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Robyn's Pond Newsletter June 2007

Last Updated: 2/6/14

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? Three people said they were alive!

My hen hatched her chick on 5/24/07. You can read about Chickie and see photos and videos at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/birds/mychick3.htm#baby and http://www.fishpondinfo.com/birds/chickphoto2.htm#20 07

The last task I needed to do when I redid four of my aquariums (two fish and two reptiles) was to buy another green anole to go with Fourmi (French for ant). They were out of them every week I went until, finally, on 5/11/07, I got one, named Papillon (French for butterfly). You can read about them on my anole page at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/animals/anole.htm

It's official. My web site is dead as far as revisions and additions go. I have not had any time in months now to add new information or renovate the site. I can barely keep up with e-mails and adding changes to my site such as the new animals above. I am sorry especially to the few hundred of you who sent me photos to put up that are just festering in my e-mail. Having to work at a job and take care of the animals has resulted in my losing almost all time to read, sew, play games, exercise, vacation, relax, watch old taped movies and shows, yard work (mulching, weeding, collecting sticks, etc.), house work (the house is filthy), or work on my web site. I've never had a vacation but I used to do the other things before I had to work. I have so much work to do at work that I took a break to write this as a sign that I have given up. I now have so much to do at both work and home that I want to do nothing because I don't know where to start or how to think anymore. My list of things to do is now 45 pages long, and I don't have enough time to update it. I feel at least if I write it down, it means I'll get to it and yet, I never do. I especially feel bad that I've left my birds directory half finished and only the newer version (not linked in to the site) has updates such as those about the new chickie.

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

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/bigpondphotos1.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under Spring 2007, there are eight photos of the pond and the garden around it taken on 4/29/07 and 5/26/07. I had just mulched a lot of it in the 4/29/07 photos. I wish it was that nice all of the time! Before those eight photos are three photos of the red iris that is flowering today (6/2/07) out front (not in a pond).

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/fishphotos.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under Spring 2007 is a photo of the pond fish being fed and three photos of my three new golden orfe and a bullfrog tadpole.

3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/videos/fishvideos.htm -
I took two new videos of the 1800 gallon pond.

4. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/animalphotos.htm#snails - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under snails are three photos of the Melantho and trapdoor snails that I got on 5/23/07.

New Pages on Pond Showcase:

1. http://www.pondshowcase.com/Gerry/index.shtml - Gerry's Pond

2. http://www.pondshowcase.com/John/index.shtml - John's Pond

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 5/4/07, I put a dose of MelaFix in my 1800 gallon pond because of my white koi, Colin. He has some cuts on his back that are growing algae. I only put in the one dose due to cost (and I didn't have any more).

2. On 5/6/07, I squirted off both sets of filter materials around the ponds, the Cyprio biothings in situ, and the main filter's bioballs and lava rock. The 1800 gallon pond was at 60 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 61 degrees F. While I was in the pond with all the pumps off, there was a lot of buzzing! The two new hives of honeybees contain 24,000 individuals! A few dozen were in my pond getting water. I found one drowned in the waterfall. While I was in the pond, I also saw that unknown shiner that I found in my pond last year. He was swimming alone and seems healthy. I planted impatiens in my floating pond island thing. I also planted one in a "barley straw planter" and a single "island." How long do you think it was after I put that island in the shallows before the raccoon knocked out the pond "soil," gravel, and impatiens? If you guessed the first night, you'd be right!

I didn't have any time to mulch anything this week (only have time to do any work outside on Sunday anyway) because my mother bought a bunch of flowers that I had to plant, and I had to do two hours of mowing. The mulch is already full of fungal spores so when I get any, plumes of white choking dust (spores) fill the air. I really need to put that mulch down but I'm 10 years behind on everything. I remember the good ole days when I could say, "I'm done" with something, anything. Never again.

3. I took off 5/8/07. Alas, I did not get to mulch anything. In the morning, I spent 3 hours hauling out the house plants from the basement. That involved moving a few dozen pots; taking apart the basement pond after putting the pond plants outside; vacuuming and mopping the basement; putting out the taro into the pot pond; putting out the bluebells into the big pond; adding fertilizer, natural bug killer, and some dirt to the house plants before putting them on the front porch; and a few other things. From the basement pond, the main bluebell plant as well as a sprig were alive along with the black magic taro (which is actually green in the winter). The waterlily in there was long gone. I noticed that my 50 gallon tub pond has daphnia in it. I don't know where they came from but they are keeping the water clear. That night, my mother and I went to hear Al Gore speak on global warming which is why I took that day off.

