Posted tagged ‘Backyard Pond’


January 29, 2019

(85% of our nation’s lower 48 is below freezing temperature these days, according to news reader on television.    I join. . . .)

It’s “official.”    I am officially frozen in my house,  back and front.

door frozen

That’s a door handle to the sliding glass door that opens out to my back deck.   Only it won’t open today.   It is frozen shut.

It has been cold.  The wind chill index is about 10 below zero right now as I write,  but it’s supposed to get down to as much as 38 below overnight.   30 mph winds –  so I will count myself very lucky if our power doesn’t go out.

See,  my front door is frozen shut too.    The door frame has contracted in the cold so the door can’t leave its frame.     My firewood is out there on the front porch.

Lighting a fire in the fireplace is fun;  but if it’s a necessity,  then  there’s a serious situation going on.

I woke up to this view across my desk this morning:

snow from desk

We did get 7 inches in that storm I was writing about last time.      My neighbor (who played and coached hockey and still likes to skate)  cleared the snow off the pond with shovel and snowblower.     (And left his chair that they all use to fumble with their skates, or to rest.  Wonder if it’s a penalty box too?)

The reason my sliding glass doors are frozen is because I’m using two vaporizers in the kitchen.  When it’s so cold outside,  the humidity goes way down.   The plants and I get very dehydrated — a big no-no for someone walking around with (dissolving)  pulmonary embolisms.   The sliding glass doors are very tight,  but that room moisture seeps into cracks that we can’t even feel. And  the severe cold seeps in from the other side.

snow rink chair

So the pond looks inviting.   My neighbor augered the ice and found it to be at least four inches thick, so it’s safe.

It’s just the air that’s not safe.

Not for another couple days.   A couple days to be,  not  snowed in,  but frozen in!


Stay warm everyone.





September 2, 2018

It’s still Sunday.  Seems a shame to focus on those Unsolvable worldly Problems right now,  so I’ll report a little spiritual matter that came up recently, from a combination of sources.


It began with a quiet evening with Son on my back deck.   I remarked how lately I’d  been appreciating a beautiful portion of my back yard.

Green pathways 350

Some of you have seen my back yard before,  but  this year I had made sure that grass grew on that pathway connecting the two parts of the yard.  (The camera didn’t pick up the bright green of the pathway.)    I had thought it looked nice with a dirt path,  you know, like a natural deer path?  But this year I think the green pathway looks nice,  and it’s more inviting.  Gray rock on one side, old leaves on the other side.

That evening on the deck was still and quiet.  The water in the pond had a shining surface, and looked cool and pleasing.

Deck Left Aug 20 350


“Green Pathways”   +    “Still  Waters”   =   I couldn’t help thinking of the “23rd Psalm (according to Jewish numbering).

lamb not wanting

“The Lord is my Shepherd,  I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures.  He leadeth me beside still waters . . .”

At one time this Psalm was not only common knowledge,  but also a great comfort to  most Americans.   Today,  it is practically unknown,  unless you go to a Bible-reading church.    I memorized it as a child, of course;  we “had” to,  but I almost immediately understood its importance and deep,  rich meaning that continues to comfort.

What’s so special about “green pathways and still waters”?    They are  everything a little lamb would need.    They are a symbol for everything a whole flock of sheep would need!   The sheep who follow a  good and skillful shepherd will never be in want.

lamb sit and wait

There are several books written by men who have been shepherds and who know sheep well.

lamb book  According to these books, lambs are cute,  but they’re really,  really dumb, and they can’t take care of themselves.   When they grow up to be sheep,  they don’t get any smarter.   They’ll follow anything that looks like a good idea to them.  They’ll eat food that is bad for them.   They don’t realize they need fresh water and rest.    Stress kills them,  sooner or later.      And they don’t see danger coming until it’s too late!

But a good shepherd loves them and takes good care of them anyway.

And here is the connection to us:  The Bible says  “We all like sheep have gone astray. . .”

Of all the animals in the world,   the sheep most thoroughly resembles – us!

You know that Jesus has called Himself The Good Shepherd.   “Ego sum Pastor bonus.”   Why does He care so much “that we have everything we need”?

