Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Pond

Heartened by the results of a few springtime rains, we turned our attentions to the pond on Saturday. Early in the day, Charles deposited 600 minnows and 100 catfish into the risen waters, then began construction of a dock, with the help of Sons 3 and 4 and Uncle Kemtrail.

Having no skills to offer in this project, I set about to lop dead branches from the trees surrounding the pond, one of a gazillion outdoor tasks we didn't get around to when we bought the little farm late last summer. In my zeal to do a thorough job, at 54 years of age, I climbed one of the trees, so that I might reach the highest branches. (I also awoke a couple of weeks ago with bubble gum stuck in my hair, but let's not talk about that.)

"Mom's in the tree!"

"Well, look at that! I got me a farm wife, and I didn't even know it," Charles announced in an affected drawl.

Moments later, I lost some of my praiseworthiness when my skirt got caught on a freshly lopped stob as I descended, and I started yelping for help, since my hands were full of tree and loppers, and there wasn't anything I could do about my plight other than jump to the ground and leave my dress in the tree. Oh well.

Fast forward to Sunday lunch, when we'd had another morning rain, and the new dock was looking handsome in the swelling pond. Number 4 son, still excited over our increasingly useful body of water, prayed over the meal, "...thank You for the rain, and please send us some more." Well, we were still viewing more than a foot of bank which was supposed to be under water.

The rains came...and came...and came -- 9" in a 24-hour period. Glancing out the window Monday morning, I exclaimed, "The pond is full!" which prompted a mass exodus from the house, so that we might more closely admire our larger pond.

An ill wind blows when there's a muskrat having breakfast in the sprouting vegetable garden. There weren't no muskrat love in the air that morning, when we encountered the uninvited guest betwixt house and pond.

Next, we noticed that new dock was free-floating, cattywompas, about 3 feet from the newly formed bank. Ew boy, he's not going to like this, and I returned to the house to call Charles, whose phone was on the fritz again, which is just as well, since he wasn't on the line when number 4 son rushed into the house and loudly conveyed, "Dad's fish are escaping!"

That muskrat had removed the grate from the pond overflow outlet, and we had a quarter-acre long ditch at the front of the property alive with fish flipping and flopping in their struggle against the rushing stream of water which was sucking them under the road and into a tiny creek on the opposite side. While Son 3 and I started scrambling for rocks, scrap lumber, and logs to build dams and slow the flow of water and fish, Son 4 disappeared into the tall grasses across the road, began noodling for fish, and returned with a bluegill so big it took two hands to clutch the escapee.

Two hours we spent with a rake and colanders, retrieving upwards of 200 fish from the ditch -- bluegill, perch, sunfish, shellcrackers, bass, and minnows -- and I'm still limping from the toll this took on my aged back. At least we now have a vivid picture of what species inhabit our pond.

The pond has settled beneath the overflow outlet, the dock is set aright, and Son 4 is again fishing with a rod and freshly dug worms rather than a colander. When Son 3 was called upon to say grace over dinner last night, he'd begun, "Dear," when my eyes flew open, and I shouted, "Son 3! Don't pray for rain!"

And he said unto me, It is done.
I am Alpha and Omega,
the beginning and the end.
I will give unto him that is athirst
of the fountain of the water of life freely.
Revelation 21:6

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