Wednesday, June 11, 2008

adventures of young and stupid birds and the new birdbath

life is hard at ten weeks old. too many decisions, too much confusion. feathers are growing in, and one can hardly fly. hence, this:



try again:

the birdbath serves its purpose:


a smiling bird:

realizing predators might actually exist:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Life Aquatic

In the Grand Plan we had imagined a water garden (or pond) in our small but cozy back yard. The sound of running water, aquatic plants and maybe a gold fish and later a koi or three. As we approach the one year anniversary as residents at City Cabin these were supposed to be some-day-in-the-future plans. But after the imaginations were shared with parents and in-laws we suddenly, and gratefully became proud water garden owners in December of last year. The ground was too frozen so we had to wait to dig in this spot:

But some rhubarb had to be moved first (some excellent jam/sauce also came of this).

There is a 35 gallon molded upper pond with 125 gallon lower piece. It looked huge inside a house in December and, as many guests to the house have suggested upon seeing the flat roof of our garage, it's like the hot tub that we really need. (note: we now have every pet possible except for a reptile and a dog. This one was just visiting)

When you dig, better know where the electricity to the garage is buried. With the help of a nicely-crafted scratching tool I can now tell you that the line is precisely 38 inches out from the wooden garden wall and 24 inches deep in the ground. This job was only fun for the photographer.

Then the real digging began. This space happened to be quite the archeological gold mine. In addition to rocks, cinder block and metal shards, we bagged this monster. The pronounced rebar growth suggests a great supporting role within its tribe.

After the digging was setting and leveling.

Chip out some wood to best create the pleasing waterfall sounds and better disguise the spout.

Somebody (Charity), check on the cats. Are they missing us? Didn't think so.

Add some water and level some more.

Admire the pond with dirt displaced. Let's pretend that heavy rain 6 days later didn't result in spillage, digging up and leveling again the upper pond.

We spread the dirt pile throughout nearby gardens and planted grass in its place to occupy the space until landscaping plans have been approved by the team. There is a great site (see Roseville, a mile north of 36 on Dale) for free compost to mix with our poorish soil. Grass began sprouting within 4 days of planting. As you can see, the sunflower seeds that the birds choose not to eat are also quite hearty.

We have had a 20 gallon indoor aquarium for around 10 years and have learned the ropes, often the hard way, with aquatic plants and creatures. Within a few days of establishing the pond we introduced the first plants.

And played around with leftover bricks for hydrological purposes.

Today we introduced the first residents. I wonder what it feels like to have the value of your life determined to be 26 cents? Your brothers and sisters may be fed to larger fish but these four are the pioneers of this ecosystem.

This guy or gal showed up the first night that the pond started bubbling, dipping his/her hand into the water of both the large and small ponds. I hope our new friends swim in the deep water tonight.