View Full Version : Outdoor pond!

08-04-2005, 04:06 AM
We put some of those prefabricated outdoor plastic ponds in our yard so my wife could grow water plants. I insisted we put some fish in to deal with the mosquitoes and we did. However, she wanted something more colorful, so we bought some cheap goldfish from the feeder tank at the store for $.08 apiece. Well, they've grown to be quite large in the neighborhood of 6 inches or longer. We don't take them out to measure, but we had to bury one today that died, apparently of old age, and it was close to 10 inches in length.

However, what we wondered about after observing some unusual behavior among the goldfish several months ago was whether they were mating despite the fact that they were in a pond approximately five feet by three feet in size. Well, today also answered that question when we spotted six little goldfish swimming about with the big fish. We could tell by the markings that one particular goldfish was one of the parents because four shared the same markings. We feel certain that there are probably a few others that we didn't spot.

08-04-2005, 02:09 PM
I have a neighbor who built a similar pond in his yard. To accommodate the increase in population he now has three ponds.

08-04-2005, 05:22 PM
I had a small pond and eventually took it out because the coons ate the goldfish.

If you can figure out which are male and female, you could separate those little suckers (pun intended) to prevent a population explosion. :ROFL: I don't remember how to determine the sex or I'd tell you. It's been years since I had that pond. If you're interested in doing that, I'm sure someone at a pet store who sells fish should be able to let you know how to tell the difference.

Ponds, water plants and fountains present a beautiful relaxing atmosphere. Good luck with the new little fellows!

08-04-2005, 11:09 PM
That's cool, Dave. Sounds like you're doing something right! Some of those inexpensive little feeder fish can get to be huge, as you've figured out. :D

I'd love to have a goldfish pond but never seriously considered putting one in because I'm sure, like Joanne, the 'coons and other critters would eat the fish. Still, it would be so neat to watch the goldfish, especially baby ones.

08-05-2005, 03:57 AM
Heck, our ponds are also home to wood frogs, southern green frogs, leopard frogs, and tree frogs as well as eastern toads. I don't know how many of those have put their eggs in the pond to become tadpoles and then mature and hop away. The birds love the water, though I had to rescue a baby bird this year who fell in while fledging. We even had a protected turtle show up this spring and there's a rabbit that's decided our yard is his. Anyway, our yard has become interesting to view each day and, yes, we keep it mowed regularly, but they still show up. ;)

08-05-2005, 06:00 PM
Heck, our ponds are also home to wood frogs, southern green frogs, leopard frogs, and tree frogs as well as eastern toads. I don't know how many of those have put their eggs in the pond to become tadpoles and then mature and hop away. The birds love the water, though I had to rescue a baby bird this year who fell in while fledging. We even had a protected turtle show up this spring and there's a rabbit that's decided our yard is his. Anyway, our yard has become interesting to view each day and, yes, we keep it mowed regularly, but they still show up. ;)

It sounds wonderful! I love the outdoors. We have a small lake or large pond (9 acres in size) that our house lot backs down to. There are several houses around it. We all kind of just have large lawns. We are classified "country" but are close to everything. We love to watch the sun set over the water. We have raised several "batches" of ducklings that we later teach to stay at the lake.
I have the ducks all named and when I whistle they come for dinner. Unfortunately, due to coyotes there is a pretty high attrition rate. I find if I put a lot of dog food out by the lake they tend to leave the ducks alone. LOL!
So, maybe something to feed the coons would help save the fish. Just a thought.
I have written an "amusing" story about the antics I've been through raising ducks. I've even waded in the lake and gone with pond scum in my hair to take an injured duck to the vet. Unfortunately, we had to put it to sleep. The vet didn't charge me. (I'm a very good customer.) I told a friend how sweet he was and she said of course he didn't charge you, he got a free duck dinner. I was horrified! This story has several crazy but true incidents that "country folk" would never do in dealing with the raising of fowl.
Does anyone know where I might try to get that story sold?

08-05-2005, 07:21 PM
The Front Porch Syndicate would be interested--in their Great Outdoors category. They don't pay much but they're read nationwide.

Rule of thumb: a pond is under 100 acres.

08-05-2005, 07:56 PM
The Front Porch Syndicate would be interested--in their Great Outdoors category. They don't pay much but they're read nationwide.

Rule of thumb: a pond is under 100 acres.

LOL! Then this is definitely a pond! Thanks for your response. I want to just get a start, so the pay isn't that big of an issue right now. I know I'll need to pay my dues. :)

08-05-2005, 09:28 PM
Coincidentally, I just had an acceptance from them. Title: A Pond At Dawn.

If you like, I'll PM it to you.

PS: My pond was smaller.

08-05-2005, 09:45 PM
So, maybe something to feed the coons would help save the fish. Just a thought.
From my experience with cat food in the back yard, I'll say this: you can't fill up a raccoon.

I told a friend how sweet he was and she said of course he didn't charge you, he got a free duck dinner.
I doubt it, with the euthanasia agent contaminating the meat. Maybe she was trying to be cute.

08-05-2005, 09:45 PM
Coincidentally, I just had an acceptance from them. Title: A Pond At Dawn.

If you like, I'll PM it to you.

PS: My pond was smaller.

Sure, I'd like to read it. I just sent them a query. We'll see...thanks again.
Oh, by the way, how long should one wait until they give up on a query of this sort?

08-05-2005, 09:54 PM
Makes sense, Reph. Euthanasia for animals consists of a heavy dose of barbiturates.

D.J., they don't accept queries.

08-05-2005, 10:03 PM
From my experience with cat food in the back yard, I'll say this: you can't fill up a raccoon.

I doubt it, with the euthanasia agent contaminating the meat. Maybe she was trying to be cute.

How funny about the racoons! They are such mischievous creatures!
As for the "duck dinner," my friend was definitely teasing me. She was having fun implying that euthanasia truly wasn't used - it's just what they said. They really planned to just prepare it like a chicken that had been killed on a farm for Sunday dinner. ;) Not what you want to hear about your pet duck! She had always lived on a farm - a real one. Those priorities are vastly different from mine.
I do eat chicken and meat, but I prefer to think of it as always just being in packages. I can't allow myself to think of where it originally came from. Yes, I can bury my head in the sand with the best of them. :)

08-05-2005, 10:04 PM
Makes sense, Reph. Euthanasia for animals consists of a heavy dose of barbiturates.

D.J., they don't accept queries.

Oooooooopssssssss! I'm new to this, so what do I do?

08-05-2005, 10:36 PM
Just send them your story.

It's not so much a question of being new at this. It's more that you need to understand the various processess of each publication.

I would've thought you'd go to their site and go from there.

We welcome your nonfiction submissions. We buy first North American serial rights and give acceptance notice within two months. Because of high volume, no rejection notice given. Submissions will not be returned. Payment upon publication. Payment ranges from $25 to $75, depending on length. No payment for letters, quotes, or tips. Manuscripts may be e-mailed to submissions@porchsyndicate.com or mailed to Submissions, The Front Porch Syndicate, P.O. Box 6759, Lincoln, NE 68506. Please include the appropriate category (e.g., "Family Ties") with your entry, as well as contact information. No queries or email attachments, please.

08-06-2005, 01:08 AM
Just send them your story.

It's not so much a question of being new at this. It's more that you need to understand the various processess of each publication.

I would've thought you'd go to their site and go from there.

You're right. I didn't read it. I know that is a huge mistake.

08-14-2005, 09:59 PM
Alas, in the past week, we lost four of our big goldfish. Reasoning that the ponds had built up too much muck in the bottom, I rescued the lone survivor from one backyard pond and transferred him to the frontyard pond. Then I caught all the little mosquito fish and transferred them as well. After that, I drained the pond and scooped out all the muck. From there, it was refill the pond, dechlorinate it, and wait just long enough before putting the mosquito fish back in.

Reasoning that the other backyard pond was likely in similar condition, I caught all the fish in it. There were four large goldfish in it and they went to the other pond. As well, we learned that we had eight baby goldfish and we put them in a wading pool which we used as a holding tank. Once all the mosquito fish were out of that pond, it was drain, clean, refill, dechlor, and wait before reintroducing any fish to it.

At any rate, both ponds are now clear again so that we can actually see the fish down to the very bottom.

Okay, now for something interesting. While cleaning the ponds, the frogs didn't hop away, but they did sometimes leap in only to find themselves in muck. Then they found themselves unable to hop back out, so I carefully slid my hand under them to lift them out. Remarkably, they let me do that and even carry them in my open palm to the other pond about six feet away to set them down either in the water or on the dirt surrounding the pond. Very trusting of them in my opinion even though they ordinarily see me once every day.

And yes, draining one pond caused a ruckus among the frogs as they tried to move in on each other's territory because theirs was gone. Their wrestling matches weren't harmful, but they did apply enough pressure to each other to make it clear they weren't willing to share. Today, with both backyard ponds back to normal, they're back to their usual sitting places where they watch for bugs and keep cool.

08-14-2005, 11:08 PM
Would that we humans would act as civilized.

08-15-2005, 01:52 AM
Dave, do you ever hear your frogs scream? Seriously.

Sometimes when we go down to the pond or walk the land bridge across to the neighbor's - these frogs give a mighty scream as they cast off into the pond. It sounds like they're screaming because we've startled them. I grew up on a lake and I don't remember any screaming frogs. The ones I've seen so far look just like regular brown leopard frogs and bull frogs. Is there some sort of Southern screaming frog that I haven't met yet? I'm asking because VA is close to NC; maybe you've heard this, too.

08-15-2005, 10:44 PM
I believe you heard a toad. We have one in Virginia called the Eastern American toad which might sometimes sound like it's screaming. Very high pitched and the sound lasts for five or more seconds.

By the way, a correction to an earlier statement. I transposed Southern to the wrong frog. It should have been green frogs and Southern leopard frogs. Ouch!

Also, I forgot to mention that I got a quick measurement of the goldfish we lost. One was 6", one 7", and two were 8" in length.

Also, if a lightning bug happens to be close enough, a frog will eat them. I spotted several that ate lightning bugs at the moment the bug lit up. You could still see the light on inside the frog for several seconds. It was like viewing a green x-ray. ;)

One more added note. There's a web site at URL http://fwie.fw.vt.edu/VHS/frogs_and_toads_of_virginia.htm that features pictures of frogs and toads of Virginia along with sound clips.

08-15-2005, 11:32 PM
Gee, Dave, sorry that you lost some of your fish.

08-16-2005, 04:40 AM
My wife and I were near the pond this evening when another frog arrived and tried to take a position on the lily pad root ball that floats in the pond. Oh, you should have heard the croaks from the "boss frog" who was sitting on the edge in front of that. He then leaped into the pond and knocked the other frog into the water where they both wrestled for about ten to twenty seconds before the new arrival decided that the "boss frog" was still boss as well as bigger.

Then to our amazement, the boss frog swam over to where I was standing and croaked at me, so I stooped down and put my hand under him. He let me pick him up and set him on the ground by the pond. I think he's trying to train me! ;)

08-31-2005, 06:17 AM
Update on the frogs. The other day, our cats were let out of the house to exercise. I arrived home from work and went to collect their dishes and round them up. One had already returned and had a frog which it was trying to encourage to jump so it could catch it again. The poor frog was hunkered down as close to the concrete of the enclosed patio as it could get, but I managed to shift the cat aside and then carefully pry the frog up into my hands. Fortunately, he was all right, though he was shaking from the ordeal as he was rightfully terrified. I took him back to the pond and he slid off my hand into the water when I set him in it.

