Sunday, July 2, 2017

Pond-ering Several Homes

Backyard ponds are a benefit to frogs, dragonflies, butterflies, and birds, to name a few, and also create opportunities to improve photography skills.
I spent a few days last week harvesting one of Nova Scotias best crops, a never ending supply of rocks. I was digging a hole for a small backyard pond and Mother Nature threw me a challenge or two. Admittedly, it would have taken me a lot less time to dig a few years ago. It's amazing how age seems to creep up on you and then hit you with a wallop.


Weve been without a backyard pond for the past two years, ever since we moved from our country place into town. We did, however, have a pond form, one of those molded shapes made out of rigid material to make backyard do-it-yourself a simple task. The pond form has been sitting unused in various places over the past two years, either hidden by a fence in a corner of our backyard, or taking up prime real estate in our garage. 
 
Both storage places irritated me enough to forget about how much work having a pond is, and planning the best spot to locate one on our town lot. How did we end up with a pond form, you might ask. Are we the only ones who have carted a pond from home to home as we moved across the country to a new province? Probably.

Our first pond in our first home was really just a spot of water in our postage stamped size downtown lot in Ottawa. We used a half whisky barrel, filled it up with water, and threw in a pond plant. The barrel was buried in the garden, and absorbed and retained the water just fine without a liner. We moved from the city to our first country place, which was actually not in the country but in a suburban type residential area just outside a small town.

Thats where my gardening adventures began. We had a one and a half acre lot, and when my dad visited us his piece of advice was not to let my gardens get too large or they would be a burdensome amount of work. I remembered that advice about 15 years after he gave it to me, two properties and very large sized flower and vegetable gardens later.
Our cat Phantom enjoyed drinking from one of our first ponds
We had a few ponds at that home. We started with a new half whisky barrel and liner on our deck with the obligatory pond plant and our cat Phantom enjoyed drinking out of it. To be honest with you, I really cant remember what happened to that pond. Next, I spotted a blue bathtub at the end of someones driveway when we were out on a back roads drive. I convinced my husband to return and pick it up and we lugged it home for me to create a larger pond on the ground at the corner of our deck. I made a rock wall around it and we became the owners of two goldfish. 
 
It didnt take me long to be unhappy about my bathtub. It turns out that although I like the thought of re-purposing used items, I really dont like to have them in or around my own home. 
 
We lugged the bathtub to the dump, where it should have been deposited after the first owner, and invested in a three foot by four foot pond form. Im not sure if the fish were happier, but I was. Until the day that our fish disappeared and I found a molted snake skin on the edge on the pond.

After 10 years living in suburban country, it was time for us to make one of my dreams come true and we moved to Nova Scotia. Crazy me, I dug up my pond form, filled in the hole with dirt and perennials, and hauled the pond across the country to our new home.

But the pond looked puny on our 20 acre lot. You know where this is going, right?

After we purchased a tractor with a back hoe, we put my husband to work. He dug a huge 15 foot by eight foot pond, with a depth of over six feet. We bought a tarp and created our own liner, and filled it up gradually so our well didnt run dry. A birthday present of two koi, lots of work to "naturalize" the area, and a bench made out of a huge rock slab dragged into place by the tractor, made it a wonderful spot to sit and contemplate. Our pond form was retired to the storage shed.
Our granddaughter, with the help of our dog, added koi to our expanded country pond before the surrounding landscape was created.
We didnt see our koi the next spring, and thought they must have perished over the winter, so we stocked the pond with six goldfish. It turned out that the koi got moving once the water warmed up, and the koi and goldfish like the pond so much that we ended up with hundreds of them. Frogs, dragonflies and butterflies all loved it and, along with quiet times around the pond, I had lots of opportunities to improve my photography skills.

This is about the time I remembered my dads advice from years ago, and all that work catches up to you as you age. It was time to move into town, and time to move the pond form to its third home.

I contemplated selling it, but I couldnt do it. Two years later, and here we are with a freshly dug hole and inserted pond form. Im very proud to say that its as close to level as it has ever been and it has just been filled with water from our rain barrel.

Its primed, and ready for a couple of fish. But were waiting on a visit from our grandchildren to introduce the fish, so that will be a focus for another day.

published in the South Shore Breaker - June 28, 2017

2 comments:

TeresaA said...

It seems that you are destined to be a pond person. There are worst things!

Sybil N said...

There's just something wonderful about a pond; no matter how big or small. Looking forward to seeing yours ... SOON.