Sunday 11-30-03: After a killer winter last year we lost all the fish. Then the replacements (5 beautiful koi) got eaten this fall by the blue heron. Today we took down the leaf net. all the trees are bare now and we're ready for another long winter. This next Saturday we're having a "Thank God the Bedroom's Done" party. It took 20 months (yeah, you heard that right) to get it done but it looks great. we'll get up pictures soon. Gotta go. woof.
Saturday 10-12-02: Wow, the The Grand Rapids Press ran the story of our little pond in last Sunday's paper. It was the feature story in the Home & Garden section. Our 15 minutes of fame :). Too bad it's so late in the season. Today we're going to throw the net over the pond and start to get it ready for another winter :( . The cooler weather does make for good hot tubbing tho.
Sunday 9-29-02: Lots of new stuff happening. Last week was my ninth birthday. Let's see, that makes me... 63. Naw, that would be an old pup and i'm a young pup at heart. The end of this last week also had the local paper, The Grand Rapids Press, send a reporter to look over the projects. He sounded like a nice man but big dog wouldn't let me out to sniff him. Anyways, after he left we tore the shingles off of the shed and re-shingled it over the weekend. That sure makes a pup's legs sore from walking on a pitched roof for several days. Back to the hot tub to rejuvenate.
Sunday 9-15-02: Sure have been lazy with the updates haven't i? Haven't been too lazy around the house tho. The biggest thing of note lately around the pond is our new Jacuzzi. Last week our friends Paulie, Greg & Wes helped move the 800 lb. behemoth into position right next to the lower waterfall and river. Yesterday Nick helped run wiring to get the thing up and running. i can hardly wait for the first snowfall so we can watch it coming down while steeping in the soothing water. Everybody's invited. Bring your Mr. Bubble!
Sunday 7-14-02: We had our third annual "Swamp Soiree" party Friday night. It's an annual event to commemorate buying the swamp and to help feed hungry mosquitoes. It being a dry year, the celebrated guests (the mosquitoes) were not in abundant attendance but we had a rousing good time with our friends. Nothing like a deadline to get some odds and ends around the pond done; like putting in another garden and finishing the lower porch. Both were accomplished just in time. :~)
Sunday 6-16-02: Been working on the lower porch west wall. We just got the inside trimmed out and ready to paint and the outside is getting close. A week or so back we installed the lower porch ceiling light and light/ceiling fan. Even though it's screened in on one side the fan will make a nice breeze on those still summer nights. Slick Silver, one of our new koi, was found today washed up on the shore. Sniff. He always seemed a little different, swimming by himself and hiding all the time. i think he was sick when we got him. Quick and our other koi, Pumpkin, seem to be doing just fine though. Our friend Melissa kept a few of our Shubunkins over the winter in her aquarium. They recently got put in the top pond. They were dark, feral fish when she got them but some of them turned orange and the most interesting one turned orange on the bottom and black along the top.
Sunday 6-2-02: It can't have been this long since we last updated? Can it? Oh well, a lot of water has fallen over the falls since then. Lets see, i wrenched one of my front legs and it swelled up to the size of a baseball. It's getting better now. 6 weeks later. The squirrels are truly evil. The things i do in defence of this place. The lower porch just got a ceiling fan installed and a GFI receptacle. The gardens have been planted and we just got two new koi, Quick Silver and Slick Silver. They are gorgeous. We also got another koi, Pumpkin, from a neighbour up the street who got it for her little plastic pond. He was throwing the other fish out! He's doing fine in our big pond. The master bedroom project has kind of taken a back seat to the spring stuff that has to get done now. We keep puttering on it from time to time. No hurry. The temporary bedroom in the entertainment room is pretty neat with the big screen TV. More later.
Saturday 4-13-02: SPRING! Today we "started up" the pond again, putting in the pump and hooking up the plumbing. In scooping out the fall and winter debris, we saw many fish. It was good to see that quite a few survived the heron and the winter. We also started remodelling the master bedroom. We hope to get the pictures of that endeavour up soon.
