๐ŸŒŠ Pond Fever III ๐ŸŽ‹

I started out to write about the end of my pond and I got caught up in the beauty of Havasu Falls that my web browser app opens up with sometimes.

Havasu Falls by Gonzo Fan

These falls immediately soothe me, inspire me and make me think about life… I think about the rock, so distinctive, like the values that we build our lives upon, the water like the beliefs that either healthy or toxic nonetheless run our day to day lives, the plants like goals and feeling that grow from our beliefs and the air like our thoughts that waft here and there, emotions like storms or sunshine painting everything with different palettes of color.

A few months ago during the pandemic I took a Blue Zone Life Purpose Workshop and I came up with something that was very unclear,

To change physical spaces ext to alter mental spaces towards lokahi/harmony for the benefit of people who feel stuck in a mental loop of stress and negativity.

I didn’t really like the way it is phrased, but I still feel the concept is more or less right for me.

There were some calling cards used to help discover purpose, mine were:

X 24 Composing Things Artistic
X 27 Writing Things Artistic
X 47 Growing Things Realistic
X 48 Shaping Environments Realistic
X 52 Building Things Realistic

I enjoyed the workshop, but left it feeling unclear still, a few weeks ago I found a beautiful article about Japanese Dry Rock stacking or Ano Zumi, and the beauty of this place really stayed with me:

Takeda Castle Ruins in Asago City
Ano Zumi (็ฉดๅคช็ฉ) Dry Stacked Stone Walls
It becomes a real castle in the sky.

Uploaded Image
Mooney Falls by Aurorae

Going back to the falls in Arizona, a flood ruined what was natural about them, and they had to be “recreated” with man made techniques, so what looks to be natural isn’t 100% natural. It’s nature inspired, but there is an interplay between humans “making natural things” for we are a part of nature too… though a natural style and an urban or modern style are different, we can’t be 100% divorced from nature.

This is the “finished pond” but I’m sure it’s going to keep evolving, water lilies are being grown for it right now and it possible will be bridged later.
Before the pond.
After the pond.
Zoom In
Finished Pond, With Pump Off, Looks Very Natural To Me
One day there will be shade here from the in ground avocado tree.
A planted rock to sit and watch the river.
The waterfall box is hidden by a plastic soil bag, an old blanket covered in mud, and a bonsai with clover, it’s a mental tribute to Takeda Castle.
The rock staking is a fusion, it’s dry rock staking, but I also used waterfall foam, since I have dogs, chickens and kids, I wanted the extra safety, though I plan to do more rock staking without the foam elsewhere.

I’m having trouble updating this post, probably something to do with the data size from the pictures vs my free word press host, so I’ll wrap it up, I like the pond in the end, I think it showcases nature even though it isn’t natural. I’ve seen it draw my kids into playing with “nature” that makes me happy. Seeing the way they interact with it, it did meet my objectives for it. I wanted it to be something different people, with different tastes could enjoy. There are strawberries that will grow down from “the mountain” that supports the waterfall spillway box, there is ample room for many yamadori bonsai to grow on the lava rock as a planters, there is some formality of Modo Grass, but plenty of hybrid features such as the avocado. There is so much of the landscaping “undone” yet the plumbing/electrical/water features are “done” so I feel okay being done with the “Of Mice and Men Garden Pond 1.0”, it led me to want to grow many more bonsai, which I have failed at many times in the past.

Thinking about this garden, a failed moss garden led me to a grass lawn, led me to this border pond, I’m sure this border pond will lead to more rock staking and a larger koi pond further back, but it led me directly to retry bonsai growing and watermelon growing both… so it’s a really twisted road with blurred lines between gardening, farming, bonsai, landscaping, and rock staking, but I guess that’s my path in life, a windy one.

It takes a long time as a child to get away from who you are, and a long time as an adult to get back there, but maybe the journey is needed instead of wasted because maybe we need the tools and strength we gain along the way?


