Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I guess a combination of draining the pond, refilling it with clean creek water and then a massive deluge of rain water all contributed to a major acidity problem. Of course, we know now, that we should have been lyming the pond in order to prevent such an occurance. Who woulda thunk? So, we will be going to purchase about 500# of lyme for the pond to spread around and get the water back to where it should be before we embark on getting more fish.
Yesterday we went to Atlanta. The trip wasn't too bad but DARN people there are cranky!!!!! It's no wonder that place gets your blood pressure up so much. Everyone is always in such a hurry and wants to be FIRST and wants to cut in front of everyone else on the highway. I just don't get it. I never have understood people just being stressed out and in a hurry so much. It's bad for your health!! But, that is just the atmosphere there for the most part. When you live in it everyday you just don't see it as much as when you are only there occasionally. Needless to say - we are glad to be back.
We got a bunch of shopping done and I got a much needed eye exam. I'm trying a new brand of super-thin contacts AND I got a new, sporty pair of glasses - YAY! I can't wait to go pick them up. Of course, that means yet another trip to Atlanta next week. Blah.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
We started out at my mom's for Christmas Eve. It was a really nice small crowd and we really had a great time with my mom and her husband.
My step-sister and her husband:
Then, on Christmas day we headed out to my dad's for a much larger crowd. It was fun though and since the weather was so nice the dogs had a great time playing around and we got to walk around on the farm and take some pictures of the latest creatures.
Petey (one of our dogs) and Gator.............
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Handmade soap in fragrance "Winter Solstice" so very appropriate and SO WONDERFUL in the shower this morning! I love handmade soap.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Here is a picture of the wheel that we started. I need to do a little more research on it because I think you continue to add to it for different seasons and occasions and such. The flags around the outside mark N, S, E and W. The closest flag in the picture (the white one) is the North direction.
Ironically, the ceremony that we did for the wheel was strangely reminicient of the wedding ceremony that Wayne and I wrote for our wedding. It was very much about the importance of circles and elements and harmony with nature. We didn't want a traditional ceremony - we wanted something that reflected US a little more so we wrote our own. Perhaps on our anniversary (April 29th) we will have our ceremony again at the wheel!
On another note - we made a coffee mug for our neighbor, Liz. She was kind enough to take a picture of it for us since we forgot. I thought it was cute. Mr. Man is really a great illustrator!!
The second moebius is DONE but I can't post pictures until after Christmas. Someone is getting it for a gift!!! Shhhhhhhhhh...........................
Monday, December 22, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
As you know, we recently had a bunch of work done to restore our pond and get it all cleaned out. Taking care of the environment around us is a huge issue for Wayne and I and one that we try to work on all the time. So, to see all of our fish dying was more than a little concerning to us. Especially since we have herons, kingfishers, ducks, geese, etc drinking and eating fish out of our pond all the time. Not to mention that our pets drink from the pond and play in it quite regularly (even the cats!).
Anyhow, this story is a little involved so don't let me bore you. Feel free to come back for more fun and perky stuff next week. But here's what happened:
We had a HUGE amount of rain on Sunday - I think we ended up with about 3 inches in under 6 hours or something crazy like that. And then it just kept raining for days. Our pond is fed by a creek that comes down the mountain in the back of our house. Of course, when it rains the creek picks up just about all the run-off water from this side of the mountain and the first place it dumps is - you guessed it - our pond. Then more water goes to our neighbors pond, then to the pond across the street then down the street to more ponds down there (maybe I should draw a picture like the Yarn Harlot?).
So, we were extreemly concerned that some toxic substance was in the run-off water that had washed into our pond. We thought maybe someone had a septic tank leak or had a lot of fertilizer on their lawn or was draining their gray water directly into their yard or something. We called everyone we knew on the mountain, the public health department, the EPA, EPD, US fish and wildlife, the UGA extension office, the local newspaper, the tv station - basically everyone we could think of. And of course, they were all pointing us to each other and no one seemed to be able to help us - which was REALLY ticking us off.
Not only was our pond in trouble, but of course our pond is not the only house, pond or groudwater affected by this creek. We ended up doing our own investigation. We went up the mountain, pulled off the road, followed the creek, took a bunch of pictures, drove around and looked at houses to see if we could see anything out of place and just were generally nosey. Sometimes that master's degree that I have in Environmental Health actually does pay off - see dad!!!!!!!
Anyway, we took some pictures and finally did get someone from the EPD to come out and look at our pond and go up on the mountain to also poke around. We got some of the residents up on the mountain concerned, which was good, so hopefully this will be on the topic of their next homeowner's association meeting - just reminders about getting septic tanks checked, be conscious of what you put on your yard, chemicals, fertilizers, soaps, etc.