Monday 11-4-01: The upper porch is done! We don't work the fastest but still, it took 150 hours to complete this project. We had a big birthday party for two of our friends this last weekend. It was a blast. All of the rooms are starting to come together for great entertaining. Yesterday we got the 3 lower porch windows roughed in. It's getting harder to work at night with it getting dark so early. It makes me want to hibernate until next spring.
Sunday 10-14-01: The heron was outside again. i wondered outside and scared him away up into a tree by the swamp. He just sat up there for over 2 hours waiting for us to go away. We were working on tiling the upper porch this afternoon and it kept him nervous. i haven't seen much of the fish today. i hope they're all right. This week we got three weathered sills refinished. Didn't plan on that but with everything else getting reworked or replaced, it needed getting done. These projects have a way of growing. We also mortared down 175 tiles on the upper porch. We should have the tiling down this week and the grout ready for next weekend. The pond need winterizing again. Leaves are falling in it at a quickening pace.
Sunday 9-30-01: The heron came back several days this week. One day he was right outside the family room window peering into the top pond. i don't know who was more startled. Over half the fish have disappeared. There were 10 windows, 3 doors and 70 feet of crown molding to paint with 2 coats of paint this week. This was also a good time to re-hang the door going outside so it swung the other way. Maybe the floor this week?
Sunday 9-23-01: The heron is back. Today the heron came back twice to try to get fish out of the pond. i think he failed. i've been sick for the last week and a half and that has slowed down the upper porch project. The windows, doors and trim are being painted to ready things for the Wonderboard and tile.
Wednesday 9-12-01: OK, i've been busy... really. Pictures are coming this weekend of the lower porch and the latest project on the upper porch. It should take about 2 weeks more to get it tiled and finished. It was all a lot more involved than i thought. Well, what's new 'bout that ? Stay tuned for an update.
Sunday 6-10-01: Everything is up and running on the pond again. This time we added some improvements such as a valve to regulate the top fountain. The new pump is living up to our expectations in terms of pumping power, electrical usage and low sound level. Last week we added a new water feature for the main pond water return. It now goes through a modified sand filter in which we removed the sand and put in pea gravel. The water returns in a "rock spring" at the shallow end. It's raining again and we're still trying to get some good pictures in.
Monday 5-14-01: We got a new Sequence 1/6 HP 4600 GPH pump. It runs on less than a third the old one's power. It should move about 3600 GPH though our system with the effective head it will have to lift. Of course nothing matches up mechanically and we're in the process of engineering the plumbing and enlarging the size of the pump house. This last weekend we also put another two coats of Bonsai's SureSeal waterproofing to the top two ponds. Prepping them was the biggest part of the job. The top pond had to have the rock filter removed and the surface made sound. The spillway between the middle pond and the lower falls cracked all the way across. We patched it and put a coat of SureSeal waterproof over it. It rained today but the next sunny day i'll get some pictures taken of the rebuild process.
Sunday 4-22-01: Is it spring yet? This hibernating thing is pretty cool. Just sleep through the cold and gloom of winter. Winter was hard on the pond. It snowed and didn't quit 'til New Year's. During that time we got almost 100" of snow. None of the big fish made it :~( . It's taking a while for the water to clear up and leaves keep blowing in from everywhere. We have spotted (love that word) about two dozen Shubunkins from the batch last summer. They look like they've grown to 4" long over winter. With electric rates on the rise we're going to research high efficiency pumps this week.
Saturday 11-24-00: Well we haven't been real busy with projects lately. The electricians just finished installing an upgrade service so we can rewire the house. The home automation system is only partly working after the upgrade. We just haven't had time to fix that one out yet. The chimney got its yearly checkout. Bad news. All three flues are cracked as well as the brick and cap on the outside. They thing maybe lightning hit the chimney. Ouch, more money. The cars ate a lot of money too. It seemed like a lot to spend just so i can go for a ride to the hardware store on Saturdays. The pond got finished being winterized last Saturday. We waited too long and it was snowing as we played in the water for the last time this year. Ooh, it was cold. We then proceeded to get a foot and a half of snow over 4 days. Next year we're finishing much earlier.