One answer.  Because he bought us!

He bought and paid for each one of us.

With His life:

lamb sacrificed


Some want to be counted with Jesus,  the Good Shepherd.

lamb knows voice


They will be all right.  They will lack nothing.  They won’t go astray.  And they will make it to Heaven,  following every moment, every step in His footsteps.


Bar Cross in middle


Of course,  not every human being chooses to be in His flock.    They want to do life their own way.   They want to choose their own path.  I don’t know where they’re heading.

Maybe they should take it from the shepherd,  David, and read that Psalm  (Psalm  22,  traditional Christian numbering,   or Psalm 23, Jewish numbering.)

Maybe people should try memorizing it.   “It’s the Psalm that keeps on giving!”



April 6, 2017


(Property jeopardy) —

Well, as far as yesterday’s post, “sailors take warning”  – it’s come true.   Rain, hail, snow,   and wind today;  but it’s an odd wind.   The wind is strong and jerky,  gusty,  blustery.    Trees aren’t just swaying,  they’re twisting.   I’m sitting here listening to things fall on my roof.

And trees and tree limbs crashing down . . .  and getting swept away:

I shouldn’t have a rapids in my creek!

A Rapids 400

You can walk across it in the summer and not get your ankles wet.   It gets high in the Spring,  but not this high.

The wind is blowing the trees around, and while I sat in my rocking chair this afternoon, right up next to a window, a 25-foot tree came crashing down into the creek.  Within a minute it had been washed downstream, without a trace.

I saw my lilac trees along the creek bank get washed away too –  too quick to grab my camera.


I’m losing my property fast today!    The soil between the pond and the creek is getting washed away,  but the biggest danger is  from this giant:

A Root 400

Starting from the roots which have lost much of their support from the soil around them,  on up and up and up –

A middle tree 345

I don’t know,  maybe 150 feet?     Maybe 200 feet?

A top tree 400

Same tree, farther up.   The top part of the tree is twisting in a partial circle when the gusts come, and I get the image of the whole tree just drilling itself loose from the ground.

That tree will crash into my house if it falls!!

(I know.     A tree that tall has a gigantic unseen root structure that spreads out widely and helps to anchor the tree . . . but they do fall.)

I was outside during the snow and rain this morning to rescue some objects from the rising creek and to check to see how much “land” I had left between the creek and the pond.

A Waters Meet 380

The pond is overflowing into the creek, and where the rivulets run, the snow has melted or been carried away.

A Waters mingle 380

The water rose rapidly and began to mingle.    From the looks of it now,  several hours later,   I’ve got even  less muck to walk on between that creek and pond.

I caught a glimpse of our father Duck  in the creek,  but he zipped by too fast downstream so I couldn’t get a  picture of him.

But here’s that  “little” tree getting carried away:

A 25 foot tree washing away 380

When I was out there this morning,  I was able to get a lot of  branches out of the pond.  The higher water level in the pond made it easier for the branches to float to the edge where I could  fish them out.

As I worked back there,  I heard something walking through the woods,  probably a deer.  It had to be something heavy because sometimes a very big branch would snap, like being stepped on.  I could even hear footsteps every once in a while,  then a branch or a twig would snap and then . . .  nothing.   For a while.     Then more footsteps.

Great fun when you have a good imagination!  I imagined myself being stalked.   Maybe by a rogue deer,  the dangerous kind, because a rogue has no pregnant doe or harem to protect,  but he still has the urge to stalk around and search for enemies!   (My classes, take note:   a rogue deer is like the young “unattached”  young men hired by  Jephthah and by Abimelech, unpredictable  lone wolves,  needing a leader. )

A Stalk 1 370

I looked for a long time into the woods,  but could only see shadows that didn’t move.

A Stalk 2 370

Nothing.   But the occasional   twigs breaking and footsteps  were still there.

That was fun;   waiting for a tree to crash into my house is not fun.    It wouldn’t be the first time.      I still remember the sound,  the feeling,  the shock of a large tree crashing into the back of our house – and that happened when professionals were taking down a tree on purpose.   (They had underestimated its height.)

I’m not sleeping on that side of the house tonight.