4. I found the lovely raccoons made a mess of my hard work. The morning of 5/9/07, they knocked over four pots in four different ponds! The taro was ripped out of its 2 gallon pot pond, the rocks seemingly deficient in number. A sweetflag was ripped out of the 153 gall on pond. A waterlily pot was completely dumped into the 50 gallon pond with no sign anywhere of the actual lily. And, again, the impatiens in the single floaty thing were completely dumped. Why don't I give up!? I'm too stupid I guess. I need to clean out the 50 gallon tub pond because it has hundreds of dead earthworms in it in addition to the spilt pots but I can't because of the wood frog tadpoles.

5. Ut oh! My mother reported when I got home from work on 5/9/07 that she had seen a great blue heron flying away from my pond that morning! It's been a while since we've seen one but I knew they'd be back. I don't know if they got in the pond or if they got any prey. My mother said he might have had something orange in his mouth. I keep a net over the deep half of the pond year round but any animals in the shallows could be taken.

6. My mother called me at work on 5/11/07 to say they were going to stop at Lilypons and did I want anything. I said two orfe. I really did not think they would have them since they had not before and do not sell them via catalog or internet so I was surprised to come home to three orfe and a bullfrog tadpole still packed up. All were about 3.5 inches long. They had a cold pack at least since they were left in the car while my family ate (which I told her not to do). Luckily, they survived. So, what to do? As they say, "Do as I say and not as I do." I netted them (dumping the water) and put them into my 1800 gallon pond. "WHAT,?" you gasp in horror! A "so-called expert" did not quarantine her fish? Yep, beat me with a cattail please. Why didn't I quarantine? It wasn't because my mother said the store employee said, "They don't need to be quarantined." Yeah, like I'd buy that. I decided not to quarantine because I didn't have any place good for them to go. The largest pond I could offer would have been 20 gallons. Orfe are fast. I later saw they were swimming together in a school at about two feet per second! They would not have been happy. Next, orfe don't do well with medications either, and I'd normally assume they were diseased and treat them with chemicals as I've done with fish in the past. It's been years since I've put fish in my pond. In fact, except for one shubunkin three years ago, I haven't put any fish in since about 1999. I quarantined that shubunkin along with another one is a 20 gallon pond for months to be safe; the other one jumped to its death. So much for safe. I'm always afraid of introducing something. The truth is that my fish already have various problems from one with strange viral growths to a few with bacterial problems. But, to get to the true issue, I was simply being lazy. I don't have time to run a quarantine pond/tank. I'm not a good person. I hope the three baby orfe do okay. They join my two remaining 10-year-old orfe. I took photos (linked to above or on my orfe page).

7. On 5/12/07, I repotted the waterlily that the raccoon had torn up. I found it. I had to put in fresh pond planting media and pea gravel. The raccoon also knocked over an iris which I had to fix up.

8. On 5/13/07, I squirted off the flosses, added a few things, and tidied up. The 1800 gallon was at 70 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 69 degrees F. The ponds looked strange because high winds came through the night before and covered them in the petals from the flowering wild black cherry trees. The petals are too small to really remove so they will contribute to the waste in the pond. I still haven't had time to repot any of the dozen plants that need it badly. I spent over an hour mulching cages out front and over an hour mowing out back.

9. The morning of 5/14/07, the same waterlily in the 50 gallon pond that I repotted two days ago was floating around. They yet again knocked over the solar fountain which almost never runs anyway. I hope the raccoons enjoyed it! On 5/15/07, the iris I repotted Saturday was free floating again. The morning of 5/16/07, the little floating thing with the impatiens was dumped for like the fourth time so I give up. I didn't find the impatien anyway, just the empty pot. The iris was unpotted again! It's actually flowering (blue), my only flowering pond iris except for the yellow flag iris so far. My two free iris I got last year are flowering. Alas, they are the yellow flag iris which grows like a weed of which I didn't need more. Surprise! The morning of 5/17/07, one of the iris in the 153 gallon was spilt and de-potted. I wonder who did that?

10. On 5/20/07, I got in the 1800 gallon as always and squirted off the filter material. I also squirted off the Cyprio biothings in the kiddie pool. I put the tropical waterlily tubers that I overwintered in sand into a 5 gallon pot. One of the three tubers had rotted and collapsed when gently squeezed. The others were still hard, and one of them had a sprout. Both ponds were at 64 degrees F. I also put some more pea gravel in two pots in the 153 gallon of iris and sweetflag that the raccoons had repeatedly de-potted. While I was in there, I was surprised that there were a few short strands of toad eggs near the iris. It's strange because I haven't seen or heard any toads this year at all. It's been a few years since they laid eggs in my ponds. They usually lay a ton. What I found was very little, maybe a foot total of the toad "necklace." The next night, 5/22/07, I heard a toad calling out there. The eggs I had seen hatched the next day.

11. On 5/23/07, I found that the raccoons had a lot of fun the night before - un-pot the sweetflag in the 153 gallon pond, un-pot the bluebells in the 1800 gallon pond, dump the Tricker pond (which was only partially full as I was waiting for plants that never came), and the requisite dump the bird bath trick.

