Monthly Archives: February 2013

Spring Maintenance

The weather wasn’t quite as nice today as Wednesday, but having been bitten by spring fever, I wasn’t quite ready to play inside. In addition to my fish, spring’s approach is being sung by those wonderful early bloomers, crocus.


With five or six yellow blooms bobbing along in my garden, I finally had a good outline for laying down the stepping stones I got for Christmas. My pathway has finally wound itself to the other side of the garden – which has simply served to remind me it’s time to add more monkey grass!


Since the sun was still warm, I began incurring back the old to make room for already-growing new. Yesterday I cut back the vines of honeysuckle that cover the southern fence: two hours worth of hacking with dull shears at the accumulated dead vines to free up space for eagerly clambering arrivals. Today I took the already budding roses down to a level that seemed too short last winter (hopefully not causing permanent damage). Finally I cut the candy tufts back by a good half foot to get them out of the front walk; blooms are just starting there and should be a showy mass in just a few short weeks.


The best surprise of all came when I took my armloads of compost out to the woods: a happy volunteer lighting up the woodland path.


I love spring surprises!


Soggy Signs of Spring

At my house, spring isn’t signaled by the first robin or Otis (resident groundhog) venturing out for a peek at his shadow. At my house, it’s all about the fish.

Yesterday hit 60 degrees, a freak of February between the snow and sleet. The pond responded with a lush bloom of algae that Chris and I set out to clean yesterday.

Pond maintenance is hard work, for sure. We started yesterday by peeling back the net and shaking out the wet leaves over the back fence. The next couple hours were spent taking turns alternating between the pond vac and using a long metal grabber to pull errant leaves out from between the rocks. All of the movement flushed out first the two goldfish and, finally, each of our five koi. By this time next year, they won’t be able to fit so easy beneath a single rock.

Once our backs were too sore to go on, we cleaned out the skimmer and then treated the pond with a cup of Algae Fix. Last step was cleaning the vac, before picking leaves out of the net and leaving it to soak in a bucket of detergent.

Today the fish are sticking their heads out again, so I’m feeling hopeful that spring truly is just around the corner!