austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Small fry, dancing for a penny

The problem in catching fish is that fish do not want to be caught, even if it's in their own interest. And our pond is too small to let them winter over easily, but large enough that the fish can easily get out of our reach. So the fish-catching would have to take a couple tacks. One was setting out a minnow trap, a small wire cage which looks remarkably like a demonstration of a hyperbola, which fish can swim into without quite realizing but which they don't know how to escape. This was good for catching one of the baby fish. We also went at it with nets. This let us get a couple of the adult fish, but, the pond was deep enough most could still escape.

So we had to drain the pond, hoping that with less depth we'd be better able to grab fish. This was more successful; when the pond was down to four-to-six inches we were able to scoop up all but four of the adult fish and some more of the baby fish. But there were still two brightly-colored adult fish and two of the copper-colored dark fish having escaped us, as well as an unknown number of babies. We set the pond to drain a little bit more, to where there'd be almost no space for them to dive. Then, well, we went inside to warm up before making our last big catching attempt.

What we failed to consider was that it was below freezing, and with so much less depth the remaining pond was going to freeze fast. When we went back out bunny_hugger found the two bright adult fish on their sides and gasping, distressed. We got them into the fairly warm water in the basement tub fast, but we couldn't find the dark fish. They had disappeared into the mud.

It was getting dark. We really had no choice but to refill the pond as quick as possible and hope for the best. This led to a side catastrophe as the garden hose had frozen up, enough ice inside that no water would flow through. We fixed that by putting the hose in the bathtub and drowning it in hot water, but, we had to fear for the remaining fish. The two fish we could see were distressed by the low water level and the ice cold and ... well, how is it we couldn't find two other fish, no smaller, in a pond that had no space for them?

Trivia: John Stevens established the world's first scheduled steam ferry service, between Hoboken and New York City, with a ferry named the Juliana. Source: Railroads of New Jersey: Fragments of the Past in the Garden State Landscape, Lorett Treese.

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

PS: What Do I Need To Pass This Class?, an exercise in somewhat useful algebra.


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