But, in the end we really came up with zilch. I talked to the guy at the UGA extension office today and this was his theory - which is plausible and actually makes me feel much better than the possibility of a toxin - even though it is still a sucky situation.
He said that sometimes when there is a huge amount of rain all funneled into a pond at the same time (which there definitely was) it can cause a pond to "turnover" which literally means that all of the water that is pouring into the pond is colder, sinks to the bottom and pushes the water at the bottom of the pond up to the top. This causes problems with water temperatures and with dissolved oxygen in the water. He says this is really the most likely scenario in our situation because the big fish died first (they have the highest oxygen requirements due to their size). He said if it was due to a toxin in the water you would usually see the small fish die first. Add to that the fact that our pond was CRYSTAL clear before the rain, which was because we had just finished filling it up. So, the pond hadn't had time to go back to it's "normal" state of normal microbes, bacteria, etc. So all of that together created an extreme stress environment for the fish and an oxygen depletion problem.
Whew! That's a mouthful. But, I honestly think it is the most plausible explanation for what happened. Especially since there are still plenty of healthy fish in the pond. I would think if it was something toxic - they would have all been dead. I spent today netting a bunch of dead fish out of our pond - very sad...........
The lesson we have learned from all of this is to cut off the inflow for our pond during a lot of rain. We are very fortunate that our pond is set up to allow us to do this since it is fed from the creek to the pond by a 6" PVC pipe. Our neighbor, unfortunately, does not have this option as the creek flows directly into her pond.
Also, the other thing that has happened is that Wayne and I have decided to start an environmental organization here in Blue Ridge - SEE DAD!!! Again, I'm going to use the degree! But, we have named it Blue Ridge Area Environmental Action (BRAEA) and Wayne has already started the website - www.braea.org.
We started a civic club in our neighborhood in Tucker (complete with website and all the fixin's) and it was a really great venue for sharing information, getting stuff sold/bought, promoting our neighbors businesses, crime alerts and just generally bringing us together and getting to know each other (I reccomend doing it!). We want to do the same thing here with a focus on environmental education and alerts. Also, we will get involved in local legislation as it relates to the environment. But, more about that later. You can check out the rudimentary site though if ya like.
I know - a long story. Thanks for reading if you are still here.
BTW - I started another moebius! Shhhhhhhhh - it's a gift - think I can finish it by Christmas????? We'll see.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
He laid like that for a while. I sure hope he was comfortable..........................maybe we could bring him a cocktail or something??? Sheesh.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
And if THAT does not make you feel cold and Christmasy (sp?) check out this picture I took of our pond on Monday morning.
Oh yeah, that's a solid sheet of ice over the entire top of our pond! I tell ya though, I don't know if the cold weather has anything to do with it or not but our pond is crystal clear. It's really amazing. We can walk over to it and easily see the bottom (around 10-12 feet deep) and see the big bass hanging out on the bottom. I'll try and get a picture - we'll see.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Yeah, I know. It's crochet. Don't send me hate mail ok?? (ETA: That's just a JOKE - obviously I do both, encourage both and teach both)
In other news..............
We are supposed to go to a friend's to spend the night later in the week. Is it REALLY that hard to cook for a vegetarian??? We manage to do it everyday. I mean really. She emails me that she wants to cook calzones so she wants to know if I eat pepperoni. Uh - NO. So she says she can't make them ...........ummmmmm...........leave off the pepperoni on mine maybe??? Spinach and mushrooms works great for me. You have to make them all individually anyway, yes?
Then she emails me back complaining that she wants to make a pasta dish for us but it has bacon in it and do I eat bacon?? Ummmm............NO - how about just leave off the bacon or add it in at the end after you take mine out. Oh no, no - can't do that - the bacon is what MAKES the dish. Uhhh.........right. I have been eating pasta for a LONG time (trust me, as most of you know I'm a professional at this) and have managed to eat pasta with no bacon in it for a long, long time. Don't gimmie that crap.
So, she suggests we just have cereal. I'm thinking about writing her back and telling her that I'm actually vegan so I don't use milk and ask her if she has any soy milk. Think I should?? Haha!!! Don't people eat vegetables anymore? I mean really, even if you do eat meat you don't eat meat with EVERYTHING, do you?????
Luckily, she is a good friend so I can really give her a bunch of crap. This should be fun. Stay tuned.
Oh and BTW - Mr. Man and I are getting ready to set up a really cool aquaponics garden! I am so excited! Totally organic veggies grown at lightening speeds using nothing but recycled water from a pond! Truly an amazing process. We have the space and the time to invest more in green living so we are really trying to do so. We are also looking to see if maybe we could get a small solar system to power the pumps so we don't have to use additional electricity. We'll see -need to sell a few more yarn bowls for that!! Ha!