Monday, April 23, 2007

Pond clean-up

We accomplished most of the pond cleanup yesterday. In the interest of honesty I'll show you pics of just how ugly it was, but I'd really rather not. Bad, bad, bad. It's our fault for not ever getting a cover over it in the fall to keep the leaves out and there was really no way to avoid emptying it. I never even got to push my lilies and other pond plants down to the deep end, so they're mush from having been frozen. We pumped the water out of the pond and onto our newly planted trees, so all that fish fertilizer will be put to good use.

As nasty as it looks, most of the water we pumped out was actually pretty clear. The fish are in a holding tank for a week or so while we refill the pond and let the water settle. You can see how clear the water was in the pic below.
We rescued this lone surviving frog from the skimmer box. There was another in there that was well past stinky! I feel badly for the frogs and don't understand how they manage to die over the winter, considering all the leaves and mulm they have to burrow under. I wonder if it would be possible to catch them in the fall and bring them inside? I wouldn't want to make a pet out of a wild frog, but I hate finding them dead in the spring.

Here's a view of the sparkly clean pebble beach as we started to refill the pond late yesterday afternoon. The birds love this part of our pond, because most of this area is only an inch or two deep. It's a nightmare to keep clean, but worth seeing the birds come in for a bath. The fish also love to play in this part and root around in the pebbles. Down at the far end of the pond the water is a little over 3 feet deep and it holds about 1,000 gallons. So the pond is filled today and the frog is back in one of his hiding spots. I'll wait till the weekend to put the fish back once the filter has been running for a while. The only time I add any chemicals to the pond is in the spring when we have to clean it out like this and then I use just a dechlorinator. The next step is to get some pond plants and some annuals to dress up the edge. It'll be pretty before long!

14 comments:

Laurie said...

My mom used to have a pond and we all loved it so. It was a lot of work keeping it up and running, but well worth it.

We brought in the fish, because our winters are so harsh. They lived in a huge aquarium and then we'd put them back in the pond when the weather warmed up.

The resident turtle went to the local grade school when the weather turned cold and then back to the pond when it warmed up.

I miss having a pond. Thanks for the great post.

mon@rch said...

Ponds take so much work keeping clean! Lucky the frog was found and will have a new bath tub!

Susan Gets Native said...

Ohhh....ahhhh...fish poop.
I commend you for going through all this to make a nice place for the fish, the birds, the frogs...and the two of you when the work is all done you can sit back and enjoy the sun glinting off the nice clean water.
That's why we haven't dug one yet. The work involved. I have enough on my plate with our little fountain in front.
Rock on, Pond-Steward!

Mary said...

Ha! Mon@rch is so funny...

It is a lot of work, Laura, and your water does look sparkling clear! I lose frogs during the winter months, too, but not as often as I did farther north. Soon, you'll have a gazillion tadpoles.

I love your pond and the rock surrounding. The depth is great, too.

Let's see it when you are happy with it!

My pond still needs work in the way of plants and I haven't been successful so far here in NC. But I'm still hopeful abd trying.

Is your pond within view of your house so you can hear and see it from a window?

Liza Lee Miller said...

It might seem funny living with a creek in my back yard but I'd love to have a pond -- the creek is just far enough away that we don't get to enjoy it much. Maybe someday. Your hard work pictures are easing my jealousy, I must say! :)

maggie said...

bet it sounds as tranquil as it looks. Look forward to some pictures of birds enjoying it this summer.

KGMom said...

Reading your description of pond cleaning (and also Julie Z's and Mary's) I realize now how much work ponds are.
I've always seen them and assumed--huh, that looks like a nice decoration. Some decoration--actually a habitat for creatures. And work for people.

Dorothy said...

We have a tiny little pond too Laura, but it fills naturally because the water table is so high in that part of our yard. We don't have a skimmer..just a pump to make the water circulate over the rocks above it. I'll have to find a picture and post it to my blog. Looks like you did a great job..hope you can post another picture when it is looking pretty and your frogs and fish are happy again.
PS...thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I really appreciate it. :o)

Dorothy

Jayne said...

What a sense of accomplishment Laura. I applaud you as I can only imagine how much work goes into having a lovely pond like that!

robin andrea said...

I like reading about your pond clean up. We'll probably be doing ours soon. When you put your fish in a holding tank, did you save some pond water for them? Our pond looks to be about the same size as yours. We had a pair of mallards land in it over the weekend. Very cute.

Floridacracker said...

Nothing like a pond to bring in unusual backyard visitors.

LauraHinNJ said...

Laurie: A lot of people do that here, if their pond isn't deep enough - must be a pain bringing everyone inside and out!

Monarch: I would love to know how the frog found us.

Susan: But it's great fun slopping around in fish poop!

;-)

Mary: Yep - I can see it out the kitchen window, except that the fence blocks the view. I guess your whole yard is fenced, rather than just the pond?

Liza: It's only a lot of work in the spring, really. As you can tell, we don't do much in the fall.

;-)

Maggie: We get lots of robins and doves and starlings bathing. Once in a while an oriole shows up, or a pretty warbler, but not often. Last summer we had a green heron.

;-(

KGMom: Really, it depends. Lots of people keep their ponds for prize koi that cost $$$ and load the water up with chemicals as if it were a fishtank. I'd rather have the critters!

Dorothy: I would love to have a natural pond - lots less work I bet and prettier to look at too, I bet.

Jayne: It's not so lovely right now, but.... thanks.

Robin: Yes, we do pump out the dirty water for the fish to *hold* in. It's still a worry putting them back in the *clean* water, but our "Joisey" fishes are hardy souls!

;-)

My husband (and the dog) found two mallards in our pond a few weeks ago early in the morning one day - haven't seen them since!

FC: Hopefully they won't be too unusual! Every kid in the neighborhood is enough.

LauraO said...

Wow - that looks like a project! But fun...

sarala said...

I'd love to have a pond but what an ordeal--spring cleaning, winter de-icing and so on. It is good to see your little frog haven.