Goodbye pond, hello fall!

This is the pond with all the plants growing! (A summertime photo)

Yesterday I did the most dreaded chore of all. I winterized the pond. I cut back all the plants; cleaned as much gunk from the bottom as I could and put some screening on it so the heron won’t come for sushi.

We removed the filter and put the waterfall on bypass. We will completely turn it off when it turns really cold in late December. At that point we turn on an underwater bubbler which moves water to keep an open area for gases to escape. Everything is ready to go so it’s just a few plugs to pull or put in. It’s always a relief to get that work done especially this year. I have learned the hard way to do it earlier than needed so you can pick a good weather day. There is no way I want to be in the pond when the air temperatures are hovering in the 40s. I’m like popsicle hopping around in there!

It’s not the work or even the bare look of it. (It’s so bare it’s sad!) It’s the knowledge that it will be six months until I clean her up for spring. The spring cleaning is a lot more work but it is happier work.

The day was predicted to be warm (70s) and clear. It didn’t get as warm as expected but it’s better to work when it’s cooler even if I am in chest waders in a pool of cold water. It was overcast which added a layer of sadness to an already sad chore.

There are two water lilies still blooming and I let them be but all the rest of the lily pads and grasses were cut back to the roots. The lilies were cheering me on. An oasis in a pool of nothingness.

My mood didn’t affect the fish who were pleased that the food I tossed in was easier to find. On the other hand they are the food easier for predators to find. I have hidey holes for them under the water. There is a fish tunnel and an upside down milk crate which has a plant on top. All of this is in the deepest part which helps too.

And now although I cut that grass plant too.

Our fall is late this year. It will be a few weeks before we see the gorgeous color on the trees. When the temperatures drop more we will stoke up the fireplace. We are anxious to see if our new cat Gus takes to it like the other cats do. They like to lay down directly in front sometimes on their back with legs flailing in the air. Sometimes they curl up like loaves of bread.

Cats cuddling by the fire, pumpkin bread on the counter, colorful leaves on trees and a pond napping until spring. Those are the good parts of fall.

Mollie lying in front of the fireplace.

81 thoughts on “Goodbye pond, hello fall!

  1. I finished my fall work yesterday by planting garlic and digging my beets. My other half pulled the pump for the waterfall. It was 6 (42F) with a nasty artic wind. I try to remember that in spring 6 will seem warm after -40 (still -40F) but I always lament that fall ends so quickly. Definitely good to get the jobs done before the snow flies

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    • Yay for you! We are bringing in the porch cushions today. I don’t pull the pond pump as it doesn’t freeze solid but I will unplug it after Thanksgiving when I plug the bubbler in. That is pretty cold. We rarely go below 0F and never below -10F. We spend most of our winter in the 20s.

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  2. Your pond is just gorgeous! I know it must be just tons of work, but it is so beautiful, and you take such good care of it 🙂 You do have the wonderful parts of fall coming up! Fall is one of the things I do miss about Pennsylvania.

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      • But all your plants really do look lovely! We just have mostly birch trees and evergreens except for ornamentals people have in their landscaping, so we get yellow leaves and not much other color. Also, when it starts getting cold, it gets there pretty quickly.

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  3. It’s always sad putting the yard to bed, but this was a lot of work that goes above and beyond cutting everything down and mulching, etc. The critters know it is officially Fall when this is done – the come back to your yard and say “what happened?” Fall smells, colors are why it is my favorite season, but I bemoan what is ahead – ugh. Especially this year – a La Nina prediction – double ugh. What a gorgeous picture of Mollie – all that fur, she sure didn’t need the warmth of the fireplace, but it was a great place to strike up a pose for you.

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    • Mollie and Sasha were/are both long haired cats. Mollie loved the fireplace but Sasha doesn’t sleep near it. I think it’s too hot for her. A difference in cats. I haven’t seen what they are predicting locally (and they are not very good at it anyway). I must prefer spring yard work to fall but it has to do with what’s coming!

