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"Primordial Soup"


Drastic measures call for drastic solutions...I thought this might be one of them...wrong!
The conditions in my pond looked pretty dismal to say the least. Each morning I expected the worst...more dead fish, and there were quite a few. The day after I changed and cleaned my filters I went to a local water gardening center to buy some "Microbe LIft," a solution that breaks down organic matter in ponds. I have had a lot of success with this product in the past, and I usually have some on hand for such an emergency, but of course when I needed it most, naturally I didn't have any. On the way out of the door of the center, I asked about water vacuum prices, just out of curiosity, and as it turned out, they rented large ones out for $20! yes, this had to be the solution, I was convinced.
"I will rid my water feature of organic build-up,
my pond will be clear, and my fish healthy."

After a five minute orientation session about which hoses went where, and the attributes of each nozzle head, I humped the coiled-up monstrosity out to the car, and shoved it into the boot/trunk.
I knew I should have listened more intently in the orientation class for as soon I got the thing home and unravelled its many tentacles, cords and accessories, I knew I was in trouble.
All the while, my "Primordial Soup" was burping and bubbling in the stocktank behind me.
This was a race against time, and, looking down at the bewildering array of tubes and hoses, I realized I might be falling behind.

The scene reminded my of something from the movie "Brazil"
I finally got the whole system set up in what I hoped was the correct configuration, and with my wife at the helm of the on/off button, I shouted :

The machine whirred into action like H.G. Well's time machine, with some obligatory spluttering and gurgling, and the general defience you would expect from a device that looked like this, and did what it did.
The most annoying thing about this machine, was that every time one of the internal chambers (oh yes, it had chambers, three to be precise) was filled, it was supposed to evacuate the contents via yet another tube into a garden bed or where ever. Needless to say this seamless evacuation never happened, at least not with my machine. The pipe was simply too loose, every time it emptied "torpedo bay #1", it would just pop off at the source, sending a few gallons of the finest pond sludge lapping gently around my ankles to attract a now massing crowd of mosquitos. AAArrrggghhh! Oh and to top it all off, the pond was so murky I could not see what I was trying to suck up, this activity was stirring everything up even more, making matters worse.

On one ocasion I heard a rather loud "kerplop," I imediately hit the "Red Alert" button and looked at my wife with a shell shocked expression, "tell me that was not a fish."

This was not working. Time to put this creature that "sucked" back in its box. 

I spent the next hour trying to coil the abomination back into its original "form", it was like a mad Chinese puzzle, only this one would flick pond sludge at you every time you made a mistake. I carried it to my porch where it did one last "pond burp" over my deck,  just for old times sake.

I was so tired of dealing with this thing.
I reached for my "Microbe Lift" and my measuring jug, feeling disturbed  that the machine had somehow got the better of me.
240  240
I also put my fountain in the pond to try to introduce more oxygen.
Now I needed to wait a few days to see if this worked.
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It has been a week since I administered the "Microbe Lift" and purged some of the toad spawn. look at the result!  The water has completely cleared and the fish are happy again...balance has been restored. Look at this before and after picture.

 I could now go and rent the vacuum again because I would now be able to see what I was doing, but mmm,...I think I will just wait a little while.
And now for something completely different.
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I caught this pod on one of my Pride of Barbados plants that has gone to seed. I was going to post a dug-out canoe comparative but this one seems more fitting...a new life in a protective sleeve, asleep for now but shortly to wake, and grow.
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The color on the inside looks like a fine piece of teak furniture, staying with the Pride of Barbados a moment...
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The bloom of the Barbados is as hot as the weather it enjoys.240
This one looks like a Pride of Barbados but isn't, it has foliage, thorns and flowers similar to the Pride of Barbados but clearly, due to its size, is very different. I believe this is a tree in Mexico, and prevalent in the Yucatan. This one dies back in the Winter but I do not cut it all the way back to ground like I do with the Barbados, it continues to get bigger every year. Any ideas what it is?
And finally one last Barbados...
Cherry Barbados getting ready to bloom - it gets
so many bees on it, it is a challenge to walk past it.
Bat-face cuphea, Cuphea llavea 'Bat Face'
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An Austin mascot and fitting that is was Bat Fest this weekend.
The shadow on this Agave caught my attention

