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Robyn's Pond Blog for February 2016

Last Updated: 3/1/16

1. I had seen one fish, my koi Riley, a few days back since the blizzard but it wasn't until the morning of 2/1/16 that I saw more fish. Three of the koi (Nikita, Alex, and Riley), and one orfe were all good.

2. I linked in some more photos from May 2015.

Big Pond and garden facing south, 5/9/15.
Back rock pond on 5/9/15.

3. On 2/3/16, I removed a ~3" pickerel frog from the waterfall overflow area. He/she was mangled, presumably from some predator (heron, fox, raccoon, cat, who knows). The heron has come a few times since the snow but I would think he would just eat the frogs like I saw him doing before and not leave a mutilated body behind.

4. It was finally warm enough, and the snow melted enough to clean the pond filters on 2/7/16. I got in the pond for the first time in four weeks. The air temperature was 42 degrees F but I didn't feel cold. The 1800 gallon's thermometer had melted out and read 37 degrees F while that in the 153 gallon pond read 40 degrees F. I squirted the main filter flosses. I netted out three dead bodies. The first was a little orange and white goldfish that had been dead a while but stuck in the ice with fungus growing on the body. The fish seemed tiny to me but measured at six inches long. I also removed one inch and a 1.5 inch pickerel frogs. I had seen a larger dead frog earlier in the week too but couldn't find it. I then went to clean out the bioballs. I found a rather large live pickerel frog which I put in the 1800 gallon pond. After removing more bags, I found a medium-sized green frog. I picked him up and saw the flash of a salamander's tail. I had to walk the green frog to the 153 gallon pond to put him in there. I then went inside to get my camera as I wanted a photo of the salamander; however, after I removed all the remaining things in the filter, the salamander was nowhere to be found! I don't know if this was my newt or the plain brown salamander I found last year or somebody else. I only saw that flick of the tail, like a little snake going down in to the filter material. I also changed out the oyster shell in the filter. I put a few cups of pond salt in the big pond. I put my hand in the freezing water of the waterfall to try to get the water flow to increase down the main falls as most was going down the side fall. There were some plants and plant roots jammed in there so it helped a little bit.

5. It was sure good that I did the pond chores last Sunday! On 2/14/16, the air temperature was 10 degrees F in the morning! In late morning, I went out with two buckets of steaming water and the sledge hammer. I started by getting the ice off the top of the waterfall. It was very close to diversion where it would have pumped out water outside of the lined area of the pond and/or on to the ice sheet. I then tried to sledge open the main waterfall. It had fully frozen, and water was running under the ice to an unknown location. The water level in the air stone hole (only about a foot wide) was okay though so I wasn't too worried. I couldn't sledge the entire waterfall open though. Also, I'm talking about hammering up on the waterfall and in little pathetic wacks so the fish were not being harmed by shock waves. I went out in late afternoon to repeat these things. The main waterfall had melted open even though it was only 20 degrees F. The side waterfall had almost gotten to the point of pumping over the ice sheet but I managed to make a hole in to the pond proper where the waterfall normally spills in. I forgot to record the 153 gallon pond temperature which I could have done. I was too busy trying not to freeze to death. I wore my waterproof pond gloves over regular gloves. I was able to catch or grab pieces of ice as I wacked them off the waterfall and throw them on to the ice sheet. Thankfully, the cold snap only lasted a few days.

6. On 2/21/16, it was up to 50 degrees F and was over 60 degrees F the day before. I got in the big pond to clean the filter floss. The thermometer was frozen in the ice but I stepped on it and broke off that slab which was about three inches thick. The thermometer was still stuck in it but I could turn the slab over and read the temperature. The 1800 gallon pond was at 38 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 40 degrees F. I removed a dead 2" pickerel frog from the bottom while I was in the pond. I also saw and netted up a massive bullfrog. The frog was barely alive and hardly responded but there was just a tiny bit of movement. She (I think female but not sure) was very anorexic. I moved her out of my stepping area. While doing pond chores, I heard a train. I live half a mile from one of the oldest tracks in the country. Trains carrying coal come through and sound off when they cross a road there. I can not only hear the whistle but I can hear the wheels on the tracks. It's very pioneery!

7. It was a nice 64 degrees F out on 2/28/16 but I didn't need to get in the pond so I didn't. I had tons of other stuff to do. The 1800 gallon pond was at 44 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 47 degrees F. I put in additives and water to the ponds and removed some leaves. I dug out the 153 gallon pond drain/overflow.

Continue to the March 2016 pond blog.

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