I was just sitting here staring out of the window at the antics of a couple of grey squirrels as they chased each other away from the bird feeders that they are busy pilfering. Obviously, they are not a pair as pair’s generally get along even where food is concerned. I have seen their antics before when others try to invade their territory. Today, I watched what was either a large mouse or a small rat that took it upon itself to go after the squirrel and they had a fine time for a couple of minutes chasing around until the squirrel decided that escape up the nearest tree was the better part of valor. The victorious rat disappeared under the deck, probably waiting for the squirrel to return at some later time. Lucky for both of them, the Hawk, which I caught on video catching and eating a different rat a couple of weeks ago, was not around and to be truthful, I have not seen it in a while. You can see that video here. Maybe it moved on to pastures new, That is good as the very presence of a Hawk in the neighborhood keeps many birds away from the feeders. They really are a magnificent bird.
Life at home is not much different due to the virus as it was before. I spend time on different things related to maintaining the ponds and at the same time, taking care of the rest of the garden or should I say yard as there is not a lot of garden available. What does show between the three remaining ponds is either covered with many different miscellaneous Texas native plants that keep miraculously reappearing year after year and require only the occasional thinning, trimming and cutting back. The rest of the yard is covered with Star Jasmine ground cover in lieu of grass. The only portion that requires any mowing is in the area of the Murmuring Creek which was subject to a blog that you can read here. I usually drive in my sit upon mower to take care of this small area pretending that I am a farmer mowing a 50 acre field. I can dream can’t I?
I finished it off by using my Ryobi battery driven string trimmer where the mower will not reach around the outside edges. The tractor is a throwback to when I had the whole yard covered in grass along with Zippo, my old horse and ponds were still in the very distant future. The mower is probably at least 25 years old. The only time it gets driven is to mow the grass that I outlined above and also the small strip outside the fence that I maintain. I mowed that a couple of days ago after using the string trimmer to clean the areas that the mower will not fit.
I managed to get itchy legs from the poison ivy that grows there because I wear shorts all of the time and I am too lazy to change into long pants. It generally doesn’t last long and is not that unbearable. As it turns out, this time around was not very bad at all and it stopped itching in a couple of days. Incidentally, this is the fifth time I have mowed the outside grass this year. Last year, I think I only mowed it twice all year long. No idea why things are growing like crazy this year but is probably due to the fact that we had our one and only frost in November and things have been growing since.
I made some changes to two of the ponds by adding additional filtering. I had managed to acquire two different sized Pressure Flo filters one of which came with a pump. The larger 1200 model was brand new and still in the box. The other, a smaller 700 model and the pump had both been used but still worked just fine. I had been sitting on them for a while and had toyed with the idea of selling them on the APS website. In fact, I had them displayed for a few days but luckily for me, there were no takers. The goldfish pond has turned a pretty shade of green which meant that I had an algae problem and at the same time, the 6000 gallon pond would just not clean up and the water was a dirty brown color. Some of this is due to the large Koi rummaging around on the bottom and stirring up the sludge and the current Aqua Flo system was not keeping it clean.
I worked on the 6000 gallon pond first and after much thought and consideration, found a perfect place to sit the 1200 filter using the pump from the other unit. I purchased new piping as after a while of exposure to water and sun, corrugated piping gets very stiff and brittle losing all of its flexibility. I finished hooking everything up and redirected the water into the existing bog and left it running and hopefully, cleaning the pond water.
I turned my attention to the Goldfish pond and found the perfect place to install the smaller 700 filter along with one of my own pumps from the pond that I am closing down. The return water was redirected back into the pond. This pond is having an algae problem and the introduction of this filter which has an ultraviolet light in it should help immensely. I have been treating the algae and it is slowly dissipating.
With the Covid-19 virus keeping us all closer to home, doing this sort of work helps to pass the time. It is something that I needed to do anyway and as I have curtailed hiking for a while, I am grateful to have this to fill the time. That work plus maintaining the half acre yard does keep me busy. On the other hand, unless there is some sort of emergency, I can take my time over a lot of things and If I don’t feel like doing them today, I can put them off for tomorrow.
I, along with the rest of the world will be very glad when this virus thing is cleared up so that we can get back to some sort of normalcy, although that could take several more months.
Everyone is hoping for a return to normal but I wonder if that will ever happen. I’m afraid we won’t feel safe “out and about” for months and then a second wave will begin. I am saving a lot of money each month but that doesn’t thrill me as much as an afternoon of impulse buying at a nice garden center.
It’s all in the mind. We have now conditioned our thinking to not feel safe if/when we get out and about. Consequently, our safe place is our home. I’m not sure when that feeling will go away, probably only after a long period of time with no further outbreaks.