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Robyn's Pond Newsletter November 2006

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?

The bird that I asked about last month was identified by two people as a baby mourning dove. The babies look nothing like the adults!

My last hedgehog, Prickles, died on 10/18/06. The vet thinks she had a brain tumor. She gained a ton of weight and then her stomach was all purple from burst blood vessels. You can read about her on my newly redone (in her honor) hedgehog pages at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/hedgehogs/myhogs.htm

Someone gave me a red-bellied turtle a year ago. Tator is finally legal (over 4"). Her(?) web site is at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/turtles/tator.htm

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

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/pictures2.htm -
Under fish are two photos that Kim sent me back in July. I think one is a pumpkinseed sunfish and the other an albino channel catfish.

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/amphphotos.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under frogs for 2006 are three photos of a pickerel frog that was on my 1800 gallon pond net. 3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/indoor.htm#consider -
I finally added some more information on indoor ponds.

New Pages on Pond Showcase:

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

2. http://www.pondshowcase.com/Stephanie/index.shtml - Steph's Watergarden

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 10/8/06, I changed the filter floss/material around my main pump (OASE Nautilus 60, 2600 gph). The 1800 gallon pond was at 59 degrees F (first dip below 60 degrees F since spring) and the 153 gallon at 62 degrees F. I squirted off the top filter thing inside the Cyprio filter which I will be putting up in a few weeks. I set up the basement pond for the winter. I got the black taro, bluebells, and dwarf papyrus out of the pond and off the deck for the taro. I repotted all of them into aquatic planting "soil" (looks like brown cat litter) and topped with rose-colored quartz I think it is (what my father got me when I asked for regular pea gravel). The taro and bluebells are in two gallon pots and the papyrus in a one gallon. Because I've never gotten papyrus to overwinter, I only put in about a quarter of the plant. For once, it did well as the deer and raccoons didn't attack it recently. I cut it back so when it most likely dies in the basement, there'll be less mess. I'm still giving it a chance though. This year, there was room for the taro in the pond since I didn't have any tropical lilies to bring in. The surviving tropical lily is still flowering outside and won't come in for another month to be overwintered as tubers in damp sand for the seventh year. There's one other surviving tropical lily (out of five I think this year) that's in with that plant. I don't know if it'll make a winter tuber but I hope so because I can't keep lilies alive in an active growing state in the basement pond. The light's just not strong enough. I changed the plant grow lights the day before so they're as intense as fluorescents get. I saw something smushy and rotten by my 50 gallon buried tub pond and realized it was an adult dead green frog that I had seen in that pond the day before and forgot to pick him out. He smelled, poor guy.

2. On 10/15/06, I squirted off the flosses and tidied up. The time of the leaves has begun so I tried to get some off of the nets as best I could. Soon, the leaves will be all over the place. The 1800 gallon was at 50 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 56 degrees F. My arms were cold when I pulled the pump up so I'll be switching to aquatic gloves soon. I no longer feed the fish in the morning and even skipped some afternoons as we had a cold spell with temperatures near freezing at night. It's supposed to warm back up though.

3. On 10/22/06, I squirted off the flosses and did the usual. It was 60 degrees F air temperature but irritatingly windy. The 1800 gallon was at 54 degrees F (I wore the rubber gloves this time) and the 153 gallon at 57 degrees F. The hydroponically-growing impatiens are still blooming. My purple tropical waterlily had a flower (although not fully open). The rest of the lilies are pretty much caput. The time of the leaves has begun with leaves all over the net and around the pond. I had to remove a wheelbarrow full of leaves off of one side of the pond just to get the net off. I found the pickerel frog in the leaves (almost tossed him). He's the same one I took photos of a few days earlier, mentioned above. I shook the net to get the leaves in one spot which I removed later in a few wheelbarrow loads.

I removed the Cyprio filter with Mag-Drive 700 gph pump for the season. This takes time as I swish each of the hundreds of green bio-things (cylinder shaped) in water to try to clean them off a little bit. All the stuff associated with that filter sits on the porch and in a kiddie pool on the porch until it's dry enough to bring inside.

I brought in the first batch of dewhickeys (toad houses, fake rabbits, fake frogs, sundial, fake stones, gazing ball, and all sorts of thingys). They had to be scrubbed of dirt and set in the bathtub to dry.

