In preparation for the coming season, where the dugout will be completely frozen over, we’ve had some adjustments to make. It involves me in cold icy water, balancing over slippery muck.
I really like the beautiful idea of putting a windmill in place and then letting nature aerate the water forever. We had one, but decided to add to its height to catch more wind. The year before we addad that an odd thing happened. There was hardly any drifting of the snow. In other words hardly any wind. Hubby and I both thought it was a good thing, because we had less snow removal to worry about. About the end of February Hubby suddenly came to realize what that meant to the health of our pond and fish.
Fish need oxygen like you and I. The only difference is that it has to be distributed in the water for them to use it. There are things that happen that make the oxygen level diminish. High heat in the summer will do it. In such a case the fish will go lower in the pond to where the water is cooler and the oxygen more abundant. Too many fish in one dugout will use it up too. In the winter the pond seals off for the most part. If there is no new air introduced, then they only have what was there before the freeze-over. When they don’t get enough oxygen their bodies turn upside down and they die.
We also bought an aeration pump to save the situation while desperately hoping it wasn’t too late. I didn’t like the idea (expense), but Hubby was mortified by the death of our slippery ‘babies’. Some did die. The evidence was within the ice as it melted. There was no way to get out there and retrieve the fish before they let loose from the ice. Eventually they floated to the shore. My timing wasn’t right in getting them disposed off. I realized my folly when the dog came playfully jumping by me one day. Ohhh!!&!!! – she’d been happily (…very) rolling all around in the dead fish. She also ate some until her breath was disgustingly…there’s no way to describe the smell of rotten dead fish on a dog’s breath that I can think of that would be adequate! Have you ever had a natural, raw fish, removed the guts and forgot to trash them until the next day? Multiply that by 100. I’ve learned that dog’s like to do that when something they find is hellishly smelly. Not long ago it was poop from some animal. Hopefully not from that bear. I haven’t heard or smelled anything from that predator since the last scary episode. It will soon be under the ground so that my thoughts can hibernate with it. Anyways….peeeeuuuw! I don’t get why they do that on purpose. They just roll and roll and slide…
This year we want to be sure to minimize any disasters, so checked out the aeration systems. It isn’t hard – you just look out there in the middle of the pond to see if bubbles are coming up. Windmill…check. Aeration pump…what? Nothing. I ended up going to the house to explain to Hubby how much further damage I had found because of his good intentions to rid our dugout of the pesky Cattails this summer. You have to read how he warned me about that line to get the full effect of what went on. Essentially, he cut the line off himself! Imagine my dread when I saw the sliced line and thought I’d done the awful deed.
Here’s Sherry putting a small pipe in as a splice between the chopped ends of the line and trying to bury it by pushing it down into the muck with her frozen feet so that Sherry doesn’t ever hit it with a lawnmower. Hubby kindly got me a shovel to help me keep my balance. The worst part? Trying to get the mud off of one foot by washing it in the water, drying my foot on the other pant leg, finding my sock, putting my foot back in my shoe way over there and then pulling my other foot out of the muck and washing it in water way over there…..etc., and wow – it was cold!
The good thing? I didn’t fall in.