Dear Johnny Cash,   I know what you mean:
We can make it to the road in a homemade boat
That’s the only thing we got left that’ll float
It’s already over all the wheat and oats,
Two feet high and risin’

How high’s the water, mama?
Three feet high and risin’
How high’s the water, papa?
She said it’s three feet high and risin’

Well, the hives are gone,
I lost my bees
The chickens are sleepin’
In the willow trees
Cow’s in water up past her knees,
Three feet high and risin’

How high’s the water, mama?
Four feet high and risin’
How high’s the water, papa?
She said it’s four feet high and risin’

Hey, come look through the window pane,
The bus is coin’, gonna take us to the train
Looks like we’ll be blessed with a little more rain,
Four feet high and risin’

How high’s the water, mama?
Five feet high and risin’
How high’s the water, papa?
She said it’s five feet high and risin’

Well the rails are washed out north of town
We gotta head for higher ground
We can’t come back till the water goes down,
Five feet high and risin’


April 5, 2017


(1),    (2) ,   (3)   points.


(1)   It happened again :

Sunrise 2 cr best

A red sky this morning.     (Sailors take warning.)     This time the colors were even deeper and richer than before.    I ran from window to window this morning trying to get into my camera that  shade of deep reddish-salmon-orange that I was seeing in the sky.

I couldn’t.        Fifteen pictures later, I was still frustrated.

Sunrise 3 cr new

And as the sun was rising,  I was losing the color.

Sunrise 1 cr

I had two choices:  either run out and grab my friend from out of his wife’s bed  because he knows a lot about photography and promised to teach me sometime;  or instantly learn how to use oil paints,  because only a pallet  of oranges, pinks, reds, and yellows could duplicate the color I was seeing.

Two choices which were no choices;    so I just  watched the Nature Show of salmon,  orange,   pink, and yellow,  then finally pale blue.   As I watched, I settled down and my mind began reprising the pathways it had taken during the night.

(“Sailors take warning . . .”)

(2)    The night before,  just before I had  called it a day, I’d been reading up  on Pope Gregory XVI,  perhaps a rather obscure pope today,  but he aroused some controversy in his day,  not too long ago,  in the 19th century, and gives us something to think about today.

greg xvi

He wrote some interesting and valuable documents, among them an encyclical putting forth in clear terms  the Church’s opposition  against slavery,  a  teaching which had long been proclaimed by the Church,   but needed reinforcement.

However,  even though he  produced some valuable and helpful documents,    he was personally and deeply suspicious of the consequences of  what we now would call the technological and industrial revolution.   He opposed the growing socialist movement which reduces people to  “economic units,”   under the management (control) of a central state government.    He saw this as the depersonalization of the individual, individuals becoming “the masses”  which the revolutionary socialist movement is  there to provide for.    (Move over,  God.)

Technology,  this pope believed,   would only hasten this development, as  families are torn  from their land ownership and  migrate into industrial cities where the artificial societies were  generally harmful to the dignity and well-being of human beings.

Curiously (to our ears)  he pointed out that . . .

DESK and gas lamp

. . .   gas lamps  (indoor artificial lighting)  would be ultimately harmful to the health of people,  interrupting their daily rhythms, allowing industrialists to extract longer hours   from the “workers.”   He also spoke out against  locomotives, for the same reason:  disruption of human society,  harmful to health;   dirty, polluting  machines  that create an artificial sense of human travel and again,  tear apart families.



(3)       Next,     (Sailors take warning . . . )     I woke up to  the big radio station out of  Detroit in which  the host was discussing with guests the current threats from North Korea.     It was a good, thoughtful discussion,  but the host then said that the biggest threat from North Korea’s isn’t that   one of their nuclear bombs would  go off – boom –  in the middle of our country,  but rather that they would (or someone else would)  explode a big one in the atmosphere,  near our coastline,  causing a destructive EMP which would wipe out all our modern technology,  putting  us right back into the 19th century,  perhaps like the days of Pope Gregory XVI.

Although that sometimes seems like a quaint,  charming,  more clean and pure society before all our technology,   the hard truth is that  no one today knows how to live as they did in the 19th century.   (Our government has projected that 90% of our population would die within the first year.)