Then about two days later, I happened to be near the ponds when a grasshopper leaped past me to land beside one of the ornamental plants. One of the frogs spotted the grasshopper and it was amazing to see the frog get excited as if grasshopper was some sort of delicacy. One of the frog's legs just twitched for a moment until he steadied himself to launch. Unfortunately, the grasshopper was quick enough to escape.

08-31-2005, 10:13 PM
Dave, have you ever thought about using your love and knowledge of frogs to write a story or novel about? You could tell it from the frog's point of view perhaps in some ways reminiscent of Watership Down, that was the story about the rabbits? did I remember the right title for the story of which I'm thinking?

08-31-2005, 11:08 PM
I love your frog stories, Dave. Keep'em coming!

I think you should write something about them, too. You could do an article for a pub like Birds and Blooms maybe. Hey, you could call it The Frog Whisperer.

09-03-2005, 03:22 AM
On one of our trees this summer, we had an infestation of some sort of catepillar. Of course, the frogs just jumped at the chance to eat one of those. However, some of the frogs would just look at the choice meal if it didn't move. We discovered that touching the insect with a reed would cause the frogs to attack the reed in the apparent belief that it was trying to take their food away.

At other times, we just stuck the reed out at the frog with the catepillar clinging to the tip. In no time at all, the tip would become empty.

By the way, the frogs would often fail to get the entire insect in their mouths. It's rather comical seeing a frog realize he's got something sticking out of his mouth and reach up with a front foot to poke in the rest of the meal. In fact, sometimes it looks more like the frog is wiping its face.

09-03-2005, 04:23 AM
Every time I look at this thread I think of the children's picture book Tuesday with the frogs on flying lily pads.

09-05-2005, 06:40 AM
Yeah, some of the frogs sit on the lily pads in the ponds. We do have some growing in each. The other day, I noticed one frog was lying on the lily pad with all his legs stretched out as if he was hot and tired.

09-09-2005, 07:30 PM
Another interesting event took place the other day when one of the frogs left the pond area for a few moments. What makes this unusual is because the ponds are landscaped with stacked timbers that elevate part of the pond above the ground by holding in the dirt surrounding it.

I'd never seen a frog look up and judge the jump before. Then he just leaped up enough to clear the top timber and land upon it. It was truly impressive.

09-14-2005, 11:53 PM
While at the store last week, I spotted a very small goldfish with a red spot on its head making it appear to be a koi. My wife likes fish with character, so I bought it for the princely sum of 28 cents even though it didn't appear completely healthy.

Yesterday, after not seeing it for five days, I spotted it circling the spot where I drop the fish food in. He'd survived and was looking very healthy. ;)

Addendum: When I reached home today, he was busy circling looking for the food. Even though it began to rain hard at that moment, I dutifully got the food container and saw to it that his pond was fed right then.

09-20-2005, 06:33 PM
Hey, Dave, you should write a story about your frogs for one of the animal anthologies. Bet it would be the only froggy one they get! :)

09-26-2005, 06:16 PM
Over the past weekend, I was out doing yardwork near the pond when I heard a really unusual sound. Yes, it was one of the frogs, but I'd never before ever heard one make a sound like a squeaky toy. No kidding, that's what it sounded like.

One more thing I've noticed. Frogs like to play with their food just like cats. If it's slow moving, they'll sit and watch it until it's just about to get out of range or into range of some other frog. Then they'll act. If, on the other hand, it's moving fast, they'll strike almost immediately.

09-30-2005, 06:35 AM
Over the past few summer months, I've noticed that some of the frogs seem to show a sense of embarrassment. It's easy to tell the newer, younger frogs that have found the backyard ponds for the first time. When they see me approach and realize they've been spotted, they tend to jump into the water to hide. However, unlike at the beginning of the summer when several would jump at the same time and hide under the water for several minutes, these later additions surface rather quickly and close to where they entered the water. Then they look around as if wondering why the other frogs didn't jump in to hide and are still just sitting out in the open. After a few days of this, they figure it out that there's no danger from me. Then they just sit calmly with the other frogs. http://www.geocities.com/lindaoness/emoticons/frog.gif

10-02-2005, 05:34 AM
While checking the tomato plants today, I noticed that some of the leaves had been chewed off. Of course, I knew immediately that there were pests to be dealt with and I had exactly the right posse to deal with them. I spotted and removed at least six or seven of the green, multi-legged pests and carried them to the ponds where the posse lives. One of the newer frogs leaped into the water. The others remained calm and allowed me to drop the catepillars right in front of them.

I figured the caterpillars were smart in that most of them just remained still for several seconds to a minute, but all of them eventually made the mistake of moving and bringing unwanted attention to themselves. One was about three inches and really fat. The frog who got him took almost a minute to get him swallowed. Afterward, the frogs were looking at me as if to suggest that I go find some more meals for them, but those were the only ones on the few tomato plants we have. I think the new frog has reached a new conclusion about the "human" who visits the pond. http://www.geocities.com/lindaoness/emoticons/frog.gif

10-07-2005, 05:05 PM
We finally had a new visitor to one of the ponds. I'd noticed lately that the small pond in the front yard seemed to have fewer fish lately. I attributed that to either birds or the dense algae that was building up. Since the fish were difficult to see, I decided to use a plastic rod to stick in and snag the algae. I'd already discovered that the type of algae in the pond could be snagged and then reeled up around the rod like spaghetti. That method caused less disturbance to everything and didn't foul up the water.

Moments after I took out the first good sized clump of algae, I spotted some of the fish moving about. However, one seemed to have a rather long body, but I didn't realize just how long it was until he slithered out of the opposite end and headed for the thick vegetation within the surrounding garden. I got a good look at him and did a little research a few minutes later on the Internet where the mystery of fewer fish was solved. It turned out he was an Eastern ribbon snake and one of the things they like to eat are live fish.

Anyway, I'll be watching for him now. If he returns, he's going to find himself transported to a not too distant lake where he'll just have to learn to hunt instead of catching fish that have nowhere to escape.

Having the three ponds in the yard has certainly proven entertaining over the past few years. We've had four kinds of frogs, two kinds of toads, one turtle, and one snake visit or take up residence in one or more of the ponds. As well, I suspect some of the birds that use the bird feeders also get water from the ponds since those don't go dry like the bird bath does, so it probably helps attract more birds, too.

10-08-2005, 12:40 AM
Not a big snake fan here. Glad you figured out what was going on!

10-08-2005, 02:35 AM
This ongoing pond saga is fascinating, Dave. Please keep it up.

10-10-2005, 11:10 PM
One of the frogs was hungry today. I found a cricket in a bucket inside the house, so I knew immediately he wanted to be loved by a frog who would caress him with a tender tongue.

Ah, but it looked like it wasn't going to be. I dropped the cricket onto a root ball that sent out lily pads in all directions. One or more of the frogs can generally be found right beside it beneath one of the upraised leaves. Before the frog there could react, the cricket bounded into the water and was making his way across to the edge where he could get back onto dry land.

However, all was not lost. Another frog spotted the escape and dove into the water to give chase. It took a few moments, but before long, the cricket felt the love. I'd never seen a frog give chase in that manner, though I had seen a few take a bug out of the water. http://www.geocities.com/lindaoness/emoticons/frog.gif

10-16-2005, 03:34 AM
The other day, I caught what looks like a very ugly or very creepy cricket in the house and carried it out to the pond where I looked for a frog and then tossed it in front of the frog. Darned cricket just walked around. The frog let it go and it got ate only because it happened to walk in front of another frog who took the longest before he decided to eat it.

Today, two of the cats spotted a large cricket that was rather ordinary in appearance and cornered it. Thanking the cats, I took their cricket out to the pond and tossed it in front of the frog. Bam! The cricket became dinner.

This got me to thinking. Maybe the frogs were discriminating in their tastes, maybe the one cricket even looked creepy to them, or maybe they just weren't as hungry as today. Hard to say, but I've noticed that they do seem to be quite discriminating as to what they eat and some apparently get to eat only what the boss frog declines unless it comes into their territory from a different direction.

In the meantime, the weather is cooling down so it won't be long before I put some covers on the ponds. Last year, some of the frogs stayed with the ponds until there was ice on the ground. Only then did the last of them burrow into a convenient hole that formed beside the plastic pond to get beneath it and stay warm. http://www.geocities.com/lindaoness/emoticons/frog.gif

10-17-2005, 10:34 PM
Yep, frogs like good looking crickets better. http://www.geocities.com/lindaoness/emoticons/frog.gif

September skies
10-17-2005, 10:51 PM
I'm sure someone at a pet store who sells fish should be able to let you know how to tell the difference.

They don't always know. We didn't know any better and bought two hamsters thinking they liked company (the pet store assured us that they were both female) and lo and behold two days later, we quickly bought a second cage after seeing them participating in compromising action. Too late. About three weeks later, we had 22 babies. Luckily we gave all but three away. Now have three cages.

September skies
10-17-2005, 10:58 PM
Dave, do you ever hear your frogs scream? Seriously.

I don't know if it was screaming, but my sister in McMinneville, Oregon has a couple of nice-sized ponds. Someone she knew had found this huge frog and brought it to her, thinking it would like to live by the pond.

That thing was horrible. It was so loud, neighbors complained and it made this high screeching sound (almost like a scream) and my sister ended up having to pay someone to come and track it down to remove it. It took awhile too. It was quiet in the day and caused ruckus at night.

10-17-2005, 11:37 PM
I, too, had a tiny little pond in the backyard of my old house. I tried fish .........but believe it or not, a stray cat got in, killed the fish and then drowned. (Not a pretty sight.)

Then I had problems with pumps ...........could never keep one running for more than a month or two.

FROGS .............I remember the first time I had a bunch of frog eggs in my pond. I had no idea what they were, but assumed they were fish eggs. I was having some work done on my house, and I asked a carpenter guy about them and he said "them's frog eggs."

Well, for the next 3 years, I removed the frog eggs from my pond and transported them to another large container. I raised tadpoles by the thousands. I used to count them .................over 500 at a time.

So, when it was time for mating season again ...................the first of May ..............I literally had dozens of mating pairs in my tiny little pond. In one night .........they layed so many eggs they fouled everything ......killed everything and everybody in the pond.

Now ...........I have recently purchased an old farm house (114 years old) with 5 acres .............at least of 3 acres of which is covered with 2 large ponds. They are stocked with BASS. The fish come right up to eat ...........& love bread.

People have been fishing our ponds for years, they say the bass can be 30 lbs. Last week, a guy stopped by and asked if he could fish, and my husband said no. We don't fish .........don't feel comfortable doing it, persay , but also, we don't want people driving around our property. That's why we bought it - to have privacy and peace.

But I have been told that we have to fish the ponds to keep them from overpopulating. Does anyone know how often, and how many fish we should catch?

We have everything from tiny tadpole sized guppies to enormous fish .............apparently the system is working.

10-19-2005, 05:13 AM
The front pond doesn't have any live lily pad plant, but it does have a nice flat block of wood that can be used by turtles or toads who might get in but can't get out past the high lip of the pond. Since the water evaporates and I keep it below the lip so the fish don't swim out and die, the block serves as a place for those to rest. It's large enough that it won't tip and it provides shade to the fish.