๐ŸŒŠ Pond Fever II ๐Ÿ‘ทโ€โ™€๏ธ

There is a natural rock cave there in the distance, I thought it would be a good place for a pond.
Same picture different focus: A damsel fly my daughter rescued on a knott weed flower.
Digging the front section of a pond, intending a very shallow and easy reflection pond.
I was checking for room to put a bridge through in the future, and planning to put the pump in back.
I decided to use the soil to form an island, the gravel to make paths in the back, and continue to the rock cave to “save money” by having one pump instead of two.
It took a lot of digging, because stones were everywhere and I had to haul the gravel out of the site, which didn’t have space on the pathway, nor lawn. Rather than just dump it I put it into a looping pathway, which sometimes meant moving trees or piles of weeds ext.
I was going to skip shelves and have a very shallow pond, but shelves do provide more stability and room for plants… so I did more digging to get some shelves and reversed my plans to have the pump by the cave to instead have it by the path, which meant changing the slope to get deeper by the path.
The hay helped give some stability to the loose gravel.
I sized and folded the big liner to minimize where the folds would trap debris.
I poured some mortar I had laying around from a few years ago, it was very lumpy… but using some landscape edging helped me keep it straight and clean up the shape of the shelves. This bond board lets you use heavier stones in a more stable way.
I put an underlayment of old cardboard and hay under the liner, then the liner, than some old blankets, the started placing some rocks to put pressure against each other to provide stability.
I added more rocks, 100 hand loads at a time (maybe 10 small rocks, or 2 medium or 1 large), and made a heart shaped pond in the top right. I added pond foam for security as well as backfilling with tiny stones and gravel. The pond foam is difficult for me.
We got some Mondo Grass (yay) and I put in more rocks and more foam…
Working on moving the water feature pump over, routing the electrical under the path, routing 1″ tube to the hill and 1/2″ tubing to the small heart shaped pond.
Defined the shelves of the middle pond and poured mortar into the second section using landscaping edging again.
Placed cardboard and paper bag underlayment with some scrap foam from my daughter’s new desk (upcycled trash) and the liner, than an old gray blanket and started the rocks.
Dug a shallow trench hid the plumbing and electrical together, put batteries in the LEDs, set up a fog maker near the cave, routed the electrical and plumbing under the pathway, planted the avocado tree, moved the mondo grass over a bit and kept adding rocks and gravel into the lower and middle pond.

There were times I wanted to give up, but buying the supplies kept me going, I wanted to finish using the parts I already had and though it was a lot of work I didn’t want to leave it half done.

Today is Saturday, I hope to do an entire section tomorrow, the top section where the waterfall box will sit. I haven’t dug that, even though I did mortar a section, I need to dig the center out of the mortar, form a shape, place the liner and underlayment, place the water fall spillway, build a box around the spillway, check the waterflow of the top pond and the waterfall, and fill in a few gaps in the rocks of the middle pond.

I’d like to leave Monday for clean up and Tuesday to pick up my dad from the airport, but time will tell how long it will take me to place all the rocks…

I cut my wrist early on when a bucket of gravel slipped and the plastic rim caught me, it was okay, I mixed mortar without gloves, and smoothed gravel, tiny holes appeared on my hand, I put a lot of Vaseline on my hands since then and wore gloves the second mortar pour, it was okay, I fixed the pump of a different system and cut myself on that on my fingers, it was okay, but I don’t have time to stop and still make my deadline.

My kids drew on the wall with a metallic adult marker one day (and the both dogs), two days later with a black sharpie, and my son threw our cell phone into the koi pond… so there is a price to pay.

Overwhelmingly I enjoyed the work and found it more fun than lifting weights and more relaxing than watching movies. Usually I hate my own work, but I actually like the way my rock placement is coming out and I’m happy with it. I watched a lot of pond making videos and Japanese landscaping videos and researched Shinto and it’s influence on the meaning of the garden, when I was too tired to work I was reading or watching.

The world’s best Japanese garden outside of Japan, the gardener was stabbed out of racism and he vowed to never return.
A Japanese how to show, it shows many construction techniques I may try in the future, but I was watching to get an idea of how to do the pathway around the pond, which is small. In Japanese gardens the paths tend to curve, it was believed evil spirts walk straight lines, but in modern times it’s like an invitation to slow down.

To Be Continued…


๐ŸŒŠ Pond Fever ๐Ÿ’ƒ

Across from the lawn coming in, there is was a rock pile, today I moved it and started digging a shallow pond.
$100 on Amazon on Sale Pond Kit

This is the pond kit I have coming, it got really good and bad results, some people really liked it, others did not, but I am not looking for a deep pond so the pump may work for me when it wouldn’t work for others. I was willing to take a chance on it.

Eric explains the basics about the digging phase of pond building. Thank you!

Watching Eric dig got me excited, because he digs, the hole gets bigger, it goes fast. For one thing I have a different environment, I hit tons of lava rock big and small and have parasites that need to be jarred found under those rocks, and touched one and got all slimy so had to scrub my hands in salt for awhile… but I see the speed Eric works at and I want to match it, I want to push myself to be consistent and do a bit everyday and try to beat the shipping of my pond liner to have the hole ready.

