We have a little pond; only about four hundred gallons and maybe two feet deep at one point. We usually have anywhere from three to twelve gold fish in the pond. Every winter our little pond freezes solid, fish don’t like being frozen. But we have a system…
Our usual cycle of pond fish goes like this. We start with a fresh pond in the spring. First we buy a dozen or so tiny feeder gold fish from Wall Mart, a total investment of maybe four dollars. All summer the little fish work to survive various threats including disease, birds, cats, and being trapped in the filter.
Then we pull out the survivors at the first sign of frost and bring them inside, they spend the winter in a ten gallon aquarium. When spring arrives, back they go into the pond. The next fall we ship the survivors off to my friend’s house for the rest of their lives. We have completed this cycle at least three times over the last six years or so. The reason we ship off the survivors is that by the time two seasons are complete the fish are huge and can’t winter over in a little ten gallon aquarium.
This year was different.
A few weeks ago my lovely wife and I decided that it was time to do some general yard cleaning up in preparation of summer. One of my wife’s tricks for an almost manic growing season is to give her garden a nice pre-season bath in stinky pond water. She scoops out buckets of stinking, nasty, rotting, pond water and waters her special plants. The entire neighbourhood soon smells like what your dog rolled in. I thought I would help out this year by adapting the pond pump to a garden hose, maybe keep the stink closer to the ground. Worked like a charm. I figured that I had another week or so to really scrub out the pond; it was still too cold and nasty outside for that kind of work. The algae is quite thick, should make for a good stew for the plants.
Once the level of the water got down to about an inch or so from the bottom the pump can’t suck any more water. When I pulled the pump out of the water I noticed a little orange spot within the green algae. A gold fish! I couldn’t believe that a gold fish survived the winter. Then I saw another one, then another. A total of three fish survived. I pulled the fish out and put them into a bucket.
Usually I have some time to scrub out the pond. But now that I have a bucket full of fish, I have to scrub out the pond. It took about three hours but it’s nice and clean, the fish look happy. Well as happy as fish can look anyway.
Oh, and the plants are growing like crazy. Pond scum, is there anything it can’t do?