Sunday 10-8-00: We spent a cold day fishing out water hyacinths. They had multiplied from 10 plants to over a hundred. We spotted Bunkie and the two gold koi and then they disappeared again. There are a few baby fish around as well. The water cress is also a bit of a problem. It spread everywhere and its roots permeated all of the rock/gravel bottom. Next spring i'll probably have to remove most of the rock from the river to get all the roots out. The lower pond is now netted until about December. You can see the setup here. Next week we'll shut down the upper pond (sniff) and antifreeze the pipes. It was a pretty good pond year (except for the heron).
Sunday 9-9-00: It's been awhile since we put an entry in here. You can see the Scare Crow motion sensor we purchased to scare away the heron. Last week we started on building Nick that tree house that we'd been promising him. This week we'll try to get the shed shingled.
Friday 8-11-00: "All's well that ends in the well." Or the "Benefits of blanket weed". A couple of days ago Sharky decided to reappear seemingly out of thin air. We think he hid in the blanket weed in the shallow end for over a week. He still disappears all day but comes out at dusk now every night. Now it's war on the heron! Mom picked up "The Scarecrow", a motion sensor sprinkler, at the local garden store. Dottie, the village idiot, walked up and started to sniff it with her nose. It works. It was funny.
Sunday 8-6-00: We took a business trip to Nashville, Tenn. to the Grand Old Opry Hotel. The waterfalls, fountains, tropical rainforests and rivers, all indoors, are a marvel to see. One thing we noticed was that all of the ponds were filling up with money. i've tried different filters and pumps but my ponds don't fill up with money, they suck up money. Hmmm, maybe if i run the pumps in reverse... This last week was the battle of the great blue heron. He has decided to make a daily visit for lunch. We lost one fish, Nick's Sharky (a comet goldfish), and we had to run string around and over the pond to ward off his attacks. We'll have to come up with something less unsightly. The remaining fish are totally freaked and don't want to eat now. .
Sunday 7-23-00: Today was the last day of our vacation...groan. The party last night was fun with a lot of good friends. The pond water was clear and the mosquitoes stayed away. This last week we got the Grill Gazebo done in time for the party, check it out here.
Friday 7-14-00: This is the start of our summer vacation. We hope to get a couple of little projects done this week in-between our recreation times. By next weekend we'll get some pictures posted of the little barbecue deck we're going to build. Next weekend is our summer "Swamp Soirée" celebrating the addition of four acres of swamp to our property. Hey, it beats having a mobile home park next door.
Sunday 7-2-00: We had a busy weekend cutting, stacking and cleaning up the last of the mess from the tree next to the house we had taken down. We'll appreciate it next winter when we throw it in the fireplace. Check out the new pictures on The Pond page, The MidPond, Pond Life and especially the Waterfall Animation. The animations take a little while to load but are worth it. The baby fish (is that where they get the term Fish Fry) are starting to school and right now are a couple of dozen strong.
Sunday 6-25-00: Friday the electricians started the work to upgrade our electric service. They should finish tomorrow. With all this electric stuff running it was sorely needed. Yesterday we were out looking at the pond with a friend and we spotted BABIES. We think they are Shubunkins because some of them have a mottled appearance but some of then are so small you can hardly see them. we'll just have to wait and see how they turn out and if they survive the bigger fish, snakes and frogs. we shouldn't be too surprised with the romantic moonlit nights we've had lately. Today we put a "tulip" fountain head in the top pond. The kit we got also has a "bell" and a "daisy" head. we'll see which one we like the best but we're leaning toward the "tulip".
Sunday 6-18-00: This weekend we installed our central air system. The refrigeration piping had to be run through a finished ceiling and then down a finished outside wall. The thermostat wiring was only 2 conductor and new wire had to be run through a finished area also. It took two full days. All we can say now is "Bring on the heat", we're ready. Last week we waterproofed the concrete ponds with Bonsai's Sureseal. The finishing touches were put on the ponds and 2 new little comet goldfish were put in the top pond. Yesterday we posted some new pix to Waterfall3 and The River. The water has gotten crystal clear since we got the waterfall online full time with it's rock/veggie filter.
Thursday 6-15-00: Well we got in the new motherboard and everything's working fine now. We're also have the top pond finished and planted. It's cool. Check it out here.