Today, something small was sitting on it and jumped into the water when I approached. I think a small frog has taken up residence having discovered that he has a whole pond to himself, even though the pond is also small. I'll keep watch for a better view of him.

10-19-2005, 10:49 PM
I don't know if it was screaming, but my sister in McMinneville, Oregon has a couple of nice-sized ponds. Someone she knew had found this huge frog and brought it to her, thinking it would like to live by the pond.

That thing was horrible. It was so loud, neighbors complained and it made this high screeching sound (almost like a scream) and my sister ended up having to pay someone to come and track it down to remove it. It took awhile too. It was quiet in the day and caused ruckus at night.

Somebody else from the Cooler had a problem with loud/screaming frogs. Was is Susie?

10-19-2005, 10:50 PM
Yep, frogs like good looking crickets better. http://www.geocities.com/lindaoness/emoticons/frog.gif

Them ugly crickets don't do it for'em, huh? lol

10-20-2005, 06:19 AM
Well, I can't find the little frog. Seems like he got evicted by a larger frog or a toad who's moved into the front pond. Darn it. http://www.geocities.com/lindaoness/emoticons/frog.gif

On the cricket front, I tossed one to a frog in a backyard pond and the darn cricket dove under water and swam away to escape. I didn't know crickets could do that.

10-20-2005, 10:01 PM
I didn't know crickets could do that, either! Well.

10-21-2005, 04:42 AM
Well, the frog in the front pond is a green frog. He's very bashful. Doesn't like to be looked at and dives into the water. However, he did find the cricket I placed on the block of wood for him. http://www.geocities.com/lindaoness/emoticons/frog.gif

10-22-2005, 10:11 PM
Yay! The little goldfish in the front pond didn't become snake dinner. He's alive and about twice as big as when I bought him, easily two inches in length. Otherwise, he looks like he's well and doing fine as he will soon be the largest fish in that pond.

10-23-2005, 06:58 PM
My wife spotted a critter, she called it a katydid, I called it a grasshopper, on the swing yesterday when walking past it. I grabbed it and walked over to the pond. The frog settled the argument by calling it dinner.

Whether anyone believes this or not, I seriously see small facial differences in the frogs before and after receiving bugs. Afterwards, I'd almost swear that the frogs are smiling. Maybe it's just the light or the angle they hold themselves at after eating. Still, it looks a lot like a smile. http://www.geocities.com/lindaoness/emoticons/frog.gif

10-23-2005, 08:17 PM
You are going to miss your friends this winter when they go 'mud hunting' I am going to miss your tales.

Is it getting colder where you are? Fall is arriving here for sure. Chilly last night - sunny this morning but not nearly as warm as I wish it would be.

10-24-2005, 01:15 AM
I'm going to miss Dave's Frog Blog when he winterizes those ponds!

10-24-2005, 05:26 AM
Well, what I did last year was erect a framework of 2x4s in the shape of a teepee over the two backyard ponds. Then I stapled a sheet of clear plastic completely around with just enough slack on one side so I could lift up that portion to toss in fish food. Neither of those two ponds froze at all and the fish and frogs seemed to remain active until late in December. Even the plants remained somewhat green until then.

However, this year we've decided that we'll let the ponds remain natural like the first couple of years. We'll have to clean out the leaves and the water surface might freeze, but it should still be all right. After all, we had some fish in the first pond during a fairly bad winter and they survived for the most part.

I am somewhat curious about the fact that we don't seem to have any tadpoles in the pond this fall. Last year we had dozens of very large tadpoles that eventually became green frogs. The tadpoles were almost two inches in length and their bodies were slightly bigger around than my thumb. In fact, it took them almost until the end of spring to finish changing unlike the thousands of much smaller tadpoles that we had in the years before. http://www.geocities.com/lindaoness/emoticons/frog.gif

10-24-2005, 08:08 PM
While finishing off a new shed for my wife's hobby this past weekend, we needed just one more patio block for the path to her shed. Well, we were all out of red blocks, but there was this one, heavy, fancy block that was left over from a previous project, so we decided to use it since it was the right size. When I picked it up, I immediately observed some movement. Seems there was a toad that had burrowed his way beneath that block. What really amazed me was the fact that he was in a spot completely surrounded by stones that had been pressed closely together by the block, yet he had managed to reach that center location without leaving a trail through those stones and he certainly didn't lift that block to get there. Anyway, I found some lose stones and carefully placed those over and around him to give him back his protection so I could take his block without feeling guilty. [Well, it was my block to begin with.] ;)

10-26-2005, 02:52 AM
Dave, I just love your pond stories.

Mom and I saw a toad sitting on the sidewalk in front of the porch last night. I guess he hasn't realized how chilly it's become in the past week. I thought he'd be long gone by now and trying to burrow into the ground like your buddy did. Oh well, maybe he has tougher skin than we do. ;)

10-26-2005, 05:15 AM
Alas, I went out to the ponds to feed the fish and there were no frogs sitting about in or out of the water. There was, however, a newly dug hole in the loose soil surrounding one pond that was just about exactly the right size for a frog to have made. Since I know some of them went underground last year, even though there was a plastic tent, I feel fairly certain that is where one or more of them has taken to. I'll keep a watch on that to see if they emerge for any warm days that might occur. http://www.geocities.com/lindaoness/emoticons/frog.gif

10-28-2005, 07:41 PM
Yesterday, my wife was helping me put plexiglass panels on the back porch so that it would retain enough heat to winter over some of her plants that were in pots around the yard. At one point, she suddenly made a slight yelp of surprise and called for me. A preying mantis had landed on her shoulder, so I walked over and gave the critter a lift from her to a garden plant away from our work.

Interestingly enough, it's the second one to land on her. She was mowing the grass two days earlier and found one on her shirt when she took it off to put in the laundry. She shook that one off out the front door. Since both were the same size, about 3 inches in length I kidded her that the mantis liked her and had come back to visit again. ;)

10-29-2005, 10:05 PM
When I arrived home yesterday and went to feed the ponds, one of the large goldfish was on its side. It appeared dead and I felt it might be since it had been acting poorly since the day before that. However, when I picked it up, it proved to still be alive, so I transferred it to a different pond.

Today when I went to check on it, from all appearances (no corpse floating and no animal tracks to indicate it had been carried off), I had to assume that it recovered since that's happened before.

Evidently, there's something wrong with the water in one pond as it seems to be limited in how many fish it can support. Right now the number is two large goldfish and a few tiny mosquito fish. The other pond that received the ailing fish now has three large and eight smaller goldfish in it along with about twenty or so mosquito fish, yet it's only slightly larger in size.

Anyway, it's chilly, if not cold outside, and the frogs appear to be staying inside their holes to hibernate. There should be a few days of good temperatures this coming week, so they might pop out for a breather and a few last minute snacks. I'll keep a watch for them. http://www.geocities.com/lindaoness/emoticons/frog.gif

11-01-2005, 02:40 AM
My wife let the house cats out for some exercise. Two came back when called, but a third did not. After a few minutes of calling, she went to the back fence which adjoins the woods and made some bird calls. You never saw a cat hurry back to the yard so fast. ;)

11-01-2005, 04:06 AM

11-01-2005, 04:15 AM
My wife let the house cats out for some exercise. Two came back when called, but a third did not. After a few minutes of calling, she went to the back fence which adjoins the woods and made some bird calls. You never saw a cat hurry back to the yard so fast. ;)

The sound of a can opener works pretty well, too.

11-01-2005, 05:19 AM
The cans we buy have pop top lids. ;)

11-01-2005, 07:19 AM
Mine respond to the cracking of an eggshell. Instantly. They love their yolks.

11-02-2005, 05:29 AM
It was warmer today, so when I went to the ponds to feed flakes to the fish, I called out, "Any froggies here?"

Amazingly, one swam over to the edge where I stopped and looked up at me as if expecting a cricket. Mind you, he might have even accepted one of those ugly crickets, but I had to disappoint him.

So I guess while the weather stays warm, one or two might be in or near the pond, but I expect not more than another week at most. http://www.geocities.com/lindaoness/emoticons/frog.gif

11-05-2005, 06:32 AM
It was warm enough today when I arrived home that there was one frog in each of the backyard ponds. Other than that, nothing much happened. Neither swam over looking for a meal. I imagine they were out getting whatever might be found before getting back inside when the temperatures dropped again. http://www.geocities.com/lindaoness/emoticons/frog.gif

11-06-2005, 03:38 AM
Three of the frogs were in the ponds today.

We have a shed next to one pond. My wife and I were doing some work, so we had to use the shed to get to the circular saw and taken a section out of a piece of plywood four feet in length and about two feet wide. When I left the shed, I walked past the pond. One frog saw that piece of plywood coming and jumped into the water. When he saw me earlier and later, both times without the plywood, he just sat there quite complacently. Obviously, he knew that plywood was something never encountered before that might be dangerous, so he protected himself. http://www.geocities.com/lindaoness/emoticons/frog.gif

That incident gives me a new appreciation for how they judge things. If it doesn't go after them the first time or two, they appear to reason that it's not dangerous and just ignore such things.

11-07-2005, 01:07 AM
The weather was actually warmer today. This morning I spotted three frogs in the backyard ponds. Even though the temperature's dropped some, there are still two in the ponds. Neither seemed disturbed at my presence (in other words, they ignored me).

Also, I noticed that there aren't any frog eggs or tadpoles in any of the ponds. Last year and through the winter, there were.

11-08-2005, 03:59 AM
Sadly, today we lost one of the big goldfish in the backyard ponds that we bought for $.08 each and raised to be nearly 8 inches in length. I'm not sure which one as my wife discovered it and then buried it. The fish are hers. Otherwise, the ponds are doing well.

11-08-2005, 04:06 AM
Oh, gee, that's too bad. Please tell your wife I'm sorry to hear that.

11-08-2005, 06:27 AM
She appreciates your kind thoughts. Thank you.

Sometimes nature isn't kind. I forgot to mention it, but we also had a small finch die in one pond over the weekend. From the looks of it, he fell in and had nothing within reach to climb on. From the way he was floating, hyperthermia got to him. :(

11-08-2005, 07:52 PM
Oh, no, poor little guy. Probably trying to get a drink and fell in. :(

11-09-2005, 07:53 PM
It's sad - but to everything there is a season....

Dave - love your frog stories. Do they have 'frog farms' like they have 'ant farms'?

Then you could write about them over the winter because they'd be nice and warm in the house - with you!

11-09-2005, 10:22 PM
I doubt that there are any frog farms available commercially, if that's what you're asking since frogs are very seasonal about laying eggs. As well, they behave very independently after hatching. I have seen several emerge and enter the same hibernation hole, but that seems to be one of the few instances where they gather together for any purpose other than mating.

I've seen some frogs behave very territorial one day and then let another frog sit beside them the following day. It could be temperature, scarcity of food, or any of several other reasons including emotional for all I know. I'd probably know more except for the fact that I have a day job that requires my presence.

11-09-2005, 11:15 PM
Have you ever seen any turtles in your ponds?

11-10-2005, 12:00 AM
Have you ever seen any turtles in your ponds?

Only once and that was the small turtle found in the front yard pond. He couldn't climb back out, so I lifted him and set him down beside the pond. Given a choice, he left for a better location.

