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Robyn's Pond Newsletter November 2002

Last Updated: 2/17/14

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?

This is my shortest newsletter yet, only four pages! I couldn't come up with anything for the sections on interesting animal sightings and web sites of interest this month so they are omitted. Perhaps you have something for those sections for next month!? I'm sure you've seen something interesting or found a good web site I may not have mentioned before!

My six-month-old Easter egg chicken hen laid her first egg on 10/10/02. The shell was green.

My cousin gave me her two hedgehogs on 10/20/02 since she gets rashes from playing with them. I've started a page on them at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/hedgehogs/index.htm.

I was reading the Wild Neighbor News by the Humane Society of the United States Urban Wildlife Sanctuary Program and there was an article on ponds. My property is certified by their program. I was thinking that they never get any input from me, etc. when I saw the resources listed my web site! A pleasant surprise comes when you need it most I guess.

What do you call a fish with two knees?
A tuny fish.

Significantly Altered or New Pond Web Pages (explanations below, numbers match):

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/egg.htm
2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/pictures.htm (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)

Additions or Changes to Robyn's Pond Web Pages:

1. Well, I finally did it! I've been talking about a page on identifying pond eggs for over a year now. I started working on it last spring. On 10/16/02, I finally went back and finished it off. Hopefully, when warm weather returns next year, the guide will help some inexperienced ponders figure out who laid those eggs in or near their pond. If you check it out and notice any mistakes or animals I should add, please let me know.

2. There are two new photos of a hatchling common snapping turtle under the other animals and then reptiles section. To access them directly (with no comments), go to http://www.fishpondinfo.com/photos/reptiles/snappers/snap1.jpg and http://www.fishpondinfo.com/photos/reptiles/snappers/snap2.jpg.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 10/5/02, I set up the 20 gallon tub pond in the basement for the winter season. It is filtered by a Penguin Mini hang-on-tank filter that hangs on the edge of the pot. I removed the two gallon pot with the tropical canna from the container it was in and put it in this pond. Next weekend, I plan to pull in the tropical hibiscus and taro. The darn aphids came in on frogbit that was in with the canna. I wish there were a safe way to kill aphids without harming plants and animals. There are just too many! Last year, they killed off my overwintering canna and dwarf papyrus and almost killed the hibiscus which just made it (it is still in poor shape thanks to a caterpillar attack in the summer). I hope this canna makes it. (Note made on 11/7/02, the canna died!)

2. On 10/6/02, I squirted off the flosses, removed more water lettuce (it is starting to actually die now), pulled some hair algae off the waterfall (the goldfish were going crazy over caddisflies and snails I knocked in), and tidied up. Using fishing line, I sewed patches over three holes in the net and just used the line to sew closed two other holes. There are at least three more holes I need to patch up. The water was 68 degrees F. I have switched from swimming suit to hip waders now. A cold front is expected with lows in the 40's.

3. A busy day was had by me at the pond on 10/13/02. First, I removed the main pump's floss to squirt it off and took out the parts of the Cyprio filter system that were in the pond. Then, I squirted off the main filter's bioballs. The frogs were not there which surprised me. I re-installed the main filter and the cleaned floss. Using fishing line and a needle, I sewed two more patches over two large holes in the center of the net (there are two more I missed and two near the edge that I sewed the day before as well). The green net is starting to unravel all over. I just wish I could remember which of the dozen places I ordered from that I got this green net so I can get a new one for next fall!

With my brother on the receiving end (for his one helping duty of the day), I went under the net to another opening and handed him the 7 gallon pot with the tropical water hibiscus in it. We pulled it down the hill for me to work on later. I then got back in the pond to clear off the hair algae from the waterfall, net some rocks on the bottom which I moved to higher areas, remove some more dying water lettuce (more is still left), cut off some yellowing marginals, pull out some yellowing and brown water lily leaves, and get the net back into position. Once out of the pond and with my hip waders dried off (the water was down to 66 degrees F by the way but it's supposed to go into the high 30's overnight later this week), I tidied up all the vegetation I had removed (only about 3 buckets full). I cut the seed heads off the marsh mallow which is on shore next to the pond. Next, I disconnected the Cyprio filter's tubing from the filter and started to squirt down the parts for storage. I swashed the Cyprio green bio-things (kind of like hair curlers) through two buckets of water and then put them in the kiddie pool on the porch to dry. The floss, pump, tubing, basket (for the pump), etc. were also put in the kiddie pool. I couldn't seem to get the thousands of insect larvae casings off the bio-things (caddisflies I think) so they might stink over winter in the basement. I scrubbed down the Cyprio planter filter's casing and put it upside down on the porch to dry a few days.