Tuesday 6-6-00: We've been busy the last couple of weeks fighting with this new computer we built. We're sending back the motherboard because it's had so many problems. Then we get to reload everything in again. Groan. It has rained for weeks now and it's hard to get started on anything of significance. It was the wettest May ever here. This week we hope to get the upper pond's concrete waterproofed and then get some pictures posted of the decorated pond. The new fish are doing well and have grown already!
Saturday 5-13-00: It's the day before Mother's Day. i wonder where my mother is. This week we received water lilies, arrowhead, marsh marigold, parrots feather and flags from mail order and today we went to a local greenhouse and got water hyacinths, water cress, a yellow water lily and money wort. We also added some new additions to the fish family; Goldar and Tweety two gold koi, Lucy, Mew and Bunkin, three Shubunkins and Sharky, a comet goldfish from Nick's aquarium. We'll try to get some pix up on the Pond Life page soon.
Sunday 4-16-00: It's been just about a year since we brought our projects online. Over 3,000 visitors have come to see the ramblings of a dog since then with over 15,000 page views. Thanks for coming. Later this week we hope to get the hallway project page up. We de-winterized the pond this week. Last night we sat and listened to the crash of the waterfalls and serenade of the frogs, two wood ducks perched themselves in the maple tree and bats flittered about scouring for the rare spring mosquito. Ah, spring again.
Wednesday 3-29-00: Just getting over a touch of the flu. We're still working on the hallways. There are ten doorways to trim-paint plus two closets, chair rail, baseboard, crown molding and trim in the center of the ceiling. Whew. It's taken a gallon of paint so far and all of the doors still have to be repaired and painted. The lower walls got repainted 3 coats to cover the darker old color and the upper painted with a sizing paint to prep for the wallpaper. i don't like wallpapering. It's the kind of stuff people get divorced over. Good thing i'm a dog.
Friday 3-10-00: Michigan weather sure has its ups and downs. Earlier this week it was a record 78* and now it's 26*. The warm part of the week saw the slow spring "wake-up" of the pond. We got out some errant leaves, moved some rocks and started feeding the fish. There were frogs everywhere. It's going to be a few weeks yet before we re-plumb the waterfall. We're going to get some real cold nights yet plus the strainer basket is still broken from last year. We'll have to get another one very soon.
Sunday 2-13-00: Ah, love is in the air again, tomorrow's Valentine's Day. Many people don't know that one of the spots on my butt is shaped like a heart. My father, Romeo of Croatia, got his name Romeo because of all his heart shaped spots. The cold and snow have frozen all dreams of the pond. Another 4-6 weeks before it starts to thaw around here.
Sunday 1-23-00: i.c. has just come back from the annual trek to the Taylor Company in beautiful Rockton Illinois. We had great food, facts, fun and friends. This week we'll get back to the daily grind and dig our paws into our unfinished projects.
Friday 12-31-99: Happy New Year! We haven't gotten too caught up in the "year too early" millennium hype. The wall paper in the hallway must have been put up with super glue. The method that seemed to work the best was to sandpaper, wet down and then wire brush it before using a steamer. The sizing and glue residue came off with a wet ScotchBrite® pad on a drywall sanding block and then followed up with a soapy sponge. We're extending the chair rail in the entry way to the bedroom hallway. They don't make the same style anymore but we're stealing the casing trim from inside the closets to use and replacing it with current colonial door casings. You can't see it anyway. Best wishes for the New Year from i.c. spots and family.
Sunday 12-19-99: Yes, we have been busy. Last week was Big Dog's 50th birthday and with Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping and school there hasn't been much time to get other stuff done. This week we started steaming the wall paper off in the entry hall. Not very glamorous or fun but it must be done. The final project for school, Home Automation, has been posted to this site. It will get some updates later on. One of the uses for home automation has been the Christmas lights. It sure is handy to just hit one button instead of running around turning all the inside and outside lights on and off.
Sunday 11-14-99: Finished winterizing the pond. i was lucky to have made it so long. Now we just dream about next year and the bio-filter/veggie filter, wireless remote controlled waterfall, fountain, lighting and baby pouring water features plus a rework of the chunk filter and main bypass. With the holidays coming, work and school it's hard to get anything done. The next project is going to be one of the other small ones laying around we've put off all summer. i think i'm part bear because i feel like hibernating until spring. Oh, and check out the new Waterfall Animation. It's not the best quality, we'll put up a better pix next year, This is to look at when it's snowing.
