Saturday, April 4, 2009

For The Love of Sushi!

Merry Meet and Happy Morning Family, Friends, Followers and Lurkers!

Well, it's season! No, it's not like "wabbit" season or "duck" season! And it's not one of the cryptic metaphors I'm known for.

Allow me to explain. About 5 years ago, I was surveying our backyard and casually mentioned to my husband, "ya know what would look great right over there?" "Uh oh", he responded. "A Koi pond", I said. Seriously. Well, as with most of my "ya know what would look great" ideas, he thought I was mad.

Then, one lovely Spring weekend, he came home and said, "I have a surprise for you". "Uh oh", I responded, as I do with most of his "I have a surprise for you" declarations. "Go downstairs and look", he said. Well, I did and there I found an official, $99.00 "Koi Pond Kit", direct from Home Depot! I was skeptical, yet excited!

Now ya gotta know, this was supposed to be a weekend project. Shortly after opening the box however, we realized it might be a little more involved than we thought...just not as involved as it was about to become.

The project called for a trip to the Garden Center, so off we went. There we met the woman that would come to be known as "the fish lady". When we told her of our pond purchase, she kind of just gave us this sympathetic look and said, "well, if that's the way you wanna go....but your fish will all be dead by next year!" What?! Dead?! As we eventually learned, fish are not cheap! Japanese bred Koi can run you anywhere between $60 to over $300.00, depending on your level of insanity. So dead fish.....definitely not an option.

Now she explains that to build our pond correctly, we need to figure out what size pond we want, we need to buy a pond liner, we needed a filter, we needed plants, we need rock to hold down the pond liner, we needed some kind of aeration for the pond....this, all before we could actually put fish in it. Now we begin discussing the possibility of taking the pond kit back to Home Depot and just planting some nice flowers in the spot where the fish were going to be. But nooooooo....I had to go and say, "C'mon'll be eeeasy". Well, he actually believed me and, $3,000.00, 10,000 lbs of Laurel Mountain stone and three months of sweat equity later, we finished our pond, complete with waterfall!

Was it easy? No fishin' Way! The pond is 9 x 13, three feet deep (I did most of the digging) and by the time we were done putting the last rock in place, we were psychotic! We had actually become so obsessed with putting the right rocks in the right places that we were rabidly arguing about it. On one particularly hot afternoon, I actually whipped a gardening shovel at Ray's head because he just couldn't understand why "that fucking rock did not go in that fucking place!" I missed of course, and we laugh about it now, but you can't make this stuff up!

Then we added the fish and life as we knew it was never the same! Those of you who are not "Ponders"(that's the psychiatric diagnosis for those of us who have ponds) would never suspect that Koi are more of a pain in the ass to care for than ALL of my other pets combined. They have to be fed a certain diet, not too much and not to little and this differs with the season. Their water can neither be too hot or cold. Oh, and lest I forget, you have to monitor your little fishy friends bathroom habits as well! During friggin' "Fish Season" you can often find me still in my PJ's on the deck with my little test tubes like a mad scientist testing their water! The water in the pond has to be a perfect chemical balance of Ph, ammonia and nitrites. If the fish are over-pooping or peeing, the ammonia and nitrates become too high, resulting in a "pond emergency" in which all your fish could die! Holy Shit! Pun definitely intended!

So you may be thinking, why would I torment myself? What do I like so much about fish! Well, I like the challenge, that's for sure! They are beautiful to watch, the sound of the waterfall in the pond does create a very Zen-like atmosphere and they have definitely enhanced my appreciation for sushi, but at this point, my favorite thing about them is Winter. Fishies hiberate through the Winter! You don't feed them, you don't have to monitor their bowel habits, you don't test their is good! Goodnight ya little ffffffff.....fishies! See ya next Spring!

::::insert theme from "Jaws"::::

About two weeks ago, I began seeing their little fish faces at the surface of the water. I was filled with a mixture of joy and dread. Ya see, each Spring is a waiting game to see who did and didn't make it through the Winter. We've been quite lucky thus far and I am happy to report I've counted all their familiar little fish faces!

This week as I stepped out onto the deck to call the dog, I heard a familar splashing. I cautiously peered into the pond, hoping they wouldn't see me. Too late...they already heard my voice. There they all were at the edge of the pond waiting to be fed.

I swear I could actually see them....smirking!

In Darkness, Light!



Lily Wyte said...

Awww... I love koi, but not enough to put in a pond. Still your story reminded me of one Christmas at my Grandmother's, when I was still a teen and my brother and I went skating on her gold fish pond. The ice was barely thick enough to hold us but it was so clear I could see her fish under my feet.
Wouldn't it be nice if these sorts of things could be balanced enough to take care of themselves?

Tracy said...

They actually are really beautiful and constructing the pond was a lesson in itself. It's really magickal to see the entire eco-system come to life year after year. We actually had fish babies hatch after the first year and now they are full grown.

Your grandmother's pond sounds lovely! Keeping things in balance is a lot easier for Mother Nature than it has been for me! I would venture to say she has more experience at it!

greekwitch said...

Ponds are adorable. I did n't know they were so much work...

SeeThroughGreen said...

I love koi ponds but I just have to suffer the koi fever a while longer before I can get my own. I have settled with a nice aquarium and goldfish.
Your fish are beautiful! Good luck with them and the pond this spring!

Manerva said...

Sounds like so much work! I have a hard enough time keeping my garden alive lol.
I have a friend who has this huge glass vase full of water and it has a couple of small fish in it and some sort of aquatic plant. It's totally self sufficient in that the plant gets nutrients from the sun and from the fish poop and the fish eat the roots for their food. It balances itself out perfectly and it's really beautiful. I can't stop from asking about it when ever I see her.

wylde otse said...

this is good.

i don't eat my pets.

but, ...naw....

i love you too much