sharpchick_2011: (Troll)
We had a lovely soaking rain for about 24 hours, starting late yesterday morning.

So unusual for this time of year around these parts. Yesterday's high was 72 in the cottage garden. Quite drizzly. Last year on that date, our high was 103, and we were in the middle of a critical drought.

But yesterday, the universe gave me wonderful weather for planting my backside on the couch and catching up on reading.

Which I did.
Okay, now this lotus is just toying with me.

I have been watching this bud for over a week now.

It gets bigger, and the color deepens but there's no hint of it opening.

 photo lotusbud3this.jpg

I never understand ponders who post this kind of photo, and say something like...

Well, I declare! I had no idea there was a bud. That flower just crept up on me...

Do they not visit their ponds every day? If not, what's the point?

My pond is one of the little bitty pieces of nature entrusted to me that restores my soul.
And so this morning, one of the wees got bolder and came out with the grown-ups for the morning feed.

 photo goldsandbaby072713.jpg

He's (she? do not know - have not looked between the tiny little fins) a new one to me.

There are two other new-to-me wee ones also.

Which now brings us up to six.

And I fear that's really something like 36, or 76...

They do like their citrus.

 photo golds072713.jpg

The journey is good.

And full of all sorts of interesting surprises.

sharpchick_2011: (Default)
Viburnum in bud
 photo viburnuminbud.jpg

Carolina jasmine covering the roof of my shed, cascading down and smelling delicious.
 photo jasmineclose.jpg

My old faithful azalea is full of buds
 photo azalea.jpg

Little girls have a special place to sit...they love it because they feel hidden.
 photo littlegirls.jpg

 photo serenity3.jpg

The east garden has my special project for the season.

I'm converting the water feature of the last five years to a goldfish pond. See far left, in the background.
 photo eastgardenpm.jpg

I designed a bog filter for the 275 gallon stock tank, and my son supplied the muscle.
 photo completeclose.jpg

For anyone interested in how we built it, I described it step by step in this thread on an aquarium forum.

The pond and bog plants will ship the week of April 22, and after I plant and let them settle in for a week, the first two ryukins will go in.
 photo BlondieGypsy2.jpg

This pond will be ryukins only. Commons, comets and shubunkins get so much larger, and are so much faster, they can out-compete the ryukins for food.
sharpchick_2011: (Cat with lime)
So I had this wonderful idea.

I have the 20 gallon aquarium, intensively planted. It has some wonderful schooling fish - tetras, rasboras, and corydoras catfish. They are all peaceful little fish - the tetras and rasboras occupy the midsection of the tank, and the cories are on the bottom, except when they race to the top for a gulp of air.

But I needed a top dwelling fish, and since the tank is about 89% stocked, this fish should be a contrast to the others in color.

My centerpiece fish. The piece de resistance.
I've been studying on this decision for a couple of weeks.

Making lists of fish that would work. In the end, it was a toss up between a dwarf honey gourami and a male halfmoon betta.

I've always loved the look of halfmoons. But they are - comparatively speaking - pricey bettas.

I pondered on the idea. If I got the gourami, and he had a bad disposition, would my cute little neons be in trouble?

And if I got a betta instead, I'd be rescuing another one from one of those nasty ass little cups.

I set out for Petco.
Came home with a gorgeous creamy white halfmoon male with some gray streaks in his halfmoon tail.

Put him in the tank. He swam behind the filter, hiding. I waited about 45 minutes and went to check on him. He was exploring the tank.

That was good.

And then it turned bad.

Meet Ivan the Terrible.

 photo Ivanin20gallon.jpg

In three hours, Ivan had cornered all 28 other fish in the right back corner of the tank, except one lone cory who was hiding out among the anacharis on the other side of the tank.

It took me 45 minutes to net Ivan.

My intensively planted tank has multiple plants floating. But that's okay - more plants are coming Friday, and I'm taking the anacharis out.

Fortunately for Ivan, I had a two gallon fish bowl, an extra air pump and an airstone.

I set him up next to Lucky.

Ivan wasn't crazy about the bowl.

 photo Ivannothappyinbowl.jpg

Lucky wasn't crazy about this new betta right next door.

 photo Luckynothappy.jpg

You can't heat a bowl. An airstone isn't a filter.

My $14 fish needed a proper home, even if he was Ivan the Terrible.

So, um...yeah.

 photo Soumyeah.jpg

Both tanks will get new and more plants on Friday.

With all three others.

Someone stop me, please...
The journey is good.

sharpchick_2011: (Romani q of s)
Planning major revisions to the aquascaping in all four tanks.

Plants will ship on Tuesday for Friday delivery to my door.

I'm taking off Friday at noon.
But this morning, I had water changes to do.

Betcha didn't know I was an aqua chemist.

 photo 100_3001.jpg

The bubbles on the tips of the cabomba are CO2. This is called pearling.

 photo 100_3004.jpg

Naturally, Dubya had to be in the photo, because he is...Dubya.
I love this piece of cholla with the marimo moss tied to it. But it just takes up too much real estate in the 20, 10 and nano, so I moved it to the goldfish tank.

 photo 100_3006.jpg

Where it looks like it will be stripped clean by Gypsy...

 photo 100_3008.jpg

Have been soaking some pieces of driftwood for each tank for two weeks in anticipation of the new scaping.

Today, I went ahead and tied the anubias in the goldfish tank to their driftwood, put it in the tank, and weighted it down with a rock.

 photo 100_3007.jpg

It takes about two hours to do water changes and maintenance on all the tanks.

There's a peacefulness about the process that makes it less like a chore. I check plants and fish. Gypsy bumps my hand constantly prompting me for food. (No, he doesn't get any...)
The journey is good.

Nature grounds me.

Now, for the real chores...

sharpchick_2011: (Cat with lime)
Haven't updated in several months.

Since my last post, I have...

Survived the December 25 snow storm that paralyzed Arkansas, and from which all storm debris has still not been cleared away;
Got the flu, had a rare reaction to tamiflu, and learned that it just takes 7 to 10 days for the flu to go away, and you may as well veg on the couch; and
Endured more of this weird Arkansas weather this past week. Yesterday, we had a combination of sleet, freezing rain, hail, plain rain and thunderstorms.

All within the space of about 14 hours.
Animals and babies have taken center stage in my life. My niece had a beautiful baby boy on February 8, and my nephew and his wife are due to have their daughter on April 5.

Knit, knit, knit...
And I have gotten back into fish tanks.

In a major way.

MTS - big time. (For those unfamiliar, MTS = Multi Tank Syndrome. It also means Malaysian Trumpet Snails, but I don't have any of those.)

For those who find fish tanks interesting, I have some photos.
Image intensive under the cut... )

Just wait until I get my DIY bog filter for my pond done this spring.
The journey is good.

sharpchick_2011: (Troll)
I wonder if the ad execs for Academy Sports would shit a brick if they knew why I save their ads.


They make excellent placemats for the felines when they eat canned food...

Such slobs.
We had to do some minor rearrangement to the decor for Frick (red crowntail male betta) and Frack (blue veiltail male betta) when they relocated to a 10 gallon divided tank.


They were spending all their time flaring at each other through the divider.

To the exclusion of all else, including eating.

I do not have 20 minutes each morning to stand in front of the tank, muttering, Heads up dudes...bloodworms coming down...

Betta are pigs when it comes to eating, in my personal experience.

So when they quit eating, they are too stressed...


sharpchick_2011: (Default)

May 2014



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