Thursday, April 29, 2010

Is It Friday, Yet?

The past couple of days have been quite challenging,  so I am sure that Those in the Know will understand that just about everything something had to give!  My entire family is miserable with the most miserable of miserable colds!  (Everyone except Yours Truly,  of course - need I remind you of my excellent health?).  I've been scouring cookbooks for ideas for immune-boosting suppers.  Tonight,  I am making a turkey soup which should really be tasty.  Instead of traditional (mild-flavoured) turkey soup,  I am making it with a Mexican flair:  there will be spice aplenty!  That ought to cure what ails my boys and spouse!

In addition to caring for the ailing menfolk,  I have been busy with planning for our garden ponds.  Yes,  I can almost hear the exclamations of delighted surprise from my Friends in the Know - I haven't mentioned the ponds before,  have I?   The reason for that is quite simple:  they scare the living daylights out of me because I haven't a clue what I am doing  they are a work in progress and I was looking forward to surprising everyone!

We have garden ponds totally by default.  When we bought this house,  the ponds came with it.  That was that.  Neither Scott nor I know anything about water gardening or pond care but we thought,  "How difficult can it be?"  (EGAD!  How foolish we were!)  At that time,  the ponds were beautifully aged, well-established garden ponds requiring almost no attention from us at all.  The eco-system had been developed over more than a decade and it was a symphony of balance and beauty.  The water was clear,  the plants were prolific and perky and when we introduced goldfish,  they thrived in the perfect pond conditions with absolutely no assistance of any kind from us.  In the spring, Scott started up the pump to circulate the water and in the early winter, he shut it down.  That was the extent of our labour investment in the ponds.  There were simply no problems and I we had nothing to do but sit back and enjoy the view.

Unfortunately,  about 2 years ago,  everything changed.  The ponds began to leak.  I suppose it was inevitable with age and degradation of older pond liner materials,  but I want to know why everything always happens to me?  I said as much to Scott as I stood on the deck watching him hastily trying to set up a pump and roll the plastic tubing across the backyard and down to the creek to siphon the leakage away from our garden and basement.

"Why?"  I whined very reasonably inquired, "does this kind of disappointing thing always happen to me?"

I would love to be able to report that Scott had a wise and comforting answer,  but the sad truth is that he merely grunted and kept hauling the tubing and pump paraphernalia across the yard.  I love the man,  but I must confess - sometimes his lack of understanding is very unhelpful.   There he stood up to his ankles in leaking pond water with the pump hose hanging limply over one arm,  staring up at me comfortably ensconced in a deck chair  as I was encouraging him from the deck,  yet he completely failed to offer a comforting word to his heroic spouse (moi).  I had to go into the house and flip on an NCIS rerun before Scott could ask me to help out with the mucky job of draining the pond my emotions got the better of me. 

Anyway,  the upshot of this sad tale is that we were forced to have a landscaping firm come in to tear out the old and badly deteriorating pond liners and install a new and vastly superior (we hope!) one.  Obviously,  we did consider tearing out the ponds altogether and removing them from the garden completely,  but since the entire landscaping scheme put in place by the previous owners - including all of the decking and landscape grading - was designed around this pond system,  removing them completely and thus being forced into renovating all of the landscaping was never really a viable (or affordable!) option.  It was either the expensive pond renovation or a prohibitively expensive complete landscaping renovation.  We really had to go with the first choice,  in spite of my our near-total incompetence in aquaculture.

The pond rehabilitation went reasonably well and the new version looked quite sturdy,  if sterile.  In the process of ripping out and re-installing,  the landscapers succeeded in killing and removing every last shred of vegetation - every last vestige of the wonderfully naturalized pond environment which had taken probably two decades to develop!  Perhaps it was unavoidable since I made no effort to save them myself nor even thought to mention it, really, at the time in the June heat,  but I really feel that the firm let down the side a little on that score!   Although,  obviously I am too gracious to point it out.

So for a season and a half,  we have had a rock-rimmed set of pools with ugly rubber liner visible in too many places and not a bit of green to be seen, anywhere (not to mention no goldfish - it is all too much!).  It was my intention to perform one of my gardening miracles and restore the pond to its formerly glorious natural perfection last summer,  but I was otherwise engaged early in the season.

The story becomes very dark indeed here for,  during my absence,  a very unwelcome "guest" moved into the pond,  completely destroying all attempts by nature to establish a little foothold until I could return to complete the rescue.

Thursday Update:  Well, as you can see,  I have been so lazy busy that I never did manage to post yesterday,  after all!   I am also too lazy too busy to post much today,  so I'll give you a quick update on the sick members of the family and sign off.

Boys are improving somewhat - Kenny is nearly symptom-free  (hooray!);  Edward is about 2/3 of the way through the cold,  but still snuffly and miserable (poor baby!);  Jack is over the initial cold but has apparently progressed to a sinus infection (which is always a danger for him,  like his mother,  poor boy!) and Scott is rallying strongly after a good night's sleep and lots of rest yesterday.

I am sure my family's improved health is really all thanks to my Supersoup of yesterday, however.   Those in the Know may recall that I started out making turkey soup (always a cold-buster!),  but I decided to put my considerable nursing acumen to work by improving the usual stock and soup recipe tremendously.  I added a number of immune-boosting spices while making the stock and then added even more after removing the turkey bones and adding the vegetables and legumes.  It was an AmerAsian triumph!  I thought it was going to be Mexican-cuisine flavoured yesterday,  and I have no idea what happened or how the flavour turned out as it did (<- irrelevant),  but in fact,  I decided to create a wonderful fusion of flavours reminiscent of both Mexican and Indian cuisines!  Although I may never be able to repeat it because it was a total fluke brought about by sheer dumb luck and a couple of spice accidents involving not wearing my glasses:  chili / curry ...a mistake like that could happen to anyone!,  it was a culinary tour de force*!

I am too bored, as usual, with a topic that exceeds three paragraphs  too busy right now to finish the pond story,  but I will probably definitely finish it tomorrow or the next day or some other day,  provided I can remember not to forget.

Good Day to All!

* Busy though I have been,  I never forget my Friends in the Know!  Today's little piece of sophistication is brought to you by France!  You're welcome.


  1. Glad everyone is on the mend.... no surprise the soup did its job -- I know your kids are turkey monsters. ;-)
    I want to know more about the pond guest. :o

  2. The sad thing, mom, is that that is EXACTLY what the parent snapper looks like....creeptastic. I sincerely hope Creeper Jr. has moved out. And if not, that either the pond folks or Animal Control or Pest Control can come remove it. *shudder*