Eric’s way to dig, get the spade shovel, put your food on it (obvious right? I didn’t use to), then put the dirt in the wheel barrow pointed the way you are going to move it so you don’t have to turn it (obvious right? I didn’t use to) very helpful actually, he showed how the spade sculpts the sides and a flat shovel can level the bottom, as well as what shelves look like in real life. I really liked the video.

It feels like I didn’t get to do as much as I wanted, but at least I got a start, the rock pile is gone, the first shelf is started. I watched a video today that said dig everything the level 1, which for me is 1″ below the wood path, then I will did level 2, about 4″ below the wood path, then level 3 about 6″ below the wood path and then a small 8″ area around the pump that returns the water.
A New Path for the Wheat Hill

The material I dug out was mostly red gravel and some dirt that I carried uphill to lay on a particularly hard to walk area of our garden, it has spiky sticks that poke you, which are left over from dead fern vines, so… you could say it was an uphill battle… but carrying the gravel gave me a break from digging so my muscles could switch between digging which is hard on the back and carrying which is legs… that actually kept me from getting tired, I just had to stop to serve meals and play with my kids. This path is new, from what was not needed in the pond area.

I watched this video with Carl, wow, he is so legit of a pond builder. It was really helpful. I’ve built two tiny ponds in the past, but Carl had all sorts of tips that I never knew about, like filling the gaps with landscaping foam, using soft fabric under the liner, allowing very artistic and intuitive rock placement, how to do the lights, the way he runs the electrical, just in general he is at a professional level and I am at a amateur level, but there were some things he did that I could copy, like adding the foam, switching to 1/2″ corrugated tubing which kinks less.

After watching Carl’s video I spent $160 more on materials… tubing, pump, water lotus seeds, more pond liner, a fogger, landscape foam, but I think that in the end the difference between a cheesy looking fountain and a really nice one is reflected in taking more time to place rocks aesthetically and or using better materials.

My back can feel the digging now, perhaps I should have filled the tires of the wheel barrel with air so I didn’t have to carry the gravel uphill in buckets… but life is never perfect.

I’m reading “The Most Powerful Goal Achievement System in the World” book by Mike Pettigrew right now and I really like it, I don’t read it everyday, but I do try out the activities and it has helped me believe in myself a bit instead of thinking “I can’t buy landscape stuff, because I won’t be able to figure out the plumbing,” or “I never finish what I start”.

I’m really excited for this project, because although it’s going to sound all crazy it feels like God speaks to me in the garden, or the garden does, and just makes suggestions, such as put a pond here, the edge of the pond will be here… it’s very like “Field of Dreams”-ish because I’m not religious.

Maybe it’s just me connecting with an inner aesthetic I was out of touch with, but I feel right when I’m arranging certain things kind of like an internal feng shui meter or something. It feels like things kind of vibrate when they are out of order and then just stop doing that and are like magnetically in line with where they are, as if they “snap” where they should be like a magnet to a fridge. It’s pretty weird to talk about, but that’s what free speech is there for… might as well use it while it lasts.

Mike Pettigrew had me do a vision board, which I don’t normally, because I thought people who did those believed things would just magically happen… but it’s not for that, it’s just to feel like you can actually do those things, then you still hammer out the logistics and do the work, but it makes it feel like you can do it, which is part of having the confidence to start.

I used the MyGoals App, it includes a vision board, life purpose, gratitude and affirmation section, I like it, simple, free, easy to use.

The goals I set were grow pumpkin (in progress, just got the first flower), grow watermelon (have a sprout, but not going that well this year), read to kids (going super well, we made it a habit, but it’s not 100% consistent, but it’s most the time and very fun now), clean home (ha ha ha… I do the floors everyday, vacuum and steam mop, I pick up most of the toys… but there could be more done, improved though), plan (this one I want to do more, it falls behind the others), respect my family (sounds vague, but actually going really well, started PCIT training and it helps a ton), Tai Chi Master (going okay, practiced more this year than ever before).

So all my goals are going pretty well, but it’s not that they are completely done. I also exercised once in my banana costume and posted that to my gym website as B-5O.

But I still feel a bit overwhelmed that I don’t have a TB test lined up for my daughter yet, she will need that to enter school and there is a sense I don’t know what is going on in my own life, which I hate.

Hopefully the pond fixes everything somehow?