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Robyn's Pond Newsletter January 2004

Last Updated: 2/5/14

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Introduction and Miscellaneous:
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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 article I wrote in Organic Gardening came out on Pages 38-41 of the January/February 2004 issue. You can read additional stuff I wrote for them at
http://www.organicgardening.com/feature/0,7518,s1-5-19-275,00.html and http://www.organicgardening.com/feature/0,7518,s1-5-18-281,00.html.

Happy New Year!

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Significantly Altered or New Pond Web Pages (explanations below, numbers match):
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1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/pictures2.htm
2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/pictures.htm
3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/news/index.htm for the index and also 30 files in that folder
( http://www.fishpondinfo.com/news/0701.htm through http://www.fishpondinfo.com/news/1203.htm) for previous newsletters
4. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/bigpondphotos1.htm (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
5. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/animalphotos.htm (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
6. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/fishphotos.htm (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
7. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/otherpondphotos.htm (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
8. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/winter2.htm (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)

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Additions or Changes to Robyn's Pond Web Pages:
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1. I added 8 photos of Giverny I mentioned in passing in the last newsletter. Giverny is the garden of Claude Monet in France. The photos have their own section and the files are giverny1.jpg, giverny2.jpg, giverny3.jpg, giverny4.jpg, giverny5.jpg, giverny7.jpg, giverny10.jpg, giverny11.jpg. They include a wisteria covered bridge, the water lily pond, and various flowers. An artist from Quebec sent the photos to me.

2. I have divided the pictures page into a total of 7 pages. The old main page is just an index now. I plan to add a lot of photos in the next few weeks to the new pages.

3. Due to their large size and eating up bandwidth which costs me, I put the 30 previous newsletter into 30 new files instead of one file per year. They are in a new subdirectory (news). I won't note monthly in the newsletter that the previous one is put on-line on a new page.

4. This page is the new page for big pond photos. There is one new photo there of my three tropical lily tubers: tubers.jpg.

5. This page is now for the animal pond photos. I added under mammals a photo of a baby opossum that was on our back porch in early December (possum.jpg).

6. This page is for fish pond photos.

7. This page has the construction, pond plan, and other pond photos.

8. This page has the winter and fall pond photos. My winter pictures page had 8 photos of the snow I mentioned last month added: snow20031.jpg, snow20032.jpg, snow20033.jpg, snow20034.jpg, snow20035.jpg, snow20036.jpg, snow20037.jpg, snow20038.jpg. Instead of explaining them, see the page for descriptions. I also just added six more photos of before and after clearing off the net on the pond. See the winter photo page for descriptions and, of course, links to the actual pictures.

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Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:
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1. In addition to 9" of snow on 12/5/03, we got another 4" by the next day. It compacted down to about 10". Since I hadn't gotten the net out soon enough, it by 12/6/03, collapsed and froze into the pond. This is the last thing I wanted. First, the brand new net may have ripped from the pressure. Second, now the fish can get caught in it when coming up for air. Needless to say, on 12/7/03, I couldn't squirt the flosses! I did spend two hours using a feed scoop to remove snow from around the edge of the pond and into it as far as I could to remove snow from the net. This not only relieves some pressure on the net and lets more light into the pond but if it warms up, I hope to be able to pull the net back, at least off the waterfalls. The net made a canopy, blocking almost the entire pond out! I took photos before and after clearing the pond off.

2. On 12/6/03, I found fry in one of my tanks. These are glowlight danios, sold to me as fire bar danios which are pretty rare. I hope the babies make it! I put 6 in a net breeder.

3. On 12/8/03, I discovered one of my large goldfish frozen solid in the ice! She went near the pump intake and froze in. I am so mad at myself. If I'd gotten the net off before the ice/snow and/or put the de-icer there as normal instead of in the biofilter, she might be alive today. There may be more fish frozen in the ice. I can't remove the dead fish until she thaws. Any tadpoles left in my tub ponds are now tadsicles; again, my fault.

4. On 12/10/03, it rained some. I was able to yank the net off half way away from the falls and deep area. It's now draped over the shallows where there's still too much snow and ice to remove it. While trying to get the net back, I ripped at least two huge holes in it! So much for my brand new expensive net! At least I can buy a new one. The poor female dead goldfish I finally removed was priceless and irreplaceable to me as they are all individuals.

