Monday, October 10, 2016

Miscellaneous Weekend Ramblings

The weekend flew by again, where does the time go?  I have to admit Carl and I love to play hooky from the garden (especially on Sundays in the autumn) and head for destinations unknown to hike. 
A few late waterlily blooms in the pond.

But, this fall is different, this year we're behaving ourselves, or depriving ourselves, depending on how you look at it. We are keeping our noses to the grindstone.  (Well, not actually on the grindstone, that would prove to be painful, but pretty darn close to it.)  

Our garden is tentatively scheduled to be part of a large national convention garden tour in 2019 which sounds a long way off until we look around and see the work we need to do, namely the silly castle construction.

The problem with gardening on a large scale is the work involved.  The garden never takes a break and goes for a hike.  I wish it would sometimes.   Weeds are constantly emerging, oh brother, are they; trees that seemed impossibly, comically far apart when planted as 1 gallon pot specimens suddenly grow into each other necessitating pruning, or moving, or removing.  

I've turned the hens loose in the gardens since the first of September and they are busily scratching out all the pine needle mulch and depositing it on the lawn.  I wish they'd be a little tidier, but I do know they are finding bugs and doing their fall clean up which I appreciate.  We had very little slug damage this year, and the Girls are a huge part of the success.  

 Speaking of birds, here's a look at the Fish Corral we put up last week to fend off the herons:

 We put standard wire poultry fencing in the water and stuck fiberglass fence posts into the mud bottom to hold the wire in place. 
We then took a bunch of bird netting, the kind you can buy to put over raspberry bushes to protect the fruit, and stretched the netting over the fence, tying it off in several places.

I tossed some fish food in the water and waited for almost five minutes before a few tiny, extremely skittish goldfish came out to eat. At least we have some itty bitty fish left.  I think I saw one small koi, but he was very timid and darted back into the corral; I hope my eyes didn't deceive me.   The sad part is a week ago I'd counted twenty-five koi, all over nine inches long.
We have a perfect setup for a corral since our pond has no liner in place; having a dirt bottom, we can stick fence posts in wherever we want.  I'm not sure how we'd make this sort of contraption if we had a liner to worry about puncturing.

The view from the north isn't much more glamorous; I'm going to take the patio furniture in for the winter.  I think we've got the herons outfoxed, I haven't seen any telltale signs, i.e. tracks in the mud or heron poop (their feces resemble whitewash spilled on the ground and pond surface; there's usually a lot of it, which makes sense when the bird is gorging himself with fish.)  The corral works great.  (If only we'd put it up sooner; this is truly like shutting the barn door after the cows are out.) 

 Another option that worked when we had a smaller, lined pond was to float a piece of styrofoam insulation on the surface of the water.   The heron would walk along in the water, trying to scare the fish out of hiding, but they soon learned to stay under the styrofoam; when the styrofoam moved, the fish moved with it.  I realize that's not a very attractive option, but it did work. Also, sinking large plant pots and or lengths of large diameter PVC pipe to the bottom of the pond provided hiding places, too.  

On Saturday and Sunday we mortared and mortared some more.

It's starting to change a little, don't you think?

 (Hopefully we'll find time for a walk before the snow flies though, we can't break all the traditions.)


Beth said...

Hi Karen, I am so sorry about your fish. I do like the options you have shown and will be providing my own hiding places when I get more fish.
An interesting point here is that we had a lot of algae this summer in the tremendous heat; once it cooled off the water cleared and that's when our fish got eaten. I presume the murky water offered some protection. Crazy.
Your quarry pond looks pretty and I loved seeing the water lilies.

Beth @ PlantPostings said...

Oh gosh, you are working too hard. But I understand: The days of working outside this fall are numbered. I do hope you'll find a few hours to hike and do other more relaxing activities. Sorry about the fish! Your pond and the castle look great, though!

Karen said...

Beth, it is a possibility the algae helped to hide your fish. We find our biggest problem is always in late September/early October; maybe due to the herons migratory pattern? I confess I don't know enough about their habits to say for sure, but the early fall weeks are always the worst for predation here. Let's hope next year we both have better luck. :-)

Karen said...

Thank you, Beth. I know we'll find at least one day (or more) to sneak in a good carefree hike, probably in November. The only problem is the timing will coincide with deer season, but we'll both don our blaze orange. :-)

Carol said...

Love your Heron detourant!! We have to do what we have to do. You will be ready for your big tour event in 2019 :) I just know it and the castle will look amazing no matter what stage it is in :) Some day I will have to make it to your gardens to see them in person !!!

outlawgardener said...

I tried lots of things to keep the raccoons and herons out of my pond but nothing worked until I put up an electric fence. It doesn't look great but at least I can have koi and not a sushi bar out there. Your castle is coming right along. What a treat it would be to see your amazing garden in person! Lucky visitors!

myomyohi said...

I love herons but I hate when they decide to feast on garden fish. I'm sorry they found your koi. The castle is taking on life again. You have a goal now to get it finished and I'm sure Carl will make it happen. You guys work too hard. Be sure to take time for your walks.