As a follow up to the blog I wrote on March 7, referencing the shutting down and fish rescue of the 5000 gallon pond off the deck, I came home from Henly and the Eagle this past Monday knowing what I would find. Even as prepared as I thought I was, it still came as a shock to find two empty ponds devoid of plants and fish and drained to the very minimum of water. I took a long slow walk around the empty ponds until I reached the 5000 gallon pond off the deck to find that it was full and a couple of the waterfalls were working. I couldn’t immediately see the fish but I knew that it contained a few rescued Goldfish. I set to work on hooking back up the old pump that had cracked in the freeze and that I had welded to repair it but had not yet tested it. I had a bit of trouble with one of the hose connections but with a bit of ingenuity, worked it out and turned the pump on. Lo and behold it worked and I was very happy to see water coming down the waterfall. It did not have much pressure and was a bit intermittent in the flow so I figured that it was not pumping at full capacity.
That was all I attempted on Monday and on Tuesday morning, bright and early (for me), I started work on the Goldfish pond, cleaning out the mountain of leaves and debris, rearranging rocks and finally placing concrete blocks for the fish fountain to sit on as well as the pot for the single water lily. This is the only water lily left of all of those I have collected over the years. The big Koi are notorious for tearing up any lily plants in their ponds even to the extent of washing out the dirt and stones with their tails. That was all I was planning on returning to this pond. I reassembled the Fish Fountain and placed it on the concrete blocks and hooked up the filter units. At least, with no fish or turtles in the pond, I did not have to worry about dechlorinating the water.
I turned the water back on and watched for a bit as it slowly started to fill. I could tell that it was going to be a very slow process. Ever since the Great Freeze of 2021, the water has been much slower coming out of the faucet as though the city water pressure is not where it used to be. It really doesn’t matter as I have nothing but time and my only problem is my own impatience to get this done, the house sold and me on the road. I made note of the water meter reading curious as to just how much water this, the smallest of the three ponds, held and concluded that I had done enough work for one day.
Wednesday saw me back out there bright and early (for me, that is) this time with my attention focused on the very large pond. Incidentally, the Goldfish pond was still filling as I had a timer on it that switches off after 2 hours before needing resetting and obviously, it reached its time limit after I went to bed. It took almost the rest of the day to put in almost 3000 gallons which topped it up.
The big pond needed a lot of debris cleaning of all of the leaves that had fallen into the pond. These had all accumulated on the small area of the bottom that was a little higher than the rest. Strange but maybe the pumps created the currents that caused this. With the bottom cleaned of all debris, I set about re-arranging the concrete blocks for the couple of plants that I planned on returning to the pond. This also included the Frog Fountain that is the centerpiece for this particular pond along with the aerators and pumps that drove this equipment. I planned on returning another container that had other pond plants in it but after trying several times, and found that it was way too heavy for me to manhandle on my own without doing myself a serious injury. I concluded that plant would not be returned back into the water. With everything set up the way I wanted, I turned on the city water to start the long slow process of refilling this pond. I knew from previous fills that it was going to take at least 5500 gallons but I checked the water meter and made a note of it and waited checking every two hours to turn the timer back on.
With the work completed inside the ponds and having nothing to do but wait for them to fill, I turned my attention to collecting the concrete blocks and bricks that were stacked around the walls of the ponds after the pond crew had removed them. The plan was to move them back to the outside storage area by the shed. That actually took a while as there were so many of them. Over the years, a lot of plants had been added to the ponds usually for the Koi to destroy and none of the blocks used for the plants to sit on had ever been removed. Hauling those 8x8x16 inch concrete blocks around brought back memories of when I used to lay them for a living in my much younger days. Funny, they didn’t seem to weigh as much back then…
On Thursday, I tackled the project that I had been putting off for a couple of years which was to remove the muck accumulated in the bog attached to this pond. This was designed to do just that, collect the dirt out of the pond water and it worked well as I shoveled out 3-4 inches of the foul smelling stuff. To do the job right, I should have broken down the bog removing all of the plants, the grid and the bags of Larva rock and cleaned and washed them all but as I was not really feeling up to this task, I chose the short way. Needless to say, I still managed to dig out 5 wheelbarrow loads of the dirt which in reality, was probably more fish poop than dirt and at least 10 years worth of the foul smelling stuff. I finished the day by cleaning up the debris from all of the ponds and dumping that close to the compost pile to be added onto the top at a later date. And of course, checking the water as the pond slowly refilled.
I had started a couple of the pumps, at least those that were in the water and also the one that fed water to the bog to get it up and running again. The only pump that I could not start yet was the one in the skimmer and for this, the water needed to be actually running into the unit as it required that the pond be full before starting this one. A couple of hours later, and we were ready to go with all of the pumps working and water flowing where it was supposed to. It actually looked very impressive even if there are no longer any Koi to admire.
On Friday, I went back to the 5000 gallon pond by the deck to try to figure out just what was wrong with the repaired pump I mentioned previously. I finally came to the conclusion that the pump mechanism had stopped pumping even though the motor was running just fine which did not really surprise me considering it’s age. I put it to one side and considered my options. I already had a 3600 gph pump that pumped the water into the two urns, one in the center of the pond and the other on the bank and after giving it some thought, I figured that I could use it to pump all three of the units. First, I had to make a quick trip to Lowes for some much needed pipe fittings. I have literally probably a hundred of various fittings that I have collected over the 30 or so years of Ponding ranging in all sizes from a half inch to 3 inches and purchased for other such repair projects. I never return unused material figuring that eventually, I will need it. This had often worked out to be very true but invariably, the part that I need is not in my collection so it’s back to the hardware stores for a replacement. The same is true for the many connotations of various plumbing that has happened over the years only to be discarded for a different design. I have a pile of such bits and pieces that I am always digging into in the hope of making something work for whatever project I happen to have going at any particular time. Its a bit like having a jigsaw puzzle of parts that requires some thinking and ingenuity to make them work.
I worked on re-piping the Aquadyne filter to the existing plumbing and eventually had it all back in place and with much hope and trepidation, turned the pump back on. Everything worked just as I had hoped with water coming out of the Urn on the bank, the Urn in the middle and down the waterfall via the Aquadyne filter unit. Yeah, I thought, “It works” and just then, one of the glued fittings let go covering me with pond water. I turned everything off and went about the process of regluing the plastic pipe at this joint. I was drenched but happy in knowing that it should work as long as I gave the joint enough time to harden.
As it happened, one of my Hispanic walking friends stopped by with her Granddaughter and their little Shit Zhu puppy and I showed them around the garden and ponds and we chatted for a while. Then my Realtor stopped by to drop off some papers and I gave up work for that afternoon. I was planning on spending the weekend in the Eagle so their timing was just right. Besides, it would give the joint repair time to harden up before putting it under water pressure again. With only a few Goldfish in the pond off the deck, I felt much better about spending time away.
Incidentally, I discovered another broken pipe caused by the frost. This one was to the Automatic Water Leveler situated inside the skimmer box so while I was at it, I made a repair to this one at the same time. It had been turned off is why I had not noticed it before.
I figured that enough was enough and that we had a very busy week working on all of this stuff, pretty much accomplishing all that we had set out to do and we deserved a break. Not requiring any more of a reason than that, we, the dogs and I, packed the truck with more of the stuff that I would keep, some food that needed to be eaten and headed for Henly for the weekend hoping to spend the time writing, walking and generally doing nothing.
Check out my old blog at https://pondblog2011.com/