And then I opened my eyes to that  beautiful  salmon-red sky.

And so  there is a  (4).

Duck creating a wak 1

Our springtime Drake has put his lady-wife somewhere, haven’t seen her for a week; she’s probably in a protected nest nearby.   He likes to sail down our creek at a high rate of speed and he likes to swim across our pond, leaving a definite wake behind.

I’m sure he saw the beautiful sunrise this morning, and I’m just as sure he was oblivious to the beauty.    But though he misses out on the ability of humans to appreciate such beauty,  if – and when –  the EMP or something takes us back into a pre-industrial age,  he would miss out on the resulting chaos – and death.

Duck Wake 2

After such a horrific event,  he may feel some “disturbance,”  but he would be off, as usual,  to visit the nest or find some food or check for any enemies or take a drink of water . . .  In other words,  life for him would go on as normal,   just as it did for human societies after  the Carrington Event.


1859,  right?    Just after Pope Gregory XVI.    A few technological difficulties,  but life went on and few knew what the sun had just done to us.

Today?   We are,  unlike my springtime Drake,  we are “sitting ducks.”   Dependent upon ever newer and more fragile technology that is dangled before us like a snake charmer using his wiles.

(You do know what the “Watchers”  brought down to humanity according to the Book of Enoch?)

   —  Of course I’m a Luddite (at heart) !







June 7, 2016

This must be Sissy Weather –

Sissy Pond

See any goldfish in there?     Nope.

I have more than three dozen so far this year, and they’ve all disappeared because it got a little chilly out there.   The big sissies.   They’ve been gone all day.

For my part,  I’ve been enjoying the cool winds all day.   I kept the windows open today, in 62 degree temperatures, so now my house is . . .  about 62 degrees inside.   It’s going to get down to the low 50s tonight – and I’m NOT turning on my furnace.    Quilts,   hot tea, and a stack of books are what cold houses are for!

We’ll see.

Sisssy herbs

The Weather Channel has not announced our three or four spells of “unseasonably:  cold weather this Spring  –  temperatures   “way below average.”    (They do, however,  enthusiastically announce wherever the temperatures are warmer than average.  Must be that that “climate change” is going in only one direction.)

I’ve been much more active in this cool weather.

I’m just getting started on my herb garden,  and I promised myself I’d take a year or two off of tomato growing.  Maybe the Great Midwestern Tomato Blight will be done by then.    I live around enough Amish farmers to make a trip to the Farmer’s Market a  better alternative.


All of my neighbors are busy trying to keep up with late Spring yard chores, so that the summer’s growth doesn’t become overwhelming.    Like these pretty flowers surrounding St. Joseph –

sissy invasion

I didn’t plant those flowers.    Every day they seem to get bigger and thicker.   Turns out they are an “invasive species”  and they are efficiently invading my space.   So rather than “growing” things  this year,  my summer will be busy “ungrowing”  things.

Sometimes we need to  stop growing things,  to “ungrow,”  to cut back, to weed out — oh, I think I’m talking other things:  my books,  my extra possessions that are “extra”  for no particular purpose,   all my photos,   and all the photos on my computer desktop waiting to be used . . .

I’ve just taken a kind of interlude from more serious issues.    I need the courage and prudence to say things in just the right way,  because our civilization is at stake.   It’s so easy to let it go,   to make no remarks,   for “good people to do nothing,”  —  to be a big Sissy.

Sissy white pond

Well.      That’s not our gray sky through the trees.   That’s still looking down at the pond, at the empty pond;  still nobody there.

The big sissies.


April 21, 2016

Springtime in the Far North – finally –  and with it comes some annual chores:


Kind of a messy overview of my annual spring task,  which is to add some kind of blue dye to the water to prevent an overgrowth of algae —  which uses up the oxygen that the fish need.   The dye prevents some of the  sunlight from penetrating the water, thus preventing the overgrowth growth of plants that shouldn’t be there.

I always worry about putting the dye into the home of the goldfish.   I know it mixes in after a while, and dilutes itself,   but I didn’t want to dump the dye onto the goldfish.       Little critters saw me at the edge of the pond and kept following me,  though.

