Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Time to Rebuild the Ponds - Again

Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day - sunny and warm with 9% humidity. Yep, a whopping 9%. We spent the day working in the backyard. I trimmed bushes and pulled weeds as Bill cleaned the grill - better known as The Benford - to get her ready for the summer season. Then we started the long, dirty process of cleaning out and rebuilding the ponds.

Bill started by emptying and scrubbing down the upper pond. He had to reconstruct the tubes that circulate the water and carry it from the filter in the lower pond to the main falls at the head of the upper pond. The big, heavy rocks that make-up the main falls looked good so we hoped we would not have to move and rebuild them.

The shop vac got quite a workout sucking the water and dirt out of the ponds.

Once it was clean, we filled the upper pond with fresh water and replaced the newly potted pond plants - including a gorgeous pond Lilly that Bill has lovingly nurtured for years. Next we rounded up the fish from the lower pond and relocated them into the upper pond.

We had a helper. In Florida, the Scrub Jays are endangered - but they are abundant here in Colorado.

The middle waterfalls were a mess and all of the rocks had to be removed, cleaned and the falls completely rebuilt.

Put down that camera and get over here and help! This job was a dirty mess. I was up to my ankles and elbows in stinky black rotting muck. I had to get into the pond to get all of the stones out before we could vacuum out the rest of the water and slime. The water was cold and the black scum of decaying vegetation and fish poop smelled ugly - but then again, so did I.

The upper pond is looking pretty good and the middle waterfalls have been completely rebuilt. Time to fill the lower pond, catch and relocate the fish - again - and turn on the falls. Everything looked good at first, then we noticed a leak in the upper pond. The weight of the main falls had shifted the liner slightly. We had to take the main falls from the upper pond apart, drain the pond and try to level the liner. What a job! By dinnertime, we had it mostly back together - with the exception of replacing the main falls. The water was beautiful - crystal clear. You could see the fish swimming around and the plants looked great around the edges of the water. The middle falls were beautiful.

We went to bed exhausted, but enjoyed listening to the water trickling over the river rock as we fell asleep. The pond is about 15 feet from our opened bedroom window.

This morning when we got up the ponds looked like a herd of water buffaloes had played in them all night - using the plants as beach balls. The plants were all uprooted and scattered around the yard. The dirt from the pots was in the ponds and they are so murky - we have no idea if we have any fish left or not. Even the filters and bubblers were in disarray. Raccoons are the probable culprits - and there must have been a bunch of them. We can't believe we didn't hear a thing. It is very discouraging to see our hard work destroyed. Now we will have to drain and clean the ponds again.

We are setting up motion detectors and traps tonight - so maybe we will see who our visitors are.

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