Friday, May 24, 2013

Introducing...Our Pond!

For ages, we've longed for a pond.

I'm not sure if it's because of the time he spent in Japan, admiring beautiful ponds filled with Koi, but Peter, especially, always planned to build a pond. Early in our marriage, he began accumulating bits and pieces for the future pond: a pump for a birthday, a gift card toward pond equipment for Father's Day, a few books about ponds.

But life happened. There were greenhouses to build, a house to remodel, a company to start and run. 

So, the nature-crazy kids finally took matters into their own hands.

And created a pond. Yes, that's one of my storage containers they pilfered.

Kristen and Michael spend more time outside than inside. Throughout the year, they explore the forest, mess around in the river, and collect specimens to observe. They also return their living treasurers to nature after a brief stint at Ch├ęz Adolf. It's our rule--what comes from nature returns to nature.

Spring, though, finds the kids at our neighborhood pond. There's a very short window of opportunity to explore the pond, because as soon as the South Carolina heat and drought ramp up, the pond disappears.

This spring, though, with our weeks of rain, the pond is filled to the brim with amazing treasures.

Salamander egg sacs--a new find for the kids! I posted the photo on my Facebook page to see if anyone could guess what it was...and I'm proud to report that after many replies of tadpoles, catfish eggs, and various other aquatic creatures, one person guessed correctly. Personally, I had to look it up when the kids came home with not just one but three egg sacs.

When the baby salamanders, which I'm certain is not the scientific terms for them, began to emerge, you'd think it was Christmas in April. I love that our kids are so excited about nature.

Of course, no pond is complete without tadpoles.

Look! One of the salamanders grew legs!

The kids add fresh water collected from the neighborhood pond to their habitat weekly to make certain the animals have the microorganisms they need to grow and survive. They also added a few clams they found in the river for biodiversity, plus they made certain to include rocks for the salamanders and frogs to enjoy "land time." The rocks also provide a good hiding spot for the smaller animals.

One thing they lacked, though--water plants. I splurged and bought a few plants for the kids to include in the habitat.

Our kids amaze me. How did we end up with such creative, nature-loving, funny, silly little people?

I may not love plastic bins as the focal point of our garden, and I admit, I'm crossing my fingers and toes that we win a pond in the contest sponsored by Laguna Ponds and P. Allen Smith. Honestly, can you imagine the amazing adventures the kids would enjoy with a real pond? 

Still, I know that in just a few years, I'll miss the storage bin ponds littering the garden. 

Happy Memorial Day weekend to you!





  1. You've reminded me of the summers when my daughter and her best friend/next door neighbor caught toads and made little enclosed habitats for them. So cute. They had hours and hours of fun doing that. Your kids (and you!) will always have fond memories of these times. Sweet post!

    1. Daricia, I do love these days. I think having kids spread out--with Ty just graduating from college--makes me appreciate and enjoy our younger kiddos even more. I love that your daughter and her friend also created wildlife habitats, too! Thank goodness our kids love nature like we do, right? (What if they revolted and refused to play outside? Yikes.)

      Hope you have a lovely Memorial Day weekend--and can't wait to see you in San Francisco!

  2. Fabulous post! Kids are naturally curious and inventive. So glad yours get to explore their creativity. Enjoy your pond!

    1. Thank you! Daisy, it's so true--kids just need to be allowed to make messes and explore their creativity. (I'm glad that most of their messes happen outside, I must admit!)

  3. your kids are so awesome, Julie! I love their pond habitat!

    1. Awww, Jessie, you know our kids are just plain animal-crazy! Who knows what they're hiding in the tree house right now? I think I'd better check it out this weekend--or send Peter up there. Kristen was trying to catch a rat snake earlier this week, even though she knows the rules of NO SNAKES. Yeesh.

  4. Ah so sweet and cute! :)

    when I was a little girl my grandfather had a pond with a little bridge, the whole bit. But just until I was about three...then we moved and they did as well. Each of us got an acre out in the country ( though where they were at the time was still country ) Your kids pond brought back pleasant memories :)

  5. How great is this? Wonderful learning experience. Lots of fun.

  6. I've actually considered doing this before. Maybe, I will finally get around to it this year. I know my youngest would love to help and it would be a great study for him and I would love to attract frogs to my garden to help with the pests. It looks like a great project.


  7. About 5 years ago, [I can't believe it's been that long] I bought a ridged plastic kids swimming pool. It is fairly big in circumferance, but not too deep. I filled it with water, put in a filter pump, some mini-cattails, oxygenators, a water lily, and the goldfish the kids won at the city park. It's been GREAT!! The second year my neighbor's frogs came over and spawned [?] in my pond. He actually got mad about that! People!! By fall the tadpoles were still not frogs, so after some research, and the blessings of the park rangers, I loaded them into buckets and took them to a big, real pond, to overwinter. I was told that they needed to dig into the mud a hibranate. I then had to get a smaller "pond" in the basement to overwinter my plants and the fish. The pool is too shallow for them to survive outside. It's been a really good experiance. Get a cheap wading pool and go to it!

  8. Very cool! My kids loved frogs and salamanders wherever they could be found, and I liked them myself. I dream of a more ambitious pond project, but right now have only bird baths and a small fountain.

  9. "How did we end up with such creative, nature-loving, funny, silly little people?" Most likely because you've set such a fine example for them to follow. I have a few of them myself now training their own little kiddos to love nature. Love your post!