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Robyn's Pond Blog for January 2010

Last Updated: 2/1/10

1. On 1/3/10, the air temperature started at 15 degrees F with winds 30 mph. It never got much better. I was still too weak following surgery to work outside in those conditions. The 153 gallon pond was at 40 degrees F according to the thermometer despite being half frozen over. Even though the deer had drunk from it, that pond was still pretty full. The 1800 gallon is still about four inches below where it should be. The main waterfall is running strong and keeping a hole open but the stream waterfall is just drizzling and mostly sealed over. Somehow, rocks shifted and changed the coarse of the water flow quite a bit. Even if I were functional, I could not have gotten in to the pond as it was mostly frozen over. I would, however, have added water and removed any leaves not frozen in.

2. On 1/8/10, there was 1.5 inches of snow in the morning. It has been really cold, barely above freezing during the day and not every day.

3. On 1/10/10, I was well enough to work on the ponds but could not because they were frozen in. The thermometer is frozen in the 1800 gallon pond while the 153 gallon pond said 43 degrees F. I topped off those two ponds and that was about all I could do. The air temperature was in the upper 20's degrees F.

4. On 1/17/10, the pond was finally frozen out enough that I could have gotten in. But, I still had about seven health issues including a cold virus, and it was pouring rain most of the day. So, I let it slide yet another week. I did look at the thermometers. The 1800 gallon was at 38 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 47 degrees F. I tried to hammer in two replacement plastic stakes for the net since two had been stepped on and broken. I got them in only half an inch as the ground was still frozen.

5. On 1/18/10, I noted two things in the pond with the morning check. First, I finally saw a frog. It was the biggest frog I've ever had in my pond! She's a female bullfrog, probably the same one that I had seen often last summer but boy is she big! If I had to guess, I'd say her body is about 5", and she's closer to a foot long with her legs out. I also noticed that one of my two 12-year-old orfe had wedged himself up under the ice shelf in the shallows while the other fish are in the deep end. That orfe as well as Maggie and Colin have some red tipping on their fins (septicemia from the cold temperatures which they've gotten before; it goes away when things warm up). I hope the orfe is okay but probably not.

6. I finally got in to the pond on 1/24/10. The air temperature was 37 degrees F. The 1800 gallon was at 47 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 38 degrees F. It was drizzling. First, I looked for my dying 13-year-old 1.5+ feet long orfe. He had moved himself to the deep end though. I took out the filter floss. Inside was a three inch red and white goldfish with part of the tail fin missing. I thought he/she was dead but then he/she moved when I went to clean the filter material which was really dirty after the long neglect. The bioballs were also past due for cleaning but the muscles above my incision were hurting, and I didn't want to yet risk lifting those heavy bags of bioballs and lava rock and throwing them as I do. I topped off the ponds and then we had rain that night so the ponds are all finally full. I pulled off some partially dead watercress and water celery from the waterfall and also some chunks of live moss that came off. I netted out some leaves. I noticed a lot of dirt on the liner near where I had been adding water to the pond. The hose must have flushed the dirt out. What a mess! At least dirt won't really harm the animals. I need help tending to the ponds but I don't trust anyone and don't want to pay an arm and a leg to have some hoodlum wreck my pond in an attempt to "clean" it.

7. The morning of 1/25/10, I discovered that the first bulbs of the year were up, the snow drops. The poor orfe was on his/her side in the shallows and barely responsive when I touched him/her. 8. Here are three photos of the 1800 gallon from 12/6/09 when we had up to four inches. It was a heavy snow that weighed down the plants, pond net, etc. Note the illuminated penguin which makes it easy to tell if there is power out by the pond.
Pond - facing northwest.
Pond - facing west.
Pond - from the southeast of the pond, facing northwest. The butterfly bush has collapsed over the cement bench.

Also, here is an opossum on the back porch on 1/26/10. Note the pink tips on his ears and that the tip of his tail seems to be bloody. This opossum was probably born in 2009 as he/she was small. The little one hissed at me right after I took the photo!

9. We had snow most of the day on 1/30/10 so that when I measured the snow on 1/30/10, there was an average of 4" on the ground and 5.5" on top of the cement bench by my pond. The big pond was half snow over ice and another quarter just ice. I could not get in the pond to tend to it. The air temperature was 10 degrees F at dawn on 1/30/10. The 153 gallon pond was all liquid though. The thermometer read 45 degrees F in the afternoon.

Continue to the February 2010 pond blog.

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