Filed under: Minnesota, pond, snow, Trees, winter | Tags: fluffy snow, leaden skies, Minnesota, nature, pond, snow, trees, weather, winter
Our area of Minnesota is not exactly know for light and fluffy snow. Usually when we get snow it comes with wind. The snow we had on the ground was looking a bit old and dirty, and was mostly ice. Then, overnight, we had 4 inches fall in near perfect calm. Before it could blow away I took these pictures. Enjoy! Leaden skies and snow so white it looks blue were what I saw on my morning walk around the yard. Pine and cedar are both holding loads of snow. This birch trunk even caught some snow. A confluence of hackberry branches is covered in this picture Any horizontal surface holds snow until the wind blows it away. A few leaves on this lilac bush still hang on and hold snow. The pond has only a small hole open in the ice, the rest is covered with snow. Even the smallest of branches can catch snow.
Filed under: fish, pond, water garden, winter | Tags: cold, ice, Koi, Minnesota, pond, snow, water plants, weather, winter
It’s December in Minnesota, my pond has had several days where it has iced over, but I have pushed my luck far enough, It’s time to winterize the pond. My floating plants died out with the first freezing day and they have long ago made their way to the compost pile. Now it’s time to turn off the water circulation pump and take it out.
The air pump has two long hoses to get air down into the pond, a pair of metal nuts are needed to keep the hose down in the water. I have a cover for the pump made from an old plastic juice bottle so that snow and rain is kept off of it.
Now I can be sure that fresh oxygen is getting to the fish when the pond is iced over. The koi hang out around the heater appreciating the extra warmth.Here’s where I hang the pump. I have a screw to hold it all on the board beside the electrical outlet. The pond is now ready for winter.I’ll set some of the flower pots in deeper water so the ice will not damage them and the pond is ready for winter. There are no flowers in bloom, but the koi keep a bit of color as the ponds settles in for winter.
Find the frog(s)
The wildlife visiting my pond is different every day. We get way more birds than I did when I tried feeders, plus we attract a few other critters. Right now I have a vole that is making the pond edge his home. I wouldn’t mind just staying there, but he has decided that the flowers need to be harvested. They are barely done blooming and he snips some of them off. Since we are short adult cats right now he has free range. Oh well, he’s just part of the wildlife in my yard. For now I’ll have to live with him.
Filed under: garden, Minnesota, pond, water garden | Tags: broad leaf arrowhead, garden, Minnesota, plants, pond, water garden, water hyacinth, water lettuce
My pond has been overrun by floaters this year and something has to be done.
I took half a wheel borrow full of floaters to the compost pile earlier this week and the floaters filled the cleared spot up the next day. All of this green is from 10 small plants purchased in early June.
The floaters in my pond are water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) and water hyacinth (Eichhoria crassipes). They are just leaves and roots. So far neither of these plants have bloomed for me.
The roots on the water lettuce are about 8 inches long on mature plants. The plants send out side shoots with smaller plants on them. As the plant gets bigger, it also sends out more babies. They continue to grow as long as they can reach water.
Water hyacinth are much like the water lettuce in that they are just green plant and roots, and they send out shoots to produce more plants. The hyacinth have bladders to help keep them afloat. In southern states they are considered invasive. Some places in Africa and Asia they will heap hyacinth together to make floating islands where people will live. Here in Minnesota both plants will freeze off as winter nears. Then I just net them up and add them to the compost pile.
If you look at the bottom of the picture you can see the newest addition to the pond, sagittaria latifolia. Sagittaria latifolia is a plant found in shallow wetlands and is sometimes known as broadleaf arrowhead, duck potato, Indian potato, or wapato. This plant produces edible tubers that were extensively used by the Indigenous peoples of the Americas.
Filed under: birds, Farm, fish, house, pond, water garden, Wildlife | Tags: animals, barn swallow, farm, garden, goldfish, Koi, plants, pond, raccoon, raspberries, robins, wildlife
We’ve had a few animal visitors lately, some we want and some we’d rather had stayed away.
I was delighted to see this frog sitting on a lilly pad two days ago. I had lots of frogs in the pond early this spring, but very few since.
My mom had been harvesting about two quarts of raspberries until the robins found them. Now every time she approaches the garden a dozen or more fly off. They don’t even let the berries get ripe, but eat them just before they are ready.
