Category Archives: Pond

Gone Fishing

Recently we have been spending some of our evenings fishing in our pond. When we stocked the pond we wanted fish that were good for eating, so we chose catfish, perch and walleye. We also put in a few pike and lots of fathead minnows.

When we tell people that we have perch and walleye in our pond we get mixed reactions. Those, like me, who know little about fishing and fish habitat take us at our word. They have a simple “that’s nice” attitude about it, but it is not a big deal. More seasoned fishermen, however, have one of two reactions. Some are extremely interested in how we have accomplished this. They begin asking questions like how deep is the pond (20+ feet), what kind of structure have we put in it (piles of rocks), we talk about using the windmill for aeration and the sandy bottom in the beach area that provides habitat for perch to lay eggs. Other knowledgeable fishermen don’t believe us. “No Way!” is their reply when we say we have perch and walleye in the pond. It is their belief that ponds like our only support bass and blue gill.

After catching a 15″ walleye on two consecutive nights I decided I needed to start taking my camera with me while we were fishing. Since then all we have caught are perch. We have been catching perch as small as 2″

IMG_3112 This photo is a close-up of the small fish in the next photo. It is a bit deceiving.

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We have also caught perch as large as 9″.

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While catching a large fish is always exciting, catching the small ones is confirmation that the perch are reproducing in the pond. We have yet to catch a small walleye, so it may be that the environment is suitable for walleye to live but does not meet their needs for reproducing.

Now I did say that we have only caught perch since I started taking my camera along, but like every good fisherman I do have the story of the one that got away. We were catching only small perch that evening, so it was a shock when the large fish hit my hook. It hit hard and fast (as walleye do) and I caught only a glimpse of the fish as it neared the surface attached to my line. My husband immediately realized my shock. “Don’t panic” he said as he reached to help me set my drag. Then, as quickly as the fish was on my line, the line snapped and it was gone. That’s my story; a true story. I am not asking you to swallow it hook, line and sinker because a monster walleye already did.

 

Pond Pictures – Relax and Enjoy

I know what it’s like, too often life gets crazy and busy and we just don’t have time to enjoy the simple beauty that nature has to offer. I try to take a least a few minutes each day to just walk and observe our farm. Today I invite you to join me for some views of our pond. If you were with me these are some of the things I would point out to you.

IMG_2876The honey bees have discovered that the lavender is blossoming. Honey bees and bumble bees love lavender.

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My husband and I agree that dragon flies are the coolest insects. We see them in various shapes and sizes and many amazingly beautiful colors. After reading more about dragon flies on this website http://www.dragonfly-site.com/ I’m not surprised at our fascination with them.

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This website about dragon flies mating was also very interesting, but definitely left me with questions. https://www.thoughtco.com/how-dragonflies-mate-1968255 My questions were mainly who studied this? and how did they study this?

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The dragon flies are not only fascinating to watch, they seem friendly, at times, as they rest on a finger or hitch a ride on a shoulder. They don’t bite or sting and they apparently dine on a lot of less desirable insects.

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The above photo, which my husband and I had been referring to as a dragon fly, is actually a damsel fly. Closely related to the dragon fly the damsel flies are also welcomed and admired on our farm.

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The honey bees are drinking from the pond. This one is coming in for a landing.

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Honey bees are our second favorite insect. We have put a lot of money, time and effort into beekeeping and we are happy to know that our bees have a clean water source.

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This year the bees are choosing to drink from an area on the edge of the pond, where we placed rocks last fall. In past years I have seen honey bees drinking on the beach and other areas along the shore.IMG_2901

Turtles, if you were with me you would see more. We have turtles of various sizes and ages who live in the pond, and I saw at least three of them on this day. Apparently turtles are camera shy because as soon as they saw me point the camera in their direction they would submerge and swim away.

IMG_2911Not at all camera shy, this handsome frog was the perfect model. No need to turn him into a prince; we love this little bug eater just the way he is.

This is but a glimpse of the things we would see and the things we would talk about as we spent some time enjoying the beauty of our pond. Thanks for taking a few minutes to relax and enjoy.

 

 

 

A Beautiful Monday

We spent much of Monday at the farm weeding garlic then attending to some other things that needed to be done. We witnessed a couple of things we had never seen before and I was able to get pictures of them.

In the morning as I was heading to the garlic bed to begin weeding I looked toward the pond and noticed this visitor.

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It is a White Heron or Great Egret who apparently stopped by for a snack of tadpoles. My husband had told me he saw it the day before but previous to that we had never seen a White Heron on the farm. We have seen Blue Herons and it seems as if the bird I posted about here https://donteatitsoap.com/2017/05/16/bird-identification/  is a Green Heron. We are happy that our farm is host or home to so many of God’s creatures.

In the afternoon and evening we had some light rain showers come through. As the last round of showers moved out I looked to the sky and saw a beautiful rainbow.

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I grabbed my camera and started taking pictures. I then got my husband who was cutting grass. Look at the rainbow I told him. At times we could see the entire rainbow but sometimes the middle was covered with clouds. My pictures really do not do it justice. I could not even fit the whole rainbow in one shot. I told my husband that I don’t remember ever seeing both ends of a rainbow before and he said he didn’t ever remember seeing that either.

Maybe since we have had so much rain this year and we having been praying so much for dry weather this was our message from God.

Genesis 9:12-15

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.

 

Sights of Spring

This is the day the Lord has made…

I didn’t make it out to the farm until yesterday afternoon. As I walked past the prayer garden I and looked for the killdeer eggs this is what I saw.

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“They weren’t hatched this morning” my husband said.