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      • Yes, I guess Sasha would be quite hot with the fur – maybe she is afraid of being singed! My grandmother used to put her gas stove burners on to heat the kitchen (a no-no for sure) and I would be sitting not far away and fear for my hair. I took everything in two weeks ago when they were predicting the cold spell … today we had 75 degrees. Our leaves have not fallen yet – I get my neighbor’s leaves more than she does. She wants to cut the tree down, but instead had her paver bricks removed and plain cement put down as I mentioned to you earlier this Summer when you had paver maintenance done. Wish she’d taken down the tree which she says is diseased … looks fine to me.

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        • There is glass on the fireplace so no singing. Sasha is a little overweight too so that doesn’t help. She does just fine sitting in the chair next to the fireplace. Maybe she prefers cushioning to the floor. Your neighbor reminds me of my neighbor at my old house. She had a few ratty trees on my property edge. I begged her to cut them down or do other maintenance. She didn’t. One fell and just missed my garage and the other fell in my driveway when they were on vacation. I had to get a big tree out of there myself. I was so angry. Still she wouldn’t cut the others down. After I moved, she cut them down. They were on the side of her house that had no windows so I didn’t understand her reluctance.

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          • A little extra meat on her bones keeps Sasha warmer for sure. I am irked with Rita as it is on City property but 75% of the branches are on my property so I get all the leaves, beautiful red maple leaves. To add insult to injury, she blows the leaves from her property onto the city property and leaves them there … I have caught her blowing the leaves right over here (like I can’t see the mark where her property ends and a pile of leaves at the property line.

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              • I did and waited til she left for work to do so! She had a rude awakening when she came home from work that night and our last yard waste pickup was that morning. Her brother lived there for a time and he did the same thing so he could put up the Christmas decorations – they’re not my leaves, so you blew them here to my house?!

                I have a a Lace-leaf Japanese Maple in the middle of my front garden. I’ve had the tree since 1985 and I believe there is climate change happening. Half the time it never drops its leaves as we’ll have a mild October and the leaves are on the tree in the Spring and the new buds sprout and then the old leaves fall off. So my leaves don’t litter anything – they fall below onto the mulch.

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                  • I’ve suggested to BOTH neighbors, one on either side, that there is a fine for blowing the leaves in the street. They do the same thing – blow it in front of my house … it’s a big fine for putting leaves or snow in the street and the City doesn’t hesitate to enforce the rules/regs as they want the revenue!

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  4. Such a lovely pond! How nice to be able to sit close by and listen to the sound of the waterfall while enjoying the beauty. We are (for lack of a better word) winterizing our yard. Kind of sad to put away the patio furniture and clearing out the overgrown summer flowering plants. But the plus is the cooler temps, the various colors in the trees, enjoying our fire pit, and warm goodies filling the house with delicious smells!

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    • We didn’t start the furniture storing yet. My husband always waits until the last minute for that although we rarely use it now. It’s cool to just sit there. I get more ambition to cook in the cool weather too.

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  5. From the sound of it, there weren’t any encounters of the reptilian kind. Good news!

    Kudos on getting the dreaded chore out of the way. I haven’t even started any fall work outdoors yet. Winter will burst upon us before we know it and I’ll be regretful then 😕

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    • We have some work to do yet but nothing like the pond. The furniture needs storing and there are some weeds to pull and perennials to cut back. If I don’t get to the last too, it’s ok. As long as the pond is done, I’m happy. No reptilians! I had to go into the water so it was big on my mind.

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  6. I’m with you Mollie, nothing is better than relaxing in front of a good fire. Heck, I get heat drunk from it sometimes it feels so good. Love, love, love the fall. You have nice humans to give you a good fire in the fall and winter.

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  7. Your pond is lovely! I have been lobbying my husband to build one in our back yard, but he can only see how much work it is! I will persist. I’m glad you have a way to keep your babies safe from the predators. Maybe we’ll light up the fireplace this year before Christmas…

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  8. I recall your past stories about winterizing the pond, Kate. Always a challenge. Like you indicate, it signals the end of Fall. I thought all cats would appreciate a fireplace. Now, Mollie is a content cat.🙂

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  9. Whew. I’m exhausted just reading about the work needed for that pond. Love your image of fall though. It’s not changed color here yet either. It’s clear and 70 degrees. Perfect! We’re supposed to go to my dad’s this weekend in Wisconsin on the boat on the river. I was hoping there were more colors there, but he says it’s only about 25% changed. He’s only 80 miles from me, so that’s not surprising.