I've been meaning to create some sort of platform that turtles and toads could use to climb out of the front yard pond since they can't propel themselves like I've observed the frogs doing. The frogs seem to know after a few moments of trying to climb out that they have to kick real hard with their back feet to get out and they do. The toads I've seen in the pond usually can't get out unless they have a platform to climb upon so they can jump. We have a lily pad plant that floats in the two back yard ponds, so the toads appear to use those to get out. They just swim to the floating root mass and climb onto it. Then they just hop out since it's only a one-foot jump from there to the closest edge. However, the turtles haven't entered the back yard ponds and probably won't because those are surrounded by landscape timbers that form a raised garden terrace. It's steep enough that they'd probably flip over if they tried to climb it.

The front yard pond is at ground level so just about everything can get into it. It's when the water level drops from evaporation that it becomes difficult for anything to crawl out.

11-10-2005, 03:40 AM
Re: turtles. I found a very pretty Eastern box turtle a few weeks ago. It had a glossy black shell with orange-ish markings. I picked it up and it was heavy! It wasn't much larger than my fist, but boy, it was solid. If a turtle like that got in a pond, I don't know how it could climb out unless there was a ramp of some sort.

My sister has a huge pond--nearly an acre in size--on her place that has turtles in it. I've heard them called snapping turtles (mud turtles, too, I think). They're aquatic turtles, with wide, flat shells and sharp beaks. It's neat to see them when they're out basking on logs.

11-10-2005, 06:44 AM
Well, my home is on a pretty standard lot in a subdivision. Yes, it does border a set of woods at the back fence. However, that hasn't kept us from receiving visits from rabbits, raccoons, possums, and deer. Some of them don't even run from us. Years ago, we put some food scraps out for the cats and a raccoon climbed over the fence and waddled over to the dish to help himself. I was seated on a lawn chair and he just ignored me until he finished the scraps. Then he walked over to me, reached up with one paw to tip my plate so he could look, reached in and took one morsel. Then he turned away and returned over the fence to the woods. Another time, I was standing in the backyard when he walked over to me, tugged on my pant leg for a second to get my attention, and did the same thing when I bent slightly down. Then he left with one M&M that I had on my plate.

Anyway, the ponds are all artificial. They're made of black plastic. The one in the front yard is rather small and probably holds about 50 gallons. The two in the back yard hold 200 and 250 gallons each. Each has a submersible pump in it to keep it aerated. Aside from that, they're each within flower beds so there are plenty of flowers to draw insects and those along with the water have naturally drawn frogs and toads. I've even had frogs just sit in the pond and watch me go by behind the lawnmower in the summer since they've figured out that the noisy machine never enters the garden or the pond.

So far, no one has bothered any of the ponds except on one occasion when we believe someone stole about six of our goldfish while we were out shopping. I will try to post some photos later of the ponds on my web site. I'll put a link here when I do.

11-10-2005, 07:15 AM
Oh, I LOVE that racoon story! That's amazing!

11-10-2005, 07:35 AM
Then you're going to love this. The first time I saw one of the raccoons come out of the woods and he saw me, he started to turn to run back into the woods. He glanced back over his shoulder to see if I was coming after him. Thinking fast, I reached up to my head with one hand and scratched as if I couldn't care less about him. Seeing that, he halted, turned around and returned to the fence to cross over. After that, he more or less accepted me as non-threatening. In fact, when another raccoon showed up days later, I did the same thing and that one also decided it was safe to enter the yard. At one point, we actually had an entire raccoon family enter the yard to share in the food scraps meant for the cats.

And yes, we did have one fight between the cats and the raccoons. One of the kittens went over to investigate the raccoons and bopped the raccoon on the nose for getting in the dish. Amazingly, the raccoon backed off. I figure it was surprised that such a little kitten would do that to begin with and also the kitten hadn't used its claws. All the raccoon got was the velvet swat. That kitten immediately got named Toughy. After that, they seemed to get along, though I did split the scraps into two dishes.

11-11-2005, 11:59 PM
So the raccoons recognized the action as being non-threatening. Good thinking on your part!

I wonder if they interact with other humans in the same manner? Or maybe they realize you're the one leaving out all the tasty goodies so they're trying to be extra polite. Do you ever have skunks wanting to get a share of the cat food?

I'm glad the 'coon didn't take offense to the kitten's swat on the nose!

11-12-2005, 12:57 AM
I wonder if they interact with other humans in the same manner? Or maybe they realize you're the one leaving out all the tasty goodies so they're trying to be extra polite. Do you ever have skunks wanting to get a share of the cat food?

So far, no skunks have entered the yard.

Thinking about the raccoon behavior cause me to come up with this idea. Since humans have observed other animals over the course of history to learn things which they then adapted into their own culture, wouldn't it be strange to discover that politeness initially came about from observing raccoons?

11-14-2005, 02:15 AM
Just the other day, my wife turned off the pump in one pond because there didn't seem to be anything in it. So far, that appears to be the case. We've put fish flakes in it, but those are still floating undisturbed except for a few that sank. There's no movement at all so I'm guessing right now that just about everything in it is gone though there should have been some minnows and one large goldfish. Even the few snails I spotted had no movement so I suspect that something may have happened such as sabotage. I entertain this suspicion because we've experienced it before and over the past two nights, we've had someone toss some of our yard lights at the house. We are, of course, monitoring the other two ponds, but it looks like the one pond will have to be reestablished except for the plants which so far appear unaffected. :(

11-14-2005, 02:33 AM
Oh, no! Hope you get this sorted out quickly. What jerks some people can be.

11-22-2005, 12:46 AM
Just occurred to me to check this and discovered that my weekend post was missing.

This weekend, we discovered there were still two mosquito fish left alive in the pond that we shut off. Because Saturday was warm, one frog was even out in that pond for a few hours. By the following day, he was probably burrowed once more since he wasn't anywhere in sight.

In the interim, the jerks appear to have changed targets by going for the mailbox and newspaper box. I hope they broke a wrist trying to smash those since both are plastic and rebounded back and they're on a 4x4 post that would have to be hit with more than a bat to destroy it. When I construct something, I try to make it strong. ;)

11-22-2005, 10:21 AM
Thinking about the raccoon behavior cause me to come up with this idea. Since humans have observed other animals over the course of history to learn things which they then adapted into their own culture, wouldn't it be strange to discover that politeness initially came about from observing raccoons?[/QUOTE]
Well, they can also be impolite, but then maybe it is learned behavior!
Some years back, I was with a scout troop on a trip to Yosemite. We were unloading supplies when Wade, one of the Dads along for the trip, was startled by a racoon that walked right up. It looked into a cardboard box next to Wade and started pawing through it until he found a bag of cookies which it pulled out. Wade yelled "Hey," and grabbed one end of the sack. So help me from then on it got histerically funny. The raccoon hissed at Wade, and pulled on the sack. Wade glared at the raccoon and snarled "Don't sass me, let go of the sack!" The raccoon hissed and Wade leaned in and hissed right back as loud as he could! The raccoon let go and ran over to another raccoon that had appeared alongside a tree. Then like a little kid running for his big brother he stepped behind that raccoon and peered fearfully over its shoulder. We all busted up in laughter.

11-23-2005, 12:19 AM
Dave, keep an eyeball peeled for anyone wearing a cast on their arm. :ROFL:

Foxtale, wow, what an experience! Raccoons are sassy little critters, aren't they?

The only experience I've had with them was when I was about 7-8 years old. My dad found two baby raccoons in the back of his pick-up truck one morning! The thought was that they had fallen out of the tree he was parked under, and then couldn't climb up out of the steep truck bed sides. They were soooo cute. Dad took them to a local park and released them.

11-23-2005, 08:08 AM
Further sad news concerning the one pond going bad. When I arrived home and went to the ponds to distribute some food, there were two little mosquito fish bodies floating. Looks like all the fish in that pond were lost after all. :(

11-23-2005, 08:00 PM
Oh, no! Have you considered testing a sample of that pond's water to see what may (if anything) have been put in it?

11-25-2005, 07:24 PM
Besides the ponds in our yard, we also have several bird feeders and, of course, some bird houses. One bird house is about 15 feet away from the feeder nearest the kitchen window so my wife could view both without disturbing them. Since it's now late fall and quite cold, one wouldn't expect to see a bird house occupied. However, it appears that one bird has figured it out. The bird house is warm and dry. It faces the feeder. That provides immediate information about when the feeder has been filled.

Yes, that bird is sitting so it can look out the opening and monitor the feeder so it can be among the first to eat the fresh seed.

Birds are not stupid. Another bird moved into the bird house about 15 feet behind the first house that also faces the feeder. That bird is doing the same thing! ;)

11-26-2005, 11:45 PM
Ha! That is so cool. Sounds like you've got a couple of really smart feather heads there!

We first started feeding birds on our front porch rail when we realized that our poor little dog wasn't eating her treats--she gets fed inside but she has a treat bowl on the porch for when she's playing out. One day I happened to notice unusual activity on the porch and peeked out the window. A couple of big fat Cardinals were flying away with chunks of dog snack in their beaks!

Taffy was just lying on the doormat, looking very put-out. Then I saw a Cardinal swoop down and poke her in the back! Not only were those birds food thieves, but they were beating up the dog, as well. lol

Now we have three birdfeeders hanging from the beam over the rail, and I still put food out for them on top of the rail, too. I also put stuff out in the backyard. For some reason, we have an entirely different group of birds that hang out back there. That's odd.

12-05-2005, 08:33 PM
Oh, we've got a lookout bird sitting in one of the trees. If I come out with the bird feed and head for the feeders, he starts singing a certain song. Otherwise, he just remains quiet if I'm going to the trashcan or the ponds.

The big tattletale! ;)

12-08-2005, 01:41 AM
What's new around the ponds and with the wild birds, Dave?

12-08-2005, 04:41 AM
Weather and work conspired this week so that my wife had to step in to feed them since it was getting dark by the time I arrived home. Sorry, but nothing to report other than finding one of those ugly crickets in the utility. I could see that he wanted to go outside to play, so I scooped him up and tossed him out the door so he could go ice skating. ;)

12-22-2005, 03:16 AM
Ponds frozen over yet, Dave? That cricket's gotta have somewhere to ice skate! ;)

01-13-2006, 08:19 PM
Wife comes into the room not more than an hour ago. "There's something red floating in the pond."

I follow her out wondering if a cardinal had fallen in or if she forgot that the flower pot holding the cattail plant in one pond had lost some of its ballast and was now at the surface. We got out to the pond and there are nine of our goldfish at the surface gulping for air. Seems their pump had clogged and wasn't aerating the water enough for them. I took care of that and they seem to be fine otherwise.

So, they're doing fine this winter without a plastic tent over their pond. They'd had some ice on the pond only two or three times so far and not once did it cover more than a third of the surface. I think the pump's action is strong enough to prevent that.

01-17-2006, 02:23 AM
Just finished feeding the cats, went out and fed the fish and birds. Heard a loud thunk on the chain link fence. Thought for a moment that something had hit it. Walked over to it and reached about twenty feet from where the sound originated when I spotted it and halted. A large hawk had landed on the fence and was looking around. I stood there watching it for only a few seconds before it realized "I was looking at it" and flew off. :)

01-29-2006, 03:51 AM
Outside today briefly. I went to the ponds to check on those. Spotted some gold shapes just below the surface. When my shadow fell on one, it moved to a spot in the water that was still in the sunshine. When I stepped away, the fish went back to the original location in the pond.

