Friday, October 13, 2006

Fish Sitting the Koi

My neighbors, who have three dogs, two cats, and three fish, decided to take a short vacation trip. Obviously a complicated matter. Once the arrangements were arranged for the four-legged critters, there remained the matter of the koi. Sitting the fish was the least I could do for folks who fetch my mail from the post office, keep an eye out on my wandering Max cat, and do all those important little things that good neighbors do for one.
The three koi inhabit a very pretty, very deep little pond. The big fellow above has been with the neighbors for far longer than they've lived hereabouts. He's recently become a dad for the first time!

Getting back to the main thread -- the depth of the pond is very important -- believe it or not, there are raccoons in this area only a half mile from the courthouse. They've made at least one attempt on the fish, to no avail. They are reputed to have cleaned out the ponds of another nearby resident. And they are wise to cat doors.

Other critters are interested in fish. One day I heard a great raven to-do and rushed outside to see what the clamor was all about. Up in the sky were three ravens hassling a great blue heron, who was circling the neighborhood. Looking for little fish ponds, I'll bet! Fortunately, the ravens prevailed and kept the stranger out of their (and our) turf.

I did have one raider show up at the pond during my stewardship; whoever or whatever it was, the fish food was gone when I arrived at feeding time. The pet store owner was kind enough to charge a new supply -- and drop it off.

One neat thing about fish ponds is that they attract other interesting wildlife. For instance, water striders who live on the skin of the water and make dimples in the surface with their feet.

The pond is also a place to tuck in odds and ends of art, such as these masks (above) and the little Easter Island replica (below). (People my age recall him as Big Stoop, a character in the Terry and the Pirates comic strip.)

I'm happy to report that the fish survived nicely and that the neighbors had a great vacation.

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