The Second Fish Rescue.


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Mayfield Park

As I mentioned in the previous blog, I worked two fish rescues this past week. The one in Georgetown is the subject of that blog. This one was in a place called Kempner which I have never heard of. When I first received the email from Sonja asking for help with her fish, I had no idea that eventually it would lead to a 75 mile one way trip.

She explained in her email that caring for the pond was getting too much for her so she was going to close it down completely and would like someone to come and rescue the fish and find them good homes. We conversed and I made arrangements that I would visit her on Saturday. She sent me a Google Map of where she lived and the shortest route to get there as I had never driven up to that part of the State  which is another reason I agreed to make the rescue.

Basically, the drive was up Hwy 183 North for most of the way towards Killeen and Copperas Cove with a couple of tricky turn offs onto Hwy 190 before taking FM 1630. My GPS was only good so far and in the end, I had to rely on the printed Google Map for the final directions. It was an interesting drive and it is only when you drive on the less travelled roads do you realize just how big and beautiful this Country really is especially with Spring just breaking out.

I pulled up to the house which was on a country road way out in nowhere although with houses all the way up and down the street to be met by the Man of the house who opened the gate for me. He directed me to the pond and I was able to drive right up next to it which is always a plus. Then Sonja came out and greeted me with a thick German accent pleased to see that I had arrived early. We chatted for a bit and exchanged histories of the why’s and when’s of out arrivals to the States. All of this while the pond was pumping out.

Sonja told me that she had built the pond 15 years ago by herself except for a couple of the big rocks that required help and had maintained it herself in the interim. It  was her hobby but for the last year, it had started to get more work than she could handle and she admitted that she had sadly neglected it. She had very recently changed out the pump, a 3600 gph unit and was looking to sell it as she had no more use for it with the pond closing down.

It was obvious that the pond had been neglected. The water was very cloudy and it was almost impossible to see the fish. There was a huge of cluster of water lily plants growing in the middle that upon inspection, turned out to be just one lily. It had long overgrown the pot and was firmly rooted into the sludge on the bottom of the pond.

I put on my wellie boots, rubber boots to you Americans, and carefully climbed into the pond. Sonja was fussing over me the whole time so worried that I would slip and fall and indeed, the bottom was really slick but I managed to stay on my feet the whole time. With the water going down, I could spot the fish and went about the business of netting some them and handing them up to Sonja who transferred them to the containers.

I started to cut back the lily plant so that we could get it out of the pond it was so big. It took quite a while but eventually, I had it into smaller and more manageable pieces all of which could be repotted and would probably regrow. While I was working on the lily, Sonja and her Husband were trying to catch the remaining fish which were proving to be very elusive.

Finally, with the water level down and the lily out of the way, we were able to be very positive that we had netted all of the fish. Altogether, there was one very large Koi and 15 what I thought were black goldfish, all in beautiful condition regardless of the water condition. Fish are so adaptable.

We collectively reloaded my trailer including all of the water lily pieces and I carefully strapped everything in place. I told Sonja that the fish would probably end up in Mayfield Park which seemed to please her that many others would get the same pleasure out of them that she had.

I said my farewells and drove off trying hard to remember which roads I took coming up. Needless to say, the GPS was not showing the way back that I used to come up and redirected me at least 20 miles out of my way so instead of going to Cedar Park, I ended up on IH 35 in Killeen. Mumbling under my breath, I headed for Mayfield Park in Austin.

Being a weekend, the Park was very busy but luckily, there is an unloading zone right next to the entrance with no one in it. I parked and uncovered the trailer and loaded one of the containers onto my dolly. As I wheeled it into the area where the ponds are located which is very rough stone, the container managed to slip off the dolly and it and fish were everywhere. A couple of people stopped and helped to pick them up so that I could get them to the pond we had worked on the previous Saturday. It was over a week and I figured that the chlorine in the water had already dissipated. The second trip was uneventful and just like the time before when I was unloading the goldfish, I had a lot of help and questions from the younger members watching the whole process. Altogether, I placed 13  fish into that pond.

