and algae-choked all winter. Normally the water stays pretty clear, especially once it starts to get colder. Not this year. So as the water level got lower (we pump it out, then the Missus Herself wades in with hose and sponge to clean the bottom) the smell gets fairly pronounced.

Speaking of that smell, the two dogs next door, Hercules and Cassie, had their noses up in the air most of the morning, trying to figure out what died in our backyard. I also noticed about, 60+ seagulls aloft. Just kinda hovering around waiting to see if we had something for them. Once we got the pond sorted out, the dogs lost interest and the seagulls went elsewhere. Fortunately, none of the seagulls needed to poop while hovering aloft.

Now in the next picture is the biggest frog I personally have ever seen. I call him Bruno. He and another of his ilk live in the pots in the pond (the pots hold aquatic flora, if you must know). The arrow points to Bruno, you'll probably need to embiggen the photo to see him.

Now when the Missus Herself initially stocked the pond, she put some tadpoles in. Only two of them grew into maturity. Bruno is one of those. He pretty much just sits around in the pond all day. Chillin' and eatin'. Damn, I envy Bruno!



Now in the next photo the koi have been transported from their algae-choked, smelly temporary quarters back into their "all cleaned up and shiny" home. They're just kind of milling about in confusion because, truth be told, we pretty much woke them up from their winter's nap to clean the pond. So they're still pretty lethargic and confused. (Again, kind of like me first thing in the morning...)




This year we put in a larger pump for to clean the water, drive the waterfall and give me something else that needs bloody tinkering with every other bloody week. (Sorry, cleaning the pump filter is one of my tasks. Not one I enjoy. Oh well, I'll live.) The wheelbarrow is full of the dirt that came out of the ground to accommodate the new pump. No, I didn't dig the hole, the Missus Herself had that all sorted out before I reported for pond duty this morning. She's an ambitious thing I tell you.



Now below we can see the output of the new pump. The old pump was pretty good, the new one (having a larger capacity) is truly impressive. One of the fish swam over, thinking it's his old comfy waterfall and quickly retreated from this gushing monstrosity. No doubt they'll get used to it.



Now you can see the koi starting to wander about a bit as the pond fills. I think they're amazed that visibility has been vastly improved. At any rate, this is how I spent a big chunk of my Saturday. It was good to be back outside. Soon the grass will need cutting. Soon I will start whining about the outdoor chores.



But hey, it's what I do. I whine.

And tell stories.

Sometimes they're whiny stories.

Sometimes they have airplanes.

Today it was about the fish. All about the fish. Oh, by the way, they're not all koi. Some of them are actually goldfish. Very big goldfish. Just to keep the record straight.

Oh what the heck, here's an airplane too.





19 comments:

  1. The Pond and the fish are very cool...worth the work...well as long as it is you doing it. I am pretty much retired from yard work, had more than my share of it. THe mulch brings up some bad memories of trying to move 9 yards of it. It takes about a zillion barrows ful of the stuff to just make a dent in that pile.

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    1. The mulch brings up bad memories for both daughters and myself. Not sure about the Missus Herself, for her it's a "must be done" kind of thing. Quit whining and fill the wheelbarrow! (Shudder)

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  2. Good to see you are started with coffee and an enthusiastic smile. I looked carefully in all the photos, no sign of a whip, so I guess you are an obedient worker! So thats why you're allowed to have iced coffee.

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    1. I'm not allowed to take pictures of the guard towers.

      Just kidding!

      Or am I...?

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  3. Replies
    1. Heh. Better if you use a net, they're awfully slippery.

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  4. No raccoons out there in RI? My boss had every one of his koi killed and eaten by a family of them.

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    1. Oh we have raccoons in Rhody but apparently not in our neighborhood.

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  5. Nice fish you got there. Koi are so restful.

    Ever consider dropping in a piranha? :)

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    1. fun! or a catfish. been watching too much Rivermonsters. not going swimming in fresh water again anytime soon

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    2. HMS - Piranha you say? Yes, the Missus Herself would then make sure I "slept with the fish".

      jib - I watched Rivermonsters once. No thanks.

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  6. Angus wants to know if you'll adopt him. Talk about Lab Heaven!

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    1. Angus is always welcome. Our grand-dogs Regal and Bear love the yard when they come to visit.

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  7. Somehow I always thought of koi as bein' sub-tropical fish, the kind that couldn't survive as far north as Rhode Island. I'm disabused of that notion now, thank ya.

    The "cleaning of the koi pond" looks like a lot o' work, and good on ya for doin' it. As for me... well, I'll fall back on that ol' "work is the curse o' the drinking class."

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    1. Yeah, I hear ya on that. It IS a lot of work, most of which the Missus Herself takes care of. It it doesn't involve lifting heavy things, she does it. Me, "I pick things up, I put them down".

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  8. Sweet! So when do we fish? Given the terrain I'm thinking a 3-4lb fly rod with a #18 Pheasant Tail Nymph. They have must fight in em? Catch & release or filet de skillet? Let me know 1-800-Rumbear....

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    1. Somehow I pictured you wading out midstream and either catching the fish in your teeth or swatting them onto the shore to deal with later. I have to remind myself that you're not actually a grizzly.

      Grizzled maybe...

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  9. Does it count if we "talked" about doing the yard? I'm very impressed with your yard and pond. One of these days, when we get the inside projects done, then we will start on the outside. Until then, it is still a hay pasture and the pond has to take care of itself.

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    1. In my world it absolutely counts to talk about yard work and having that count. But I live in my wife's world, talk is cheap she says.

      There's days I wish the backyard was a hay pasture.

      Just sayin'...

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)