Just the back yard!? Nah, I want the front and side yards landscaped in natives too.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Working and Reworking

Although, I've posted very little in regards to the pond and streambed project that I've been working on, I have made a good bit of progress.  Normally, I guess I'm too tired to post...but, today of all days, when I should not feel up to posting, I am.  After walking for an hour and a half this morning, I went out after lunch and spent almost seven hours unearthing mini-boulders an flipping, nudging, and dragging them into place--well, only one is actually in its permanent position (I think).  I've actually moved it several times already trying to get things right.

Last week, I'd spent a good bit of time creating a pleasant-looking arrangements of rocks for a spillway/waterfall.  Unfortunately, when I ran the hose to overflow the upper section, the water didn't fall as planned.  That will all need reworked too, but since today I was not in the frame of mind to work on the mechanics of it all, I gathered rocks and worked on creating an outcropping that will never have a stream cascading over it...so creativity and not mechanics was my focus today--just what I needed.

 This rock is much larger than it appears in the photos...and like an iceberg, most of it was under the surface. :)

 At least these are much closer to the pond than most rocks I've moved in the past three years.
 I placed a large log in the hole that was left.  After covering it with soil it should be a long while before it decays and the ground sinks.  I'll deal with that when it happens.
 I still feel as though I'm running out of rocks for this project...I keep finding ones I've stashed away, and there is still a pile I've yet to pull from...but, I'm still seeking out LARGE ones which I need to make it look natural.  I pulled this one out of the hillside...and I think I know exactly where it will go!
 Here it is at the bottom of a path I created earlier this year (and never documented in the blog).
After flipping it end over end up the path, I was able to employ my handy, home-made rock mover again and wheel it to join the others...and one step closer to its final placement.

  Getting closer.  I swear, before I began digging and moving all of these rocks into place for the past several weeks, I'd not have been able to move this one.  Maybe, in another couple of weeks, I'll be able to move that one I swore I'd never tackle again.
It really should've been a two man job, but, as I so often do, I push myself...and I made it...it is actually in place now (but not in the picture), but needs readjusting tomorrow...or when ever I find I have the energy and motivation again.

 This is my old pond from when we lived in an apartment.
 I was able to move the moss-and-plants-topped rocks into the new pond...

Not bad, if I do say so myself. :)  Just one thing to add...there was a frog using the "old pond", and, after taking out the plants and rocks, I kind of relocated him to what I think are much nicer digs.  That means I'm up to five frogs now.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Witnessing Nature

I was outside, sitting at the ponds edge as I've started to do after my morning walks.  One of the frogs (yes, I now have two...more on that in another post), was sitting on a half-submerged rock no more than a foot or so away from me.  I'm trying to get them used to me and so far, although a little wary, they don't seem to view me as much of a threat.

I watched as a dragonfly swooped in several times dipping into the water until, presumably, his thirst was quenched.  Then a dragonfly of a different species was flying by, when one of his own kind entered his air space, the airshow that followed was enjoyable to watch--they swooped and flitted around all in sync only inches apart.

Meanwhile, a honey bee came to the water's edge which is very shallow on this half-submerged rock.  I've seen them and other insects drink this way before, however, this time the frog who was about a foot away from the bee, began to stalk him...crawling on his belly to move in closer--with me witnessing how the entire scene played out.  The bee seemed almost as big as this small frogs mouth.  I was kind of surprised he was stalking it.

Then it all happened so fast, he seemed to pounce on the bee (and likely catch it with his tongue at the same time).  As soon as it was in his mouth, he dove under the water...only to resurface a short time later, even closer to me...with what almost seemed like a proud look on his face.

Since I didn't have the camera with me, I went back in to create this re-enactment:

Here is the rock on which it happened, the frog however, had been sitting on the rock and the bee was a right by the water's edge under the ridge (lower, just left of center in photo).

Friday, July 13, 2012

Still Moving Rocks

Now that phase one of the pond-streambed-project is almost done, I've begun working on the second phase...and that requires more rocks.  Luckily, I still have plenty to choose from on our property (I love this place!).

Here is my latest:

...and some of the larger ones I've hauled over here (this is NOT how they will be arranged):

I Can't Help It...

...he's so photogenic: 


Protective Parents

I went out to check on the bluebird babies today.  My old cellphone took better pictures.  I'm having a hard time getting any good photos of the babies with my current cellphone.  Anyway, I had my hand (with the phone just inside the nest box to take some photos, when both parents flew at me.  The tree swallows have done this--swooping at me, but never making contact--but the bluebirds rarely bother me.  They were not as aggressive as the swallows, but I still felt badly that I scared them.  They've seen me open the box before.  I always alert them to my presence with a call and almost a clap...so, I guess I thought, over the years, I've earned their trust.  Oh well, I'd rather see them protective than not.

I was lucky to get a fairly decent shot of them in the tree where they flew off to observe my retreat.

Here is a picture I took of them earlier this week that I never got around to posting...

...and one from today:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Just Add Water (Part Two)

As I mentioned before, within 24 hours of filling the liner, I had a water strider show up...the day after that some whirly-gig beetles (I think that is what they are called).  Later, I added some pond water which could have introduced any number of things (and I have some new critters in there now).  As happy as I am to see insect life attracted to the pond, I was thrilled, upon our return from a trip, to hear what I assumed to be a frog's call.  It was after dark, and as I approached the pond, I heard a telltale splash.  The next morning I confirmed with my eyes what my ears had told me.  We have a frog now! 

Breaking Ground...Again

I've yet to reveal more than a glimpse of the first phase of the pond & streambed project...and, even though I've yet to fully disguise the liner on the first one, I've begun digging the next stage in this project.