Winter’s Journey

February 17th, 2008

A lot more rain last night, but we slept through most of it. Awoke to a balmy 50 degrees F, but the temperature is dropping fast. Maybe even snow tonight or tomorrow. We’ve certainly had a lot of moisture so far this year. I hope the summer is not quite as dry as the past few years, but at least the pond will have a good start. It’s full to the brim and we haven’t even had our spring rains yet. Only a couple more weeks and the little critters should be coming out. Cricket frogs and Spring Peepers! I love their calls in early spring and look forward to the end of winter’s journey this year.

It was interesting to see the ice thawing on the pond this morning, but also where the rain washed silt into the pond. Can you see the bands of silt under the ice?

Pond ice and silt

We went to our son’s Blue and Gold Banquet last night for Cub Scouts. It was very nice, with a lot of symbology. The young scouts received awards and pins as recognition for their effort and dedication. There was a lot of parental involvement such as lighting candles to symbolize positive steps through life’s journey. You could see how proud the kids were, and it was very touching to speak from the heart about helping shape a child’s life in a postive way. This week I found one of my old neckerchief “slides” that I used over 30 years ago, and our young boy was able to wear it as he received his Tiger Badge.

Cub Scout Tiger Badge

Ponds and Rivers

February 9th, 2008

The rain has certainly filled the pond.  Here’s the stump I like to watch during the year- it’s about 3-4 feet tall and was standing on a dry shelf of grass over summer and fall.   I don’t know how long it will last, but it helps me estimate the depth of the water.  And there’s a few nice Bass that like to hide around it in spring!

Pond stump almost submerged after rain

On the subject of water, we live within a half hour of the Missouri River.  Interesting to consider that Lewis and Clarke paddled and pushed their way up this river with a team of men over 200 years ago.  I’ve been camping and boating on the river… it swirls and rushes along, filled with fallen trees and other wood debris in many places.  When it’s really cold in winter you start to see chunks of ice floating down the river.  I’m not sure if that’s just ice coming from farther north, or if it accumulates because it’s so cold?  I have never seen it totally frozen because the river moves so fast.  But chunks of ice do accumulate on the banks of the river.  The Mississippi River can freeze in places where locks and dams make larger pools and lakes.  But it too generally stays open, which brings many Bald Eagles down from the north to winter here.

Missouri River in winter

Larger Perspectives

September 20th, 2007

     Sometimes when we are at peace or opposition with the world around us it seems like nothing else exists but what we see or experience.  It’s not always easy to find that frame of mind where we can detach ourselves from the moment and leave the world’s cares behind; somehow I think that is a worthy exercise at times.   Even here with the tranquil beauty that the pond and land represents, we hear neighbors in the distance, cars traveling the country road and other noises of human endeavor at times.  But in more peaceful settings like this, it’s easier to feel the rhythm of the natural world, to experience timeless moments and the change of seasons, and maybe even to better understand the immutable nature of the spirit within each of us.  Yet it is, after all, simply a pond… a landscape of water.  We are the one’s who give it meaning, and define our experiences as memorable, joyful, sad or beautiful.  Maybe the pond’s reflective nature echoes that within us, and although it’s simply an element of the landscape, it’s a tangible representation of a larger perspective.  Something we all need at times.

The pond is a tranquil place, and means so much more

Foggy Pond and Chubby Fungi

September 15th, 2007

     Up early this morning as the sun came up… Brrr!  The air was so cool that the warm water of the pond had fog rising from the surface.  I can’t believe it’s almost Fall!  But I do love the crisp, cool days :)

Fog rising from the warm pond on a cool September morning


Speaking of mushrooms, here’s a chubby little fellow…. what the heck is it called!? Funny how when you start to think about something, you begin seeing them everwhere!

A chubby mushroom what kind is it!?

Koi and the Blob

September 10th, 2007

    A productive weekend even with rain.  It’s so nice to have softer soil to work with after the dry summer months.  It was time to plant/transplant a few shrubs, clean up wood debris and cut the grass.  The air is noticeably cooler and the grass is turning green once again.  I wish the days were still longer to get more done, but I really enjoy the afternoon light with the sun lower in the sky.  It makes for shadows and dappled light throughout the property, and relaxing evenings.   I spent some time walking the pond this weekend also.   And lo and behold, I finally saw the little Koi we released a couple weeks ago.  They were meeting the bigger Koi near the dam at the time.  I didn’t get too close, but noted the two little Koi swimming near the side of a larger Koi.  I’m just glad they haven’t been eaten!  Later I came back for a few pictures.

     Here are two of the big Koi, and they are very large, probably 15-20 pounds… that’s a Maple tree leaf floating near the orange one’s mouth!  When I stocked them last year, they were only 10 inches- not even half of their present size.  We don’t feed them, but they are obviously doing just fine.

 Two large Koi in the pond

     And here is a shot of the little Koi we just stocked- it’s only about 7 inches long… can you see the Largemouth Bass to the left?   That’s about a 12 inch Bass.  The Koi was swimming along with the Bass for some reason, but it’s a quick one- when it saw me on the bank it darted off in a hurry.  It will be a beautiful Koi when it grows up.

 Small Koi swimming along with Largemouth Bass

I came across this “blob” near the shoreline the other day.  In the Spring I would think it was a mass of frog eggs, but after careful inspection it’s a mass of Bryozoans.  They are a gelatinous group of tiny colonial organisms, sometimes called Moss Animals.  Most species of Bryozoa live in the ocean with harder structures much like coral, but there are a few that live in freshwater lakes, pond and rivers and are more gelatinous.  They are supposed to be a positive indicator of good water quality,  because they feed by filtering microscopic protozoa and algae from the water.  But that’s mostly in terms of  water quality affected by mud or silt perhaps.  I read that some of these Bryozoan masses can move on their own by the swimming action of the tiny colonial organisms! 

Bryozoans in the pond

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