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Robyn's Pond Blog for October 2011

Last Updated: 10/22/12

1. I have been failing the plants and animals that depend on me. Looking at my mulch records, in 2010, I laid in 76 bags of mulch. In 2011, I've laid in 42, barely half as much. The gardens are unrecognizable. I've taken seven days off this year to take my mother to the hospital for transfusions and almost as many days to do work at home. My boss doesn't want me to take any time off. I need to take days off to catch up but I'm not allowed to do that. I wanted one day of "fun" so I stole a Sunday, 10/2/11, to go to the zoo one last time. As such, my pond work was not completed but I did a little.

2. On 10/2/11, I only did a little pond work. I failed. I squirted off just the PondMaster filters. I put a new net on the 153 gallon pond (the next morning, I would free a titmouse entangled in it). I added some mosquito stuff to the pool cover and tub ponds. The 153 gallon was at 59 degrees F at 10 am. I completely neglected the 1800 gallon pond. Things are getting worse. I have no hope of things ever getting better.

3. I had wanted to do more pond work after work on 10/3/11 but, work made me get home an hour late. By the time I had done the regular chores, it was sunset. I did add baking soda, koi clay, and water to the 1800 gallon pond though. The 1800 gallon was at 57 degrees F. The next night, I had to take my cat, Gino, to the vet. So, the pond will go untended for two weeks straight. The basement pond is in bad shape. Even with the biothings from the main pond, the ammonia is off the charts. I'm bailing 10% every other day and adding Ammolock but I think it's going to kill me.

4. I had an hour of time finally to link in these photos.

From 5/26/11:
Flowering anacharis in the 153 gallon pond.
Flowering forget-me-nots in the 1800 gallon overflow.

From 6/3/11:
Flowering purple iris in the 50 gallon tub pond.
Dead sunburst goldfish - right side, with ruler
Dead sunburst goldfish - left side, with ruler

These two videos are from 6/6/11:
While I was approaching the 1800 gallon pond, a male green frog was calling.
Greenfrog Calling - 1218 KB, mpg movie.
You can see many of the goldfish, orfe, and koi as I gave them their afternoon meal.
Fish Feeding - 1718 KB, mpg movie.

These photos are from 6/12/11:
Milkweed in flower. This also turned out to be a good overall 1800 gallon pond photo in the background.
Pond facing south. This shows the marginal area and some fish. I do not know why the photo is washed out.
Parrot Feather
Flowering lizard tail and pickerel rush

5. On 10/9/11, I did the usual (additives, squirting, tidying up, adding water, etc.). I squirted off all the filter materials. Both the 1800 and 153 gallon ponds were at 60 degrees F. I changed the bag of AmmoCarb and the bag of oyster shell in the main biofilter. I removed the bluebells and some of the parrot feather from the 1800 gallon pond and put them in the 50 gallon basement pond. The koi feel a little less scared now with more cover. Their water is now clear (no bacterial bloom in the water column anymore) but still reading very high in ammonia. That should not be the case with all the pond biomaterial in there now. I removed the pump from the 50 gallon tub pond for the winter. I didn't find the intake sponge or the uplift tube. I think the raccoon ate them.

6. The morning of 10/12/11, when I went to get a green frog on the net, I found a huge hole in the brand new net on the 153 gallon pond! The leaves all found the hole too. The raccoon had been around (birdbath knocked over) but I would not think he could rip the net. My guess is that one of the deer stepped in it. The net is three times bigger than the pond so I just pulled it over so the hole is to one side.

7. I put up a new page on Pond Showcase with some photos from a home showcase that my mother went to in May.
Home Showcase

8. On 10/16/11, I squirted off the flosses and bioballs. I will now switch from squirting the bioballs every 4 weeks to every 5 weeks (unless the pond is frozen). When I cleaned out the filter, there were one pickerel frog and two young bullfrogs (from the tadpoles I added this year) in there. I had to catch them and get them out. The 1800 gallon was at 59 degrees F and the 153 gallon was at 60 degrees F. Before I could get in the 1800 gallon pond, I had to shake the net of leaves and remove four buckets of them so I could lift and shake the net properly. I collected some leaves as they are just starting to fall in earnest. I removed the aerator from the 1800 gallon pond which almost never runs anyway because the one plug on the outlet is pretty much dead from the ants and will never to fixed/replaced. I cut down the dwarf cattails. I will cut plants as they die back and/or go brown until the first strong frost in November when everything is cut down. I changed the PondMaster filters in the 153 gallon pond. The animals put another hole in the net so I moved it a foot over yet again. A few more times, and I'm out of net. I started to bring in some pond and yard doohickeys. I will have to bring in a pile each week for a month to get them all. Since I wash them and put them to dry in the bathtub, I can only do so many at once.

9. I had time to add in this one photo.

Male common whitetail dragonfly on 6/26/11 on my pond stone.
Male common whitetail dragonfly - close-up of the previous photo.

10. On 10/21/11, I heard a strange splashing coming from the basement pond. Alex (koi) had gotten on top of the vinyl-coated hardware cloth! There are gaps where the plants are and where the fountain comes out. I had used cable ties to make all the holes smaller than the koi. The only spot she could have gotten up was the fountain. I put more cable ties there and a mesh bag to try to prevent this again. Since Mac 1 and Mac 2 were Sanke that I wanted the most, and Mac 1 jumped from the same pond (different lid), and Mac 2 died her first winter, I would have been heart sick to lose Alex from a jump out too.

11. On 10/23/11, I did the usual. The 1800 gallon was at 55 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 56 degrees F. I squirted off the Cyprio filter and put the parts in the kiddie pool on the back porch to dry so it could be put up for the year.

12. Surprise! On 10/29/11, it snowed, rained, snowed, rained, and snowed. This was the first time I ever recall snow in October. The trees still have half of their leaves. It got to a few inches on my car, pond bench made of cement, etc. but half the grass was green, and the road never got snow on it more than momentarily. While temperatures dropped to freezing, the ground was still warm. The fish had an abrupt end to being fed.

13. On 10/30/11, I did not get in the 1800 gallon pond but did other things. The 1800 gallon's water was at 48 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 45 degrees F. The air temperature was in the upper 40's. I shook the net, used a hand net to get leaves on the other side, shook it again, and repeated this about 10 times to get the leaves off the net. I had to hand grab clumps of ice/snow with it. It took an hour just to get up the leaves. I brought in some more pond and yard decorations for the winter. I have next Wednesday off and plan to do a sped-up winterizing clean up due to the hard frost - extra pump out, marginals cut down, golden club moved to deeper water, water lettuce removed, remove tropical waterlilies, etc.

Continue to the November 2011 pond blog.

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