Whoa! Them goldfish are smart! They're deliberately seeking the warm spots. ;)

03-12-2006, 05:47 AM
My wife and I went out to the backyard ponds to clean out one, fill it with clean water, and then transfer the goldfish from the other pond. We found 10 goldfish that survived the winter though I thought for certain that I counted 11 only a few days ago when they were at the surface getting air. That's what inspired the sudden cleaning and switch of the fish to the pond that was empty.

Then we cleaned out the other backyard pond and filled it back with clean water. We'll put some of the goldfish back in it tomorrow. My wife felt it would be too much stress on them to move them twice in the same day.

Though the weather was good now for two days in a row and is expected to be just as good for the next few days, we haven't seen any frogs yet. I did see one butterfly today.

03-13-2006, 12:59 AM
Checked the front yard pond today and caught sight of about fifty little fish and one almost three-inch long goldfish we call redhead because he has a spot of red on his otherwise silver body. He was just swimming around having a good time. It was obvious he knew he was king of the pond. No one bothered him.

Well, except for us when the next weekend rolls around and we clean out some of the leaves that fell into the pond. :)

03-13-2006, 01:17 AM
Yay!! Pond updates!

Checked the front yard pond today and caught sight of about fifty little fish and one almost three-inch long goldfish we call redhead because he has a spot of red on his otherwise silver body. He was just swimming around having a good time. It was obvious he knew he was king of the pond. No one bothered him.

Well, except for us when the next weekend rolls around and we clean out some of the leaves that fell into the pond. :)

You have little goldfish?? Are these new guys that you didn't have before you wintered the pond? Wow!

So did all the survivors spend the cold weather time buried in the mud at the bottom of the ponds? I'm not sure how that works.

If you keep talking about this (and please do), I'm gonna have to get me a pond. Yup. :)

03-13-2006, 04:38 AM
Okay, Redhead was store bought. Of the other goldfish in the two backyard ponds, three were store bought as well and the rest came from them the year before. However, one of them looks like he's really new because he's much smaller than the others.

By the way, all eleven are accounted for. When I put five of the goldfish back in their newly cleaned pond, it turned out there were still six left. Evidently, we miscounted when transferring them to the first pond we cleaned. So, that means in all three ponds are a total of 12 goldfish.

I'm not sure if the goldfish get into the mud to keep warm or not. I do know I fed them every day just to be sure they had food. On really warm days, some of them rose to the surface.

The other little fish are some sort of livebearer, I believe. It's possible they're from eggs because we had another little fish before that we know clearly was. However, the current little fish resemble wild guppies and seem to be acclimated to our area. We've speculated that someone turned them loose in the stream where I caught a few of them. From that point on, they've perpetuated themselves quite well.

03-16-2006, 04:17 AM
One of the goldfish in the backyard ponds is smart. He knew it was about time for me to appear and feed them. He was at the surface watching me while I fed the fish in the first pond I reached. When I turned to walk in his pond's direction, he dove down noisily as if embarrassed to be caught peeking.

03-16-2006, 06:07 AM
:ROFL: Smart fishie.

03-16-2006, 06:33 AM
We have a pond as well. It gets cold here in the winter so once the temperature (water)reaches about 50 degrees we stop feeding them. They go into hibernation but they are now coming to the top on warmer days. We've got koi, goldfish and shubunkins.

They do know when it's time to eat and some of the koi will take food from my husband's hand.:e2fish:

03-17-2006, 01:28 AM
I'll chime in on this, too, Dave. I'm really enjoying your stories. I love reading naturalists writing about the critters they see and interact with, like The Geese of Beaver Bog. Just reading about your experiences is a delight.

03-20-2006, 11:26 PM
While I've mentioned the outdoor ponds, there is an aquarium inside the house with various tetras and some corys. Of course, with any aquarium, there are snails to help balance the tank. Ours has turned out to be a veritable snail farm because I've often had to carry out dozens of snails my wife caught or picked from the filter to place in one of the ponds since we've noticed that the goldfish like a little snail with their flakes and the snails that survive help to keep the ponds more in balance.

Okay, getting to the point here. We have hundreds of snails in the aquarium until now. We spotted some new fish at the store and picked up one as a test since we weren't sure if a little freshwater green-spotted puffer would fit in with the other fish. Oh, did he. His first action upon being released was to move close to a snail, eyeball it, and then dart in to eat it. He knew what he wanted and how to get it. With him and two others we purchased after he proved so successful, our snail population is down to about a hundred. In fact, my wife thinks we might have to import snails from the outside ponds to keep them fed.

We also bought what looks like a tiny blue tetra which we still haven't identified properly that was in the tank with the puffers. He was why we thought the puffer would get along with tetras because the little fish seemed unconcerned about them. Neither was harming the other, so we purchased him to be the puffer's sidekick which caused us to name him as Sidekick. He's a charming fish on his own. In the tank with our tetras, he quickly became the resident sheepdog, so to speak. Even though he's but a half-inch long, he was herding fish four times his size away from where he wanted to be in the tank. He even tries to carry shrimp pellets a quarter of an inch long from where those fall in the tank to his area. Like I said, he's quite a character.

03-21-2006, 05:51 AM
Clown loaches like snails, too. Ours cleaned'em up and wanted more!

Years ago, my sister and I had a couple of puffers in a community tank. Before long, they chomped on all the other fish. Poor things, they got all tattered and raggedy - not the puffers, their tankmates. We had to put them in a tank by themselves.

One of these days I'd like to have some more puffers. They're so ugly, they're cute. Fun to watch, too.

Sidekick sounds cool! Nobody's gonna push him around. ;)

04-02-2006, 06:50 AM
We have a confirmed sighting of one toad sitting on the lilypad root ball in one pond. He sat quietly and ignored me looking at him as he waited for something to happen, presumably another toad. No frogs yet.

On the indoor aquarium scene, we lost one of the puffers and moved the other two to their own tank. They weren't aggressive at all to the other fish, but the information we dug up on them indicated they needed a higher pH, so the new tank is adjusted for them. Sadly, it may be too late for another of the puffers although what's strange is that the first one we brought home seems to be thriving. We're guessing that maybe the other two were in the store tank too long without adequate food and that they were already on the way out despite our efforts at feeding them properly and giving them a good tank.

04-02-2006, 08:28 AM
Do puffers need brackish water? It seems like I've read that, but there are different types of puffers and they have different requirements. You may need to put some salt in the tank. I think they like meaty foods, too, but it's been a long time since I had puffers so I'm not sure. Sorry you lost one of them. They're really interesting fish.

04-03-2006, 03:30 AM
Actually, we've now lost two of the three puffers. The survivor is the one we bought first. We transferred them to a separate tank so that we could give them better conditions. Also, we didn't want him to be lonely, so we bought two more puffers today. These two seem to be in good health and have shown a good appetite so far.

In outdoor pond news, a second toad showed up today. This is a much bigger and lighter colored toad. I anticipate that we'll soon be blessed with thousands of toad eggs in one pond. Otherwise, the ponds are doing well and we've added a fourth pond that will have only water plants in it. My wife put in a mosquito donut that kills mosquito eggs so it shouldn't need any fish within it to deal with them.

04-03-2006, 04:14 AM
I used to have a pre-formed pond, but luckily, now; I have two real ponds.

I spend some time everyday, by them.

Both are full of lots of fish: Bluegill, bass and catfish.

(I don't fish.)

We have a great blue heron who hangs around.
We have our own 4 ducks.
We watch out for snakes, but have seen: 1 Copperhead in September; several black snakes recently (probably black racers, harmless to humans, and unfortunately for me, last Thursday I saw a 5 foot long black snake eating a large frog. The frog tried to get out (I could only see his legs) and I was so instantly furious, I had to fight off the urge to get something and kill the snake. But, it's mother nature.

Lots of turtles and today, I sat and watched an unusual brown bird - with a long beak - sitting on a branch above one pond. He was ten feet away from me, and didn't mind me sitting by him one bit.

Mother nature is a wondrous thing.

I only wish I could fly, so I could see what's in those ponds from a better view.

04-04-2006, 02:39 AM
Got home today and there were five toads, four doing what toads are wont to do in a pond. Lots of plants coming up. Some were hidden behind or under old stems or leaves.

04-05-2006, 06:00 AM
Today, my wife counted eight toads in the ponds. When I reached home, there were still six paired up. So far, no frogs have returned, but I guess they need it to be just a bit warmer.

When I went out to feed the fish, so help me one bird was in a tree over the path and it sounded exactly like, "Feed the bird," repeated over and over. What's worse, he moved from tree to tree to keep up with me while repeating that call. He stopped when I came out of the house a second time with birdseed and headed for the tree nearest the feeder.

04-05-2006, 10:34 PM
Looks like all that money he spent on those "How to Train Your Human" tapes was well spent. :ROFL:

04-06-2006, 03:17 AM
Well, the weather turned back to cool and there were only three toads in the pond when I arrived home. Otherwise, nothing happening on the wildlife front, though we believe we have a prowler looking in our front windows. There's been some evidence left behind that convinces us that there is someone entering our yard at night.

04-06-2006, 03:38 AM
Oh, you've got to be kidding. That's terrible! Hope you called the police.

Do you think this might be the same person who tampered with the ponds last year?

04-06-2006, 06:49 AM
No, I believe it's someone else.

It's another day already. The temperatures dropped some more and the toads took off for their hiding places where they are presumably warmer. I expect they'll come back out next week to resume where they left off.

04-11-2006, 05:47 PM
Sadly, we lost the last of the pufferfish in our aquarium. We did our best and they seemed to be thriving, but that wasn't the case.

Outside, it's still cool. The toads are back in their dens, wherever those are, and the frogs have yet to show. I suspect the frogs need more warmth. On the other hand, there's a small pond not far from our house that has some boards sticking out of the water against a rock. In the last few days, we've spotted turtles sunning themselves on the boards so it won't be long before everything is hopping, chirping, crawling, and otherwise getting in everyone else's way. ;)

04-13-2006, 03:23 AM
Indoor report: Sidekick is doing wonderful, but he was a brilliant blue when we purchased him and only about the size of a dime. Same thickness, too. Well, he's almost an inch and a half long and as thick as my little finger. Also, he's pink now. Huh? Where's the beautiful blue? Also, he's just as bossy about herding the other fish out of his way. No one messes with him because he's got enough heft to him now that he probably could take any fish that tried to mess with him even though there are still a few bigger than him.

Outdoor report: Redhead is about four inches long now. He comes near the surface more now that it's warmer. His pond is the one outdoor pond that needs almost no attention. The plants in it are green and healthy. The fish in it are all doing well.

04-13-2006, 04:12 AM
That's weird about Sidekick's coloring. Do you have any idea what kind of fish he is? Sounds kind of like a Cichlid by behavior, but some other species act all tough, too. Here's a good site with lots of pictures and info:


Once upon time I was a fish geek. Still am to an extent. :D

Sounds like the ponds are flourishing!

