If you have a lot of property, consider building your own fish pond to enjoy. Ours has a waterfall made of rocks that I enjoy hearing when I am outside. Part of our fish pond is inside of our gazebo and part is outside, connected by a small river that goes under the deck of the gazebo.
We have some koi and a lot of goldfish. They seem to get along fine together. The bigger koi sort of gang together when there is a snake in the pond and they seem to protect the little fish. When we first started, all of our koi were small and a bunch were killed by snakes until we started spreading out some smelly anti-snake powder.
Good Monday morning. It is overcast and very humid at 74° at 10am. I watered all of the plants and trees in my backyard and all of the potted plants on the front porch of my home and over here by the store. Lots of zinnias are coming up now. Soon everything will be beautiful with zinnias.
We have fresh eggs in the big refrigerator here in the Farm Store. I noticed that almost everyone out this way has their farm fresh eggs priced at $5 a dozen and it should be that way. It costs a lot to feed the chickens good quality grains and oyster shells, not to mention meal worms as a supplement. They love meal worms. Eggs are healthy, a good source of protein, and our eggs have beautiful orange yolks, not pale yellow like you get in the store.
This morning, I cleaned up the pond some more from the wildflowers and oak pollen. Then I cleaned the filter. Matt showed one of the new guys how to clean out the second filter under the fake rock. I put in some algae killer, then de-chlorinator. Now I am filling the pond and it is already 1:15pm. It takes a lot of time to clean the pond which I should not have had to do today since I just cleaned it Saturday morning. You can read more about it down in this Sunday's Fish Pond section below.
I think people don't realize that backyard ponds are not natural bodies of water. Therefore, most have a pool lining with no way to drain. Things get filtered but big flowers and sticks can't go through a filter and come out. They have to be manually removed by me. Paper trash, oak pollen, leaves, and more crap that is thrown in will stay in the pond until I take it out. Honestly, this is the first major problem I have had with people throwing all kinds of crap in the fish pond. Here and there, we have had one or two things tossed in but this was an all out assault with everything they could find on the ground to throw in.
It is a sunny, hot, humid day and we still have a lot of plants for sale. Tomatoes are two for $3.95.
So this week, we are talking about our fish pond. I did not realize but many people have ponds in their backyard that they built. I love water so having a pond was a natural fit for me. David decided to place it by the Farm Store so people could enjoy it in the gazebo he wanted built. Originally, we had the pond more open but our grandchildren ran straight for the pond the first time they visited after it was built and tried to get in it. We then had to fence it in to protect the fish and the kids from falling in and hitting their heads on the big rocks out there.
Our friend, Nacho, does beautiful wood work. We decided that we would like to have a gazebo and a pond with a waterfall. We did not give him any specific design or instructions. He had never before built a gazebo or a pond. Nacho did some research and designed a rectangular gazebo with a pond in the middle of it. There would also be a pond outside of the gazebo and the two ponds would be hooked together by a river that runs under the gazebo deck so the fish can go back and forth.
Nacho started this project on March 31, 2021 and he finished it on April 26, 2021. He worked on it a few days a week, as time allowed him away from his lawn service business.
We were pretty excited when he finished with the fish ponds and gazebo. He did an amazing job. He brought in some giant, heavy rocks. He went to a pond store and learned about how to make falls and pond motors, etc. He made wooden seating inside of the gazebo for us and our customers to enjoy. They were not prefabricated. He handmade all of it himself. He is very talented. We got so many compliments on the gazebo and fish pond.
Nacho started framing the gazebo first. Then he dug the pond inside the gazebo. After that, he dug the pond with the falls and finally he connected the two ponds with a small river. Then he finished building the gazebo and placed a pond lining in both ponds. He put bags of cement on the inside lining to hold it in place. Out by the falls, he placed big rocks to hold down the lining.
Well, good morning at 10:08am. I was supposed to plant my peanuts on April 1 but I forgot so they are now planted. I went out this morning and planted Virginia Jumbo and Tennessee Red. I have never before planted peanuts but as I have previously mentioned on here many times, this farm used to be a part of a big peanut farm for many years. I hope they grow.
Nacho is here with five helpers today. One is new and he cut down my Dipper Gourd that I just planted last week. I planted it by a trellis and put a name tag in front of it. The name tag was not cut but my gourd is. I mean he had to try really hard to cut it down between the name tag and the trellis. There is no way he could have gotten the lawn mower he was using. I heard him in the backyard and went to tell him not to cut it down but he already had. I am so upset. It was the only one that came up so far.
