Â The new flood forecast is out – but I’m not going to talk about that.Â I must admit that I’m disappointed that the Buffalo River wasn’t even mentioned – AGAIN – but then I should realize by now that we’re a nonentity.Â Â Maybe no mention means that there’s no change?Â Hopefully so.Â So let’s leave it at that and talk about water in other entities.
A number of years ago when I was really deep into backyard landscaping and all the work that it entailed I had two very large fish ponds.Â One was about 10′ x 12′ and the other was approximately 12′ x 20′.Â That’s a lot of gallons of water, Folks.Â I’m not sure I’ve ever “thanked” the friend that got me involved (Hi, Genny), as it was a lot of work and a lot of mess.Â But then, that’s how life goes, right?Â Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad I did it, but I’m also glad I’mÂ NOT doing it any more.
Now digging the pond (which I hired done by a high school kid) wasn’t the most difficult part.Â Nor was the stocking of the pond with plants and gold fish/koi hard.Â The most difficult part was – these fish had SEX!!Â That means they multiplied – almost like rabbits – which meant there were a lot more fish in the fall than I put into the pond in the spring. What do I do with these fish in the winter when it’s 30 degrees below zero and the pond freezes solid to the bottom?Â part of the equation.Â Now, remember, I’m Norwegian – so there’s got to be a logical answer, right?Â Â Of course there is – you buy a stock tank (that’s like a cattle tank), install it in the basement and fill it with water.Â Then you spend one afternoon (or longer) trying to catch these fish that have been “wild,” in the pondÂ contain them into a stock tank and winter them over.Â
Here’s a couple of shots of theÂ fish ponds in the backyard.Â I bought these gold fish as itty-bitty .29 cent goldfish to begin with.Â By the end of the first summer they were 6-inchers and by the time I closed down the ponds and filled them in (6 years later) we could have filleted them and had them for dinner.Â I had oneÂ Koi that measured out at 18 inches!!Â That would have been quite a catch in a Minnesota lake, right?Â I understand he would have been worth several thousand dollars if I had sold him to some Oriential restaurant.Â But then – always smart too late~!
So anyway – one year when the gold fish and koi had grown to be quite large, Ole and I decided that we needed TWO stock tanks to make homes for all these fish.Â Now if it had been up to me when it came time to “fish” them all in for the winter I would have left all the itty-bitty ones that had hatched during the summer to become fish-cicles over the winter.Â But not Ole – he couldn’t stand to think about that happening.Â After we had pumped the pond down and Ole sat on the edge of the pond for hours up to his knees in mucky water, Â netting all the giant fish, he spent several more hours sitting on the edge of the pond netting all the 29 cent babies that had hatched during that summer.Â They weren’t the problem.Â They adapted to their new home, the stock tank, quite rapidly and just hunkered down near the bottom thinking they were safe and protected.Â
But the BIG guys – they had a different attitude.Â They weren’t too keen on being confined into a stock tank when they had previously had a large pond to be swimming around in.Â So when we managed to catch all of the “Jaws” and place them into the stock tank it was normal practice to place a screen of some kind over the top to keep them from jumping out.Â
Unfortunately, one year I didn’t get that done quite quickly enough.Â My intentions were good, but it took a couple of hours from the time the fish were placed into the stock tank until I found the screen covers and placed them over the top of the tanks.Â MEANWHILE, the pumps had all been placed in the tanks so recirculate the water, etc., but the gold fish and the Koi were NOT happy.Â
Ole went downstairs to check on them before we went to bed.Â A couple of hours later when he hadn’t come back upstairs I finally figured out that something must have been wrong.Â Checking on the fish shouldn’t have taken that long.Â When I went down to see what was going on – there was Ole performing CPR on the gold fish/koi that had managed to flop themselves out of he tank!Â
Because they were in such confined spaces they took to jumping, which they never did in the outside pond.Â Some of them didn’t aim very well and jumped themselves right out of the stock tank and onto the concrete floor in the basement (they must have been Lutefisk).Â Some of them had been on the concrete floor long enough that their scales had adhered to the concrete and they had to be peeled up.Â
So Ole, in his infinite patience, peeled them off the floor and held them in front of the water outlet from the pump, squeezed their gills so that their mouth opened up and the water flowed through their mouths and their gills and brought them back to life.Â Now mind you, there were a couple of dozen fish in this tank, so with each taking a turn, this took a long time.Â BUT – Not one fish died.Â Ole’s CPR worked!Â And all of these fish lived for another 3 years until I decided to close the ponds down and grow flowers instead!
I must say that I always worried that my fish would make a run for it when the river water got high enough that it blended with my fish ponds.Â But fortunately that didn’t happen.Â Now I just worry about that river water invading my basement – and there’s no fish down there to enjoy it!!
By the way, Ole’s got a lot of talents.Â That’s why I think I’ll keep him around for a while longer (snicker).