04-15-2006, 05:03 AM
Okay, Sidekick seems to be channeling a chameleon. First, he was a brilliant blue. Now he's pink and much larger, but he now has a gold spot about the diameter of a pencil eraser on each side of his body. At first, the other day it was barely noticeable. Now it appears to be growing. My wife and I think we've spotted some very faint lines on his body from about the middle to the caudal fin running from the dorsal fin to his belly, or hers as my wife believes it might be a female dwarf gouramie(sp?).

04-15-2006, 09:10 PM
We have frog!

Only one, but he just sat on the lily pad root ball and ignored me as I sat down on the landscape log two feet away to look at him. His behavior seems to indicate he's been there before and knows that he's not in any danger from me. If not, then he's a darn brave little frog. ;)

Oops, make that two frogs. There's another in the second backyard pond. He's most likely a new frog because I caught sight only of his eyes. Then he realized I spotted him and dove under out of sight.

04-16-2006, 06:15 PM
My wife insisted on checking something in the yard last night, so we grabbed flashlights and tromped out there. Since we were only fifteen feet from the back yard ponds, I swung my light over to those just for a moment. Caught sight of one frog sitting on the lily pad clump.

04-17-2006, 03:46 AM
These two frogs are slick (pun intended). During the night, they swapped ponds. They're up to something, I just know it. ;)

04-17-2006, 06:42 PM

04-19-2006, 04:07 AM
This afternoon when I arrived home, I noticed there were two frogs in just one pond. I tell ya, they're up to something! ;)

04-19-2006, 10:28 PM
Well, Dave, when we get the slime-covered ransom note there'll be no question what they're up to. Watch your back. :D

04-19-2006, 11:47 PM
It'll probably be a demand for crickets and not those ugly-looking ones, either. ;)

I happened to glance at the ponds this morning before leaving for work and the two were still in the same pond. What's more, it's the pond that most of them didn't care for last summer. I tell ya, they're up to somethin'!

04-21-2006, 03:41 AM
Okay, bashful frog has figured it out or the other frog blabbed, "See, there's this guy. He comes around to feed the fish. If you sit still and look pitiful enough, he'll catch you a bug and deliver it to you."

Yep, they're both sitting on the lily pad clump when I approach. ;)

04-21-2006, 04:33 AM
They belong to the same books-on-tape club as the bird. The frog version of "How to Train Your Human" is waterproof. :D

04-23-2006, 03:46 AM
Last weekend, I helped my wife put in an itty bitty pond just barely larger than a wash tub so she could put some plants in it as part of her overall landscaping scheme. The plants are doing well and wouldn't you know it, one of the frogs had to check it out and take a seat right in the middle of one plant she put in there. Today, that frog was back at one of the larger ponds to be replaced by a new, little, third frog who just sat there enjoying his very own pond. :)

04-23-2006, 11:12 PM
Today! Five frogs and two toads! Two frogs each in the fish ponds and one frog and the two toads in the plant tub. The toads were busy leaving hundreds of eggs in the water.

As well, the frogs appear to have spread the word about ignoring us when we walk by. Now they all just sit and watch or ignore us completely. ;)

Um, make that three toads. There's another sitting on a floating block of wood in the front yard pond.

Adding something new that happened later:

I was doing work in the yard and went by the pond without any real notice by the frogs. However, when I approached from the back fence, one of the frogs spotted me and jumped clear out of the pond and over the landscaping timbers to hide in the grass. I stopped a foot or two from him and bent down enough for him to see it was me. At that point, I guess he recognized me and reacted by jumping back over the timbers and directly into the water. Man, he had that distance and height calculated perfectly. I do believe it was the direction I came from that startled him since I was coming from the direction of the wood which end at our back fence. Guess I'll have to be on watch for a Sasquatch living in our woods by surviving on poor innocent frogs. ;)

04-27-2006, 06:19 AM
The temperature has dropped, so we're back down to just three frogs in the ponds. It's supposed to remain like this for another day or two. Then everything should pick up again.

04-27-2006, 11:55 PM
Adding something new that happened later:

I was doing work in the yard and went by the pond without any real notice by the frogs. However, when I approached from the back fence, one of the frogs spotted me and jumped clear out of the pond and over the landscaping timbers to hide in the grass. I stopped a foot or two from him and bent down enough for him to see it was me. At that point, I guess he recognized me and reacted by jumping back over the timbers and directly into the water. Man, he had that distance and height calculated perfectly. ;)

:roll: I LOVE this part. Gosh, aren't animals amazing? I'm looking forward to summer. Are you writing this down (somewhere besides here)? It's a crack up.

The Secret Lives of Frogs
Have Bugs Will Grovel
Outdoor Pond!
What Frogs Really Do When They Think No One's Looking
Frogs in Suburbia
Memoirs of a Frog Watcher

04-28-2006, 12:00 AM
Truly, a celebrated leaping frog. You're tempting me to build a pond, but with two cats and three dogs, I'm reluctant--perhaps a small bowl with a plant and a beta, but that's unnatural. I've a neighbor with two small ponds and all sorts of wildlife that I might visit more--here in a bedroom community of NYC, but still.

04-28-2006, 08:54 PM
These ponds are made of thick plastic. You can find them in hardware and plant stores and they vary in size and price. If you do get one, get a large one and a pump rated for at least 250gal. I also recommend that you get some landscape timbers, gutter nails, and good potting soil.

Since most of these prefabricated ponds have two depths which creates shallow areas, you'll want to place the pond on the ground and mark around the bottom of the deepest sections. Then dig a hole just deep enough that the pond sits flat and firmly inside the hole and the shallow portions are flat on the ground. Next, use your landscape timbers to build a container area about the pond. You can either make it rectangular or follow the general outline of the pond to create an irregular shape surrounding it. I used gutter nails (spikes used to hold rain gutters onto the sides of homes) to nail the timbers together in an overlapping manner after drilling holes through the timbers so those wouldn't split. Once I had the timbers up just to the top of the pond as it stood in its hole, I filled in between the pond and the timbers with potting soil until it was almost level with the top edge of the pond and sloped it from the timbers to the pond. Then if you put fish in your pond and the pond overflows from rain, the slope should make it possible for any fish that swim out with the overflow to flop back in. We made one corner much higher with timber scraps to give it an interesting appearance and provide a break from the north wind.

Put your favorite choice of plants in the potting soil. You may want to invest in some solar lights. There are inexpensive sets of 6 or 8 that can be purchased for about $30.00 which will be more than enough to accent the pond and your surrounding garden at night. You may want some water plants. Plan on waterlilies. Those tend to do well for the depth these prefab ponds offer, but others will also work.

I recommend that you put no more than four goldfish into your pond. Anymore than that will create problems such as a lack of oxygen in the water and a buildup of sludge from fish discharge, uneaten food, and algae. Mosquito fish, though rather plain in looks tend to be a good choice because they're hardy, they breed well on their own to maintain their numbers, and they EAT mosquitoes that land on the water to lay eggs.

We typically use the pump to provide aeration of the water for the fish and prevent it from becoming stagnant. If you use a filter with your pump, plan on cleaning the filter once or twice a week. That consists of taking the filter out and rinsing it with a hose.

You can purchase kits for a couple of dollars that attach to pumps to create special effects. You can also purchase colored underwater lights if you want, but that might cause a problem for the fish who need time to rest. I've found that the solar lights are sufficient to create a beautiful display without disturbing the fish or scaring off other wildlife such as toads and frogs.

About the time your pond establishes a growth of algae on the sides is when you can expect other creatures to notice it and visit. Birds will land and drink, but most will stay out of the pond. It depends upon the distance to woods or other places where other creatures live naturally as to how soon you might expect some of them to find your pond.

I will try to post a photo soon of what the results can look like.

04-28-2006, 09:49 PM
Well, there ya go. All the info you need to install your own pond! Frog training not included. Thanks, Dave. :)

So those little solar powered lights work pretty well? I'm thinking of getting some to line a walkway from the carport to the porch.

04-29-2006, 02:12 AM
We have tadpoles in the new small pond!

04-29-2006, 02:36 AM

04-29-2006, 02:39 AM

04-29-2006, 09:18 PM
We have tadpoles in the new small pond!

Already???? Wow!

Hey, thanks for the pictures! Is that the frog ringleader? He looks like he's up to no good, posing so innocently like that. :D

04-29-2006, 09:59 PM
Is that a tree frog? Looks too thinly built to be those old toads you get warts from :ROFL: Actually I don't know if anyone really gets warts from a toad wetting on you or not, but thats what we were always told (when we were kids) so we wouldn't pick them up.

Tree frogs are a different matter. They always look like they have suction cup feet when they stick on the outside of your windows, etc.

04-30-2006, 03:31 AM
We had a tree frog in our ponds about four years ago, but we saw him only the one summer. In fact, the pictures are actually from last year. That particular plant got so large we had to chop it down to a quarter of its size then. I took some more photos this yesterday, but I decided not to put more online since I didn't want to overburden AW. What I'll probably do soon is place the photos on my personal web site and then create a link to it.

05-03-2006, 04:11 PM
Last night, while checking on the ponds, I sat beside one and ran one finger across the edge. A frog in the water spotted the movement and tried to grab my finger. And no, it didn't hurt or anything. Most he did was bump my finger.

Ya know sumthin'? I think he was either hungry or Sammy, the Hit Frog, trying to perform a contract. ;)

05-03-2006, 06:53 PM
::gathering crickets for the ransom--I've a feeling the note will be arriving any day now--if Dave goes missing, we'll know what happened::

05-07-2006, 02:24 PM
Happy Birthday, Dave.

Watch out for those man-eating frogs!


05-08-2006, 04:12 AM
Thank you.

Yesterday, my wife got out the shovel and dug up some dandelions. In the process she produced a few worms and hollered for me to gather them up for the frogs. "Mighty good eatin' there," said the frogs, but they didn't share. ;)

05-08-2006, 07:18 PM
Well, happy belated birthday, Dave! Sorry the frogs didn't share those worms with you. *yuck* I hope you had a lovely day anyway. :)

05-10-2006, 04:21 AM
Well, we have frog eggs in one of the large backyard ponds. We'll find out more about those when they hatch.

In the meantime, the tadpoles in the little tub pond are ravenous for the algae in it and there's very little left for them. Fortunately, they have plants that they can eat. Also, my wife and I have put fish flakes in the water for them. It's amusing to watch one of them grip the flake in its mouth and gnaw at it. In the meantime, they're still swimming, so it doesn't take long for the flakes to begin moving about in the water like an unorganized ballet. They're spinning and moving back and forth when more than one tadpole grips it from different sides. Sometimes a flake will get waterlogged and sink with tadpoles gnawing away at it. Since the water's not very deep, they're not in any danger.

One of the frogs was in the tub today with them and when it went into the water from the place within the plant where it normally sits, there were tadpoles all around it. Some tadpoles looked like they were trying to gnaw on the frog and it just ignored them.

05-10-2006, 06:22 PM
What I'll probably do soon is place the photos on my personal web site and then create a link to it.

If you post a picture of that Sidekick fish you can't identify, maybe we can help you out.

05-12-2006, 04:24 AM
We have a ceramic frog house beside each backyard pond. As of yesterday, we discovered that one frog has taken up residence in one frog house. When you look inside the house, he almost looks like he's smiling or smirking about his home. ;)

05-16-2006, 04:15 AM
Well, I found a live, ugly cricket in one of the cats' watering bowls this evening. I dipped it out saving its life only temporarily before walking out to the ponds to turn it loose. As I figured, two out of three frogs do not like ugly crickets. Unfortunately for the ugly cricket, there were three frogs and one didn't dive in the water to get away from him. ;)

05-16-2006, 10:27 PM
You reckon the ugly ones taste different than the regular ones? Do you think maybe now this particular frog has learned the ugly ones taste bad?

