Saturday, May 1, 2010

Tornado Watch!*


This post has nothing to do with the tornado watch,  but I would like the record to show that this post title is 100% true.  We are,  indeed,  under a tornado watch until 8 PM this evening.   I don't know why the National Weather crowd issues these watches,  though,  to be perfectly honest.   Nothing ever happens!  It's not like we are down in Oklahoma or Mississippi or New England or something.  Those people get on the news regularly with one exciting weather-related story after another.  I really think it is a bit much,  actually.  We are blessed with nothing but boring, boring, boring  calm, near-idyllic conditions here in northern Illinois practically constantly and even if something exciting were to happen,  the airwaves are always clogged with stories about Oklahoma or Mississippi or somewhere (those attention hounds)!  Anyway,  we do have a tornado watch and a severe thunderstorm watch,  so I feel it is only fair that I post it in my title and get some mileage out of it.  Heaven knows I hardly ever get the chance!

Earlier today,  after my exercise,  I spent a couple of hours in the garden.  Oh yes,  you read that correctly: after my exercise.  Those in the Know will not be surprised to learn that I have been very hard at work 4 mornings per week at Curves!   Mind you,  it feels like an utter waste of time since I never seem to lose an ounce nor have I lost any inches and I am thisclose to quitting every single day,  but the Fitness Nazis there shame me into continuing,  but I am nothing if not determined and I will stick with it until I see results.   Or until I get fed up  (<- oops! How did that get there?).

I was planning to finish the pond story in this post although I am bored with that subject now and may just toss it,  so I will get right down to it!

When I returned from my travels last summer,  a sinister and very unwelcome "guest" had taken up residence in the pond.  A snapping turtle.  It had decimated what little plant life had begun to eke out an existence in the pond.  Not only had it destroyed the flora in the pond,  but it had also devoured all of the tadpoles and any unwary frogs which happened to wander foolishly into the pond's murky depths.  And I do mean "murky depths".   After that dreadful animal took up residence in the pond,  it befouled the water with its wastes and, because it had eaten every other living thing,  flora and fauna alike,  there was no way for the pond to recover by filtering the wastes by cycling through plants, pond animals and good bacteria.  The bloody turtle had eaten everything up!

Here are some photos (not of our pond, unfortunately, because I was too disheartened last summer to take any photos here) which show the deleterious effects that a 6-8 inch snapping turtle can have on a pond  (sensitive readers, please shield your eyes):

Yes,  it was like a clip out of a horror movie.

Anyway,  I've just had to have the landscape firm in again to drain the ponds and power-wash all of the gunk left behind by the turtle (which either left last fall -  the vicious, slimy interloper! - after destroying the pond and eating itself out of a home,  or was ushered out by the crew once the pond was empty of water - hopefully, none too gently!)  before refilling with fresh water.  More bloody expense!  Expensive, but totally worth it!  Here are the freshly cleaned,  but utterly sterile ponds today:

This isn't the easy, quick restart that it might sound like.  A pond takes years and years to become (close to) a fully naturalized ecosystem,  but the very first thing to understand is that the biggest part of that process is cycling water.  After that darn turtle putrefied the water in the ponds,  a year and a half of cycling was down the drain (literally!).  Refilling with city water means a pond full of chlorinated water,  which,  as Those in the Know no doubt have already realized,  is not hospitable to pond plants,  pond animals and most of all,  to the helpful bacteria which are crucial to a healthy pond ecosystem. 

Nevertheless,  I am undaunted by the challenges before me!  My Friends in the Know are well aware of my characteristic resourcefulness and indomitable spirit!  I have been studying pondology assiduously over the winter and into the spring and I am probably now more dangerous than the snapping turtle   I intend to conquer this puzzle!  This may involve  incredible expense  a lot of time, effort and  expense!
expertise,  but I am nothing if not foolhardy a hard worker.

Anyway,  I am too busy (what?) today to write anymore.  I have two flats of portulaca to put in around the patio pond.  Scott forced asked the boys to weed the shallow bed there this morning and now it is wonderfully ready for me to get started!   I must say,  I love how my family reluctantly  enthusiastically pitches in when taken by the collar and frogmarched away from the Xbox  asked!

Good Day to All!

ETA:  This post was begun yesterday afternoon,  but I was too lazy  too busy to finish it last night,  so obviously we are no longer under a tornado watch.  Nevertheless,  the title is still totally true - we were under one last night.  Furthermore,  as usual,  I was 100% correct in my prediction that nothing would happen.  Nothing did.


  1. I sincerely hope Creeper Jr. is gone for good. On the matter of the pond, though, how long before we can put in plants to begin filtering? The water right now is probably too chlorine-y...:S

  2. A few days in the sunshine and rain will help enormously. Also, I may add a few de-chlorinator drops from the hermit crab supplies. I have plants coming early next week, so I can't take a chance. However, I prefer not to add anything to the pond (ie chemicals) if I can help it at all.

  3. P.S. Re the Snapper (Creeper Jr what an excellent name!) I sincerely hope your words go from your lips to the Pond God's ears!

  4. One of the few things likely to cause me concern out on the road is either a tornado watch, or spotting a storm-chaser zooming in some direction. If they're rushing in the direction I'm going...

    Good luck with the pond! We're hoping to put one in. As it is, the cats like the frogs they can find around here. :-| There's nothing quite like a cat with frogs legs sticking out of his mouth, dashing into the house. So he can munch his snack/prize in comfort. He's usually followed by me trying to get him back out of the house. Especially if the frog's legs are still moving!

  5. Mean turtle! I remember the pictures you sent me years ago, of your pond with all the lush life in it, including the strings of frog eggs. Bad turtle! Thanks for the follow-up on the story, and I hope your pond is thriving with new life again very soon.