I repacked my trailer and made my way home with the Koi and a couple of the black (Gold) fish which I put into the 5000 gallon pond where they happily mingled in with the other fish that already reside there. In the opinion of at least one member of the Pond Society, it might turn out that the black fish may not be goldfish after all but common carp although the previous owner stated that she bought a black goldfish way back and has no recollection of any carp added to her pond.  Regardless, they are still beautiful fish in very good condition and will make a good addition to my pond and Mayfield Park. Koi are very close members of the Carp family anyway.

All in all, another successful fish rescue and I got to meet some more very nice people plus enjoying a trip to a different part of the State. Altogether, I covered around 160 miles because of the redirect to Killeen.

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An Easy Fish Rescue.


goldfish2 (002)This past week, I visited two different locations to rescue the fish and plants that the owners no longer wanted. That sounds a bit harsh and in both cases, they had very legitimate reasons for giving up their water hobbies. In the first case on Monday, the owner, Renee, was selling the property and she did not have the room to re-locate the fish. In the second instance, Sonja, the lady who contacted me stated that the pond was getting to be too much work for her.

I made arrangements with Renee to visit them in Georgetown on Monday. It was a bit of a problem finding her house as the GPS would not show her address. I even stopped to talk to the mailman but his directions were not that clear. I finally pulled into another guy’s driveway and he was able to point me in the right direction.

As it happens, Renee had been on the lookout for me and she was waiting at the top of her driveway. We chatted for a bit and she then redirected me around the back of her house to an 8 foot circular barn trough that had a couple of straggly looking plants growing out of it but was full of goldfish. They ranged in size from very small to about 6 inches.

It was a comparatively easy to catch them although not the cleanest of jobs as the tank had a lot of sediment in the bottom. I pumped it down as far as I could which left about 3 inches of water in the bottom and then went about netting the fish. Renee helped with her own net and between us we caught around 50-60 fish.

When that tank was emptied, she directed me to the side of the house where she had yet another small trough that held another 50 or so fish of which she had already caught 35  or so and had them in a 5 gallon bucket ready to transfer them to my tanks. Altogether, there must have been close to a 100 goldfish in my containers.

I packed up my trailer and after bidding goodbye, set off for Mayfield Park where I planned to populate a couple of the ponds. The journey to the Park was uneventful and I pulled in and began to unload the containers that held the fish. The Park was really busy and I got a lot of questions especially from the younger generation as they watched me rehome the fish into their new surroundings in two different ponds accompanied by the raucous racket of the Peacocks.

After emptying the containers, I repacked the trailer and made my way back home. The traffic was light making for all in all, a good rescue day.

Another Fish Rescue 2-3-2017


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The peacocks at Mayfield Park

Alex, Jeannie and myself participated in yet another fish rescue yesterday. This one had been in the works for a couple of weeks when I received the original phone contact from the owners. The problem we had was finding a home for the fourteen or so Koi that lived in the pond. I had pretty much as many as I could house in my ponds and we needed to find homes for the others.

Jeannie Ferrier is President of the Pond Society and she and her husband Steven Monfrini, have worked several rescues this year. She has a rescue tank set up  in her backyard next to her 10,000 gallon Koi pond and has a very interesting arrangement for changing out the rescue tank water as she replenishes it with water from her pond. Depending on the number of Koi in the rescue tank  at any given time, dictates how often the rescue tank water has to be changed.

We had to hold off on the rescue until the new rescue tank  was completed and ready to take more fish and yesterday, everything was a go.