Friday 11-12-99: Well we're back. The Halloween trick was the hard drive crashing. it's taken 2 weeks to rebuild most everything and hopefully this will update the web page. i took the leaf net off the pond now that the leaves have fallen. Of course a strong wind after that blew some leaves up the hill and into the pond. Life can be ruff...ruff..ruff...woof woof woof, Wait that was me. Sometimes i startle myself.
Sunday 10-17-99: We ran the waterfall briefly this week. It was awesome!. Just have a few water redirections to make; unfortunately they may have to wait 'til next spring. We spent this weekend cleaning up the construction mess around the ponds and falls. The leaves are really starting to fall and we have the water garden netted until it's over.
Wednesday 10-13-99: We interrupt for this news flash. Frogs found surfing the net!. News at 10:00
Sunday 10-10-99: Whew. We're glad we live in Michigan. At least you have an excuse not to move rocks and concrete in the winter... snow is a little bit lighter. Check out the last big link in the pond system, The Mid Pond.
Friday 10-8-99: Started working on the "Middle Pond" and rapids. First we had to rebuild two terraces and a short wall. We hope to get the pond cemented but it looks like it's going to rain for a couple of days. We'll at least get some pictures posted this weekend. Woof
Thursday 9-30-99: Can't believe fall is here all ready, anyway we had to hurry up and get the leaf net up today because of high winds and many falling leaves. The end of ponding season is getting in sight.
Sunday 9-26-99: Finished The River. The trees are turning and the leaves are starting to fall. We will have to get the leaf net up soon. We ran the skimmer all day to keep up with the debris. This week also marked the appearance of Tommy Turtle, a 6" painted turtle. We hope he stays around a while.
Sunday 9-19-99: Finally got rollin' on The River. We helped Grandma, who's turning her whole front yard into a garden, dig a pathway. Then we came home and dug some more. i think it may be more like a linear pond. Great place for a natural veggie filter.
Monday 9-13-99: Just got the new pond with fresh mortar covered before we got dumped on with rain last night. It's getting close but we'll have to move on to "the river" this week. Grandma up the street has a load of gravel for the river sitting in her front yard and we need to get it moved soon.
Sunday 9-12-99: As you can see we changed the layout and navigation a little. This weekend we finished the top edge of the top pond. The weir still needs the liner feathered out with patching cement. i couldn't wait and ran the waterfall even though it just dumped on the ground.. It was very impressive. The other terrace walls need quite a bit of work before we start the next pond. Pix to be posted tomorrow night.
Thursday 9-9-99: Just wanted to write that date, that's all. Plans are churning to finish up the top pond. We'll get some done this weekend. The leaves are turning already... sigh... almost time to "close-up" the pond. Back to homework.
Monday 9-6-99: Got the latest pix posted of the top pond. i keep forgetting; is the Labor Day holiday a day to rest or a day to labor? Oh well, keep your paws to the pavement and your tail in the air!
Sunday 9-5-99: Too tired. Can hardly type. Paws hurt. Finished after dark. Installed bulk head fitting, padding, liner, re-enforcement mesh and 2200 lbs. of concrete, also moved a trailer load of gravel from up the road. Will post pix tomorrow. Got to rest now.
Friday 9-3-99: Yippee! The holiday weekend! And i figured out why "The Latest" banner didn't show in Netscape. We started a class this week in Java scripting. It's paid off already. We updated the West Michigan Grand Prix page with more pix. We have also been engineering a drain for the top waterfall pond. Should have that cemented and some pix posted this weekend.
Sunday 8-27-99: O.K., so we spent the weekend goofing off. The whole family went to the West Michigan Grand Prix in beautiful downtown Grand Rapids. Way cool! i always wanted to go over the Fulton St. bridge at 160 MPH. We'll post some pictures later and some pictures of the little bit of work we got done on the pond. Monday they're delivering 3000 lbs. of concrete and we have to help unload. Any volunteers?