My potatoes are doing great but I wonder if they are safe from all of the lawn mowers? I picked asparagus. Honestly, they are putting out less now but growing a ton of those ferns. The ferns are already out of hand and making a mess in the two hoop houses where the asparagus grows.
I cleaned out the pond again today. It is 12:40pm now and I am filling the pond again. The water came out dirty and dark brown again. It is amazing how much havoc some kids can make when they are not being supervised in just under 30 minutes.
Our neighbors got sheep that look like goats. They greeted me this morning when I came to unlock the store. There are three, a mom, a dad, and a baby. One of our team members says they are called Painted Desert sheep. I thought they were goats. David wants some and so do I. These are called hair sheep because they don't have wool. They shed their hair.
Nacho has laid down some crushed up rock on the walkways across the parking lot. I walked on it and it is so much smoother to walk on. Those big rocks we had make my feet roll and I have fallen a few times.
I got a lot of computer work done today with just a few visitors. It was hot, in the 90s but we did have a good breeze all day long.
I love water. As far back as I can remember, I have always loved water. The sound of a waterfall is so soothing. I like to see fish swimming back and forth, peacefully enjoying the water. The gazebo is a great place to sit and watch all of this. It is out by the store so I don't really enjoy it during non-business hours because it is too far to walk to in the dark. We are in the country and we have snakes and giant spiders. The gazebo and pond were built for customers to enjoy while they are here for a visit.
Here is a list of benefits of having a fish pond in your yard.
Good Wednesday morning! It was supposed to rain but we did not get a drop so I have to go out and water my plants. We had lots of lightning last night but it was for nothing.
We had some rain around 9am. It is very windy and the sky is still overcast. It is dark out at 10am.
We never got a drop of rain all day long here. We had a few visitors but it stayed chilly all day long. I was so cold and my arthritis was hurting.
I was able to complete a lot of computer work. Then the wind started blowing a lot more of those pollen things from the oak tree. The pond is full of them again.
Around 11pm, there was a lot of lightning in the eastern sky. I went to bed with no rain...
At one point, we had well over 20 frogs in our fish pond. They multiply quickly and for a while, I did not think they would ever go away.
Let me make clear that we never wanted frogs in our pond. It started with one back in 2021 and somehow, it multiplied. At times, we would have three, five, even 12. Then they would go away and it would start again until at one point, I counted 26 frogs. I believe that was the record.
I guess there was plenty for them to eat because they stayed and stayed...The frogs stayed mostly in the pond and on the lily pads so at least they did not become annoying on the deck where visitors were.
They all went away once the cold started in early 2022. I know frogs are cold-blooded so when it got cold again in February of 2022 and we had several hard freezes, they just disappeared. I did not find any frog bodies so I guess they went where all frogs go when it gets cold.
The entire year of 2022, we did not see one frog. Now here it is April of 2023, and we still have not seen one frog. We have seen some snakes, though, in and around the pond. I will keep you posted if we see more.
I woke up after 1am and it was raining. I went back to sleep and woke up at 5:40am. It was raining hard. I took Ethel out at 6:20am and it was really coming down. She hesitated and then ran under the back deck steps and relieved herself. After that, the other three wanted to go out. They went out in the pouring rain and just stood there for a while. Finally they got to it and came in soaking wet.
Matt has made it safely to work this morning and I have had a cup of coffee. I need to go make some breakfast. David and I have some doctor appointments this morning.
We have had doctor appointments for eight weeks for this morning in San Antonio but since it is pouring and shows a 100% chance of rain all day, David called and canceled. I said we probably won't have any customers in the Farm Store today but David said we will probably have a bunch of them because there is nothing else to do in the rain. I just made breakfast but soon I will have to go feed the fish and open the store. Everyone else has been fed but the fish.
It is now noon. We had a set of very nice customers. I always think in gloomy weather we won't have customers, but we did. I am going to the house to get some lunch now. I think we could have kept our doctor appointments because it is not raining. I guess we are fortunate that we got any rain at all. Never mind about lunch. Someone just drove up...
It is now almost 2pm and is still overcast but there is no rain coming down now. I had to put the heater on in the store because it was too cold. It is currently 54° and even with the heater on, it is chilly in here which means pain for me. Yesterday my hips and feet were killing me from being out here in the cold store.
We ended up selling all of the eggs in the Farm Store refrigerator before closing so we get to start fresh next Monday.