I arrived early at the rescue pond and set up my pump to lower the water. Turns out that the electrical outlets by the pond were not working which accounted for the water being so dirty. I had brought a 100 foot cable with me so in next to no time, my pump working on the water level. While that was happening, I filled the three transport containers that I have with pond water ready to put in the fish. The existing pond water was very dirty and we had had to wait until the water was low enough to even see the fish. I caught the Koi, a couple of which were of  a good size and handed them to Alex who transferred them to tanks in his truck and my trailer. We were lucky that we were able to drive up right next to the pond making it really easy to transfer the fish. We chatted to the owners, Dave Phelps and his Mother, who had lost their Husband and Father which was the reason for closing down the pond. They also made a small donation to the Pond Society for our efforts in rescuing the fish.  We also rescued several pots of water lilies and they went into my trailer as we planned to drop them off at Mayfield Park to donate them and in the meantime, store them in their ponds to overwinter.

We left the rescue site although I planned to be back to pick up the rocks that surround the pond and made our way to Mayfield Park. I had only been there once before and although I had an idea of its location, had to use my GPS system to get directions. Jeannie and Alex beat me to it and were waiting for my arrival. We loaded the lilies onto my dolly and dragged them to the first pond where Alex dropped them into the water.

Next stop was at Jeannie’s house and the rescue tank. Even though originally, I had decided that I didn’t need any more Koi, the color and beauty of some of these helped me to change my mind and I ended up taking four of them home. Alex took a couple and Nancy Reinert, alerted by a call from Jeannie, met us and took a couple more. The rest were transferred into the rescue tank awaiting their turn to find new homes at any of our members ponds.

I drove back to my house and carefully placed my four Koi into the 6000 gallon pond where they quickly assimilated in with the others. I unloaded my trailer and backed it into my garage ready for any other task that may come up. I noticed that the lights on the trailer need some work so that will be my next project, when it warms up.

The pictures are by Jeannie taken with her cell phone.

Another Fish Rescue…


DSC_3433On Tuesday, I stopped by two different places, one to give advice and the other to review rescuing the Koi and helping to shut down the pond. The first one the lady that called me had 5 butterfly Koi she wanted to find a home for as she was moving and was closing down her very small pond. She also had a couple of water lilies and a lotus that she was willing to give up. The only equipment was a small pump that she wanted to hang on to. I checked things out and made arrangements to come back the next day.

The next place that I visited had a very nice pond that really required a lot of work to clean up the water. It was really very dirty and the Koi that it contained were doing a good job of keeping it stirred up. What was surprising was that it had an Aquadyne Filtering system which he showed me and gave it a quick flush to show me what he did to keep it clean. He explained that he had larva rock inside and not the “Beads” that it really requires which probably accounts for it not working properly. I gave him the Aquadyne address so he could look them up.

I suggested that if he joined the Pond Society for $30.00, he could rent the pond vac and storage tank but he had to be a member in order to do so. I also gave him the name of a couple of our Sponsors that do this sort of work as he really needs to drain the pond, scrub it clean and then refill in order to get it back to where the filtering system could hold its own.

I showed him what he had to do on his computer and went on my way. Later that day, I had confirmation come through that he had joined the Society.

I went back to the first place the following day, this time with my trailer and all of the things i would require to rescue the fish and collect the lilies and lotus. The first thing I started when I arrived was to put my pump into the water to lower the level so that I could catch the fish. While that was going on, I carried two 5 gallon buckets of the pond water back out to my trailer and placed one in each of the two coolers I had brought with me. getting them ready for the fish. It was a pretty straight forward job to catch the fish although I was sure that Beth, the lady who was closing the pond, told me there were only 4 of the Koi and I found 5, the last one I spotted when I went back to pick up the plants which I had bagged up on plastic bags. Lucky for the fish. I rescued as much of the lilies as I could dig up from the bottom muck as they had grown out of their pots and were growing wild. The Lotus and yet another Lily were in pots in a separate tank which was easy to lift them out.