Honey bee on a purple heart flower.
Some summer blooms picked this week.
The blooms on my Pampass grasses are just now starting to emerge. This one on the left is one of the pinker varieties.
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Look how quickly this succulent bed has filled in, I planted it up in May! It will be interesting to see how many of them will get through the winter.
Sage, sage and even more lemongrass. The Mexican bush sage in the foreground has really filled in with the recent rain we have had.
Sage and burgandy Canna Lily.
Looking out to the back yard.
Remember my redneck pond....
Sshhhhh! they will never know!

All material © 2008 for east_side_patch. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Stay Tuned for:
"Shiver me treated Timbers"


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 1st, 2008 09:59 am (UTC)

Reading this was delightful! You are so wacky! I love it!

About the succulents-- get yo'self a frost blanket. Don't leave their survival up to chance.
Sep. 1st, 2008 07:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Kribby, glad you liked the post.

That vac was a complete nightmare. I neglected to mention that while all this was going on I kept smacking my head into a nearby birdfeeder...I don't know how I held it together!

I used to do the frost blanket thing, but now I say if it can't handle the cold snaps, It should not be in my garden. I got tired of lugging blankets around my yard. I anticipate a lot of these succulents will rot to the ground, but some may bounce back in the spring...time will tell.

My regards,
Sep. 2nd, 2008 07:09 pm (UTC)
Hi, Here was my post awhile back on batface! Quite an interesting little flower!

Sep. 3rd, 2008 08:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks for that...great pictures.
Sep. 3rd, 2008 02:32 am (UTC)
I love many things about your garden but on this post the peas in the pod are delightful. Are you giving any away-the ones on the left I mean. Delightful flower arrangement too.
Sep. 3rd, 2008 08:15 pm (UTC)
Hi Jenny.
I am glad you like my garden - there is still a lot of "work in Progress" going on, but that is half the battle, err I mean fun isn't it?
I checked on the seed pods today, and they have all dropped the seeds! I managed to save 10 total. The seed pods have gone into a spiral shape, I guess to squeeze out the seeds.
You are quite welcome to them if you want them, also I have loads of agave pups should you want to pick some off the "fallen Beanstalk" - I still havent chopped it yet!
Sep. 6th, 2008 04:37 am (UTC)
Pond Vac
My wife bought a Pond-O-Vac brand and she just loves it. She vacuums with it a lot. But then she has a cleaning business so I guess she would be classified as a pro. I used it once and vacuumed up a fish. He wasn't harmed but my wife was sure it was a traumatic experience for him and so the vac has been relegated to the "I can't operate list" along with the disc player, the washer and dryer, the dish washer and others.
Our water is very clear in all five ponds and the gravel on the bottom can be seen again. As previously stated, happiness abounds once again.
By the way the view out the back is just gorgeous. Bob
Sep. 6th, 2008 06:03 am (UTC)
Re: Pond Vac
Very funny Bob. Sounds like you are not allowed around any major domestic appliances! just like I bet you like it! *smiles*
And 5 Ponds? wow, two is all I can handle!
Glad you like the view "out the back" - check out my future post Saturday, to see my massive dragonfly pics, and to follow my madness!
Sep. 7th, 2008 02:16 am (UTC)
Primordial Soup
Great bee picture on the purple heart. I can never seem to get a good pic of one. Need to play around with the settings I'm sure. Glad your pond is back to health again, hate to see you lose any more fish.
Sep. 8th, 2008 04:02 am (UTC)
Re: Primordial Soup
I am glad you like the bee! and I agree, bees are hard to get a good picture of. Check out my post:
"Pick Axel Rose" for a shot of what I thought was a yellow jacket, but turned out to be something different, a "paper wasp" if memory serves me right. Click on the image then click again for the detailed shot...amazing.
My pond is totally back to health after the recent scare...I hope this will never happen again, I will watch more closely for the "signs" next time!
I thank you for your concern.
Stay in touch,
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )



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