December 18th, 2013

krazy koati

Small fry, get back in the shallow water

We had some threads of hope. While we were suffering from below-freezing weather there were forecasts of a couple days above zero in less than a week. If we were lucky the pond surface might melt, and we could get a couple days to try catching them, if they had survived. We looked out anxiously at the pond every day, and at the temperature, and ... waited.

The warm spell finally came, and the ice on the pond surface started to break up, with the help of sunlight and warmth and boiling water poured on the ice's surface. It took days, with regression in the below-freezing temperatures overnight, but with the help of grabbing some chunks of ice and tossing it over to the side of the pond --- producing a stack of ice panes that bewildered the local squirrel population --- we finally got some clear water. We could set out the minnow trap as well as a new mesh designed to catch bigger fish. But the clear waters would only last a few days before the temperature would drop back below freezing and probably for the whole winter.

We didn't get any. Not in the minnow trap, none in the bigger trap. We didn't see the dark fish, either. We'd had to turn off the main filter, so the water was getting dirtier, and in the reflections of the overcast skies and the leafless trees some fish who were nearly black to start with were just impossible to see. But there is some hope: I did see several baby fish, and while I couldn't net them, the fact that they survived the draining of the pond, the shock of the shallow water partially freezing, and the refilling of the pond with all-new water is probably suggestive of good chances for the adult dark fish.

As it is, though, we have to just hope that the dark fish survived the pond-draining (though that we didn't see their corpses during the brief melt is also surely hopeful) and the new water, and that they've survived the surface freezing over, and that the pond doesn't freeze too deep this winter for them. This is a lot to hope for, but the baby fish's survival is at least something.

Meanwhile, the seven adult fish and four baby fish we were able to bring in spent a couple days hiding at the base of the tub and finally came out, swimming all over their new circumstances. They've taken to eating almost as heartily as they did out in the pond during the summer. And I admit a lasting glee in going down to do laundry or something, coming up, and saying, ``Dear, there are fish in the basement!''

Trivia: The undersea telegraph cable from England to India running through the Red Sea, which failed in 1859 had cost the British government £800,000 to lay. Source: How The World Was One: Beyond The Global Village, Arthur C Clarke.

Currently Reading: Degrees Kelvin: A Tale Of Genius, Invention, and Tragedy, David Lindley.