Friday, September 29, 2006

On Hoosier Pond

Those of y’all that know me personally know that I have a crazy crafty/homey/garden-y streak a mile wide. My online friends - who only know me as a mean, controlling bitch - might be surprised to know that in my real life I am very Martha Stewart-y.

On second thought, maybe not so surprising.

But I just want to say for the record, that I have never berated an assistant for failing to provide me with the correct vintage Merlot.

At any rate, after much preparation and hard work and on my part and on Spooney’s, my backyard pond has been completed and has cycled (pond talk!) and is now a safe place for the fishies to live.

Here’s some fun facts: there are over two tons of big rocks, about 500 lbs. of pebbles, and about 200 lbs. of gravel in there. All brought from the driveway to the backyard using our trusty wheelbarrow. Until the wheel broke, that is. And then they were dragged to the backyard in our trusty wheelbarrow-shaped sled.

The waterfall took about a whole day to get right on its own, because we had to move the rocks into about a gazillion different positions before we found a configuration that allowed the water to cascade beautifully down the stones, as opposed to shooting straight out and drenching the person standing right in front of it. Which was me, by the way.

The pond holds about 1500 gallons of water, I figure. I had a book to tell me how to figure that. I’ve forgotten exactly how it said to figure that, but that’s okay, because as you get older you learn how to instantly recognize information you will never need again and it just goes right out of your brain with no trouble at all.

We have minnows to eat the mosquito larvae, and we have some comet goldfish. Comet goldfish are very hardy, can grow to a length of up to 6", and are also known as “feeder goldfish.” That is, fish you buy to feed to other, larger or meaner fish. So think of the break that was for the guys we brought home. You’re welcome, fishies!

No, we do not have koi. Stop asking me that. There are other fish in the sea, you know, besides koi. Fish snobs.

The pond has already attracted many dragonflies and damselflies, and I have a new bird visitor as well: a yellow warbler that is very fond of drinking from the waterfall. He’s also very fond of pooping on the waterfall, but he’s so chirpy and yellow and cute it’s hard to stay mad at him.

The plantings are a little sparse right now, but they will of course grow and fill in. All the plants are either succulents, or are otherwise drought-tolerant. See how good I am? I’m “water-wise,” as the LA Department of Water and Power is fond of saying.

The pond lights run off a solar panel. Are you impressed? You should be.

The pond pump is electric, and the wiring had to be run through conduit and buried in the ground and under a sidewalk. Who did all that, you ask? A licensed electrician? Nope. Spooney and I did it. Again, we had a book.

You know what’s fun? To feed the fish. They recognize me already, and they all get very excited when they see me because they know some tasty fish flakes will soon be dropping onto the pond’s surface. They can come up and get them, or wait for them to fall to the bottom, whichever they prefer. I don’t care. I let fish be fish.

Tonight, right as the sun is setting, I’m going to be sitting beside my pond with Spooney, relaxing with an après-rat race cocktail. It’s fun. It may sound boring, but for some reason it’s not.


Skylers Dad said...

Very impressive Vikki!! Lots of work wheeling all that material into the yard. The only time I did anything like that was in my first house, when I hauled half a ton of cow and peat mixture into the backyard cause the dirt was so poor.

And yes, the neighbors all loved me for the smell...

vikkitikkitavi said...

Half a ton of cow? Dude, that's like one Holstein, or almost two Guernseys. That's nothing.

GETkristiLOVE said...

Ho and ray! I can't wait to see the pond tonight. By the way, if you'll remember, a pileated wilson's warbler was the only "wildlife" I saw on Denali! (picture posted on our family web site under Denali, Camp I)

Phil said...

That makes me miss living in The Valley.


Alana said...

Very nice, Vikki. I may have to stop by sometime to see it. Maybe for the finale of Project Runway?

david said...

That's a very sweet story about growing older gracefully.

I mean the letting once-used knowledge go out of your head, that part.

Oh, and the part about sitting by the pond with an apres-rat-race drink. I can totally relate.

Those are sweet. The Martha Stewart part... not so much.

Chris said...

You have completely shattered the image I had of you as a mean, controlling bitch. How dare you? My whole belief system is unraveling before my eyes! By the way, nice pond. Are there any Koi in it?

vikkitikkitavi said...

Kristi: Warblers are cute! Yours looks like he has a little hat on!

Phil: Former SFV denizen, eh? I may have underestimated you.

Alana: Yes yes yes! Spooney no like the PR, and it's no fun yelling at the tv by myself.

David: Just the kind of comment one can expect from someone with very low thread-count priorities.

Chris: I will not be baited by you, sir. I am fully capable of being mean and bitchy without any prodding, thanks very much.

Ya fuckin Yooper wannabe small town dink.

Larry Jones said...

Your pond looks lovely, and a waterfall makes a soothing sound. I used to live in the Valley, and we had a pond, and my experience suggests that maybe soon racoons will join your menagerie, and they will seek to dine on the fishies, so mix up an extra pitcher of margaritas for them.

My challenge word for this: fubxfckf

vikkitikkitavi said...

It's true that we do have raccoons the size of Mini Coopers that dwell beneath the extra large sewer grates of NoHo, but they tend not to care for my dogs and have learned to steer clear of my yard.

Jess said...

I have pond envy. It's beautiful!! I love all the plants. MY lily pads grew some sort of algae on them (I had to get rid of them) and my fish are terrified of me. Sigh.

Grant Miller said...

I'm quite impressed, especially with all the hauling.

But I'm also quite disappointed. I always thought you were a mean, controlling bitch.

Que lastima.

dad said...

All you need now is a minature train to skirt the garden, travelling through the waterfall, stopping at the bar to load your drink to bring to you.

MonstrousJoe said...

If the Dragonflies distress the Damselflies, you'll have to introduce some knightflies... Oh, and I have dissuaded the pigeons from roosting but now I have raccoons that travers my back yard in search of whatever it is they search for...


Phil said...

Oh yeah. Both my sons were born at Glendale Memorial

vikkitikkitavi said...

Jess: My fish were scared of me too, until it occurred to me that I probably shouldn't wear the raccoon Halloween mask when I fed them.

Grant: Oui, quel dommage.

Dad: You've been watching too many James Bond movies.

MJoe: I never realized I had my own little SCA convention going on in my pond!

Phil: I didn't know you were Armenian.

Phil said...

Be careful, those kinds of generalized assumptions might land you a Senate seat.

dad said...

Not Jame Bond. Reginald van Gleason III.

Anon. Blogger said...

Wow! It is beautiful.

I especially liked the way you used a wheel-barrow shaped sled!

I have bought loads of rock for a yard here.... heavy suckers, huh?

My nieghbor has a pond with a water fall, but he is a plumber so I guess he likes that very stylish look of having a hunk of PVC sticking out the top... That would make me crazy to look at!!

It may not show in my photos, but I actually am a M.Stewart at heart, too. But kids sort of killed any notion of perfection for survival purposes!

Great job. You should post an update photo showing the plants filling in, maybe a fishy!!