Happy Passover which starts today to all who celebrate.
In my opinion, snakes are disgusting and very scary. You may like them, but I hate them and have since I was a little girl. Of course, we live in Texas and they are here and show up when you don't expect it. We use a product called Snake-A-Way. We sprinkle it around the pond. It smells very strong and the snakes don't like it. It does get blown away by wind and washed away by rain. We need to sprinkle it about once a week for it to be effective. When we forget to put it down, the snakes show up for dinner.
This is the time of year for all kinds of snakes to be out and about and I guess they are hungry so we need to keep lots of Snake-A-Way sprinkled around and, hopefully, we will be okay.
At first, back in 2021, I got some solar powered devices to put in the ground. They emitted a sound and we did not have snakes for months after that. Then they stopped working. I don't know if people killed them when cutting the yard or what. That is when I went on Amazon and found the snake powder. It has a strong smell, almost as bad as moth balls but I would rather smell something ugly than have snakes around. We did not sprinkle any of this stuff this year until last Sunday when we saw our first snake of the spring in our fish pond.
Today is Good Friday. We are thankful for a Savior who died for our sins, who thought we were good enough that He would go to the cross so we would not have to spend eternity in hell.
Our Farm Store and business are closed today, tomorrow, and, of course, Easter Sunday. I thought maybe I would get to sleep in but I woke up at 5:40am with a clogged nose. It was so cold in here. I have taken Ethel and Lucy out in the breezy, cold, backyard to do their early morning business. David let the puppies go out through the laundry room and he went back to sleep. He does not have the allergies that I have so his nose is always open...
It was a pleasure to have the day off today instead of being in the store the whole day. It rained on and off all day long so the whole place is very muddy. I roasted a delicious chicken with potatoes for lunch and I cooked fresh asparagus from our garden in olive oil. It was a delicious lunch.
Most importantly, I was able to make Easter bread for the first time in my life. Until yesterday, I did not know there was such a thing. I watched a lot of videos yesterday and I decided I would make it today. For my first time of braiding dough, the Easter bread came out great and it tastes really good!
If any customers came, the doorbell never went off. I was so afraid that I would have to go over there in the mud and wait on folks. Just after 3pm, we left to go to Walmart to buy some groceries. Everybody and their mothers were there so it was not much fun. I was glad to get home. I put everything away and then I had to go out and take care of all of the animals. It was cold all day, staying in the 50s so I got just seven eggs. It was cold yesterday as well, in the 50s. Tomorrow and Sunday, it should get up to the 70s so maybe the eggs will come back again. I sure hope so.
Someone took my hose nozzles and I cannot find them anywhere on the property. I bought them with my own money, not business money. Now I have to buy more. I will have to guard them with my life. This is not the first time people have walked off with my outdoor tools. I am so sick of it. I noticed they were gone this morning when I went out to feed and water the animals. No nozzles so the chicken coop got all wet as I filled up the waterers. Why? I keep or should I say kept an extra nozzle in my greenhouse so I went to get that. It was not there either. It gets so frustrating playing hide and seek and realizing that my stuff has been taken by someone we pay good money to.
One bad thing, our Trimlight lights are out again. I think they got struck by lightning again like they did last year because we have thunderstorms.
We use city water to fill our pond. Our well water has lots of iron in it so it is brown. We did not want a brownish looking fish pond so we chose city water. Thirty minutes before we fill it, we have to add a de-chlorinating powder to the water or the chlorine in the city water will kill all of our fish. (Been there, done that.)
Our pond has some sort of safe mechanism that was put in when it was being built where it can get so deep and then the extra water flows out.
Good Saturday morning! I woke up early with a clogged nose (so what else is new?) so here I am working at my desk. Alexa says it will not rain today and it is supposed to get up in the low 70s today instead of being freezing cold in the 50s like it is right now.
I have bills to pay, medical claims to file, and a house to clean up. We are getting our Easter brisket today, hot and fresh off the smoker. We have never used this guy before so I hope it is good because not only will it feed us today, it is the Easter meal. We still have about half of the loaf of Easter bread I made. I will make a vermicelli salad to go with the meat for Easter. I need to come up with a good dessert as well.
It is still dark so I have not yet gone out to the fish pond or in the back to feed my farm animals. In fact, our dogs and cat are still sleeping in. Usually, they want out but these past few cold, wet days, they do not want to go until they absolutely have to and I don't blame them. It is April. It should be 80°, not 52°.
