On July 30th, I bought a recycled half-barrel which had been used for making wine. I decided to try and use it without a plastic liner, so I brought it home, and filled it with water to see what would happen. It had a few tiny leaks, but after a few hours, the wood swelled enough to close them up. Watertight! YES!
Next, I needed to season it long enough for any harmful wine chemicals to leach out of the wood. I added a few water hyacinths, to help filter the water, and left it for about a week and half, changing the water once about half-way through that time period.
Although I'd put some "mosquito dunks" in the water, which were supposed to keep mosquitos from breeding in the water, I noticed some tiny mosquito larvae (or are they called nymphs? I'm not sure). I was sure that I didn't want any grown-up mosquitos in my garden, so I decided it was time for some fish. We went to the pond store and bought four mosquito fish (along with a cattail plant, not pictured in this photo). I also bought some tubing to get my gargoyle spitter working, but I didn't buy the right size, so I knew I'd be making a trip to the home improvement store the next day.
Today, I managed to put it all together. I bought the correct tubing, so the fountain is working. The cattail looks wonderful, and the fish seem happy. In fact, I spotted a teeny, teeny, TINY fish in the pond, which would seem to indicate some sort of breeding activity - which I guess means that mosquito fish are livebearers, since they haven't had time to lay eggs. In any case, it's ADORABLE! (I'll try to get a photo sometime soon). I'm really pleased with the way it looks. In a week or two, we'll pick up a few more plants - I'd like to add some papyrus, a water lily, and probably some submerged plants (anacharis or maybe vallisneria). But, mostly, we've got a lovely, functional pond now!
A couple more photos:
Now, I'm hoping some frogs will turn up. Although that might not happen until the spring. We'll see.
In other wildlife news, I'm a bit disappointed by the lack of interest in our birdfeeders. Right now, we have a couple of California towhees which come into the yard, and yesterday two chestnut-backed chickadees made an appearance, but other than that, the birds are ignoring the wonderful feast we've put out for them. Maybe the sound of trickling water will help attract them. I'd like a few more birds. :)