Sunday 8-22-99: We just got another 360 pounds of cement and mortar, that's a total of 1,120 pounds of Redi-Mix plus about 4 tons of concrete pieces for the top pond... and we haven't even got to the liner yet. We're still kicking around the idea of putting concrete on top of the liner. Dogs are tuff on ponds but the thought of 4000 lbs. of cement...... stop thinking about it! Today a garter snake was checking out the new pond basin. You can check out the latest building pix.
Sunday 8-15-99: All in all it's just another brick in the wall. Despite having our friend Paul over to help, we only got a few more rows up on the waterfall wall. We did however tidy up a bit and got a lot of dirt moved out of the top terrace to get ready for the top pond. So far we've gotten 760 pounds of mortar and concrete in Redi-Mix bags for the top wall. This week we also received another 15' X 20' EPDM rubber sheet for the falls and rapids. It looks like it might be here a bit early, still lots to do.
Sunday 8-8-99: i was wondering why people pay go to health spas, hire a "personal trainer" and then pay to have their grass cut? i got a new idea, it's called WorkBo. You pay me to carry concrete and dig and we'll make sure you get a good workout; just don't wear those funny body suits. It took more digging than i thought, as usual. More of the stump was further down and had to be removed and the footing trench dug deeper to get below ground level. The wall is being reinforced with plastic netting used for fencing and embedded in the mortar. Two rows of concrete pieces done so far.
Sunday 8-1-99: You know how you are when you get hot and you drool a lot and your tongue drags on the ground... no, i'm not talking about that, i'm talking about 96 degrees and 85 percent humidity. As it was in most of the country, it was a July scorcher this week. Only a couple of pond building months left this season.. There's a lot to do. Jerry got poison ivy rash after running the mower through it down the hill. Itch, itch..We started to dig out the top terrace. Of course there was a large elm stump in the middle of where the wall has to be. A little more digging and we'll start laying the waterfall wall footings..
Sunday 7-25-99: Whew! Talk about hot... well, let's not talk about it. Saturday, or maybe more like Saturday night when it cooled down a little, we installed 40 feet of 2 inch piping for the waterfall. Part of the old broken concrete retaining wall had to be removed first. Today we started to strip the ground cover from the top terrace. What a pile of English ivy and rotting railroad ties. Most of the ivy got replanted but we have to still find some way of getting more to survive until we get done with the falls (like this fall). Anyway, check out some new pix at pond life and pets.
Friday 7-23-99: It was 93 degrees today and it's supposed to be hot all weekend, never the less work goes on. Here you can see the progress of the river. More to follow later this weekend.
Sunday 7-18-99: Despite vacation we managed to get some stuff done. The bottom of the pond got reworked to accept "seaweed". The sides of the deep end were too steep to hold dirt so we devised stacking rocks from the bottom up. We drained half of the water and laid a ton or so of 4-6" river rock followed by 3/4 of a ton of sand and then a half a ton of pea gravel to lock it all together. Bog plants of purple pickerel, arrowhead, Japanese rush and marsh marigold got planted and the edges got reworked. It looks a lot more natural now but we've still got to get the "seaweed". The patio also got leveled better. Some of the slabs stayed together so we dug holes and used a hydraulic jack to get them to break apart along the expansion joints. Instead of lifting all of them out, we poured sand along the cracks, pried them up and then washed the sand underneath with water to raise the low ones. Drat, now it's back to real work.
Sunday 7-11-99: i.c. spots is on vacation this week. In-between boating, golfing and sightseeing we'll try to get some updates in. Also, Mom had someone pull out in front of her while she was driving and she T-boned the other car. She has a big car and would have walked away with no injuries except for the stupid air bag. It slammed her in the face and now she has two black eyes, a swollen nose and abrasions. Thanks Federal Government, mandate some more expensive junk. So if you see her, we didn't beat her up.
Sunday Fourth of July: Happy Independence Day! i'm still working on the patio and getting the river and waterfalls pipe in. The temperature is 92 degrees and the heat index is 112. Bad day for moving concrete and putting up a basketball hoop. To paraphrase though, "A bad day in the garden is better than the best day at the office".
