Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Foggy Morning in January

This morning I walked up to the koi pond at the top of the driveway through a fog that had descended on the area like a sheet someone had thrown over a bed. The koi were very active for this time of year and looked like living iridescent jewels moving through the crystal clear water. The recent cold weather has almost completely done away with the algae that have fogged the water with its bloom for the entire summer months and has now made the fish so much easier to see and appreciate. They really are amazing creatures.

The spillway that drains the excess water from the large koi pond was stopped up with detritus from the leaves, fallen limbs and assorted vegetable matter deposited in the water by recent rain and wind. Although I keep a leaf rake up there for the express purpose of cleaning the spillway of all that is left there by natural events; it is a constant challenge. The fish seem very healthy at this point with all the gravity water exchange from recent rains and the output from the natural watershed above the house and up the side of the mountain. We are usually blessed with an abundant amount of water in the winter, spring and late fall. The summer months tend to see the water diminished to the point where in some years many of the koi are imperiled with draught conditions and some summers cause fish kills that are significant, like last summer, 2011.

There was a time when we first came to Big Creek that it was common to see rainbow trout and brown trout swimming up and down the creek. Frequently when Bric and Peyton were small boys playing in the creek they would find large clusters of trout eggs attached to the undersides of rocks in the swiftly moving water. It always thrilled them to make such discoveries. The place was wilder then than it is now and it is still pretty wild, evidenced by the deer, turkey, beaver, snakes and a multitude of other creatures. All these critters we appreciate and love to occasionally see but do wish that they would leave the garden plants alone and not eat all my hostas. It is of course absurd to expect that there is any chance of that happening when the deer and other animals do this for survival, not sport. Luckily we have Dave the hunter to help keep the deer population limited by harvesting the occasional specimen and even shares some of the pieces with us. We appreciate the venison, Dave.

The koi in the large pond this morning

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