12. On 5/23/07, my order from Tricker finally arrived. I had expected it sooner. It took over an hour to process it. I poured the six tadpoles through a fish net discarding the water that they came in and put them into the pond. There was an extra tadpole who was dead. The tadpoles already had legs. Based on their size (and the fact that someone said that they asked Tricker who said they were green frogs), I think the tadpoles are green frogs. I picked up and hand washed the five Melantho snails and 12 trapdoor snails. I paid for six Melantho snails but one was just an empty shell. The trapdoors were shipped dry which I do not think is good for them. One trapdoor had a major piece of shell missing and probably will not survive. I also counted 28 baby trapdoors. The stress of shipment causes female trapdoor snails to drop young; some appeared premature. All the snails went into my 1800 gallon pond with the tadpoles. I rinsed three water hyacinth and three water lettuce which I put into a floating plant protector in my 1800 gallon pond. The water hyacinth had dropped all their roots from stress which meant less mess in my pond but also they could die. I also had a batch of salvinia which was hard to rinse. I put some in my Tricker pond which I filled up to the top with fresh water. I also put some in the floating plant thing in the 1800 gallon pond.

In addition to the above, I got the following plants which I will try to plant into the pond on 5/27/07: 3 cabomba, 12 anacharis, 3 parrot feather, 1 bog bean, 1 water wisteria, 1 variegated four-leaf clover, 1 blue beauty tropical waterlily, 1 water hawthorne, 12 valisneria, and 1 bonus plant. I do not know what species the "free" plant was so I will have to look into it if I ever get time. The cabomba and anacharis bags stunk really, really bad. Both plants had shed a lot of their leaves from the stress. I put all these plants in two plastic litter buckets that went under the fluorescent plant lights in the basement until I can get time to plant them in pots which takes a lot of time. I think I went way overboard!!

13. Towards the end of the week, I heard a male bullfrog in my 1800 gallon pond but I haven't yet seen him.

14. Things rarely go as planned. I was happy to have Memorial Day off to finally do some of the hundreds of hours of weeding and mulching that needed to be done. But, I didn't get far. After lunch on Saturday, I started feeling sick. By that night, I had a fever, chills, and couldn't breathe except with my mouth wide open; I slept two hours. Sunday, 5/27/07, I aborted cleaning the bathroom and vacuuming to lay down for a few hours (temperature 100.4 F) but I couldn't not do my pond work. So, I did it with a fever but I did a poor job. The 1800 gallon was at 76 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 73 degrees F. I squirted off the filter materials. My father and I put a new hose clamp on the Cyprio filter because it kept leaking.

I got my father to dig up dirt to pot the plants in because I couldn't physically do it. The Tricker plants had been sitting for days in the basement and were starting to suffer. I put the bog bean in a two gallon pot. I put the unknown free plant (kind of looks like my water plantain so it might be that), variegated four-leaf clover, and water hawthorne each in their own one gallon pots. Those pots had dirt topped with pea gravel. I lost my water wisteria for a few minutes but found it in the grass and stuck it into the large pot in the shallows that had a lotus last year. My one lotus that was alive last year (original to the pond) seems to have one sign of life, a leaf that tried to come up that someone ate. That lotus is out of reach of the deer so maybe the raccoon did it. Because I'm lazy, I put the new blue beauty tropical lily in the 5 gallon pot with the two tubers from my old tropical waterlily. I did something similar last year. As in last year, I don't feel the old tropical waterlily will come back. I hope I'm wrong again. The parrot feather I stuck in various pots in my 153, 50, and 153 gallon ponds. I just stuck it in pots that have other plants already. It grows well in my pond where the deer don't eat it but it hasn't overwintered since the early years of my pond. I put three loose anacharis in the 153 gallon pond. Try to un-pot those raccoon! The other 9 anacharis I put in a 2 gallon pot with aquatic plant soil topped with pea gravel. I said I would never do it again but I put that pot in a submerged plant protector. In the past, those "protectors" have trapped and killed fish and frogs. I put the 3 cabomba which were in sorry shape in a 1 gallon pot in another submerged plant protector. I had planned to remove a lot of dead pots in the pond but only pulled out one from the deep end and one from the shallows. It seems that the only plants that survive in my pond are plants I've had all along. The newer plants rarely do well. I'm not entirely positive that it's due simply to being un-potted by the raccoons and fish. Finally, the little valisneria, I just stuck those in various pots around the edge of the 1800 gallon pond. The next day, none of the plants had been messed up. I guess the raccoons get a vacation even if I don't.