5. It rained so much over night that the morning of 12/11/03, most of the snow was gone! The ponds were full of muddy water too from dirt running in from the sides! What happens after the nets are off? You guessed it: high winds bringing tons of leaves into the pond that then freeze in! Every year but I still can't stop it. Net on or off, and the pond is hurt due to me.

6. I always do my pond chores Sunday because I spend 12 hours taking care of the other animals and aquariums on Saturday but this week, it's supposed to snow, yet again on Sunday! So, Saturday, 12/13/03, I got in the pond around 3:30 pm in the middle of the other chores to remove the flosses and squirt them off. I put on my hip waders and long aquatic gloves. I can't wear a coat though as it's too cumbersome. Both the 1800 and 153 gallon ponds had water at 38 degrees F with air temperature about 34. I had to step through a thin sheet of ice to get in. The floss was full of dirt so it needed to be cleaned. I also added the last of my Microbe-Lift Autumn Prep as autumn is long gone! I found a small pickerel frog in the bottom of the floss but I think I may have accidently hurt him. The net is off (in a messy heap on the porch) so the pond is ready for more snow! I was supposed to do the bioballs that Sunday too but decided to let it slide (bad pond keeper, bad!!). Does anyone else routinely get into their pond during the winter like I do?

7. So, on 12/14/03, we got about 3 inches of snow followed by cold rain the rest of the day so I was glad I'd already dealt with the floss. The pond looked interesting with slush in it that could be moved aside.

8. On 12/21/03, I squirted off the bioballs. I didn't get into the pond itself though. Breaking the thermometer out of a thin layer of ice, the main pond was 36 degrees F while the 153 gallon was 34 degrees F. Because coats get in the way, prevent maneuverability, and I don't want to get them dirty, I wear thermal underwear under my long-sleeved shirt and pants when I work on the ponds (and often other dirty outdoor chores) in winter. While I'm toasty under there, my hands get nearly frozen though as I have them in water. I can't wear gloves because then I can't feel what I'm doing, and the gloves get in the way. Sometimes I keep buckets of hot water around to dip my hands into and always keep a towel around. My brother came out for a few minutes to help me finally fold up the big pond net and put it up. The day before, I noticed my tropical water canna I have stored in damp sphagnum moss in open ziploc bags with a paper bag on top have sprouted new leaves (more like shoots). I guess they're still alive! I tried to make them darker so they stop growing!

9. It's official. For Baltimore, this has been the wettest year on record since 1871. 1889 was the most wet before now. By 10 am on 12/24/03, they had 62.35" of precipitation for 2003 with more to come. I live 20 miles west where we had even more. This was NOT the year to try to build a pond!

10. On 12/24/03, it was near 50 degrees F, and two green frogs were out around my 153 gallon pond! They were kind of yucky looking but quick to jump in when they saw me.

10. For Christmas, my mother bought me a 24 W Tetra bird bath/pond heater combination thing called Tetra Pond Winter Island. I installed it on 12/28/03 near my pump intake but doubt it will do much compared to what I already have going. When everything else is frozen, the birds bathe in the waterfall itself. I also squirted the floss that day. The 1800 gallon pond was at 39 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 37 degrees F. The air was near 50 so I wasn't cold at all. In fact, through today (1/3/04), it's been warm lately with highs in the 50's. It's supposed to be in the 60's this weekend! Now, the spring bulbs will start coming up. More and more abnormal weather is not right. At least ice is not a problem.

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Pond Tidbits:
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1. Winter is the best time of year to get photos of your pond fish. When there is no ice/snow over the area where the fish are, it works well as the fish are slow, and the water is very clear. It's also a good time to look around for growths on or problems with the fish for the same reason.

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Web Sites of Interest:
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1. A big site on turtles I just found: http://www.austinsturtlepage.com

2. Hank posted this photo of a hawk on his pond net on the newsgroup rec.ponds: http://www.geocities.com/hankpage1/netting.html

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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From a card I received for the holidays from the World Society for the Protection of Animals:

"Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace." - Albert Schweitzer.

"Look deep into the eyes of any animal, and then for a moment, trade places, their life becomes as precious as yours and you become as vulnerable as them. Now smile if you believe all animals deserve our respect and protection, for in a way, they are us, and we are them." - Philip Ochoa.


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