Schubart: Pond Humor

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Commentator Bill Schubart is enjoying his newly dug pond, but the
project has raised a few challenges for those thinking of building a
pond which he will share with us.

recently dug a pond in the retired pasture next to our house. It
raised some questions, the most common of which is, "Is the
bottom yucky?" I have learned to dismiss the question with a
simple lie, saying only that we used hard wood flooring for the
bottom. If the person is older, I just say the bottom is linoleum.
This seems to satisfy most people since we decided to sidestep the
issue of "yucky bottoms" altogether by building elaborate
stone steps into the pond. We might have considered one of those
stair climbers that seniors install in their homes, but it’s said
that they pose a significant risk of electrocution when installed in
In truth, the pond bottom is yucky. The bottoms
of all ponds are yucky unless one uses flooring, which, I suspect,
makes it hard for fish to feed. We were advised by the pond excavator
of the habitat needs of the trout we planned to stock the pond with.
Trout are very private and like shade. He suggested I place large
rocks in the bottom for them to hide in. Being somewhat obsessive, I
built a trout castle out of stone. It’s kind of a low slung raised
ranch with plenty of privacy to encourage discrete breeding and the
raising of little smelts.

A grumpy conservative friend of mine
asked about the regulatory hurdles I had to fight to get permission
to dig the pond. Honestly, they were remarkably few. We had to fill
out a one-page sheet detailing our plans for the pond and submit it
to the design review board with a blank check.

Our nearest
neighbors signed off on the deal when we gave them permission to have
their two pink flamingoes and a lawn chair by the pond. Only a few
showed up for the hearing: a wild turkey who said nothing but took
copious notes, two does who wanted to know if we planned to post the
land around the pond, a mud hen who claimed ancient nesting rights
and a hippy farmer seeking to retain his "strolling of the
heifers" right-of-way.

I also get asked if there are
snapping turtles, water snakes, or leeches in the pond. We took an
innovative approach to these perennial pond-owner problems. I had a
number of three-inch-high enamel traffic signs made with a universal
reptile symbol inside a circle with a diagonal line through it. The
growing number of personal injury attorney’s business cards tacked to
trees around the pond, however, has become an eyesore.

last thing for pond owners, be sure and reset your Google privacy
settings for Google Earth. The You-tube videos of me skinny-dipping,
though funny, are embarrassing.


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