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Robyn's Pond Blog for December 2020

Last Updated: 1/4/21

1. At 3:15 pm on 12/6/20, it was a chilly 41 degrees F. The 1800 gallon pond was at 44 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 43 degrees F. As it was late and cold, I didn't do much. I didn't need to add water to any of the ponds due to recent rains. I put in additives and squirted off the only remaining filter materials around the only remaining pump for the winter that runs the big waterfall and biofilter. I didn't have time to pull the net off the waterfall or put in the de-icers. While we're going to have a few nights slightly below freezing, there is no snow expected.

2. I did pond work on 12/13/20. It was a warm 58 degrees F! The ponds were still cold though at 49 degrees F for the 1800 gallon and 46 degrees F for the 153 gallon pond. My hip waders have small holes where they get folded, and they are four years old. I tried patching them but the patches fall off. I went to order new ones the next day, and, of course, they seem to no longer exist! Anyway, we were due for our first real snowfall in two years on 12/16/20 so it was my last chance to winterize the ponds. I put in the de-icers after testing them in the freezer. I squirted the filter materials and the bioballs.

There were 21 frogs, yes 21, in the biofilter! I put one pickerel frog in the pond proper but I put back 19 pickerel frogs of all sizes and 1 green frog back in the biofilter when I was done. Why? I find dead pickerel frogs all over in the main pond in the spring but I've never found one in the filter. They must know something that I don't. The big problem is though that, if the power goes out, and if I can't get the generator going (and I already know I'm not strong enough to pull the rip cord, and it hasn't been started in a few years) either because I'm weak and hideous (hence no helpers) or simply at work, then the biofilter will drain, and, if it's below freezing, that means that the frogs all become popsicle frogs. So, it was a hard choice. Nope, the installers didn't put a check valve in the system. Why would they have done something that competent? Having a check valve can also cause problems like the pipes freezing and breaking during a power outside. So, I can't win.

There's also a goldfish in the pond that has severe kidney failure and is as round and large as a basketball. Every day, I think the poor thing has died but he/she moves when I got to net him/her out.

I cut down the marginals (mostly iris and sweetflag) as best I could in the big pond so I could pull the net back so that it is now off the waterfall before the snow flies.

3. On 12/16/20, we got 4.5 inches of snow, and then sleet and rain over that made from a few inches of hard snow/ice.

4. At 12:51 pm on 12/20/20, the air temperature was 40 degrees F. The thermometer was frozen in the 1800 gallon pond but the 153 gallon pond's thermometer read 46 degrees F. I couldn't get in the pond because the net was frozen to the ground but I put in some water in the smaller ponds by bucket and put additives in the big pond. I managed to get a net up to the basketball goldfish who I thought was gone but she's still alive despite being huge.

5. It was a nice (not) 35 degrees F at 11:30 am on 12/27/20. The 1800 gallon pond was at 42 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 43 degrees F. I got in the big pond to pull out the filter floss to squirt it out. Even though I was wearing hip waders and aqua gloves (neither one with insulation), I felt like I was doing one of those polar bear plunges. I put a few additives and water in the big pond only. The three smallest ponds (without any de-icers) were frozen over.


Continue to the January 2021 pond blog.



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