I pulled back the net over the marginals and worked on cutting down a lot of them since I haven't been keeping up. I cut down both dwarf cattails, the big cattail, two hardy canna, the one surviving lotus (never flowered but had lots of leaves), the common rush, and the cotton grass. I removed a few leaves off of the lizard tails and the pickerel rushes. There were about three water hyacinth in the shallow area that I tossed (none remain in the open water). I found a piece of the tropical bluebell plant that must have broke off so I put that into the basement pond loose. I raked a little bit on the mulch around the pond (actually weed propagation zone) until I got a sharp pain in my shoulder. The pond chores took 2.5 hours. I had hoped to have time to weed the three remaining gardens that I was supposed to have done last spring. Alas, the weeds remain happy.

4. When I came home on 10/23/06, I didn't need to feed the fish (too cold) but walked over from a different approach (than I use to feed the fish) to the 1800 gallon pond to check for problems, etc. There, on the net in the shallow area where part of the waterfall spills out, was a groundhog! That doesn't sound that unusual except this was probably only the second sighting in 30 years that I've had of a groundhog on our property. I see them down the road all the time. I tapped on the window so my mother could see him, and then he quickly lumbered over to our back porch made of cement and went into the hole that goes underneath it. The hole is the favorite place for black snakes and may sometime hold an opossum or perhaps the remains of the two dogs we had that vanished in the late 70's. I don't know if the woodchuck (another name for the groundhog) is making his home there. The next morning, the net on the 153 gallon pond was collapsed in and the fountain tipped over. It could have been the groundhog. Compared to the other trouble makers, he shouldn't be too bad.

5. On 10/29/06, I squirted off the flosses and the bioballs. The 1800 gallon pond was down to 47 degrees F but the 153 gallon was still up at 52 degrees F. I can take the cold; I can take the heat (but don't like it) but I can't take the wind! The day before, it was gusting 30, 40, close to 50 mph all day. Sunday morning it had stopped but by the time I got outside to do my work, it was back. While the air was 50 degrees F, the wind stripped heat from bodies and tried to blow things around. I anchored down my supplies. I put ear plugs in to prevent an ear ache. Before getting into the pond, I had to use the pond dip net to gather up as much of the leaves on top of the net and into the wheel barrow as possible. Thousands of leaves had sunk the net in and made it impossible to get in until I removed them. For every scoop I tossed out, a quarter of the leaves blew right back in the fierce wind. I gathered up another load of pond dewhickeys to be put up for the winter. I tried to rake up some of the leaves around the pond.

There are now five ponds outside of the original eight. I put up three for the winter. Of those five ponds, two are large enough and heated to overwinter animals. The one in the back has no added plants and animals. That leaves two tub ponds full of tadpoles. I bailed and sift netted the 20 gallon tub pond and put about 200 tadpoles, wads of anacharis, wads of hornwort, and a dozen snails or so into the 153 gallon pond. The pond also has a pot of iris (well overgrown) and an empty pot (a lily the raccoons spilt over and over) as well as lots of spilt potting media on the bottom. I refilled the pond and put the iris back. It will serve as an animal watering hole. The other tub pond is a 50 gallon tub pond buried in the ground. It's full of tadpoles and might have goldfish (I put eggs in there in late spring). The problem is that it's so overgrown with uninvited water celery (the lotus tubers being long dead by animals disturbing them over and over), I can't net or sift the water in any way. The animals in there may freeze solid and die, or, if it's a mild winter, survive under the ice. That pond though is half filled with dirt and rocks and only half water. I don't know what to do with it.

6. We're supposed to get our first real frost so the tropical lilies will be coming in soon. Also, the floating plant thing with impatiens will be coming in when they die from the frost.

7. On the morning of 11/4/06, there was the first ice on the tub ponds and where the fountain splashed on the net in the 153 gallon pond. I'll have to bring in the tropical waterlily tomorrow. Later that day, I saw a huge (100 or so) flock of huge, pure white birds. They were up twice as high as I've seen the Canada geese. They sounded different too. I am not sure what they were but perhaps rare snow geese or trumpeter swans. I will never know. We have a lot of Canada geese fly by but never whatever these were.

Pond Tidbits:

1. I have no time this month (although plenty of ideas for new sections on my web site that I don't have time to create!).

Web Sites of Interest:

1. http://watergarden.com/wgn/2006/FW/FallWinter.htm - an article on winterizing ponds

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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