Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Pink Turtleheads Are in Bloom!!

These late summer bloomers are one of my favorite wildflowers during this time of year!

They are called Turtleheads because their flower resembles a turtle's head!
They are shade loving plants that are very at home along my woodland path. I have them in this lovely pink, and also in white. (my white ones don't seem to want to bloom this year!)

Nothing was going to stop this little bumble bee from having lunch! It's interesting how he fits so perfectly into the flower!
Soon my path will be filled with white and lavender Asters, and a variety of yellow goldenrods! Each season is so wonderful!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Follow the Construction Of My Pond! Part Two

For the past few days the boys have been working hard through the heat digging the pond and waterfall. We decided to make the deep end of the pond 3' deep, giving the fish a place to winter and a place to escape from raccoons looking for a midnight snack!

The rest of the pond has different levels for water plants and hopefully other creatures such as frogs and turtles!

Once the boys finished digging, it was important to recheck the sides to make sure the pond was still level. Since water seeks its own level, the pond will only be as high as its lowest point.

The next step was to carefully remove all the little stones and roots from the inside of the pond to prevent any punctures to the liner.

Of course it happened to be recycling week and my conscientious husband recycled our two weeks of newspapers just when we needed them to line the pond! Luckily, my son's friend had plenty to donate to the cause!

A variety of materials can be used to line the pond before the rubber pond liner is put down. Old blankets seem to be popular, old synthetic carpet with pins and tacks removed, and old pool liners, are a just a few ideas people have suggested using. However, the best material to use is a commercial material called pond liner underlayment which looks like a thick felt and won't decompose in the ground.

We used newspapers in the front yard pond, and have had no problems in 9 years, so we decided to use it again along with heavy duty plastic from last years ice skating rink!

For the pond liner we purchased a good quality rubber pond liner that is flexible, quite puncture resistant, UV resistant, and easy to install.

There are kits available from large home improvement stores that have everything included, the pump/filter, liner, tubing and fountain. That's what we used while creating our first pond in the front yard.

However, its the end of the season and shelves are bare, not to be restocked until next spring. This left us with buying everything separately unless we wanted to buy it online. Since the boys were anxious to get started, we opted to go to our local pet store where we buy our pet supplies. They were extremely knowledgeable and had several ponds and waterfalls we could look at for ideas.

When purchasing the liner its important to measure accurately. If the pond is a free form shape measure the maximum width and length. Also measure the depth at the deepest part. When calculating the size of the rubber pond liner add the maximum width & maximum length & the maximum depth TWICE (remember the liner has to go down both sides of the pond) & a foot or two for overlap on the sides.

For example:
Add maximum Width & maximum depth & maximum depth & 4' overlap (2' on each side) = the Width of the liner needed.
Do the same for the length. Maximum Length & max. depth & max. depth & 4' overlap (2' on each side)= the Length of the liner needed.

Once the pond liner is carefully placed in the hole start folding it nicely so it fits along the curves. As you begin filling the pond with water keep pulling up the liner to keep it lying as smoothly as you can.

We are now all set to start filling the pond! After that we will need to go rock hunting for stones to lay around the ponds' edge and create the waterfalls!
See you in a few days!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Follow the Construction of My Pond! Part One

Ok, there could be more interesting things to follow, but, this is what I happen to be doing at this very untimely moment when I'm supposed to be resting! Sometimes when opportunity knocks you just have to grab it, even if it may seem like a bad time!

After building a small pond in our front yard 9 years ago, we have always wanted to build another one in the backyard. Between sports and other activities, we just could never find the time to ever make it become a reality. So, when my son came to me and said he and his good friend would build it, I jumped at the chance!..... All I had to do was guide them through the process!

Since we had talked about this for years, I already knew approximately where I wanted to build it. When planning a pond, the site is one of the most important things to decide on.
Here's a few things to consider:

1. Its best to locate a pond away from trees since they can cause alot of extra maintenance with falling leaves and other debris into the pond, and their roots can be a challenge to dig around.

2. Locate it away from areas that you spray pesticides or fertilize. Runoff can cause major problems for your fish and water quality.

3. Proximity to a power source. If you want to incorporate a waterfall, fountain or lighting, its important to think of where your power will be coming from and locate it accordingly.

4. Location to the house is important, it's easier to maintain and feed the fish when it's closer to the house! Remember, the fish like to eat even if its raining! My front yard pond is located just outside our front door - I can feed my fish while its raining without getting wet!

5. You may also want to enjoy it from inside your house too! A pond attracts lots of wildlife that you won't want to miss! This pond will be seen from my kitchen window and most of the rooms facing our backyard.

So, with all this in mind, I located our pond under a giant Tulip Tree that is constantly dropping sap, flowers, seeds and leaves! And it's downhill from our upper lawn area! Yeah, I'm crazy and didn't follow my own advice, but we have a very shady yard with lots of trees. There's just no other place to put it. The pond in our front yard is under a Downy Shadblow which drops leaves, flowers and berries, so I'm resigned to the fact that if I want a pond, I will have lots of maintenance! We also don't use pesticides as a general rule, and will grade the soil around the pond in a way that will divert runoff from the upper lawn away from the pond.

After the area was cleared of plants, I sprayed a line with orange paint to outline the pond and stream/waterfall location. A wheel barrel is helpful to haul away the soil from the pond. We will be relocating this extra soil to several low spots in other flower beds in the yard. If building a pond and waterfall on flat ground, you will need this soil to buildup the area of the waterfall, so its best to place this soil close to the area you want to buildup.

I've got to run, they're ready to start digging!
Look for more updates & tips until our pond is complete!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Doctor's Orders - Stay Off Your Feet!

When I got home from our vacation, I went to the doctor and found out that my blood pressure was through the roof! Doctor's orders were to get off my feet immediately and go on a low salt diet. So here I am, lying here on the couch with my feet looking like two swollen balloons, up on a pile of pillows! My dog is sleeping peacefully by my side, our cat is comfortably perched on top of the couch all snuggly, and I am trying to follow orders and relax!! But as I lay here thinking about all the things I need to do now that I'm back from vacation, I'm finding this Impossible! So here I am on my laptop!

Beaded Shoe Sculpture


Hmm, my feet seem to be my focus right now so I thought I'd look to see what creative things etsy artists have done with feet! I found some great things on my quest! My favorite being the cookies created by Lori's Place, these adorable pink feet are for birth announcements but I'm dreaming my feet looked that good!!LOL! I quickly fell in love with her amazing cookies. Just getting back from the Jersey Shore, I had to include her gorgeous fish cookies too!

I'm so glad I found her shop full of goodies! http://www.lorisplace.etsy.com/

Here are a few other creative items I found!

Balloon Flip Flops

These would be perfect for my balloon feet! http://www.CurlyGirlBowtique.etsy.com

Designer feet bases for your rubber stamps--- Very cool! Check them out at http://www.silverymoonbeams.etsy.com/

Planter Feet


Vintage Feet Salt & Pepper Shakers

There's always a silver lining to every situation. My kids vaccumed, did the dishes and cooked dinner for me! Wow!

Wish I could do the happy dance!!:-)