Sunday, April 29, 2007

Buffalo Berries in Bloom

The Buffalo Berries are blooming. These are tastey little berries a little bigger than currents. They make a good tasting jelly. I understand there are several varieties of these. We believe what we have are the Canadian Buffalo Berry (Shepherdia canadensis )

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Middle Pond

This is from last summer. Just before we started work on cleaning out what we call the middle pond. For a number of years we had let it become a 'bog'. Rain water would keep it damp. It naturalized itself, with cat tails and all kinds of other interesting plants. We planted some siberian irises in it , they did very well. for a couple of years we tried cardinal flowers, they did beautifully the first year but would never come back. I built up the soil so they had wet feet but were not super wet. I have given up on them for now. Any ideas ? Anyway we decided to bring it back to a pond and modify the waterfall. Oh, notice the glass blown hummingbird feeder. It's beautiful. We picked it up at the U of Mn Arboretum the hummingbirds come up to it, try and figure out how to feed out of it and go away. I've tried different angles moving it around, I guess the hummingbirds around here aren't hungry enough.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ducks and Cranes

I had this fantasy, at the time of ducks flying in for a rest on my pond. I made this pastel drawing in '86, as I was in the building process. The simple railroad ties bridge didn't last more than a few weeks. The ducks never came. But believe it or not, a few years after we had built the pond, had koi in it. I came out of the house one day out of the corner of my eye was this huge dark fluttering, of what was wings. I think I was more scared than the crane that was in the pond. He took off in a flash. He came back one more time a few days later, going after the koi. We though he had gotten they as we didn't see them for a good week or more. The crane had a flightpath that came over our house for quite a while that summer, but he never came back for a visit. When we did see the koi again one of them had scars on it's side. And that's the truth.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Pond In April

This is what the pond looks like now, on a fine April day 21 years later. Waiting for the rest of the snow to melt.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Digging The Pond

The date on this weird photo says it all. I don't know who the guy is :0 The liner I used on this pond was from a friend's pool. I got it thanks to his kids who thought it would be a good idea to let their black lab into the above ground swimming pool. This worked fine for them, until the lab wanted to get out. As you can imagine, the side walls were shredded in the process.
This area of the yard is very sandy, so after I dug it out. I put about a one inch coating of newspapers down, which I am told would jell into a clay like material. Second layer was an old carpet, then the pool liner. I wanted to be able to walk into the pond, which I probably could have done with just the padding. Getting carried away with it I decided to apply a 2" -3 "layer of cement. This was done by hand mixing the cement in a wheel barrow ( making for a long day) and embedding chicken wire into it as a added strengthener. I don't know that I would recommend that but the slab is still there after all these years, working well. . You can see where the bridge is going to be.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Pre-Garden Pond

A pre-garden pond photo from about 1969 . To give a bearing, where I am standing with the wheelbarrow. Today I would be 6 feet lower and standing in the middle of the long pond. The concrete retaining wall is gone, the area lowered 5 feet , is now where the North Dakota Arch entrance to the lower patio

Friday, April 06, 2007

Early Pond Photo

I can across this photo from about 1988. The ornamental cherry tree was planted in the round rock enclosure. Luckily this whole area has a sand base, as the rocks used for the patio are not thin flat rocks but split fieldstone, each like half of a basketball or bigger. A lot of digging went on here. I had just finished the third pond seven feet wide at it's widest and twenty plus feet long. It is partly elevated above ground level, by two feet. It worked well for a number of years.
On the hill about half way up is a raku kiln I used to have. Now all that is left is the swinging door of it. It frames the lilies that grow there now. The big basswood trees aren't there yet. The sculpture above the rock tiers is a early version of the Specture. Made from stainless steel, I had been experimenting with painted sculptures then. [ha ha, did you clean your screen ?]

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Mushroom Experiment

A number of years ago, we would get 'spent' bags of mushroom spore bags, no longer viable for commercial use. From a area commercial mushroom business. They sold these by the pickup truck load for $5 [at the time I had a 3/4 ton long bed pickup] so we definitely got our moneys worth. The initial reason for getting them was to use it for mulch. I had just built this shed so I thought it would be a good idea to see if we could get any mushrooms to grow. It was hot that spring, I hosed the bags down with water and hung them up and shut the door. I was really amazed a couple of days later to open the door to see a forest of mushrooms growing. Needless to say that summer we got our fill of mushrooms that summer, and as the old saying goes be careful what you wish for. Our appetite for mushrooms went away for a few years. Of course when we tired of the bounty we used the straw filler for mulch