Joe Falls, Joe River, Joe Lake

Thirteen years ago, I had a pond installed in my backyard. I designed it, but this time I had a professional do the digging and the work to make it. I say this time because this is my second pond. The first I hand dug, and built from scratch. I always wanted to live on a lake, but never allowed myself to afford it. Instead I built the lake where I could enjoy it 365 days a year by looking out my kitchen window.

Over the years the pond has been doing its job of giving me endless hours of viewing pleasure while converting organic matter into sludge. Falling leaves, dead lily pads, fish waste and such have be accruing and settling to the bottom. Last fall the water turned a milky white and research indicated that was the result of too much organic matter What began as a 36 inch deep pond is now only 30, and that bothered me. I made-up my mind that this year I would dredge the bottom and recover the depth. It would have been easier to hire a bull dozer to scrape the entire pond out of mother earth and to start over.

I began this project in March and gave up on it in late May. First I drained it to the lowest level possible using the drain pipe. The plan was to pump the remainder down to the bottom. I never got there. The first pump I used was a weeny and couldn’t suck well enough to get a flow going. It reminded me of trying to suck a very delicious and thick milk shake through a very tiny straw. Being the cheap skate that i am I didn’t want to buy a new pump, so finally I decided to use the pump that is normally in action recirculating the water year around. It has much more sucking power and the outlet diameter is two inches. All that was fine, but I needed a piping system to handle the flow out of the yard. After several mental redesigns it came to me. I would buy a cheap two inch flexible hose and duct tape it to the pump exhaust port. (Duct tape is much cheaper than plastic pipe fittings especially when it takes multiple trips to the Home Depot to look for same.)

The hose arrived while I was traveling, and I began the final pump down the day after returning. Hooray, it worked! and the water level went down another twelve inches. leaving me with the final inches of what appeared to be water, but it was a slurry of muck which stalled the pump again. It didn’t have the power to suck out the final inches. What to do next? I need a pump the size of what the local firemen use on their trucks. I didn’t even bother to ask them. The next day it rained and filled the pond over the drain again. I was back to square one. Another two days passed before the water level receded by gravity. The bigger pump along with the large diameter hose got me back to the final mucky pool. I tried several ways to position the pump so that it only sucked water and not muck. No success. The final option was to bail out the final pool by hand. After filling two five gallon buckets that way I decided to think about a better way.

I slept on it for another two days. Then one morning I said to myself, “that’s it, I’m done.” I removed the pump from the muck and reinstalled it into the skimmer where it belongs, turned on the water, and watched the pond refill to its normal depth. An hour and a half later I plugged in the pump and the water began to flow. First Joe’s Falls began falling and flowing through the Joe River, and finally ending in Joe’s Lake. I’m happy. The pond is shallower than I would like it to be, but it is a lot cleaner since I got to remove a lot of debris from the part that was emptied.

Joe Falls
Joe River
Joe Lake

The next step is to buy some new goldfish to fatten up by the end of summer. They will provide some good eating for the Great Blue Heron that will stop by on his way south for the winter. In the meantime, I will enjoy watching the fish and water lily’s for the next six months.

Something Special for Special People

PSA-210526-Interesting, but Useless Stuff

Gallery 2

Getting Un-hooked

It doesn’t take long to get hooked on something that is inherently addictive. For example, yesterday I began a single game of solitaire on the computer and now I can’t get unhooked. In the past several years I have logged over one hundred days playing double deck solitaire. Those are days I will never get back to do something useful. My win rate is locked at 16%. It may never get any better, but I keep on trying, and wasting incredible amounts of time frittering away flipping cards from stack to stack when I could be writing blog posts about my boring life. I have to get unhooked. The problem is how does that happen? Perhaps if I blew up the computer, or smashed the screen?

No doubt even if I kick the habit, another vice will sneak into my repertoire of time wasting addictions, like napping, or reading, or just watching clouds pass over. There are so many ways to break habits but so little motivation to do so. Just try quitting to smoke.

Before long, if one practices an addiction like breathing it becomes a normal function of life. Addictions are contagious and will spread to your family and friends. Drinking alcoholic beverages is another addiction that is very hard to break. Drinking in excess becomes as hard as breathing to give up, and affects many other body functions well. There are harmless addictions like playing solitaire and those that are harmful like smoking and drinking. Does that mean we should not attempt to break those that are harmless? I think not. Getting away from the unharmful ones will give a person more time for productive things like day dreaming or washing windows.

The most harmful addiction I had to give up was smoking a pipe. It took three tries before I became successful, and I admit my health has been better for it, mental and physical. The final trick that tipped me over the top to success was when I came home from work one day to learn that my seven year old daughter buried my pipes in the garden. Her teacher taught all about the evils of smoking at school, and she came home to fix her daddy. So I kicked a twenty year smoking habit cold turkey and have not looked back. Now for the solitaire. I have already stopped playing several times and once went so far as to trash the program from my lap top. One day, I got an urge to play and reloaded the game. So much for kicking bad habits.

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