It takes a while for the dye to spread out into the pond.    That’s not “sky,”  that’s just the reflection of the trees in the different colors.


But then the pond becomes a beautiful blue in the sunlight:



Blotchy blue at first,  then a nice Caribbean blue:



Blue  +  gold = green?    Every year I fear I’m going to change the color of the goldfish.   But it never happens.   They just swim around looking like exotic tropical fish in their  newly “decorated”  habitat:


They’re doing fine.

Deo gratias.

And thanks also for  this backyard pond which produces a sense of natural serenity for us here.

I’m the caretaker; the pond can be a lot of work,  but I don’t mind.


April 6, 2016

Weather humor:  as in “this must be a joke.”


Every Spring  the ducks come back and  bring such  a sense of serenity to my back yard.     When they’re swimming in the pond or resting on the bank it seems that everything must be all right;  no problems;   peace and safety.  Nature  at its nicest.

But . . .   they’re usually not resting on snow.   Sometimes they are.     I’ve seen snow on their backs as they swim in a surprise spring snowstorm.    But not usually.

The weatherman has a big job here in the Far North at this time of the year:


He’s got to be prepared for everything.   It’s kind of fun.

We had sunshine yesterday,  and it rained too;  and snowed;  and I think there was a little ice storm or sleet after midnight.    Same thing a couple of other days last week:  rain, snow, sleety stuff,  sunshine for a while …  and the weatherman threw some hail in there too on one of those days.      The days are windy – and not windy.

No,  it’s not “climate change.”  It’s not “extreme” weather.   It’s just typical.

And it’s fun.    You might as well give up planning what to wear.   If you go outside you’re going to get rained on, then you’ll get hot;  and you’ll have to hold your winter scarf around your neck when the wind blows the snow around.

If you don’t mind all that,   it really is a funny sort of weather joke.

Seasons changing;   the world is fully alive.   And fun!



August 3, 2014

Fish in store

I’m still on my Necessary Road Trip which I’m trying to make  into a “Culinary Road Trip” although I don’t have much appetite yet.    I’m a  bit emotional, still, because July 31st is still very much with me.  That is the date of Hubbie’s birthday.

(See November 2010 archives for his . . . ending.)

Son and Daughter share the same vague wordless unutterable sense of loss.    We do something for Hubbie on the date of his birthday each year.   You see, he loved our back yard pond and could always find something  in it to keep him busy.   Each year he added goldfish to the pond;  it’s a rather large pond so it was always fun to watch the tiny little fish explore what must seem like a vast new world.  Each Spring we eagerly look forward to the Count —  how many goldfish made it through the harsh winter!



So a couple days ago we went to our local pet store and chose a number of little goldfish,  the number that would match Hubbie’s age.

Then we  opened their little plastic “cocoon”   and got them used to the pond water for a while –  not exactly as clean as the pet store kept them,  but rich in food and whatever else goldfish like to swim in.  They always seem to thrive in the pond water.



We hold our breaths as the first most daring fish swim out of their bucket  —


It matters.    It’s for Hubbie.    We need this to be a success.

Eventually they all begin to swim out –



All done.   Many scattered far out in the pond.     Joyfully,  I like to think.   A few clung close to the shorelineSAMSUNG

Just like people.

Adventurous.     Home loving.

Eager to explore.   Content to stay close to familiar things.

Open to new ideas.    Comfortable with deeply experiencing  what you already know.


The pond is big enough for all the fish to be happy.    They’ll have all kinds of new neighbors:   other fish we don’t know the names of,  frogs,  snapping turtles, and – unfortunately –  the kingfishers and the blue herons.

“Meet some new neighbors-to-be”:


Know what this gloopy mess is?     Son poked  a stick into something interesting in  the weeds and came up with this jellied sticky stuff – looking a bit like green tapioca pudding!      (Sorry if you like tapioca pudding. . . .)      It’s frog eggs!   Many, many more frogs to come.    Night concerts!

Hubbie would have liked that.    His memory lives on, partially, now in all our new baby goldfish.   We’re going to care what happens to each one of them.