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Robyn's Pond Newsletter May 2007

Last Updated: 5/11/07

Introduction and Miscellaneous:

If you have something pond-related that you want to share (information, jokes, web sites, pond secrets and tidbits, something pond-related for sale), let me know, and I will add it to the next newsletter. What topics would you like me to cover? Do you have a question that I can answer or pose to others in the next newsletter? Are you alive? There were no responses from the last newsletter. I guess I don't feel alive either since I had almost no time to work on my web site this month yet again. My site is going to pot, like a pond neglected for a decade. I have probably 500 photos waiting to go onto my site that people have sent me and endless information I want to type in. It will instead just fester in my mind.

On 4/27/07, my chicken hen, Pondet, decided to go broody. She is sitting on just a single egg since I collect the eggs daily to prevent her going broody (didn't work obviously). She last hatched two chicks in 2005. The survivor, Speckles, is the father of her baby so Pondet is trying to hatch her baby which is simultaneously her grandbaby. The baby is due to hatch on 5/18/07 so I will let you know what happens in the next newsletter.

From the mid-80's to the mid-90's, we had a beekeeper keep honeybee hives on our land. I was glad when they were gone only because I could walk in the area where they used to be. My mother wanted them again and finally, on 4/28/07, she got a new beekeeper to put in hives. The guy gave me a bee suit so I could stand next to him when he released them. They are pretty docile for bees. I was maybe six feet away from them, and none even landed on me. By the next day, workers were taking water from my waterfall. After the bee thing, my father discovered a male ruby-throated hummingbird stuck in the garage. I didn't believe him (it's too early) but later found the bird. Using my pond net, I got the hummer out of the garage. He was tired and kept squeaking. I boiled up some sugar water and filled the feeders a few hours later. On 5/2/07, I saw him at one of the three feeders.

Significantly Altered or New Pond Web Pages, Photos, or Videos on Fishpondinfo:

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/frogs/woodfrog.htm -
I moved my wood frog information to its own page. I want to move all the frog pages and all my other pages for that matter but don't have time. The bird pages still aren't done!

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/pictures2.htm -
At the very bottom is a photo from a local petting farm that we visited. They had built a new liner pond with exposed liner and nothing in it. It looked awful.

3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/videos/fishvideos.htm -
A new video from 4/22/07 of the goldfish spawning is on that page.

New Pages on Pond Showcase:

1. None.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 4/8/07 (Easter), I pulled out the filter material and replaced it with new material. I also squirted off the bags of bioballs and lava rock in the kiddie pool. The air temperature was less than 40 degrees F with some winds. It was like the dead of winter, not spring! The 1800 gallon pond was down to 40 degrees F! The 153 gallon was at 44 degrees F. Needless to say, I stopped feeding the fish earlier that week.

2. It was supposed to pour rain all day 4/15/07 which it pretty much did. So, I did some Saturday and Sunday pond chores on Saturday, 4/14/07. The Saturday chores included squirting off the PondMaster filters, changing a bucket of the mosaic pond, adding AlgaeFix and liquid Bt to the mosaic pond, adding BZT to the 153 and 1800 gallon ponds, topping off the ponds, removing leaves from the ponds, putting mosquito dunks in the back pond and 20 gallon tub pond, etc. I don't normally note those things in my newsletter so I'm not thorough in my notes. The Sunday chores I did included removing the filter floss material to squirt that off, tidying up a little in the 1800 gallon pond, and adding some additives to that pond (pond salt, koizyme, baking soda, Microbe-Lift). Both the 153 and 1800 gallon ponds were at 54 degrees F so I gave them some food. It's been so cold that I haven't been feeding the fish. This winter weather in April is really taxing the plants and animals. I was unable to repot the waterlilies, do mulching, clean the rabbit hutch, etc. on Sunday because it was too much rain, even for me. I did get to catch up on e-mail and do a little web site work though.

3. On 4/15/07, during the rain, I went to check on the ponds. The 153 gallon wasn't draining right (water to the top) so I lifted up the cap brick over the overflow. Underneath were a female wood frog, a female green frog, and a small green frog! The overflow was clogged with dirt, plants, and rocks. I tried to dig some out but need to use tools to fix it later. After the rain, the hell winds came. With gusts up to 50 mph, all the ponds were covered in leaves by the next morning. This Noreaster storm clobbered a lot of the Eastern US.

