I notice these temperature swings in the pond as much as anywhere. A week or so ago the water temp was just shy of 50° and the fish were active. 50° by the way is a magical number for fancy looking carp. At temperatures above 50° the fish’s metabolism increases enough that they can support digestion. You can assume that what they eat today will go through their system in about three days time, quicker as the water warms up. But as the temps drop below 50° they slip back into their torpor, and their digestive systems slows, or shuts down, and any food left in the gut begins to rot, and well it’s a bad scene.
I’m anxious to feed them, it’s fun, they loose their shyness and become very active, ravenous actually. But it won’t happen until I am confident that the water temps will exceed the magic number, probably another couple months. During that stretch in December when we had the six inches of ice on the pond, I figured we were going to have some fatalities. All the Koi and the Comets (gold fish) came through fine or so it seems. I had a bunch of ‘mosquito fish’ in the pond as well but they are no more.
Sometime last summer we had a ‘blessed event’ in the pond, though I suspect most of the fish assumed it was a caviar buffet. I noticed in November that there were a few very tiny, light colored fish darting among the plants. I figured the odds of seeing them after the thaw was slim to none. Three of them made it, and I think I know how they survived:
In the pond I have a couple underwater accent lights. One of them is right outside my office window, and as I look out there, right this moment, I can see three little fishes staring into the light. That light must put off a little bit of warmth because, every night when the sun goes down these three leave their daytime hiding spot among the plants in the lilly basket and head up to the light. They’ve made it through the worst the weather has to offer, and they are actually starting to grow. I think the light, (and the warmth it puts out) also helps algae grow in the immediate vicienty. So they have to be in baby fish heaven, basking under the heatlamps while munching their way to summer.
They'll have to keep an eye out for the assistant pond keeper however:
Back to the gift from El Nino:
Last week I came home ealry on Thursday thinking there would be enough daylight to get my first "after work' ride of the year in. I got a little carried away though, I rode for three hours and got home after dark, about 6:30. I guess, even if it is a sunny day I need to remember that it’s still February.
I made a nice loop, 'upwind' (good for training, ugh) to Bordeaux road. As I reached the ponit where the road goes up, the sun slipped behind the ridge, and like some lifeless, airless planet in outer space the temperature plunged. I thought I would be able to generate enough heat on the climb but I had to stop and put my thermal vest on before I even started the ‘up there’ portion, and I still wished I had more layers. Once on top I could see both Mt Rainier and the stub of the summit of Mt St Helens. A pale blue sliver of moon hung low in the sky, just above the black silhouette of fir and hemlock on the ridge. Descending along Cedar creek, was like standing in front of a fan in the walk in freezer. About half way down I surprised a coyote on the road, he never heard me coming until I was right on top of him. He let out a little yip and dissolved into the forest.
Then, knowing that rain is on the way I decided to take the big horse into work on the car today and ride home. Mrs C and I work in the same building so this is a great arangement, we can alternate when we want. I know you hard core commuters are probably smirking, but it's about 27 miles one way and in my current condition it would be a lot of riding time going both ways every day.
So another first for the year, and it was pleasant. It was sunny but the air was cool, and the big suprise was there wasn't much wind. I figured if it was only 27 miles I should see if I could hammer the whole thing. I worked hard going up from Black Lake to Delphi, and then the slog up Waddell. These two hills really chewed a hole in my average time, but once past there I just put my head down and pushed. Fortunately that punishing wind that usually ambushes me on the second part of the route failed to make an appearance. Fast for me, I covered the distance in under 2 hours (woo hoo!)
If your still shoveling the drive way or salting your parklng spot, you have my sympathy. Hang in there, better days are coming.
Say, I was cleaning out in the shop last week, sorting, ordering, (for the mother of all garage sales this summer) and discarding flood damaged treasure when I ran across this little bit of good fortune rattling around in the bottom of a mud stained box:
In Paris, this is enough to get you a small bottle of Perrier at a trendy street side café, but if you are in the lunch line at the Tintineac control, it’ll get you a big platter of overcooked pasta with bland sauce, perhaps a serving of some overcooked white fish, a big pile of haricots, and maybe a dollop of spinach. Believe me, haute cuisine it is not, but it’ll taste great.
I threw most of the stuff in the box out (flood damaged) but the coins went into my passport wallet, in case, you know, I find myself in the lunch line in Tintiniac some day.