I put more pea gravel in the pot with the bluebells since the raccoons had ripped them completely out of the pot. I had to prop it against the yellow flag iris because it won't stay up. I put in a support stake but that won't stay up either. I fertilized the water lilies and want to do the marginals but will wait until next week. The fish exposed the dirt in the pot with the white Albata lily which I haven't fixed yet. There's a lot of debris around as the goldfish spawned again this week. My pond needs more care than I can give it.

15. On 5/28/07, I did do a few hours of mulching but it took twice as long since I was so weak. I got my father to fill and push the wheelbarrow because I couldn't. The pond is now mulched on two sides. How I will do the other two sides once the summer heat hits, I don't know. I never finished last year. The other gardens I've just let go to pot but it would be nice to have one looking nice.

16. As of 6/1/07, it's been really hot, about 90 degrees F every day, August weather in May. The pond is clear thanks to a huge mass of water celery all over the waterfall areas, even growing onto land and into the pond. I've seen the three orfe together so I know they're still alive. My Chickie is growing like a weed. I'm still literally sick. I'm at work spacing out because I have so much to do here and don't know where to start; it's 83 degrees F at my table with the fan going. I'm all sweaty. I took off my lab coat but don't tell anyone!

16. Today, 6/2/07, I overslept 20 minutes (which I haven't done in years) so it was almost 8 am when I put food on the back porch for my outdoor cat. When I came back out, there was a nice, wet raccoon helping himself to a late breakfast. "Oh, boy, what did you do," I wondered. Later, when I got to the ponds, I saw that the raccoon had gone into the middle of the pond and flattened my purple iris which is just peaking into bloom. I have a ton of yellow flag iris I don't want that's finished blooming but he had to bend all the leaf and flower stalks down on the much smaller purple iris. Good job!

Later today, I happened to walk down the road because I heard the neighbor hacking on something (luckily, it was just his plants) and passed by the low area along the road where I've planted extra iris over the years. A red iris (Iris fulva) was in bloom! I didn't know any of that kind was still alive. It was a nice surprise. I just put photos on my site as mentioned in the links above. I got through my 12 hours of Saturday physical chores today without too much extra effort so I'm almost over this week-long virus, a gift from my 2-year-old niece. But, hey, she's always telling me, "I love fish," "My fish," "I love frogs," and so on (when she's not having a tantrum) so it's not all bad.

Pond Tidbits:

1. Allan sent this information to share on 5/6/07:
"Last fall I repotted some water lilies that had overgrown their containers. The bigger my koi get, the more of a nuisance they are to [repot] the plants so I decided to try something else. I am growing them hydroponically. I removed them from their old containers and hosed off all the soil. Trimmed the tubers as needed. Planted them in 2.5" river rock that I bought in bags from Home Depot (rinsed, of course). They are no growing back and using the nutrients from the pond water itself to grow. No fertilizer tabs, no silt in the water. I did this as an experiment and so far it seems to be working. The stones are too big for the fish to disturb but there is plenty of room around them for the plant roots. The water is clear except from the soil that washed in from the last two big rain storms we had in RI (March, April)."
"Another tidbit: Float one of those glass gazing balls tethered to a string in the middle of the pond. Has kept ducks, geese and egrets away for as long as I decided it looked pretty (all by accident)."

2. Someone asked me how to grow impatiens in the pond. This is what I wrote: The impatiens will grow if their roots are in the water but their leaves and flowers are out of the water. Here is a link to the island I use to grow my impatiens: http://aqua-mart.com/ipsi.html
If you can't buy that, you can make something similar. Carve a piece of styrofoam into a circle. Put holes in it that fit small plant pots that can set down into the styrofoam. Be sure it floats and is stable. The plant pots should have holes in them. Line the bottom of the pot with burlap, pantyhose, or aquarium filter bags. Then, put in aquatic plant soil (which is like brown cat litter), plain cat litter, or clay dirt. Dirt will make more of a mess. Squirt all the dirt off the impatiens that you buy and plant them into the pots. Then, top off the pots with a layer of pea gravel. Here is a photo of my floating island from last July:

Web Sites of Interest:

1. http://web.archive.org/web/19990127194532/www.gl.umbc.edu/~rrhudy1/pond.htm -
Go back in time and visit this oldest version of my pond web site that I could find from April 1999. The hit counter read 660 (15 months worth, now I get millions in that time frame). I had 62 different pages on my site at that time. Today, I have 440. It's amazing to see the old site because, for example, I only had 26 photos of my pond up on a single page! Now, I have many hundreds (no time to count those!). I later went to my floppy disk archives and found the oldest version of my web site that I had from July 1998 when there were nine pages on my site. I wish I had a 1997 version. Anyway, I put my old web site up at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/oldsite/index.htm and only changed the photo links to my main site so the photos work. I did not alter the pages in any other way. It's funny how pathetic my site was (and still is) and how tiny it used to be.

2. http://forum.marinedepot.com/Topic66800-30-1.aspx -
A poem entitled, "Garden Pond Fever."

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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