How To Achieve Sore Muscles in 3 Easy Steps

The large goldfish pond needed an update with an improved water feature and pump/filtration system. It has been losing water and the cattails were out of control.

Step 1. Cut out cattails.

This is easier said than done. Cattails develop a gnarly set of roots that entwine anything in their path. Imagine 18 inch thick water laden roots wrapping around softball size rocks. Add in a 40 degree air temperature, 25 degree windchill and cold water. We cut, we tugged, we pulled with a winch. The cattails are now history.

Step 2. Dig holes.

The skimmer and waterfall basin were dug in, leveled and plumbed. This required pulling back the liner, excavating a cavity just the right size for the equipment, installing and attaching plumbing. See #1 above for air temperature and windchill. At least this step did not involve being in the water.

Step 3. Move rocks.

Rocks around the pond were replaced and arranged to cover the liner. These rocks range from basketball to golf ball size with weight varying accordingly. Picture yourself (or us) kneeling and bending to move rocks. First out of the way, then back into place. Some of these moves gave a whole new meaning to the term “rock and roll”.

Bonus Step 4. Refill

Now that the equipment is in place, holes in the liner sealed, and pond plants back under control, the pond is ready to bring the water level back up. One final step to complete before full operation is to seal the waterfall. Minimum required temperature is 65 degrees, so that will wait a few days.

There you have it. Sore muscles abound, but the end result will be worth the effort.

Preparing the Farm for Spring


Preparing for Spring

Even with temperatures ranging in the 20’s and 30’s, there are tasks that can be done outside to prepare for the upcoming season.

Equipment repairs

The garden tiller has a tine replaced and the starter rope handle fixed. One of the chainsaws has a new bar installed and the chain on the other was sharpened. Tires on the Mule and tiller have been inspected and air added as needed.



A thorough cleaning of the greenhouse, a bit of organization and a new system for electricity is giving the greenhouse life for one more season. The top vent window also required repair since it blew off and was damaged in winter winds. Research is underway for the style and function that will be most useful for the next greenhouse. Rural King had seed potatoes and onion sets in stock so all garden seeds and plants are now purchased. The potatoes have been cut into slips and placed in mesh bags to dry out.

Martin House

An additional martin house was erected near the orchard. These fine feathered friends will help keep the bug population in check.


General clean up

Pampas grass has been cut down to allow for new growth. Most of the pond plants have been removed in preparation for a reset of the pond. Inside the house, organizing and decluttering have taken place.

Next Steps

-Transplant the garden plants into larger pots in the greenhouse.
-Check the bees and feed more winter patties if needed.
-Install a new skimmer, pump and waterfall in the goldfish pond.
-Till the gardens when dry enough.

All the Buzz

Last week we attended Bee School sponsored by the Crossroads Beekeepers out of Effingham. There were several displays and vendors in addition to an excellent workshop format. We attended the section on Managing the Established Hive and found out we are doing many things right. We got some good ideas about things to do in the future. Kudos to Crossroads Beekeepers for an informative day.

Both of our hives are doing quite well. The clusters are in the top box of the hive. We added winter patties ordered through Dadant and a spacer that gives the bees room to feed on these patties.



We continue to study how to improve the products from the hives. Potential exists for more honey, cut comb and establishing more hives.

As Spring approaches there will be more activity on the Farm. Early garden plant starts continue to thrive in the basement grow station. The greenhouse window has been repaired. An addtional martin house has been assembled. We are ready for spring and the chance to be outside more.

Leave a comment about your preparations for Spring.