Sunday 6-27-99: Breakin' rocks in the hot sun, i fought the law and the law won.....oh hi, i think we're suffering heat stoke. It's been about 90 degrees and very humid this weekend but we got 3 concrete slabs moved around, leveled and set. It was daunting but we were undaunted. We could only work about a half hour and we had to go sit in the air conditioning for a while. Ooh, i can't get close to myself when i sweat. Where shall i go? You can go to the updated pix of The Westside and see the rapid growth of the cattail.
Wednesday 6-23-99: The concrete slab has been moved into position and back twice now and we can't get it leveled. Ah, for the secrets of the pyramids. Did you know that pictures of spotted dogs have been found in the pyramids? Did you know we have four more slabs to move?
Sunday 6-20-99: Well the garage door opener project went off as planned. The new unit at least has better security like random changing codes and and an outside keypad unit. We dressed the wiring for the open button better by going up through the finished ceiling and across the attic to the door instead of stapled across the ceiling like Sears did years ago. At least if you have to do it anyway, try to make it better. This afternoon we started to pry the large slab of concrete back into its old position and level it. The leveling job definitely looks like a daunting task.
Friday 6-18-99: i.c. spots has been lazy and it's time to get going again. The year and a half old Stanley© screwed drive garage door opener broke (even Stanley said they're junk and just throw it away and get a chain drive one). i bet we'll never get another Stanley© again. We're going to install a new Genie© chain drive opener tomorrow. If you haven't followed the links below try the new Pond Life page and get a glimpse at the changing life in the pond.
Thursday 6-10-99: Ta da da...Ta da da...Ta da da... News flash. The Loch Spots Monster has been captured. We had to drain half of the pond and rig up a stout net on a long pole but even then it took over an hour to net him. He's about 10" in diameter and very prehistoric looking.. He wrecked havoc on the water lilies and frogs but the fish survived. We took him to a nearby nature center and released him.. The tadpoles have literally popped into tiny toads and are hopping around. Life at the pond returns to normal.
Wednesday 6-9-99: HUGE is the only way to describe the terror that lurked in the pond. On the day that the first two water lily blooms appeared there also appeared a dinner plate size snapping turtle. Frogs have suddenly grown scarce and we're afraid for the fish's lives. So far they have evaded the frightening steel jaws but can they long survive? From where he came we do not know but we wish he'd go back there. Developing....
Sunday 6-6-99: Hmmm, today's date looks the same upside-down. After two previous hot days it hit all the way to 96 today. It already feels like the dog days of summer . Pant, pant. With it has come the first big algae bloom of the year as water temperatures are soaring. I think I'll just throw in some diced ham: can you say pea soup. The water lilies are finally starting to spread to cover the surface of the water a little. I think it will take another year before they really take off. We cranked up the air conditioning just to survive (it's funny, heating or humidifying the air is "conditioning" too). Take a look at the new panoramic view of the south yard.
Sunday 5-30-99: It's been a beautiful holiday weekend. We did get in a new hosta garden around the iron pig kettle in the front yard. A path to the left of the pond got a walkway put in. We planted two bunches of bloodgrass and an emerald & gold euonymus between the new walkway and the pond. Slugs are proving to be a problem in the "cardboard" garden. We're trying a slug control product. Earlier this week we cut down a large branch that had partially broken off over the garage. After cutting it out with a fiberglass pole saw, it shorted a live wire and a ground wire on the electric service. Wow, rooftop welding.
Sunday 5-23-99: It's been a week of soccer, mosquitoes, rain, school recitals, Grandma's birthday and helping in Grandma's garden up the street. We did get some of the garage cleaned out, some trees cut up and the lawn fertilized. The plants in the pond are starting to grow at an accelerated rate with the cattails already about 4 feet tall. Noticed Netscape users can not see the banner of this page. Hmmm, we'll have to see if we can figure this one out.
Tuesday 5-18-99: Now it's the frogs. A few nights ago they started crooning... loudly. There must be one very good looking frog in the pond because she's attracting a lot of suitors. The backyard is like lover's lane lily pads. Two days of rain have given us plenty of rest and lots of mosquitoes. Ah, we love the wetlands (we used to call them swamps).
