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Posted: 04.23.2002
This nature thing ain't all it's cracked up to be
Remind me again why "backing up to a nature preserve" was actually a selling point for this house? We've had a 3-foot snake crawl up out of the toilet. We've had a tall pine tree fall over the fence, barely missing the house. And now, some forest creature snuck in our yard and stole our two koi fish out of the fish pond...

I guess I should state from the start I'm not a nature gal. I like looking at photos of nature. I like having scenary other than parking lot out the back window now. And I like the beach. That's pretty much where my love and adoration of the great outdoors starts and ends. I scream like a little girl if any bug larger than a ladybug makes it inside. It's why I got married -- so I don't have to kill them. I don't like long walks in the woods. I don't go camping. My version of roughing it involves staying at Motel 6 and ending up with two towels that look more like washcloths. Ironic that I, of all people, ended up with Lyme Disease (from a tick bite), no?

So I don't know why in heaven's name a house with a fish pond was actually a selling point for me. No we didn't get lucky enough to have a real pond (with even more snakes) here. It came with one of those plastic eco-system ponds that aren't, which you see poor husbands with that defeated "yes dear" look on their face lugging out of Home Depot each weekend. While these things may sound like a fabulous idea, having one in south-central Florida where the sun always shines is NOT a good idea. Ever heard of algae? Ever seen it bloom? Not a pretty sight (or smell)... Last fall we went and got ourselves one of those big, ugly algae-eater fishies. Worked great, until he just vanished out of the pond one day. During the winter the two koi were holding their own and keeping things in check.

That was until one day a few weeks back when I went to feed the fish and couldn't find them. Todd's "man answer" in the form of a question? Well maybe they're just hiding? This was his answer for approximately 10 days. Anyone who has ever had and fed fish knows they do not hide for almost 2 weeks when waiting to be fed. They practically leap out of the water for those little processed, dried pellets from heaven. So one day he gives in and believes me. The fish are gone. Right about this time, it also decided to rain for about five days straight in Tampa Bay. Rain followed by endless sun minus two koi equal the dreaded algae bloom. Only this time it didn't just "bloom". Oh no. It freakin' exploded. At which point we finally tossed our hands in the air and accepted defeat.

The pond was drained this evening after we both hacked back the plant life in and around it. Soon it will find a nice new home in our garage, where it will remain for approximately 4-7 years collecting dust -- until we finally get fed up enough with all the crap we never use and throw a garage sale. Right now our attentions are focused on the front yard anyway. This past weekend we sprayed to kill everything out front, which just started dying today. Next weekend we'll till everything up (or rather Todd will as I direct, heh), spread topsoil, and reseed from scratch. And the neighbors all rejoice! Nature can bite my.......

Hey boy take a look at me...let me dirty up your mind...

LOL! You'd probably like this song then. :)

Sorry to hear about your fish.

¤ ¤ credit: Amy | 04.23.02 at 09:23 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

LMAO -- that's great -- and so me! I love the Lemonheads, but I've never heard (of) that song. Thanks for the link! Now I have to go download it...

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 04.23.02 at 09:27 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

It's funny... going back to apartment life... I'm reminded of the things I used to take for granted. Like not having to worry about a lawn! Not having to shovel the driveway (not like you guys have to worry about that down there! LOL!) If something breaks - we call maintenance. Hehehe! (And in this apartment complex - if they don't respond within 24 hours, we get a free day of rent for every day until they do. I'm trying to figure out how I can get something like that to work once we move back into a house. LOL!)

¤ ¤ credit: Jennifer | 04.23.02 at 09:53 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

that is without a doubt the scariest algae i have ever seen. like the swamp thing, but real. *shudder*

¤ ¤ credit: kd | 04.24.02 at 12:14 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

kd, that was only one of about 20 trips from the pond to the trash bag and back again. Imagine that little bit literally multipled by 20 and that's just a small grasp of what happened out there in just a few days. God as my witness, I will never willingly own a pond again while we live in Florida -- it is just NOT worth it down here! Especially when you factor in the cost of fish that just vanish into thin air... Thank goodness we didn't buy all the plantlife ourselves, as it was here when we moved in.

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 04.24.02 at 12:45 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

You have an Explorer *yay*
When I was down to Sarasota last August w/ my gf to visit some family of hers, we found that they live in one of those stupid ass gated communities, and they've got a pond behind their house... get this, complete with a gator or 2. How would ya like that :)

¤ ¤ credit: jesse | 04.24.02 at 07:48 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

My husband maintains a whiskey barrel pond on our 2nd floor deck in Georgia and we love it! We have two bright orange feeder goldfish that are a few inches long (after two years) and a few water lilies and other pond plants.

I'm sorry your experience wasn't so great... My husband mentioned that the pond you guys "inherited" was probably too small for Florida. And it would be very hard to keep clean, as we can see from your algae photos (ick!). He just got a filter to help control our algae problem and it has made a world of difference.

¤ ¤ credit: leandra | 04.24.02 at 09:38 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

Robyn, you and I should trade abodes. I am the quintessential nature girl. My most beloved purchase this past month: new vegan backpacking boots and a day-pack for hiking. For my birthday The Boyfriend bought me a tent; and there is no gift I would have loved more. My idea of a good time is walking through forest all day, chasing snakes (yes, I am the femme Crocodile Hunter, complete with wardrobe of tan short-shorts), poking at plants to identify them and photographing wolf dung to e-mail my old natural history professor.

Yet I live in a completely urban environment. The apartment is beautiful, with pristine new hardwood floors, lots of light and tons of grassy parkish land nearby, but it's city through and through.

Ironic the way these things turn out.

With regards to the pond, if you want to get it up and running but need to feel that it serves a purpose might I suggest getting a cat? My mother's pond is what she calls her "cat TV" since every cat in the neighborhood stops by to stare, utterly mesmerized, into the water for hours on end.

¤ ¤ credit: jamese | 04.24.02 at 11:55 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

Oh we had plenty of gators around our apartment complex when we lived by a pond -- with a huge lake down the road. One of them lived about 10 feet from the front door, although I never saw it. Todd did though! :-)

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 04.24.02 at 12:10 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

jamese -- if you had a house and not apartment, I'd trade in a heartbeat! You'd love it here. We have a 13-square mile state nature park / forest a small walk away from the house. And we have 2 cats already -- both completely and totally uninterested in the pond. Not that we would, as both of ours are indoor cats...but in our neighborhood it's illegal to keep your cats outside without being on a leash though. We don't have that many neighborhood roamers around here.

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 04.24.02 at 12:16 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

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