Or maybe the taste of ugly crickets is an aquired taste...sort of like Scotch. It might taste nasty at first, but then you get to like it.

Try it again and see if he still likes ugly crickets. Gosh, I wish you could put little dots on their heads to tell one from another. Or can you already tell one from another?

How long does a frog live anyway?

05-17-2006, 04:06 PM
Good questions which I'll probably never have the answers to.

On the other hand, the tadpoles are doing well. We give them some fish food to supplement their supply since their pond is quite small and doesn't have much in it for them to eat. I've discovered that they seem to prefer goldfish pond pellets rather than flakes. It's really quite entertaining to watch about ten tadpoles grab hold of a pellet and chew away while their tails are just swishing about. While observing them yesterday, one group got their pellet to spin so fast that one of them lost his grip and went sailing off to collide with another group. Most tend to spin, but some groups tend to get all on one side and wind up moving about like a bumper car at an amusement park ramming into anything and everything. ;)

05-18-2006, 03:54 PM
I put some pellets in the tadpole pond this morning. Some headed for the pellets immediately. Now that they're addicted, I can begin charging them. Bwa-ha-ha! ;)

05-18-2006, 09:43 PM

I believe that type of activity is illegal in most states. :D

05-19-2006, 07:22 PM
Bwa-ha-ha, they were lined up today with their money for their fix of goldfish pellets. Okay, maybe not lined up with money since they don't have hands yet to hold any, but they were waiting at the surface. Some headed immediately for the pellets. ;)

05-19-2006, 07:54 PM
So who has been trained, Dave? You or them? :D

05-19-2006, 08:52 PM
Well, look at it this way. I'm preparing my own personal army of mosquito killers who will spread out around my yard to protect me. ;)

05-20-2006, 08:52 PM
I gave the tadpoles tubifex worm cubes today. After a few minutes, it was like, "Hey look! We've got a new tasty toy!" and they were off attaching themselves to every portion they could find and feeding themselves. My wife offered them some bread and they took after that as well. We are going to have some super toads guarding our yard when the tadpoles finish maturing.

05-23-2006, 03:07 AM
Sad news today. Nearly all of the tadpoles died. The cause is unknown. We did spot a slight oil slick on part of the water surface, so it's quite possible that they drowned or suffocated because they couldn't get any air. We're baffled by where the oil came from since it wasn't thick or on the entire surface. Possibly only about a third, but it's definitely a possible cause. My wife said she spotted three still alive this afternoon, but I didn't see a single one alive when I returned home. We can only hope that the tadpoles in another pond are in better shape.

05-23-2006, 10:46 AM
Have you or someone else been mowing or using trimmers around the pond? Those types of motors are notorious for being less than environmentally friendly (especially two-stroke engines like trimmers use). This is just a guess, but if someone had been using something like that and the exhaust was towards the pond, it could throw out enough oil to leave a very slight oil slick.

Still, it doesn't seem like that would be enough to kill tadpoles unless it covered the entire surface.


05-23-2006, 06:42 PM
Grass hasn't been mowed in the past week. We're not sure what hit the poor critters. Last night, I saw just one still swimming around.

05-24-2006, 12:55 AM
Oh, no! I hate to hear that. :(

05-24-2006, 02:17 AM
Just got home a little over an hour ago. We lost all of the tadpoles from that one little pond. :(

07-05-2006, 03:03 AM
I know there was more to this thread but I was unable to find it...will keep trying. Sorry, Dave.

07-05-2006, 05:00 AM
Here they are.


Just got home a little over an hour ago. We lost all of the tadpoles from that one little pond. :(

07-05-2006, 06:36 AM
06-05-2006, 05:20 PM DaveKuzminski
Between last year and now, our peach tree grew enough that one of the enterprising squirrels discovered he could now get past the squirrel barrier to reach one of the bird feeders. This past weekend, we moved the feeder ten feet away. Let's see him make that kind of a leap now. ;)

07-05-2006, 06:36 AM
06-05-2006, 05:33 PM awatkins

Aagh. Squirrels. One brave little dude here pokes around on the ground beneath the bird feeders all the time - mingles right in there with the doves, towhees, and sparrows that like to feed on the ground. I don't mind that so much, but when he climbs the 4x4 and parks himself IN the platform feeder, I do mind. Gotta fix that.

Oh, and every night we have to take down the seed bells and feeders and put the whole shebang in the garage. If we don't, everything is scraped clean (or missing, as with the seed bells) in the morning. Guess word got out about the wonderful free buffet here. Sheesh.

Lucky I like all them little critters. :ROFL:

ETA: Sorry about the tadpoles, Dave! How are the ponds doing now?

07-05-2006, 06:37 AM
06-06-2006, 06:41 PM DaveKuzminski
Heck, I posted an answer last night, but it appears to have been devoured by the Internet

The ponds are doing well.

If you want a fairly effective squirrel deterrent, get a hot water heater drip pan from a hardware store. Get a large one. Mark the center then make an X with each line going about two inches in each direction from the center. Drill a small hole in the center and at the end of each line. Cut along the lines from the center hole to each of the outer holes. You should then have four triangular tabs that a 4x4 post will fit through. Take your feeder off the 4x4. Place the pan upside down on the 4x4 and shove down on it so that the pan is one or two inches below where the feeder will be. Use some nails to secure the pan at the center through the triangular tabs. You might not need four nails, but that's what I used so the pan won't become unlevel and make it easy for a squirrel to reach over to an edge and perform some acrobatics to get on top of it. Put the feeder back in place.

Your birds will find that they can land on the pan and then hop up onto the feeder. Birds that are fussy and knock seeds out will be helping those who don't like to enter feeders or are blocked by more aggressive birds because the pan will catch some for them to eat. Because the pan is upside down, it won't catch water so it becomes basically self-cleaning.

07-05-2006, 06:38 AM
06-14-2006, 02:57 PM awatkins
Well, that sounds like an easier solution than some I've read about. Thanks, Dave!

07-16-2006, 08:03 PM
Wow, Innkeeper, that sounds like one incredible pond! Thanks for telling us about it.

Sometimes I really, really wish I had me one of them there ponds. But I'd spend more time hauling squirrels, raccoons, and possums out of it than enjoying the koi and plants. I imagine snakes would find it inviting, too!

07-16-2006, 08:37 PM
You know, you could just about turn that post into an article. I'm sure there are lots of folks who'd love to have the details on creating a pond. Thanks for the information! (Note how cleverly I turned this into a post about writing and nature. heh)

I love reading about ponds!

07-16-2006, 09:55 PM
Well. It's about time somebody realized that. You may go and post in blissful happiness and...uh...may you have continued success with your pond.

Oh, and fork over half those donations or I'll sic the birds on you. I'll take some of those mashed potatoes, too.

07-17-2006, 08:59 PM
Paging Dave! We'd love an update on your ponds and frogs and birds and ugly crickets and stuff. Hope you get a chance to drop by soon! :)

07-21-2006, 07:25 AM
Hey, guys, here's an update from Dave! And guess what? He now knows what that mystery fish in his aquarium is. Here's the latest pond, frog, and fish news:

Well, the ponds are doing well. Scared a black snake away from one pond just a few days ago. Otherwise, the frogs are doing well and even hop about the yard on occasion.

The pond fish are likewise doing well, though I suspect I'll have to dredge the pond in about a week as they seem to be at the surface too often.

On the indoor scene, the mysterious fish appears to be a South American Cichlid. What's more, it mated with one of two other SA cichlids my wife bought and laid eggs. At first, we though the eggs hatched on 4 July, but we've since been blessed with another clutch of eggs from the two cichlids and those hatched just three days ago. The fry are only 1/8 inch long now, but they're completely free swimming and the parents are very guarded about them. They try to attack anything that goes near the young.

We managed to give away about 40 of the first batch and still have about 25 of them in a separate tank. They're already close to a half-inch long.

Also, about the time that the first brood was found in the tank, we spotted a tree frog on our front window next to that tank. I hadn't seen one of those in our area in several years and thought that the one we saw before had somehow hitchhiked in our car from a trip south. This was clearly not the case this time, so it means they must be indigenous to our locale.

Otherwise, we currently have occasional visits by rabbits and more regular visits by hummingbirds.

07-22-2006, 08:23 PM
Our home backs up against some woods which are next to a swamp. Down the street, the swamp is just behind the houses. There's a cul-de-sac there with no homes that was once a playground before the city decided it was a liability. Our grandson came rushing back to the house shouting for grandma to come with her camera because there was a big bird there.

Turned out to be a blue heron in the water just behind that cul-de-sac and the darn thing actually posed for pictures. He'd look over at us, then assume another pose as if he was the model used for all the wildlife magazines.

07-22-2006, 08:24 PM
Wow! You know, I've heard other folks say these guys posed for them, also. Trying to break into the magazine model biz, I guess. hee hee

They're awesome birds.

07-26-2006, 06:19 AM
From Dave:

Got home this evening and my wife was just finishing putting in some bricks to set a bench on so she could sit in the front yard without having her feet in wet grass or have bugs climb off the grass onto her. I noticed a katydid that was barely wiggling nearby. Don't know what almost killed it, but I immediately thought of it as frog food.

"Here, frog. Here, frog. Come get your delicious (I hope) fat katydid."

Okay, I didn't actually say that, but I did look in the ponds until I found one of the frogs on a lily pad. I managed to drop the katydid right in front of him, but it didn't wiggle enough to interest him, so I went to get a stick. We've learned around here that if you poke at their food with a stick or place it on the stick, the frogs will go beserk trying to get the food away from the stick as if it was a competitor.

Sure enough, after a little prodding of the katydid with the stick, the frog gobbled it up.

07-26-2006, 03:57 PM
So where's Dave?
(thanks for the update!)

Has he abandoned us?:cry: Or doesn't his laptop work while he's in the pond?:e2fish:

07-31-2006, 01:51 AM
Here he is, Unique! Dave's been under the weather. Gah....

I bet if he bribed those frogs with some cute crickets they'd behave much better. :D

Despite trying to pass a kidney stone and having an infected sinus cavity, I went out with my wife to clean two of the ponds. We were concerned that the fish couldn't get enough oxygen. The fish were difficult to catch, but we caught them all and put them in a kiddy pool until we had the ponds cleaned and with new water. However, while we were emptying the water and catching the fish, the frogs kept sneaking back into the ponds. I'd lift some frogs out with my hand or catch some of the newer ones with a large net and ten minutes later, they'd be swimming back in the pond getting in the way while we tried to do our work. I believe I definitely got some evil stares from some of the frogs for interrupting their day.

07-31-2006, 03:49 PM
Next time, Dave - tell the frogs what you're planning to do before you do it. They'll stay put better that way.

Hey! It works for cats!

Thanks, Anne, for the update.
Feel better soon, Dave. :Hug2:

08-02-2006, 10:22 PM
You're welcome, Unique! :)

Here's the latest:

Tonight, my wife and I mowed the yard. She got the front and I took the back. Yeah, I shouldn't have done any hard work, but I did it anyway.

