Note: I read all comments and respond to most. --- New posts every 10 to 15 days...except when life decides to get in my way by dropping a log into my pond.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Yes, I Really Do Have a Koi Pond

It was the end of February, a leap year, when we moved from the rental on the far north end of town into our own home just 8 miles south.  The ground was thawing, at least just enough to dig a hole for the pond that would be the new home of our 7 koi we acquired the previous summer: Fuego, Azul, Ninja, Wasabi, Cochise-Shadow, Bogie and Bacall.

There were over a dozen large Comet (gold fish) in the backyard pond when we moved into that 1970's tri-level rental, but they had been slowly disappearing.  We discovered a Great Blue Heron had been making its rounds every evening, taking the golden feast back to its hungry nestlings.  After searching out the many possible deterrents to save the fish, we chose the Rosie Method.  Over 30 tiny sacrificial Rosie Goldfish were purchased to join the few Comets remaining in the 1000 gallon contoured pond.  Swimming closer to the surface, the Rosies would easily become the next meal for "Big Bird's" family, serving as decoys while protecting their more expensive cousins. 

The Great Blue quit coming by mid-summer, but a terminal illness struck the pond, taking the lives of the last 3 Comets. We decided to purge the water and add lots of new good bacteria to prepare for genuine koi. That's when we introduced Fuego and Azul to their new home.

Fuego got his name because of the silvery specks that flash atop his body of red and black spots set against a cream background.  He also would jump quite high when we first brought him home; we thought he was "full of fire."  Azul is similar in color, but without the silvery specks. She carries a slight tinge of blue hidden just beneath the translucent cream of her head.  Both fish are fantails, which the Japanese do not recognize as "real" koi, so we conceded somewhat by giving them Spanish names.  This led to us buying 2 more.

Ninja was a pure black genuine Japanese koi with one small red-orange spot on its side.  You would never really see him coming; he'd just suddenly appear.   Wasabi is another genuine Japanese koi.  He's black with the pattern of a white fish skeleton from head to toe, and swims with a saucy-spicy attitude.

At this point we were hooked, so we brought home 3 more. My husband and I couldn't agree on the name of the beautiful, burnished brown (char-goi), fantail.  Kelly thought he was somewhat stealthy, like the Indian, Cochise.  I thought he was stealthy and obscure like The Shadow of 1930's radio fame.  He's actually quite friendly, so we let our guests decide which name fits best.  Which brings me to Bogie and Bacall.  Both are yellow and golden-orange domestic koi, that really stand out wherever they go, whether exploring, swimming or just relaxing.  Not sure exactly, but they remind us of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

There we have it.  All 7 of our koi that had to move because we were moving.  But koi hibernate in the winter.  They don't completely stop moving, but they don't eat much, so their immune system is at its lowest.  It's very risky.  We were only given one month to install a pond at our new place, then the fish had to move - hibernation or not.

The ground is still pretty hard here in March, but Kelly managed to get a huge pit dug out under our Aspens by the front door, where we sunk a 300 gallon livestock tank that became our koi pond, complete with filter and air stone.  By the end of March, we had transported 6 "sleepy" fish.  That's right, I said 6.  Ninja, just like his name implies was simply out of sight, not found when we scoured the old pond (sigh).  If you look really close, you can see all six coming over to say "hi."

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to tell you... thirteen heroic Rosies survived to enjoy their new surroundings, hanging with the big fish, under the Aspens.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Just a Little Bit More, Huh!

Okay, I've made claims that I am (or was) a poet, so I figure I had better come clean or produce some evidence. This one has been my most controversial, with the need for a little deeper thinking than one may realize at first glance.  It's easy to assume I'm speaking of a baby dying, but am I?


The first breath of spring
And baby's first cry,
God's blessed that couple
I wonder why?

Love holds many wonders
When the young are in mind,
Engagement then marriage
And fam'lies left behind.

The cold wind of winter
And baby's last cry,
Is God an Indian giver?
One would wonder why?

I actually do have a lighter side; for example:

The Gallant Knight

He looked so fair
Upon his young mare
So gallantly charging.
The crowds all cheering
His enemy sneering
As he came bravely on.

His horse - it reared
As the black knight neared
And he raised his gleaming lance.
One or two blows?
Nobody knows
Save a maiden who misses her Jon.

All for now... I will need to work on this just a little bit more, huh!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Want to Write But... (continued)

Nearly a week since the bulb count was just over 150 and all of them looking for their blankets. Are you wondering if they're freezing and alone? Alone, yes. Freezing? Almost. Still in paper bags. You see, it snowed. And then... it snowed again. And then? Well, Mom needed to get packed to go to my bachelor brother's home for 10 days to visit (yaay!). That means time off from my mom-care-giving and moving on to bulb-care-giving.

The next day, a phone call from my brother. Then, the day after that: a road trip 45 miles south to his house. Why? Oh... we told ourselves that it was to watch back-to-back football games on his slightly larger TV and have "NY style pizza," but it was actually because Mom forgot to pack what she called,  "something absolutely critical."  It was her deodorant. Seriously. That's okay. Brother said he'd get it at the store. But... there was one other thing... her special Avon dusting powder! Okay. She'll just have to go without, we agreed. But... yes, another "but" (and this is really the biggest one of them all)... she wanted to know if there was any way her latest audio books could be forwarded to her, since they hadn't arrived yet before she left. They had been ordered in time from the Library Services for the Blind, but there was no mail delivery the day before. So, she had packed three older ones having told me those would be fine. But, we were all very aware that listening to her books is the only activity that keeps her happy (when not talking or eating)... and, believe me, I wanted to keep her happy while she's with my brother. So, my husband and I made the trip down there to watch football and eat pizza... oh yeah, and as long as we were going anyway, we brought her books (all 12 of them), and her powder AND even her deodorant. We all agreed not to let her know that I was coming. It worked. She nearly cried.

It was quite dark when we arrived home, so I was thinking, "that's okay, tomorrow's a nice enough day for tending to bulbs." Monday comes, and so does - you guessed it - more snow. Go figure. I can hardly believe that the weathermen (all of them) were wrong. But, no matter. I actually do have a plan, and it doesn't even involve causing a massive heat wave to thaw out the ground. There just happens to be a large quantity of undesignated topsoil still sitting in my driveway from this last July. Uh, did I say "topsoil?" Actually, it's nearly half sand mixed with dairy manure, affectionately referred to as "Colorado topsoil." I wouldn't want someone to get the idea it's that wonderfully rich black soil found back in the Midwest - the kind of soil I thought I was getting when I ordered it. (sigh) But the good news is, after much internet research, I discovered that this mix would actually work as the perfect medium for bulbs to "sleep in" till February gets here. How about that! I only need to shovel it into these large plastic bins we have in the garage, then submerge the bulbs. All 150+ of them. Maybe even before Mom comes home.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Want to Write But...

...over 200 bulbs to plant, and running out of time!! What was I thinking?!! (sigh)

Wednesday, November 10

Cold, cold, cold.  The Cold is upon us now - for sure.  A 70% chance of snow by 5:00 tonight and all day tomorrow.  What am I to do with over 150 spring bulbs still sitting in various bags, waiting to feel the blanket of earth about them? (sigh)

[The grammar of it all: Recently I discovered that the seasons of the year are not capitalized unless to begin a sentence or when used as the name of a person or place. Surprised? I was.]