Journey from dining room to fish room.

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Party went well. A few people stayed and helped tidy up so there is no after party chores for today other than putting extra chairs tables and games away. I will leave the horseshoes out and keep the cornhole and Jarts handy, everything else will go to the shed. But nough of that.

I THOUGHT my pond plant order would arrive yesterday. It did not, It will be here on Tuesday and I have crossed fingers.

Today we will water change two tanks. I have developed a pretty fair schedule ... Each tank receives a WC of about 30-33 percent every four days. On the 12th day the WC is about 50-60 percent with a thorough gravel vac. This system seems to be working well as there is no mortality and the water parameters are very stable. One thing I realized is that my rain collection system will only be effective from about March through November. Looks like a RO system will be my birthday present in October. I should be able to easily store sufficient "treated" water in the laundry/fish utility room and a food grade 52 gallon drum that can be utilized. No need for floor reinforcement as the laundry room was an addition I built and it as is my habit over constructed with a solid floor system. Plumbing will be a breeze in that room as I have left myself valves in anticipation of extra plumbing right in the room. Sometimes I actually plan for the unplanned.

Today will be a day of little work. We will prepare some planters for various corners of the area around the pond and might go to the garden store after taking Buster and Precious dogs to the dog park and then to Mickey D's for Happy Meals. They love to watch the food come out the drive through drawer. They also enjoy the food. Precious likes catsup on her fries, Buster eats then plain. They both skip the rolls.

Anyway, an easy day of dominoes or scrabble at the pond. We need a light day and today is it.
Spotty rain yesterday but still got some ivy transplanted from where it survived the winter. Put soil into some large rock crevices at the pond margin and put these really tough plants into them Hoping they manage to take and will train them to creep among the rocks in front of the deck that will be a gazebo floor at ponds edge.

Today is a coolish day or supposed to be. Low 70's, a nice temp for outside work and a pleasant break from the heat of the past week. After scheduled water changes the goal is to dig a depression that will accumulate water runoff from the bog. It will hopefully become a small puddle to accumulate water to feed the brook I will Ditchwhitch sometime this week, back willing. I am uncertain if the accumulation will actually be sufficient to charge the little brook and if not it will be a dry creek bed. Should get at least a trickle but have to be careful not to drain the bog. Right now, the bog has a vein of standing water that I need to dissipate without drying the muck. More art than science I think and will likely need some playing with to get it right.

We are well pleased with the way the bog is growing. So far it has yellow flag Iris, zebra rush, Gold Star Rush and monkey plant all going well. Later in the week I will add half dozen cattails, pussy willows and arrow root. Today the floaters are due to be delivered, Spangles, Lettuce, and Giant Frogbit. These will go into the main pond. By weeks end my order for Creeping Jenny and plugs of creeping Thyme should arrive. The creeping Jenny will be used to fill gaps at the pond, waterfall, and bog margins. The Thyme is for the retaining wall we built last year and will fill in between the Burning Bushes. Need to fill the pickup bed with topsoil for the retaining wall and then spread it.

Our fish are doing great, both in the pond and the glass tanks. The Goldfish have spouted eggs in the pond. From what I could tell after reading they were fertile and despite my objections Linda moved them to the small overflow pond that feeds the bog and pushed them beneath rock overhangs. I hope the frogs find them. Speaking of frogs, we also came across a mass of frog eggs entwined in some Hyacinths. I think the goldfish will make short work of most of them.
Bog extention was completed yesterday. The addition makes the Bog perhaps 50% larger. I am not going to line it and with rubber and instead use compressed Peat Moss for the bottom. My neighbor has a pile of sandy loam that I will mix with clay for the bottom. I did make some small adjustment to the flow coming into the pond to get a touch more water to the bog. I also made some channels in the existing bog to ensure it does not drain into the new area to the point of drying. Still some fine tuning but it looks like the little creek, (the next step), that I will build will have a btt of water flow that will be sent to the willow tree. I hope the willow will absorb the water and if not, I will divert the excess to a corner of the area and let in naturalize.

It is getting unseasonably warm, hit 90F a few days which is not the norm, so we are only working from about 7:30 Am till maybe 11:00 AM. We are both finding this schedule to have the benefit of being less taxing.

All the pond fish are thriving, and we spent the late afternoon watching them play in the waterfall and circle the pond edges nibbling at the new floaters. They are really cool creatures and have added a layer of enjoyment to our outside room.

Tonight my electrician buddy is coming over with his wife for a steak cookout. He will also take a look at doing my outside wiring and give me the material list. The wiring is currently at the basement wall but needs to be brought out to the pond area. I need to get rid of the lead cords because it is just a matter of time before one of us gets careless with yard equipment and slices them. It would not be a first time and it is quite a jib to unwind wire from the riding mower blades.
Finished the collection of dry dead wood and spread it about the little creek bed to make a dead fall. Looks OK and after it is planted we think it will be a charmer. Tomorrow I will get a pick-up load of topsoil / compost mixture from a landscape supply place. This will be used to fill various places along the dead fall. About 30 pieces of creeping jenny are hydrating in the overflow pond and will be used to plant the new soil mix.

This is the first time in longer than I remember we had to purchase compost. The number of plantings the past two years exceeded our ability to compost.

There are now about 15 - 30 goldfish fry in the overflow. They are growing. Also found another dozen in a secluded spot in the main pond behind some wood. Linda is all smiles, me, not so much. The Rosy Minnows are growing at a quick pace and are swimming together as a group. They are now coming to the surface to feed with the goldfish. Fun to watch.

The soil and plantings will write the words the end in this episode yard improvements.
The goal was to complete the pond area work by Friday, yesterday. We almost made it but a rain day on Thursday and spotty rain yesterday caused us to miss the goal. Still need to plant some 30 creeping jenny plants along various margins. Will do this on Sunday as today is Belmont Stakes at Saratoga.

We have breakfast reservations at the track, 9AM. After that we will head to the park area where we have a reserved picnic table near a couple of televisions. Cold southern fried chicken, creamy potato salad, three melon and cheese salad, chips, dips, and a cold cut platter for our mid-day meal while watching the races. Our table is very near the parade road where the horses are lead from the grounds to the parade oval. I think some of our enjoyment will be diminished by the huge crush of people but I am hoping the fact we have a reserved spot will somewhat mitigate that. We will be joined by two other couples and I look forward to what amounts to a once in a lifetime experience.

Back on subject.

Got a call from the kiln Thursday. My wood will be ready for pick-up anytime from Tuesday on next week. With the pond and yard work completed by then I can begin concentrating on the dining room to fish room project. Monday I will again clean the workshop, change blades, set up roller extensions and make a list of misc. goods I need to buy. I will pick up the wood either Tuesday or Wednesday. My eye procedure is Thursday and that will decommission me for maybe a week to ten days I have been told.

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