And I Thought I was Old…


dsc_4175As the Webmaster for the Austin Pond Society, my name is listed as the contact person for anyone who needs to contact the site for whatever reason. Usually, it is to ask a pond related question or maybe to find out if we do fish rescues and such like. My normal procedure is to contact the sender and find out just what their question is all about before deciding who to send it to within the organization. Sometimes, I can provide them with an answer over the phone and other times, I need to make a trip and visit them at their location.

I received a call from a gentleman we shall call Jim who was inquiring if I knew of anyone who wanted to buy his Koi and pond equipment as he needed to shut his pond down. I made arrangements to meet with him at his house to take a look and pictures to post on the new website pages that I have just put up that we call “The Marketplace”. Jim’s equipment would have been the first ones up.

When I pulled up outside of his house, I saw this sprightly looking older gentleman kneeling down in the middle of his front yard preparing a bed for the plants he was going to put there. We shook hands and he took me back to the pond which was at the back of the house. Turns out, Jim liked to chatter and before we reached the pond, I had already found out that he had just celebrated his 86th  birthday. I gotta say that he looked re-markedly fit and healthy for an 86 year old. He told me that he spends most of his time working, out in the yard and he did have a beautiful place. Unlike my lazy approach to building sidewalks of steel edging and reconstituted gravel, he opted to build forms and pour concrete curbing and then finish with brick pavers. He showed me all he had done so far and told me of his future plans for his yard. Quite obviously , he had no plans to retire from his yard work and being 86 was not going to slow him down.

We walked to the pond which was a very nice 1500 gallon pond with a huge stone waterfall and stone edges. The waterfall was not running due to a leak that he thought he knew the general location of but did not fancy moving tons of rocks to get to it. This was another reason that he was shutting down the pond. The pond contained eight lilies, two very large Koi and eight equally large goldfish. The circulation equipment consisted of a 4000 gph exterior pump with an attached UV light system that took the water from the pond and emptied it into a large waterfall box through an Aquadyne filtering system. He also had an Aerator which he was using to keep the water oxygenated. The whole set up was exactly what I was looking for to add to my largest pond. I made Jim an offer and wrote him a check and told him that I would return on the following Monday to remove the fish and equipment.

As I promised, I drove back to Round Rock on the following Monday which was a 50 mile trip one way for me. I didn’t mind the drive as my Ford Escape and Trailer hook up, runs very smoothly together on the road and it gave me ample opportunity to listen to my latest Audiobook, an intriguing story of the end of civilization as we know it. Jim was at the back of the house and left me a note on his front door telling me his location. He had already disassembled all of the equipment  with the exception of the Aerator which he had left running for the fish which would be the last thing to be loaded. We moved the disassembled equipment out to where I had backed in the trailer without any trouble followed by the eight waterlilies. Jim had a separate pump that he used to pump down the water so that he could get into the pond to hand out the lilies which were in tall pots. We placed each of the lilies inside a 40 gallon plastic bag to protect them on the trip home. Each time I tried to push the wheelbarrow containing the lilies, Jim kept taking the thing out of my hands so that he could do it. I don’t know if he was afraid that I would hurt myself or that unknowingly, we were in an old mans competition to see who could wheel the most. Actually, I didn’t mind one bit to let him be King of the Hill.

The last thing that we took to the trailer were the fish. Again, Jim jumped into the pond and using my fish net, caught the fish and I carried them out and placed them into an eighty gallon tank I had brought along. This tank has a cover and the entire thing is placed inside a tarpaulin. We had previously filled the tank with water from the pond so as the fish at least were in water they were used to. Again, Jim coupled up hoses and attached them to his extra pump to fill the eighty gallon tank. Talk about being a useful man to have around. He sure was that and more and he was not finished yet.

We finished loading out the trailer and by the time we were through, it was full. I happened to glance at the tires and noticed they were low on air. Jim noticed it too and the next thing, he came out with a tire gauge and an air pump and proceeded to air up both tires AND the spare. I thanked him profusely for everything especially for all of his help as usually on these sort of assignments, I am the one doing all of the work.

The drive home was trouble free and when I arrived at my house and checked the fish tank, everything was just fine and all of the fish had made it safely. It wasn’t long before I had them in their new home where they immediately headed for the bottom of the pond. It must have been quite an experience for them.

Actually, it was for me too. I got to meet a very nice gentleman who liked to talk. I learned about his past life as we worked and he told a good story. He was a man very much like myself in his ability to work hard and his usefulness knew no bounds as we worked on dismantling his pond. It was a real pleasure to do business with him.

The only downside to the entire operation that with me purchasing all of the equipment, there was nothing to post on the new webpage known as “The Marketplace”. Oh well, at least it is ready for the next person that wants to close down their pond or that just has surplus equipment for sale and I promise that next time, as long as they don’t have another exterior electric motor and wet end with a 4000 gph or more capacity, I will not buy it before others have a chance.

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