I carefully wrapped things up in a tarpaulin and lashed everything down for the drive home which was very uneventful. My timing was good as I didn’t hit any of the rush hour traffic. When I arrived home, I quickly wheeled the coolers to the 5000 gallon pond and one by one, introduced the new fish to the mess of fish that already calls that pond, home. The lilies were placed into containers and  added to the many plants that I am trying desperately hard to give away, preferably before any frost we may get, although if this winter is anything like the last one, we won’t have any frost.

So ended another successful fish rescue.

Today


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Today has been a funny old day
with things done along the way
I took time to view two peoples ponds
both different in why I went along

The first a very pleasant place
with Butterfly Koi sharing the space
not much else just a lily or two
and a waterfall to enhance the view.

I will return tomorrow the fish to catch
and put in my ponds so they can match
the Koi that I already own
to add more beauty to my home.

The other pond is different yet
advice is all they are looking for
and recommendations on what to do
in the hope the pond to renew.

They will need to drain their pond
adding the Koi to a separate tub
where they can stay as the work is done
of cleaning the mess of leaves and muck.

I explained the benefits for them
of joining with our little group
as members they can rent
the pond-vac and the storage tub

I left them with my best advice
and grateful were they for my choice
they know what to do and if they get stuck
I gave them the name of a man and his truck.

 

Another Pond Closing…


dsc_4169I received a call from a gentleman who asked if I knew of anyone that would be interested in the two Koi that were in his pond. He explained that he was calling for his Mother who wanted to close the pond down as it was too much work for her and was willing to give away the fish and the pond equipment to a good home.

I told him that I could take care of that for him and made arrangements to visit with him on a Thursday evening. I thought about hooking up my trailer but he didn’t think there was enough stuff to warrant it so I drove up to Round Rock with my fish net, a pump, a container to hold the rescued fish. Even though I thought I was early enough to beat the traffic, that was not the case as we moved along at a slow crawl all the way up Mopac.

James met me at the curb and took me back to the pond which was located in the rear corner of the yard. I met his Mother who was an elderly lady but very bright and talkative. I had brought a 3600 gallon pump and hose with  me and set the pump to lowering the water level as I looked at the rest of the pond. There were several large containers of Iris both yellow and purple, a large Horsetail and Pickerel. There was also a faux rock waterfall actually made out of fiberglass, which as I learned a little later on as we tried to move it, was very heavy. The pump was a little 800 gallon waterfall pump which might come in useful when I repair my Little Old Man Fountain.dsc_4339-1024x683

This project was not like the last one and the son, James was not inclined to do anymore than necessary so I quickly figured out that it was not going to be a breeze like the last one where Jim did most of the work. I put on my rubber boots and jumped into the pond and immediately realized it had not been cleaned in a while and there was probably 6-8 inches of leaves and debris on the bottom. These hampered my fish catching operation as every time I chased a fish, I came up with a net full of rotting leaves. I managed to catch both fish, one of which I had to catch twice as it jumped out of the bucket the first time  and flopped around for a bit before jumping back into the water. From the bucket, they were placed in the container ready for transport. The fish, both Koi were a good size with one at about 24 inch and the other a little smaller. I am surprised that with all of the silt and rotting leaves in the bottom of the pond, the fish had made it this far as I would imagine that the nitrogen level in the water must have been pretty high.

Together, we worked the containers of Iris and Horsetail onto the lawn along with the faux stone waterfall. James, helped me struggle the thing from where it was set up on the back side of the pond onto the lawn not without a few missteps from me resulting with me falling onto my back into the pool of water collected onto the lawn that we had already pumped out of the pond and banging my head on the stupid thing.With cries of “I’m OK, I’m OK”, I scrambled to my feet much to the amusement  of James and his mother, we got the thing out of the pond and onto the lawn.dsc_4340-1024x683-1

We bagged up the Horsetail and the 3 lilies that I had recovered and placed them and a few other things into my car and I took off for home. I planned on coming back the next day with the trailer for the remaining plants and the faux fountain. It was almost dark when I arrived back home but I knew that I had to get the 2 fish into one of the ponds before it got completely dark. I pulled the container that was now much heavier with the fish and the water in it, over to the 6000 gallon pond and placed the fish very carefully into the water. Both appeared OK and none the worse for the transfer.