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  10. We have a small pond but luckily I don’t have to winterise it. We used to have lots of toads but they seem to have moved after I stopped using our wood burning stove and they lost the log piles. I have been picking up leaves. I expect they will come down in the next couple of weeks.

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  11. I enjoy your pond. I am glad that you do all the work, of course– but it is lovely. Our lawn sprinkler system was turned off today. There is a bittersweet feeling to acknowledging the end of summer with normal rituals in a year that is far from normal.

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  12. I will be waiting for some pictures of Gus and the other Sassy Cats in front of the fire. I’d probably never have a pond because I would be fretting about the frogs and fish after having named them. You are in premium porch weather in the afternoon I presume. It would be lovely to sit and have a glass of wine. We are heading into the good season here and plants are being planted and walking our local lawn and garden center is the thing to do. We are still pretty warm, hot would be the word, with a good dose of HUMIDITY! This year I will be able to hang oversized ornaments on the palms… cracks me up!

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  13. Even the sky and atmosphere was sad as you worked. You did it. Now you really can enjoy fall (nice descriptive paragraph ) I am ready for fireplaces and warm seasonal smells.
    It really does seem like we missed summer. (wish this darn hurricane season would stop organizing storms and go to sleep).
    Love your pond, but after “experiencing” yours, think we’ll try to move somewhere near one in nature and let Nature take care of it.

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    • Visiting someone else’s pond is the best. I’ve really enjoyed it over the 10 years we’ve had it but I can feel a transition coming too. Just like the garden. Everything in it’s season. I just have to move somewhere close to a pond.

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    • Each season brings it’s own set of chores and I’m always grateful to get them out of the way so I can enjoy life. I’m enjoying less humidity for sure. During the summer the humidity at 7 a.m. (when I walked) was 80%. I’d come home feeling like a limp dishrag.

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  14. I love this time of year, especially for walking dogs (as you can see by my Fitbit #s!) but am always a little sad that it means winter is coming. If I could have spring and fall all year I would be happy.

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  15. I’m sure it’s a relief to have that done, but it is hard to say goodbye to summer…at least for me it is. We haven’t seen any hummies this week, so Derek will be bringing in the last feeder. The pond photo is beautiful. I love the token flowers!

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  16. I remember your posts about the pond. We had one in the bungalow but got rid of it and evicted about 100 frogs. We also wrote off 2 drill bits of a Kango drill as the pond was brick and breeze bloc (cinder block I think you call it) covered in concrete. The pond was four feet high, six feet long and three feet wide. We also had a 14 foot monkey puzzle tree at one end of it (very small garden which was why it all had to go as I had no room for a washing line) which we advertised Buyer Collects (but didn’t add must also dig up). Our purchasers were extremely happy with their prize for £50 and we had a big hole in which to bur a load of rubbish!!

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    • Our street was full of homes with ponds when we moved here but most have taken them out. They take some level of work although not as much as a pool. Every year I contemplate whether I should take it out or at least make it smaller and easier to care for. On the scale of life it is small, 5′ x 11′ but it requires chest waders instead of hip waders to get into and I can’t reach in and pull a pot out without hurting my back. My next one (if I do again) will be a small one just for a very few fish and one lily. Your pond sounds like work! My pond is not concrete with a dug hole lined with sand and a rubber liner so it’s removal would be so much easier. I can’t even imagine how hard it is to maintain a concrete one.

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  17. I know you’re happy to have that chore done……and now you can begin looking forward to fires in the fireplace and cozy days and nights. We have some color in the leaves although it’s very slow in coming with all the extra weird weather we had all summer. Teddy gets really invigorated by the cooler temps – chasing more squirrels, chipmunks, falling leaves. Good exercise I say!

    Hugs, Pam

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    • There are just a few chores that I don’t enjoy. Digging the garden was one but that ship has sailed! Winterizing the pond was another. When I open it up I do a complete water change so that requires removing all the fish, snails and frogs to do a good clean. It’s a few hours of hard work but it’s happy work. After that, the pond maintains itself. I’m always glad to put big projects on the “done” list.

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  18. I understand… I felt the same as I brought the garden furnitures inside… this feeling to do something the “last time” this year is a weird one… it makes me sad and I ponder too much about things I can anyway not change…

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