I heard a splash in my koi pond two nights ago when I went to look at it before going to bed. In the morning a few pots had been dug in, but not much to worry about. This morning my goldfish pond looked like this.
Water lilly’s had been torn up and hyacinth and water lettuce were upside down. Worst of all, four 10 year old goldfish are missing. I suspect a raccoon, but have no evidence to prove it. With my sweet corn about ready for harvest, I hope I am wrong.
Some barn swallows built a nest on a roof bracket over the kitchen window. Although I like barn swallows since they eat insects, what they do to the side of the house has my bride upset. The word is out, they need to move soon!
I really do want animal visitors, but sometimes i wish they would not be so messy.
Filed under: fish, garden, house, pond, projects, rain, water garden, weather | Tags: floating water plants, garden, Koi, pond, railing, screen porch, water garden, weather
It looks great, and adds a bit of safety also. It’s only 4 steps up and a drop to soft grass so we were not worried about spacing on the bars. The hand rail will help get up and down the steps.
When we were in Colorado we found some nice brackets to add to the west posts of the porch, they were installed Sunday also.
They will allow the hanging of some decorative items to add some color.
Our floaters in the pond are really growing in this warm weather. Here’s the pond on June 30th,
and here’s the pond today, July 9. More and more the year old koi are turning from black to orange. It’s fun to watch them all come when I feed them, it is taking more and more food to make them happy.
I finally found our newest batch of kittens today, they are about 2 weeks old. Mom is not happy to have me around so I left them alone for now. When they get older I’ll start getting to know them.
Our grass is starting to show signs of stress from the heat of last week. Many places are starting to turn brown. No rain is forecast for the next week, but temperatures will be a bit cooler than they were.
Some areas in the corn are showing a lack of water. This was more pronounced in the 100 degree heat. Now that temps are in the mid 80′s the roots are able to keep up with the demand for water. There is some water if you go deep enough, I just hope it is enough to get the crop to the next rainfall.
Filed under: fish, garden, Minnesota, pond, water garden | Tags: ater garden, butterfly koi, flowers, Koi, Minnesota, plants, pond, water, water lettuce, water lilly, water plants
I’m into year two on my west pond, and things are looking good. Last years pond may have been a little infertile since many plants are doing so much better this year.
Last year the water lettuce and hyacinth, both annuals in northern ponds, were just not growing well. This year they are taking over quickly. The water lilly is doing better as it should in its second year.
The year old koi are really eating up the fish food. Most of the juveniles are changing color, but some may stay black. The butterfly koi are blending right in. They can be identified by their longer fins.
There are a few yellow flowers on the plants under the bridge. I can’t remember the plants name. I added some spiral rush in those pots this spring after the rushes I planted last year died.
I’ve added a few new annuals in the pond side pots that add a bit of new color and texture also.
The thyme growing in the sitting area rocks are really starting to look good also.
The new hibiscus is blooming again as it has come out of transplant shock. I really like these flowers.
So there they are, pictures of the second year of my pond. Hope you enjoyed them.
Filed under: Corn, Farm, Minnesota, planting, pond, rain, seasons, Soybeans, weather | Tags: Corn, farm, Minnesota, Planting, pond, rain, southwestern minnesota, Soybeans, weather
Here in Southwestern Minnesota, May 2012 will go down in the books as the wettest May in recorded history. On our farm we had 12 inches during the month with a mostly dry 10 day period in the middle that allowed some field work. Basically the month was a washout.
It truly is amazing how the weather has turned. In early April I was contemplating what we would do if the drought continued. We had gone since the middle of July 2011 with next to no precipitation, now river levels are at near flood stage and fields are filled with ponding water. In mid-April I had been asked if I expected there to be water this year for the crop, my response was that Minnesota always seemed to make up for dry periods with wet ones, man was I right.
I did replant some of my corn where water had killed off the young plants, and those areas are now under water again. Corn that is now standing is getting too tall for me to go in and inter-seed, and the areas are not big enough for me to go in and work them and plant again. I am just going to have to take what is left. I was lucky, I only reseeded 2% of my corn, and expect no more of the crop lost now.