Of interest to everyone would be the fact that one frog hopped out of the pond to watch me mow. He sat on the very corner of the landscape timbers framing the pond and watched me go back and forth. It wasn't until I reached the timbers that he took a short hop to sit about six inches away and continue his watch. He's smarter than most folks might think. He realized that was the last of that side, so he then dove in after I got the last strip beside the pond and swam over to the other side to get a good view on the landscape timbers of the remaining side to be mowed.

Smart frog, huh? ;)

08-03-2006, 07:37 PM
My wife is planning on filling in the small tub that serves as a pond for the cattail plant because the bucket inside the small pond keeps tipping over. However, I think that will have to wait now. I walked past it this morning and there are tadpoles once more in it. Yes, this is the same miniature pond that lost two batches of tadpoles before.

Hope this batch of tadpoles makes it!

08-04-2006, 07:39 PM
Update from Dave, 8-04-06:

Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I went to the pond to see how many tadpoles it contained. We looked and looked only to see none. Now I know what a tadpole looks like and so does she, but there wasn't a single one to be seen. Admittedly, I hadn't seen but a few so I was concerned that maybe they'd been picked off by birds or something. I mean, it was beginning to look like that pond had lost three out of three batches.

This morning, they were back. Unless they've tunneled to some other place, I figure they've got a hiding place and took refuge from the heat like just about everything else was doing in what was a record setting high temperature in our area. Still, the idea of a tunnel through the side of that plastic pond to a stream in the woods does seem to suggest there might be a fantasy story there.

Did you see that, fantasy writers? Cool idea!

08-16-2006, 10:36 PM
Pond update from Dave:

The fish are doing fine. The frogs appear to be well though they've been taking to the shade lately. The tadpoles in the small pond appear to be well. At least no dead bodies have come to the top, so we're hopeful they'll make it.

However, we have new visitors. We have several small lizards who've taken up residence in the yard. One hangs out near the front yard pond. We've spotted him several times sunning himself on the nearby window ledge. Another has taken up residence by the backyard ponds. A third took over the old shed in the far back of the yard. They all appear to be the same kind, so I'm guessing they each have their own territories staked out. I'll try to get them identified later to let you know what kind they are.

08-16-2006, 10:46 PM
Re: Lizards. We have two different kinds all over the place here--Eastern fence lizards and blue-tailed skinks. The blue-tailed skinks are really pretty.

08-17-2006, 04:58 PM
. I think he's trying to train me! ;)

And they are doing a mighty find job at it too!

Great stories, keep posting them! They remind me of the days working on my family's ranch! :roll:

08-18-2006, 10:14 PM
From Dave today:

Well, the lizards are either 5-lined or 6-lined skinks. I wasn't close enough to any to count the lines and didn't know at the time that I needed to count those to make the identification.

Huh. Didn't know that either.

08-20-2006, 02:29 AM
The latest:

Not more than ten minutes ago, my son called out from the front yard where he'd gone for a smoke. He was returning to the front door when he realized there was something in the front flower bed. He took out his flashlight and there was a possum in the flower bed. Our poor crippled outdoor cat was on the porch looking down on the possum as if unsure whether to tangle with it or not. I opened the door and looked down to see the possum as well and called to my wife and grandson so they could see it. Then I went to the garage door and called the cat there with the offer of some treats so it wouldn't get into a fight. By then, the possum left to round the opposite corner of the house and head across the back yard for the woods that adjoin our yard.

08-23-2006, 09:57 PM
August 22 update from Dave:

The tadpoles are still well and many of them now have their back legs. We'll have little hoppers soon. Don't know if they're frogs or toads, though both are welcome.

We had to spray the yard this past week to get rid of a massive flea infestation, so I was very careful not to get near the ponds so there would still be insects for the frogs and lizards to enjoy. Obviously, I was careful enough as none of them have croaked (pun intended) in the wrong way.

08-23-2006, 10:03 PM
Fleas. I am so sick of fleas! Our yard is awful--you can't even sit on the porch without them jumping on you. I think we're going to have to spray or something, too.

There was a news piece scheduled the other night that was supposed to address the problem (because it's so widespread here) but it got bumped for some sports story.

08-23-2006, 10:17 PM
I love reading the Outdoor Pond adventures and just wanted to chime in on the flea problem you mentioned.

I used natural methods to control fleas on my cats and in my house when I lived in Virginia, but never did have to treat the yard. Google turned up this site, but I don't know anything about it...good luck!

Gardens Alive (http://www.gardensalive.com/product.asp?pn=2779&sid=141487&bhcd2=1156356709)

Flea Control Nematodes

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These beneficial nematodes control fleas by killing them in the larval and pupal stages in the soil where they live, breaking the lifecycle so your pets are less likely to become infested. Follow the simple extracting and dilution instructions—then apply the nematodes to your lawn with a handheld sprayer, hose end sprayer or watering can. They’re nontoxic and can be used around children and pets. You can spray them in your flower and vegetable gardens, too. Five million nematodes cover 300 sq. ft. Nematodes must be applied when soil temperatures are 55-85°.

08-27-2006, 02:04 AM
Thanks, Suzanne! I'm going to check that out.

08-27-2006, 02:05 AM

I was heading for the front yard today when I spotted a worm streaking across the walkway. Of course, I immediately thought... frog food! Even better, free frog food!

Catching the worm wasn't as easy as one might think. That one was fast. However, I prevailed and managed to hang onto it long enough to reach the pond. A few times before, the worm managed to slip out of my hand and fall to the ground where it hid quite quickly among the grass. This one didn't get loose. Then I had to find a frog. Fortunately, I spotted one in the second pond I checked.

The frog really didn't even pay me any attention. He just remained in his position though I felt certain he was aware of my presence.

Sure that he'd react to the worm, I placed it just above and in front of him to drop it. However, he ignored it and the worm got into the water instead where it started to sink.

Fortunately, we keep some sticks and old plastic venetian blind rods beside the pond to prod the plants away from the pumps and for holding out choice morsels. In this case, I picked up the white plastic rod and reached with the tip to lift the worm out. That got Mr. Frog's immediate attention as he turned abruptly and faced the rod for a moment before trying to grab it with his mouth.

I guess he sees it as a really huge worm worth his attention. That or a competitor. You know... must attack big white stick. Anyway, I managed to snare the worm to prevent it from drowning.

Then I tried several more times to put the worm on a raised lily pad until I finally got it into the right position that Mr. Frog took an interest in the dangly object. After that, it took only a moment for the frog to decide that the worm looked appetising enough to eat and availed itself of the free meal.

In the meantime, no dead tadpoles. They tend to remain in the shade so it's hard to spot them even though they're in a tiny pond. I'm looking forward to seeing them emerge within the next two weeks.

08-29-2006, 12:59 AM
From 8-26-06 (Sorry to be so late with this, I was afk for a day)

Today was a bonus day.

First off, some of the tadpoles in the tiny pond have all four legs and are in the process of losing their tails. Looks like they're going to make it.

Second, we now have tadpoles in another pond. They're much smaller than the ones in the tiny pond, but they're all over and they're safely in the dense pond grass away from the pump intakes along with an almost equal number of teeny, tiny baby fish. Yep, it looks like we had a bonus crop of baby fish in that pond.

We have probably as many small fish in the other large backyard pond. By the way, they and the other baby fish in the two large backyard ponds had a treat today. They got fresh, live mosquito larva. You should have seen the water splash about where I poured in the larva. They were clearly making short work of the mosquito larva.

Third, we have another lizard living near the backyard ponds. From what I could see, it appeared to be an Eastern Six-lined Racerunner since it had brown lines on its back rather than blue like the others.

Fourth, we had a heavy visitation by grasshoppers wanting to be dinner guests. Of course, I fulfilled their wishes for some of them and carried several of them to the ponds. However, the largest one was about four inches in length and the frog in one pond attempted to eat it only once before letting it escape. I guess sometimes size matters after all. That or the frog wasn't hungry enough after eating the two-inch long grasshopper just minutes earlier. ;)

08-29-2006, 01:06 AM
From 8-27-06:

Not that I don't want Absolute Write to have the backyard pond news, but I'm doing just like I do with P&E by creating a backup site in case AW gets knocked offline again. So, you can also find my ponds listed at http://frogponds.blogspot.com/ which I've tried to get caught up to the present. Occasionally, it will feature photos of the ponds.

08-31-2006, 03:37 AM
Pond update from Dave, 8-29-06:

Well, we have another Racerunner living in the front yard where there's just one pond. I spotted him yesterday.

Today, I spotted a few grasshoppers in the garden within easy reach. They were on some sort of plant that my wife chose not to weed from the bed and it's reached about 7 feet in height. I caught two grasshoppers, one at a time of course, and carried those to the backyard. One frog was in the tiny pond inside the mass of cattails the pond was meant to hold. The moment he spotted the grasshopper, he turned about so he could view it directly and watched for further movement. I was reaching for a stick to prod the grasshopper when the frog struck. It was all over for that grasshopper in an instant.

Then I walked back, caught the second grasshopper and returned to the right hand pond. The frog spotted the grasshopper and leaped at it just as the grasshopper leaped. The grasshopper managed to get out of the pond, so I went over to catch it again. Didn't take but a couple of tries to recapture it. Then I went back to the pond to see that the frog had taken up position on one of the landscape timbers. I managed to toss the grasshopper down, but again it leaped before the frog got lined up. Again, I caught the grasshopper. By now, the frog was expecting his grasshopper. The third time, the grasshopper landed on a piece of stem beside the landscape timber when it tossed it in the frog's direction. However, the frog just watched as I grabbed the stem and moved it into striking range, but still no reaction. So, I managed to flip the grasshopper onto the timber right beside the frog. Zing! The frog whipped around and struck. There was no escape that time for the grasshopper.

Fortunately, frogs seem to like grasshoppers. They also like crickets, but not all crickets. The ugly crickets seem to be ignored by all but the hungriest of frogs.

08-31-2006, 03:37 AM
Those poor ugly crickets. They must feel so unloved. ;)

09-08-2006, 10:59 PM
From 9-02-06:

Pond news
The storms that Ernesto sent in from the coast didn't do too much to the yard. A few small limbs from trees were torn loose by the heavy rain and wind, but those didn't strike anything.

On the other hand, one of the mosquito fish swam or was swept out of one pond by the heavy rain which brought all of the ponds up to the rim and past. So, we had that one fish lost when the water subsided and he was caught outside the pond. Otherwise, all of the other fish and tadpoles and frogs appear to have survived.

Anyway, I'll know more when I pick up in the yard tomorrow. Right now, the ground is too soggy to go about the yard re-staking some of the plants.

09-08-2006, 11:01 PM
From 9-04-06:

Today didn't have too much to report. We had a rabbit enjoy some of the clover in the yard while a squirrel searched the ground a few feet away for seed that fell from the bird feeder.

More grasshoppers appeared and several became invited dinner guests. Interestingly enough, one frog dove into the water when my hand came too close to him while trying to dislodge a grasshopper from it for him to eat. However, he was a sly frog. He circled under water and did a Jaws number on the grasshopper just as it reached the side of the pond to climb out. It was almost like the opening scene in Jaws when the frog surfaced and leaped at the grasshopper to yank it under the water. Then he swam away with it and surfaced a short distance away to finish gobbling it down.

Okay, cue the music. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/wink.gif