We had several errands to run this morning in Devine. While there, I suggested we go to Tractor Supply. They had some chicks including nine leghorns. I took all nine of them home with me. They are so pretty. I have never had such pretty baby chicks before.
I got them situated and then David had business in Pleasanton. We picked up a brisket that David had ordered but not by the usual brisket guy. This one had not been smoked all night. We think it was baked in an oven with some liquid smoke. David was very disappointed. It tastes okay but even the texture is different. Cost us a lot. Definitely not worth it. I could have baked us a lovely ham but David saw this on Facebook...
Anyway, the rest of the day, I did a lot of chores. I also made vermicelli salad, something David's mother always made on holidays. It is like macaroni salad, only made with cut up thin spaghetti that is horrible to cook. The box says three minutes. Twelve minutes later, it was finally cooked enough not to crunch. How is that possible. I could easily have cooked macaroni. Vermicelli is hard to work with. I hate it.
I also made a fruit cocktail cake with Jello poured over it. We will have that tomorrow for dessert.
Svengoolie was fun tonight. He played a spooky old 1932 movie with Boris Karloff called The Old Dark House. I laughed a lot and was a bit freaked out from time to time.
So far, the only water plants we have tried are water lilies. Some are hearty and the winter cold does not kill them. Others last through the hot months and die at the first freeze. We have had both.
I need to look into other types of water plants I can put in but the lilies look very nice when they are blooming.
Happy Easter! We went to church for a cold sunrise Easter service. Got there at 7:15am. Sat in cold, metal folding chairs. It was a nice service with friends celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is risen. He is risen indeed!
We came back home and took care of all of the animals. The baby chicks are fine. We ate breakfast. I made a German pancake and it was so tasty!
Then we got ready for the regular Easter Sunday service and went. We came home and Matt came over to join us for Easter dinner. We ate brisket, vermicelli salad, macaroni and cheese, corn, Easter bread, and my Jello Fruit Cocktail Cake. It was a pretty good meal. We sat in the den and watched two movies.
Nacho and a few of his helpers came out to work in the afternoon. I don't think he understands the concept of what holidays are. It seems he is always working out here on a holiday. I actually took my three days off for the first time in years and it was great, but not long enough. Matt left and we watched Perry Mason.
The pond started growing algae right away. At first, it was not noticeable but then you could see it on the big rocks on the falls as well as on all of the rocks that were put on the bottom of the pond. I started using an algae killer and ended up killing some fish. I get an algae killer that is not so intense and it is not killing the fish but it does not do such a good job eating the algae either.
A pond guy came out and said we would need to put in an ultraviolet filter that would kill the algae as the water went through the filter and then we would not have to use so many chemicals. Before this, we had one little filter area that was covered with a 300 pound boulder so we could not get to it. So we bought another filter with an ultraviolet light and started cleaning the filter once a week. We also removed the boulder on the first filter (we had no idea where it was until we asked Nacho). We put a fake rock on top of the old filter.
Now that it is April of 2023, the oak tree on the next property, right by the pond is shedding its nasty pollen. We had a lot of wind and it blew pollen in the pond and all over the deck of the gazebo. This past Saturday, April 1, some little girls threw all of the pollen on the deck into the pond and then kept getting wildflowers through the fence and threw all of them into the pond while their parents sat and talked. The little girls told me this after I finished up with three sets of customers in the store. I thought these two families had left after their purchases. I had no idea anyone was out in the gazebo. When we get busy like that on Saturdays, I normally have no help and I am too busy concentrating on the customers in the store.
The sad thing is early Saturday morning, I cleaned out the pond and the filter and de-chlorinated the water. I filled it up and went out there to see if the water was deep enough. That is when I saw my filthy pond that was beautiful about 60 minutes before. They left and I scooped out what I could. So on Monday morning, I had to clean the pond from start to finish all over again.
David made a Facebook post about controlling your kids when you come to the farm and not allowing them to be destructive. Some woman who has five children said we are not family friendly if we expect kids to behave and parents to watch their kids. She suggested we provide a place for them to plant flowers and entertain them. She also said to provide balls that they could throw into the pond. Balls would kill the lily pads and hurt my expensive fish. We already have flower gardens. Please, lady, don't ever visit our farm if you think this type of vandalism by your children is okay. It is not. Now today is Tuesday and my pond is still brownish because of all the pollen they threw in. It is my job to sell seeds and plants. It is your job as a parent to make your kids behave. We welcome well behaved children.
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