We have a little pond that I dug in the yard outside our dining room four years ago. It’s a blobby Y shape, holding about 750 gallons of water, and has been home to various amphibians, snails, bugs and some goldfish; it’s also chock-full of water plants and bordered by a decent-sized perennial garden with some bushes thrown in (buddleia, rose, dogwood, mock orange, tree wisteria, forsythia, hydrangea). It has a small pump and waterfall, and a bench. It is a pleasant little place.
Lately, we have been serenaded by a single Western chorus frog and a couple of toads. The windows are open now and it is nice to hear the bubbling of the pond, the calls of the amphibians. It’s actually more than nice.
You see, we killed all the animals that were in the pond this winter.
Mostly inadvertently, of course. This is an instance of one’s green save-the-earth principles (let’s not waste the electricity by running the de-icer) actually have done more harm than good. In most winters, see, the pond will ice over but it won’t last long. This year it iced over and stayed that way, trapping all gases under the ice and killing all the fish and frogs. Tom pulled out close to 100 frogs and all 30 of our goldfish.
So, yes, it is great to see some creatures return. There are a few green frog tadpoles that also survived: nowhere near the 100 that are gone, surely, but there’s hope for the future.
It is an indulgence to us humans, this little pond. But by digging it, stocking it with fish, and enjoying the natural critters that come requires us to do what we can to ensure the pond critters’ health, safety and welfare. Otherwise, I need to triple the size of that little pond and make it fully natural…something I doubt I will do, given how hard it was to dig through that damned clay to begin with.