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Both parents were near by screeching and doing the broken wing act to try to get us out of the area. I expect the babies will be running all around the area soon. I am happy that I can weed that side of the prayer garden now.

My husband’s main task for the day was cleaning frames from the bee hives. He first lets the bees do their part. He sets out the frames that still have honey and wax and lets the bees take what they want. Once they stop visiting a frame he finishes cleaning it before putting it back in a hive.

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As I walked around the farm I observed bees foraging amongst the apple blossoms. I made many attempts at photographing them. They were too busy to pose for a picture, so this was the best I got.

IMG_2573The bees were also collecting a lot of dandelion pollen. This lady stopped for a few seconds, so I was able to get a clear shot before she moved on.

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Last week we observed something that neither my husband, who has spent much of his life around ponds, creeks, rivers and lakes, or I have ever witnessed before. The toads had all made their way to this shallow grassy area of our pond and were mating there.

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There were too many to count and as we stood there watching more toads were arriving for the party.

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Yesterday as I walked by that area of the pond I noticed tiny black tadpoles apparently just hatching.

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We also spotted minnows swimming in the beach area.

For the past two years only one of our young lilac bushes has blossomed. When I mentioned this to my son-in-law last summer he suggested that I spread wood ash around them. Last fall I did spread wood ash around all of the lilac bushes and some of our apple trees as well.

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This year 10 of our 15 lilac bushes have blossoms.

Our apple trees also have more blossoms than they ever have before.

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Several years ago around just before Mother’s day my husband and I planted some trilliums in a wooded area of our farm. These were one of my mom’s favorite wild flowers, and we planted them as a tribute to mom who passed away the same year we bought our farm.

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Mom’s trilliums are beginning to bloom, appropriately, in time for Mother’s day.

Visitors are another common sight at the farm during the warm weather seasons, and it was good to have our first visitors of spring.

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Two of our daughters, Kara and Lindell, stopped by for a visit yesterday afternoon. They were dancing as they came up the driveway since my husband had a classic rock station playing on the radio.

Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

 

Frogs on the Farm

Last week on one of our sap cooking days, in addition to helping keep the fire going, I took on the secondary chore of raking the leaves out of the pond. As I came up with one rake full of leaves and shook them into the pile just beyond the beach, this frog hopped out of the leaves.

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I felt kind of guilty about awakening him or her, because I was yet to see or hear any frogs this spring. It did however spend a good deal of time sunning itself on the beach. It wasn’t until one of the chickens came running up behind it that it took a three foot leap back into the safety of the pond.

It was two days later that we heard the frogs for the first time this year. I remember my mom telling me, that her mom had told her, that after you hear frogs for the first time in the spring you will have three more freezes. Although I’m always am excited to hear the frogs in the spring, I haven’t really tested this theory.

Frogs and toads lived on our farm before we put in the pond. I remember the first spring there were tadpoles that had hatched in a puddle of water and my husband was dumping buckets of water in the puddle to keep it from drying up before the tadpoles reached their adolescent stage of life.

Our property does provide the perfect habitat for frogs and toads. The pond offers conditions needed for frogs to lay eggs, for the eggs to hatch into tadpoles and for the tadpoles to live until they grow legs and their lungs develop so they can leave the water. This can take over a year for bull frogs. Even mature frogs, who can live out of water, continue to need a wet area to keep their skin from drying out. Not only does our farm have the pond but we have wooded areas where the ground is covered with dead leaves that keep the ground moist even in the hot and dry summer conditions.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources article that I have linked below of the more than 3400 species of frogs/toads only 13 live in Michigan. I am certain we have at least 4 species that populate our farm.

Frogs and toads are wonderful for pest control. The aforementioned article relates that a single frog will consume thousands of insects per year. Last year we discovered that we were reaping the benefits of this. As we picked our bountiful harvest of strawberries  https://donteatitsoap.com/2016/06/30/strawberries-at-last/ last June my husband and I spoke several times about the fact that we did not have any slugs eating the berries. This is a problem the we have had with strawberries we have grown at the house in the past. It wasn’t until my husband told me that he had been surprised by a frog hiding in the strawberry patch, while he was picking berries, that I realized that this frog was probably enjoying a regular diet of slugs and any other pests that threatened to consume our strawberry crop. I am hopeful that a frog will take up residence in the strawberry patch again this year.

Frogs are a good indicator of the health of wetlands, ponds, lakes and such as they do not survive in polluted areas. The Michigan DNR article that I have linked below explains that chemical fertilizers and pesticides are a threat to frog populations; not only can the chemicals kills frogs and toads, but the pesticides also reduce their food supply.

http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10370_12145_12201-35089–,00.html

The frogs on our farm are also entertaining. In the summer time when we walk around the edge of the pond the frogs jump into the pond one right after the next. It’s kind of funny because there may be 50-100 frogs sitting around the outer edge of the pond. The dogs like to chase the frogs but rarely are they able to catch them. Last year Scout spent hours in the evenings looking for frogs along the edge of the pond, he enjoyed the search immensely even though he never caught any. After dark we are often treated to a campfire symphony, in surround sound I might add, as the several different species of frogs sing from different areas of the farm.

While not everyone has the luxury of being able to put a pond on their property I have included the following link for those who may be interested in creating a frog habitat. I would encourage you to read through the end of the article, as it does explain that the best way to introduce frogs to this habitat is to let them come to it naturally and this may take a year or more. It also explains that not all parts of the U.S. are favorable for creating frog habitats.

https://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/National-Wildlife/Gardening/Archives/2000/Want-to-Host-a-Garden-Party-for-Frogs.aspx