My body had about had it by then but my mind pressed on. I tried to pry the tropical green taro out of my 20 gallon tub pond. It didn't budge. I trimmed roots all around the edge of the tuber with the pruners and pulled for quite a while, and it finally came free. I potted the taro into a 2 gallon pot with clay dirt/mud and topped with pea gravel. The pot and gravel were re-used from earlier pots that had been repotted or died. I bailed down this 20 gallon tub pond a little and found some tadpoles. I collected 13 of them and 2 ramshorn snails to join the tropical plants in the basement pond for winter. The green frog tadpoles are only a few months old and will not turn into frogs over winter (like my mother was worried about). They will help keep the pond clean and interesting. I have thousands of these guys so it's no big deal. In the next few weeks, I will try to get most of the tadpoles out of the tub ponds for winter (the parents laid eggs there but these ponds freeze solid by November).

I finally got back to the tropical hibiscus. I pulled out the old main root but it had only one leaf that fell off, and the big rotting root was so huge so I just tossed it away. The main green stalk which was kind of pathetic had a reasonable root system which I potted up into another 2 gallon pot with fresh dirt and old gravel. I gave it a few fertilizer pills too. The poor hibiscus can't catch a break with aphids and caterpillars attacking it all winter and summer respectively. The large 7 gallon pot for summer didn't seem to help it any. I carried the taro and hibiscus inside and put them in the 20 gallon tub pond in the basement for winter. The tropical canna was already there from the week before. The canna and taro pots were put up on one brick but I set the hibiscus on the bottom. The tadpoles and snails were added after the pots were in. All of these pond chores took 3 hours and then I was ready to do my regular afternoon chores including feeding the fish who were happy since all my activity brought them goodies to eat (bugs, snails, etc. that I knocked off the waterfall for example).

4. On 10/20/02, the pond water was down to 55 degrees F. I just squirted off the floss and tidied up a bit. I was busy with the new hedgehogs.

5. On 10/26/02, I put some of the new barley straw pellets in a mesh bag in my 1800 gallon pond's filter. On 10/27/02, I squirted off the floss, sewed 6 more holes in the net (one was really a bunch of 4 or more holes), and tidied up. The water was 54 degrees F.

6. On 10/29/02, I stopped all feedings of the pond fish. It was just too cold in the morning and even cold when I got home and with the time change, it's now too dark when I get home. I may feed them again before hard winter if it gets warm again. On 11/1/02, we had the first freezing temperatures which caused the lotus leaves to turn brittle and dry by the next day so I cut them all down. On 11/3/02, I plan on removing the tropical lily for winter and moving the 20 gallon tub lotus into a pot in the main pond. I will cover those in the next newsletter in more depth after it is done.

Pond Tidbits:

1. Roger had a problem over winter with chipmunks. They chewed holes in his stream liner as it was off over winter. He found six holes eventually. I'm glad I leave my waterfall/stream running year round! I love chippies as I call them but we only have a few, and I've never seen one near the pond. (Note to my brother: This Roger is not you! You just have that imaginary greenhouse pond.)

2. The ponds are really a year-round joy and chore for me. There are animals and plants that need tending to every day of the year. Once they are under a sheet of ice, it still takes monitoring to be sure everything is in working order. There really is no "off" season for ponding. On the coldest day of the year, I could sit inside and watch the fish swim under the ice, the squirrels walk over the ice (this time of year, they chew holes in the leaf net, over and over), birds bath in the stream I leave running, and look through pond catalogs to figure out which plant I don't have time for I'm going to buy next spring!

If you haven't been there, I have a page on winterizing and seasonal pond care at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/winter.htm.

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world." - John Muir.

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