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Robyn's Pond Blog for February 2011

Last Updated: 2/28/11

1. On 2/6/11, the pond net was still frozen in but the pond was starting to thaw. The 153 gallon pond was a toasty 47 degrees F with a lot of hair algae growing. The 1800 gallon thermometer was still not accessible. I replaced the fake heron by the pond with a new one. The old one was faded and had a broken leg and a broken neck (taped back on).

I was able to pull up the net a bit since it had sagged in to the pond. I used my long dip net to remove a pickerel frog (that I had seen in there for a month but could not access) but ended up finding and removing three poor dead pickerel frogs. The frogs had been dead for weeks. One was barely over an inch, another a few inches long, and the surprising one was the largest pickerel frog I have ever found. I thought it was a bullfrog at first or a large female green frog. The frog had a body about 4 inches long.

2. On 2/13/11, I could almost get in the pond but there was still too much snow and ice on the part of the net I needed to lift to get in. The air temperature was toasty at almost 50 degrees F. The 153 gallon pond was at 46 degrees F while the thermometer was frozen in to the 1800 gallon pond. I did my best to collect leaves but, the next day, the winds were horrific and a thousand leaves went in there. Among the leaves on 2/13/11 was another dead pickerel frog of about two inches. It seems that more wild animals die as a result of my ponds than benefit from them. Spring has sprung with the first flowers in bloom, the snow drops which are bulbs.

3. I awoke on 2/19/11 to some of the worst winds in a long time. I went around trying to fix downed cages around small trees, shrubs, and other plants. I fixed 28 of them, at least 5 of which were again down when I came back to the ponds and removed 6 buckets of leaves. I didn't even make a dent in the thousands of leaves dumped in there. The entire pond surfaces are covered. It didn't matter how well or unwell I collected leaves in the fall; they were blown from miles around, all to end up in my ponds. I will try to get more tomorrow. It would help if the hell winds would at least die down. I uprighted the lighted snowman by the pond about four times during the day but he's again down. Not only is he down but the wind actually disassembles all of his parts and chucks them in the mud; he may not survive to next winter. The winds are running a constant 30 some mph with gusts over 60 mph. I would rather have snow, rain, heat, or cold than the winds. About the only thing worse is ice. Both wind and ice take out power but luckily it's only flickered here a few times.

4. On 2/21/11, I finally got in the pond for the first time in seven weeks! The 1800 gallon was at 40 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 49 degrees F around 1 PM. The air temperature was 45 degrees F. I started by removing by hand what leaves that I could from the 153, 50, and 20 gallon ponds, the last two of which are more leaves than water. The back 18 gallon pond is 100% leaves, and I wasn't going to add water. Then, I topped off those ponds (drug out the long hose).

In the 1800 gallon pond, first I collected what leaves I could from the waterfalls, net, and overflow. I found a rotted frog that was so rotted I couldn't tell it was a frog. I couldn't find the two dead pickerel frogs I had seen a few days before that needed to come out. Then, I got in. I pulled up the basket with pump and pre-filter. The hose promptly popped off the pump. The 1.25" white "flexible" ribbed PVC pipe is hard as a rock. Since it's buried, I cannot just change it out. I changed the flosses (they were due in two weeks so why not early) and squirted off the bioballs and lava rock which were moderately dirty. I found a large, dead 7" common goldfish in the pre-filter floss. It was the typical orange with white-tipped fins. It had been dead a month. No more frogs were in the biofilter. All the ones I removed from the filter seven weeks ago seem to have died; I should have left them in the filter. They would have died in there if the power had gone out but we were lucky in that it hadn't.

I couldn't get the pump and hose reconnected no matter how I pushed and screwed. So, I got out, de-booted, went inside and got the spare pump and all the attachments I had. I spent half an hour trying to get something to work but everything was either two big or two small to fit in the old, rotted, hard pipe. The 1.25" male connector wouldn't even go in the line a millimeter. I then went back to the old pump which goes on about a millimeter. After a dozen tries, I finally got it to stay on with the hose clamp. The next day, I ordered two feet sections of 1.25", 1.5", and 2" tubing and some more connectors. I will see if I can get a larger tube over the outside of the old tube instead since nothing will go in it. If only I had a handyman or any reliable help for that matter.

I netted out some leaves and debris. I topped off the big pond and put in some BZT and baking soda.

5. On 2/21/11, they all of a sudden said snow was coming. The next morning, there was 4" on the grass and 4.5" on the cold surfaces like my pond bench and sandstone bridge. It was 20 degrees F. Surprise! Spring's not here. It was 70 degrees F just 4 days ago!

6. Another horrible wind storm came through with 60 mph winds on 2/25/11 and again knocked down cages and filled the ponds with leaves.

7. On 2/27/11, I got in the pond to try the new hoses and adapters that I bought. The 1800 gallon was at 46 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 50 degrees F. The air temperature was a nice, almost 60 degrees F! I put up the lighted snowman who was really beat up from the weather. He got mud all over him and two of the three lamps were dead.

I got two foot long pieces of 1.25", 1.5", and 2" tubing. I got connectors from 1.25" to 1.5" and 1.25" to 2". I already had other adapters, 1" hose, hose clamps, etc. Well, the 1.5" tube would not go over the old rotted 1.25" tube. The 2" goes over, and I could probably have jammed it a foot in but the problem is the massive gap between the two hoses. On the other end, I could not get any connectors to go in any of the new hoses. The brand new 1.25" ID hose for example will not go over the 1.25" adapter. I guess I am just not strong enough! I sent an e-mail to a pond builder later in the day and may have to call in "experts." I'm afraid of what might result.

I removed many leaves and two well-rotted pickerel frogs (about 1" and 3"). I topped off the ponds. The 1800 gallon pond was 2" below max. I filled it, and it drained to the same level. So, I am pretty sure that there is a hole in the overflow area from the yellow flag iris. The waterfall is also diverting water outside of the liner due to wicking, splashing, and collapsing of the hill (shifting rocks and liner). On top of that, water is leaking out of the top of the biofilter. The spillway was never low enough so that, when the waterfall was first started in May of 1997, water spilled out all along the edge. They put some kind of sealant on there but it has rotted away since then. I've added epoxy as needed. This day, I opened two $20 tubes and used all of it even though it had partially hardened. There is still water being lost there. I need some kind of silicon-like sealant that can be applied to fibreglass while wet that is non-toxic. Do you know of one? Speaking of fibreglass, the biofilter is made of that, and chunks of the black paint were coming off. About a third of it inside is now un-painted.

Continue to the March 2011 pond blog.

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