True to my word, the next day  I drove what was now a very smelly car due to the previous evenings exertions  and now with the trailer hitched to it, back to Round Rock to be met by James’ Mother who opened the gate for me. I loaded out the remaining Iris and other plants and then  covering everything with a tarp which I lashed down and then put my dolly on to hold the tarp down. I struggled the waterfall onto the trailer placing it on the tarp as well.

I took one last look around making sure that I had everything there was to be had before closing the gate after saying good by to the lady of the house. I provided her with the name of a Handyman who could complete the task of leveling the rocks around the pond and generally tidying up the area.The drive home was uneventful and the traffic was not too bad. Everything is in the timing…

Next time, I will go with my gut instincts and hook up the trailer and save myself an extra trip.

 

Austin Pond Society October Meeting 2016


The Austin Pond Society held their October Meeting at the usual place, Zilker Botanical Gardens Clubhouse on the third Monday of the month starting at 6:30 pm. Following the usual custom, the members were treated to a meal of Baked Potato with all of the fixin’s followed by deserts brought in by the membership. The meal, courtesy of Stephen and Cory was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Following the meal around 7:00 pm, the Speaker for the evening, Taylor Miller of Taylormade Waterscapes, ably assisted by his wife, Sara Lynn, gave us a very interesting talk about building ponds. He also discussed a pond that he worked on for a wealthy Koi enthusiast that was a miracle of modern technology in its construction. For most of us, this was the extreme in pond building and something that we would only read about in books and magazines. Taylor spoke for an hour to an audience of around thirty five members who all appeared to enjoy his talk.

Following Taylor, Jeannie Ferrier, our President stepped up to the mike to conduct the business part of the meeting which consisted of a brief summary by the current Board Members, several of whom are stepping down at the end of the year. Not on the video due to technical problems is the announcement by Francis, the Webmaster of a new page that had just been installed on the website that enables members to post used pond and garden related equipment to sell, swap or just plain give away. This page is named “The Marketplace”. The page is up and running and requires that a form be filled out and submitted giving a description of the articles that need to be posted. Following this announcement, we arrived at the main business of the evening, the election of new Board Members and the re-election of those continuing to stay.

The following members have kindly volunteered their time as new Board Members or in the case of Nancy Reinert, a change of position. Publicity -Ellen Filtness , Membership – Rodney Lewis , Parliamentarian -Nancy Reinert (Switching from Treasurer), Treasurer – David Collier .
The remaining Board members who are continuing in their current roles,  are as follows,
Jeannie Ferrier – President, Glen Hubenthal – Historian, Julienne Smith – Secretary, Ted Paone – Pond Tour Chairman, Barb Lenhardt – Publicity/Special Events, Betty Blackson – Librarian,  Francis Allcorn – Webmaster.

The election of officers completed the business for the evening except for the all important drawing for the door prizes which as usual was closely followed with the appropriate boos and hisses when a board member won a prize. With everyone joining in, the place was quickly cleaned up and made shipshape for the next meeting of whoever that may be.

The  Austin Pond Society’s next meeting, which will also be the last for the year, will be on November 21st at the usual time. There will not be a speaker as the entire meeting will be our Thanksgiving/Christmas Party with lots of food, music and dancing. Don’t forget to wear your ugly Christmas sweater so that you can participate in the “UGLY SWEATER CONTEST”. This year, we are asked to bring an unwrapped toy for the Brown Santa Program  which in turn will be given to needy children at Christmas. Hope to see you there. Oh yes, don’t forget to bring your food offering to the meeting in the form of salads, cookies, pastries and my favorite, apple or mince pie.

The first video is of Taylor Miller.

APS November Speaker 2016 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The last video is the Business section of the meeting.

APS Monthly Business Meeting October 2016 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.