Sunday 5-16-99: A friend loaned us a roto-tiller and 3 small stumps and couple of hours later it was done. We got 3 vegetable gardens in and put up 100' of 4' high fencing. Dottie kept jumping over the 3' high fence. In one of the gardens we're trying a "cardboard" garden. Big corrugated cardboard pieces are laid and held down with patio stones, holes are cut in it and the seedlings planted. It's supposed to be a good mulch and it's free. We'll see how it works. Had a birdbath bottom out front with no top. Having a different birdbath now, we decided to try a large clay saucer and plant it with begonias. Looks good. A 4' x 12' area got cleared and an edged flower garden got planted to the left of the pond with hollyhocks, begonias and pampas grass. Dottie has gotten obsessed with frogs and won't stay out of the pond. Grrrrr.
Thursday 5-13-99: The garden needs planting soon. The roto-tiller is a no start. Home repair has turned into small engine repair. The tiller is 20 some years old and it's only started a couple of times a year. We think the points or condenser are bad, they are behind the flywheel and it won't come off. Another couple of days wasted on a side trip. Life is a journey, keep your paws on the pavement.
Sunday 5--9-99: Nick had a good birthday and Mom & the Grandmas had good weather too. Mom and Nick planted some flats and we got the side gate built and installed. The pond is full of pollywogs, i told you about those toads. woof.
Saturday 5-8-99: It's night now and it has rained on and off all day. Nick had a soccer game in the rain, brrrrrr. Had to go Mother's Day shopping, the last time i saw my mother we barked at each other. Good weekend for planning and body healing. Check out the updated pond building page
Friday 5-7-99: It's the start of another weekend. The vegetable garden has to be roto-tilled and flats of flowers we bought this week planted. It's rained on and off the last two days. We hope to break up some more concrete this weekend and finish the side gate. It is Mother's Day and Nick's birthday on Sunday, we won't get much done then. The wind, rain and spring stuff on the trees have dumped debris all over the top of the pond. The pump skimmer and hand net cleaned it up in short order. .
Sunday 5-2-99: What a great weekend. The weather was sunny and about 77 degrees. We'll have to get in a vegetable garden soon. Decided to make the stream "cut" 4 foot wide to allow the stream to meander from side to side. i calculated we'd have about a 50 to 55 foot steam and falls when we get done (maybe by this fall?). We got one 4'x4' slab busted up and found MORE chipmunks and a large garter snake. There are lots of snakes in the broken concrete walls too. Dottie and her boy Nick love to play with them and Mom likes to practice running when they're around. Most of the electric wire for the pump got buried and an area off to the side had more landscaping done. We went to the store and shopped for blinds or louvers for the lower porch but didn't find anything. We also dug and then cemented in a post for a side gate to the back yard. i think having the pond area fenced in is a very good idea and in most urban areas probably is required. We have an area with about 1/2 an acre fenced in out of 5 acres to run around in. Speaking of weather, the full moon was out this weekend and toads from all over the yard seemed to love floating around the pond and singing love songs in it's soft glow. Ah, spring.
Thursday 4-29-99: After digging back to the stump we moved the concrete slab. The whole underside of the patio is a huge labyrinth of tunnels and stockpiles of hickory nuts. i can hardly restrain myself from the smell of chipmunk. Two large roots have been chopped out and we'll have to cut the slab next to it in half this weekend to get at the rest and start to make the path for the stream. The more i chop the better that stump is looking. We may find a way to work it into the landscaping It was windy the last few days and we ran the skimmer to clean the top of the pond. "Big Bob" the frog is singing so loud at night i'm afraid the neighbors may complain!
Monday 4-26-99: Well we made it to the stump. No chipmunk kingdom here Oh boy, this is not going to be easy. The stump would be gone in short order if it was a rawhide chew stick. The pump got installed and some leaves raked out of the bottom. Other than that, the lawn needed mowing, one tire on the lawn tractor was flat and we moved a cord of wood from the yard to the shed. Oh yeah, both tires on the hauling cart were flat and had to be repaired. The fence where the grape vines are had rotted cross-members and those got replaced with cedar ones. We planted four arborvitae for a screen on one side of the pond. Time now for another work week.
Friday 4-23-99: It rained the better part of this week and the ground is real wet. Earlier this week the dirt started to be removed in front of the terrace. i know Saturday we'll find the hidden kingdom of the chipmunks when we get to the tree stump. Maybe we'll also get the pump back in under the dock .