Have I mentioned the pond? Hubby, sweetheart that he is, liked the idea of a pond, but not the round, Roman-bath-style (rather out of place, really) pond which came with the house. He naturally wanted to improve on the idea. So, now we have a pond which covers an entire third of the unwooded part of the backyard. He admits to grandiosity creep on any number of levels, and this pond is truly grand. I, of course, turn it into a gardening experience, and play with the waterlillies, water hyacinths, and iris.
Then there are the fish. When hubby moved into the house, there were several nice sized Koi in the Roman bath, along with numerous small orange, white, and black fish. However, there is this great blue heron who considers our pond to be his own personal buffet. We lost two of the beautiful Koi we started with, along with many of the smaller fish, regardless of the various and creative ways we attempted to keep the heron away from the pond. (I will note we have not yet tried a shotgun, but I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought about it. It's the darn federal fines and potential prison sentence that keeps us hesitating.)
Funny thing is, after we finished the pond, people now give us fish. One such fish giver was an elderly lady who couldn't take care of hers anymore, and somehow convinced my brother-in-law to first ask us if we'd take them, and then to transport her "few fish" to our pond. We were away for the weekend when the fish came to our house. We got back and our new pond looked like a fish stadium during a sell-out game. Hubby called his brother, and we learned that we had just acquired 44--count 'em, forty four new fish. (Our fish count before the new additions was already in the mid-30's.) There were two Koi and the rest were fat orange goldfish.
I eMailed a plea for help to my office to try to get anyone to take some, but no one could. We worried about the filtration system, adequate oxygenation, overpopulation, the price of fish food.... One thing we did not think about was the heron. All that natural selection "survival of the fittest" stuff must be true, because over the next several weeks, most of the really fat, apparently slow, bright orange goldfish disappeared, courtesy of the dreaded heron. Sorry for the fish, but I guess things work out for the best in the end. Now all we have to do is convince the heron that the buffet is closed!