Wednesday, May. 05, 2010
Dear Diary:

2010 is my last year in my 50's. Next year the Marnometer will roll over to a number that starts with six and ends with zero.

You might think that someone approaching such relatively august years would have achieved oh, I don't know, perhaps a certain gravitas, a certain maturity.

I considered that as I picked my butt off the bottom of my pond, hauled up my sodden, saggy, algae stained underwear and continued to play with my new waterfall.

Best. Toy. Ever.

Last weekend the spousal unit temporarily hooked up the biological filter for the pond, which meant that we could start water running over the falls. You can well imagine my giddiness.

For years prior to us actually building this pond I haunted pond forums, absorbing the musings of folks who'd already been through the experience. Two themes appeared over and over:

1) I wish I'd made a bigger pond
2) I wish I'd bought a more powerful pump so I'd have a more spectacular waterfall

Thus, when it came time for us to build our pond, I suggested a size that the spousal unit thought was ridiculously large, but built anyway. The pond forum guys were right. Build more than you think you want to avoid disappointment.

Next up, the pump. Buying a pond pump involves ridiculous amounts of mathematics. You have to consider the volume of your pond so you get proper water turn over, how high the pump has to lift the water to get it over the falls, how much hose travels from the pump to the waterfall and how many turns the hose takes. Each factor affects how strong a pump you need.

I did all the math, consulted pump charts and decided to go for a bit more pump than I might need. After all, I did not want a wimpy waterfall.

We dropped the pump in the pond, gave it a few hours to acclimatize and plugged it in. Ah, how to describe the flow that came over our waterfall? Well let me put it to you this way:


Oh man, it was loud as in fire hose shooting into the pond loud. This Niagara Falls of water rocketed down the rock and crashed into the water below. The spousal unit shot me The Look. The look that said, "I should never, ever let this woman make important technical decisions. Never."

We can install a valve between the pump and the biological filter to cut down the pump's output. But that would involve more expense and work on the spousal unit's side and frankly, he wants the pond to be over.

When in doubt, bluff. I confidently assured him that I could "tune" the waterfall to be quieter without any involvement on his part. The response was much eye-rolling and sotto voce muttering that was unintelligible thanks to the roar of the falls, which is probably just as well. There are some things better left unheard.

And, to tell you the truth I wasn't exactly sure I could make it that much quieter but, well, like I said, when in doubt, bluff.

The only way to quiet the waterfall was to divert the water so that it fell in smaller rivulets for shorter distances on to rock instead of water. Water is splashy and loud, rocks break up the sound.

Splashy is so a word.

This morning I peeled off my sneakers, rolled up my jeans and waded into the pond to start setting rock. Scramble down into the pond, set a rock, listen to the sound. If the sound is good, scramble out of the pond, stand back, make sure the rock looks good against everything else.

If it does, great. If not, go again. Keep adding rocks to keep breaking up the water flow. Keep scrambling in and out of the pond to survey the look of it.

Well, eventually my jeans managed to wick enough water up that they got sodden. Wet clothes chill you, so I shed them on the side of the pond. Because I was barefoot and not paying attention I slipped and landed butt down into the pond, chest deep in water and frogs. The bottom of the pond is covered with algae. Although there aren't any fish in the pond, the algae has the added bonus of smelling fishy.

There is no hope of dignity or gravitas in a situation like this. You lift yourself up out of the water, hitch up your saggy, waterlogged, algae stained underwear which smell vaguely fishy and keep setting rocks.

I tell myself that dignity is a highly overrated commodity.

I'm not done yet, but I've already reduced the noise by about a third. I can see that if I can just work in a few more rocks to break up the water coming down the chute a bit more, I'll have quieted it considerably. I like the sounds it makes now, a mix of high and low notes.

I love playing in the water.

(That boxy thing in the back behind the falls covered by landscape fabric is the biological filter. We haven't figured out exactly how we're going to hide that. Efforts will be made next week.)

Next up? I've ordered some pond plants. Oh yes, it's not enough for me to garden on terra firma, now I'm going to garden in water.

I can't begin to tell you how much I'm looking forward to this.


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