4. On 4/18/07, I took the day off. I repotted three of my water lilies over about 1.5 hours. I was able to remove the Chromatella (yellow) and Comanche (orange changeable) hardy water lilies and repot them back into the same five gallon pots. I didn't have to even toss any of it out. For the Albata (white) waterlily, I had to cut the pot off and only use a quarter of what was there as it's a much more aggressively growing waterlily. I have a new 5 gallon pot that's wider and not as deep. I put the Albata in that. I also put a little piece of Albata in a 2 gallon pot and put that into the 50 gallon tub pond, sunk to the bottom. I fertilized those lilies when I repotted. They are all in dirt from my garden topped with pea gravel. I repot my four main water lilies (in 5 gallon pots) every two years. I did the Fabiola (pink one) last year.

I found two dead frogs (probably due to the raccoon) around the pond. One was not identifiable until I turned it over and saw it was part of a pickerel frog. The other was too rotted to tell if it was a pickerel frog or a green frog. That frog was in the waterfall with a missing leg. Both victims were about three inches long. With the cold weather, I have seen hardly any frogs this year.

I then spent 2.5 hours mulching around the pond. I never finished last year but I'm pretending I did and skipping the unfinished parts for now. It always looks so nice right after mulching before the weeds and grasses return. I don't know how people have such perfect gardens. I guess if I had time to weed and mulch a garden three times a year instead of once every year or two, that might do it.

5. On 4/22/07, we finally went from winter to summer. Spring was skipped. It was 80 degrees F in the air, too hot for me to work comfortably. The 1800 gallon water temperature was 64 degrees F and the 153 gallon was 62 degrees F. The goldfish were spawning up a storm. I took a video of it (linked to it above). They stirred up a lot of gunk so the water was dirty, and the waterfall had slowed to a trickle. I squirted off the filter floss. I also set up my other summer filter system which is a Mag-Drive 700 gph pump fed into a Cyprio planter filter that waterfalls into the southeastern corner of the pond in the marginal area. The main waterfall is on the north side. I added some things to the water like koizyme, koi clay, Microbe-Lift spring dry packet things, pond salt, and baking soda, all in small amounts.

I found a small hole in my 1800 gallon pond liner above the water line. The rocks there put the hole in from people walking on them. I am worried that the liner probably has holes under water as well by now. The pond water level goes down a few inches a week so there is no major problem as of yet. When that eventually happens, I have no way of dealing with it (no time, no help, no big fish vats, etc.).

I got two new water iris from Aquamart, another red one (Iris fulva) and another black gamecock. My previous red iris lived for about 7 years and then died. My previous black gamecock bloomed white!

I put a bunch more dewhickeys outside but still have a ton more. Most my mother buys - whirligigs, fake stones, animal statues, etc. I used a hand trowel to dig some dirt and roots out of the 153 gallon overflow which was clogged up.

6. On 4/29/07, I squirted off the filter flosses and did the usual. I found another mesh laundry bag in the basement to replace the one around the Mag-Drive 700 gph pump in the 1800 gallon pond. Stores seem to have stopped carrying those zippered bags. I put some more gravel into the Albata white lily pot because the fish had rooted it out down to the dirt. I put fertilizer tabs in the pink waterlily (Fabiola) pots and a few marginals but not many. Both ponds were at 64 degrees F. I mulched around the 1800 gallon pond for another few hours so I'm up to the electrical outlet. I took photos of the freshly mulched area (which are on-line tonight but not linked in yet, no time). Both pond outlets are infested with ants. After a month, my father finally got the outlet by the 153 gallon pond to work (he bought two new outlets but couldn't get them to work). I've been spraying Citrus Magic (orange oil spray) on the outlets inside to kill ants on contact. They're going up into where the plugs actually go in. I can't use pesticides (sprays or bait) as my father requested because the outlets are right next to the ponds.

Pond Tidbits:

1. No time.

Web Sites of Interest:

1. http://www.greenhour.org/ - a web site for parents to encourage children to spend time outside and with nature.

2. http://www.care2.com - the environmental community

What's your favorite pond-related web site(s)?
Do you have a web site you want me to mention here?

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