When winter approaches the waterfall gets shut down, it would be a bad thing for the pump which drives it to be left out during the cold and frost of a New England winter. Freezing would damage it, which would require replacing it. To the tune of some 600 American dollars. So come November, December at the very latest, the pump gets put away and the fish at Chez Sarge begin their long winter sleep.
This year the pond population was down by six. All five koi and one of the larger goldfish perished in the fall for unknown reasons. That truly sucked. Though they are but fish, we've had them for quite a few years. Sure, they can't cuddle, they don't play fetch, they only acknowledge we humans when it is time to eat. Still and all, we shall miss them. They were, in no small sense, family.
But winter is over. Spring has (as they say) sprung. So it was time to clean the pond. As the water doesn't circulate in the winter (that whole freezing pump thing) it gets a bit nasty come spring time. All green and algae choked it is.
So out comes the auxiliary pump (purchased some years ago after a particularly heavy series of rainfalls which caused the level of the ground water to rise, right into our basement). The old water gets pumped out to the gardens, the rocks and the liner get cleaned. New water gets pumped in via the garden hose.
Before all of the old water comes out we pump quite a bit into a holding tank. For the fish, don't you know, cannot hold their breath long enough to clean and refill their domicile. So the holding tank gets filled and we start catching fish. Not with a pole silly, with a net. After all, while the pond is fairly substantial, there really is no place for them to run (or swim if you will). Though they can hide pretty well in the murky green waters of winter, as the water level gets lower, the fish get exposed.
So catch and release into the holding tank. For those who were wondering, no, they don't seem to like this phase of spring cleaning very much. It is somewhat traumatic for them to be netted then deposited into a smaller tank. Fish are not rocket scientists but they are not completely oblivious to their surroundings. But it is what it is, they are tough little creatures and they do seem to enjoy the end result, a nice clear pond. Water conditions being CAVU, so to speak, after being socked in all winter long.
Yes, this is all rather time consuming, but Saturday was absolutely gorgeous, if a tad windy for my tastes. All in all, a fine day to be outside cleaning fish ponds. No, it's not something I'd want to do for a living. That water smells a bit nasty when one gets to the bottom of the pond.
Kind of an "essence of low tide" if you will. Those familiar with the coast will know what I mean. Those who are not will have to take my word for it. (And are encouraged to go take a vacation near the sea. You won't regret it. Unless you go during hurricane season. Then you might. DAMHIK.)
Anyhoo, it was a good day. (No beer though, I pushed my luck on Friday. I decided to "behave" on Saturday.)
|The sun sets on another "exciting" day at Chez Sarge.|