I’ve not had a chance to assess the loss of soybeans. I know we did lose some to erosion, but I had no standing water to kill off large areas. I expect only a thinning of the stand which soybeans can cover up better than corn does. My largest soybean field has yet to be planted since the seed is not yet on my farm. These are beans that are destined for seed production and are still in transit from fields in the southern hemisphere. I’ll need some dry conditions so I can plant those when they come.
I have about an acre of alfalfa that I cut yesterday before the rain. The plants had passed 1/4 bloom and were ready to be harvested. I’m hoping for some dry weather now so the alfalfa can dry and I can bale it up. The ground was wet when I cut it and that will not help it dry any, but a little sun and some wind will do wonders.
Temperatures have switched to the 60′s now with mornings in the upper 40′s. This is too cool for much plant growth, but warmer weather will come, I’m just not sure when. In the mean time we prepare for the rush of work that will come when fields dry out. No man controls the weather, we just live with the hand it deals us.
Filed under: fish, garden, Minnesota, pond, spring, water garden | Tags: day lilly's, frogs, garden, iris, Koi, marsh marigolds, Minnesota, outdoors, plants, pond, sedum, spring, stone cap
It’s a beautiful April First here in Southwestern Minnesota and we are enjoying the warm before the weather turns a little more like April. I went out to check the pond and found the “flat” near the bridge was full of leopard frogs again.
We counted 12 of them before I took the picture, you should be able to see at least 8 of them in this picture. I found over 20 frogs around the pond at various times and they all have their favorite spots. If they don’t like what’s going on around them they jump into the water and head down to a hide out. So far they have been quiet and have not started “singing” to us. Most of the frogs are black with a bit of yellow-green on them, but a couple have started to shift to green.
The Koi are not easy to photograph since most of them are “black” and prefer the deeper water. These three orange one year olds are the easiest to see. There at least 12 more one year olds in “black” (several are visible as grey ellipses in the picture) and three older black ones.
The marsh marigolds are the only bits of color in the pond for now. I’m not sure if any of the other plants will come as the year goes along, but it is nice to see these yellow blooms.
Since I have had the creek running the water has cleared up a lot. It is still a bit brown due to the dead leaves in the bottom, and the brown algae on the rocks, but warmer weather should green things up a bit more.
I added rock steps to make getting into the pond easier this spring. As long as the grandchildren understand that this is a garden and not a swimming pool my plants should be safe. Since Allison and Katelyn are still too young to get to the pond without help, I should be OK for this year.
The sedum, irises and day lilly’s are really starting to green up along the “creek.” The stone cap stayed dusty green all winter long under the snow and is really spreading out over the rocks. All it needed was to have the dead plant material removed to show its color.
I spread some grass seed in a large bare patch and put the sprinkler on it today. That area of the lawn has had issues for years. So far it grows weeds best but I’m hoping with some sturdier varieties I can get it to green up properly.
Filed under: Minnesota, pond, rain, spring, water garden, weather, Wildlife | Tags: frogs, marsh marigold, marsh marigolds, Minnesota, pond, rain, spring, weather
It’s the first day of spring here in southwestern Minnesota and my springtime pond is mostly brown. I’ve cleaned up the dead plant material from around the pond and even cleaned most of the stuff that blew in over the winter off of the bottom. At this time last year we had snow on the ground and frozen water, not so this year.
We’ve broken records for both daytime highs, and high minimum temperatures this week so all of our plants seem to be getting an early start. This year the frogs came off of the bottom to warm in the sunshine of our record warm days. They’ve even found some insects to eat.
Most of the time the frogs dive in when I come into view, but sometimes one that thinks itself hidden better will sit around to be photographed. If one frog dives in there are sure to be many others taking the plunge. They are very dark so far this spring. I’m hoping we’ll see our usual green leopard frogs when the area greens up.
The surprise of the pond today was to see the first blooms on the Marsh Marigolds. This is my first year with these plants so I had not realized that they were such early bloomers. I remember them being in bloom until freeze-up, so I’m expecting a long season of sunny yellow flowers. I do hope they are not so early that they will freeze off before we get into our normal spring-time season.
The rain of the last few days has helped a lot, although we have not gotten much rain, just a few tenths. Right now we are about six inches behind in rainfall and it will take a major shift in the weather patterns to get us back to normal. One thing is for sure, it is hard to be gloomy when the weather is this nice.