“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

Friday, July 4, 2014

J.C.'s Pond

The man who my house was built for was my wife's paternal grandfather, John C. Foust. The home was built late in his life, mostly by his sons, for a retirement home for Mr. Foust and his wife. John had a pond built, or more precisely, a dam, at the low end of the property, down near the asphalt road, and I'm told placed fish he'd caught elsewhere into the pond. He's also been rumored to have had water trucked in during times of drought.


About eight years ago my family took up residence here, during a drought. We didn't know then what we know now. We put several not-so-inexpensive koi in the pond. To shorten a lengthy tale, we ended up "fishing" several out of the mud before the water dried up, but most went into a heron's gut. It was several years before we could safely call that muddy hole a pond again, but as of this writing water levels have remained moderate to high year-round.

Last year I once again dumped about thirty feeder goldfish, having learned my lesson with the koi, expecting them to perish as they had in years past, but last year something changed. This spring I eventually counted at least eight individual fish, 4" - 5" long, survivors of the worst winter we've had in close to a decade.

Last year's survivors mixing with the newbies.
A few weeks later I dumped another thirty feeders into the pond, most of which seem to have survived, so far, though I do see the heron hanging about on occasion. Most exciting of all is the discovery last week of not one, but two different batches of fry. My fish are breeding!!!

I can tell there are at least two different broods by the size difference; some being well over an inch long and other barely a centimeter (yes, I just mixed standards, live with it). While standing there thinking about all this I suddenly realized what a thriving ecosystem I have here, and how I just may have fucked it up completely, though I don't think that'll be the case.

In addition to the fish, tadpoles and frogs of every size and description are abundant at all times of the year. You are as likely to hear them singing on a relatively warm January night as any night in June. There is also at least one, if not more, species of crayfish in residence here. Add to that a huge variety of insects and several species of snakes I've seen around and we have here the makings of a fine and healthy ecosystem.

In early spring the water gets exceptionally clear. The frogs never stop singing for long.

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