Writers are delicate creatures. I can’t work well when taking antibiotics, when stressed, when on painkillers, etc. And the load of stress is slowly easing. The pond is so much help in this I can’t express—just the sound of the water, our funny collection of anime-named fish, the visit of the daily dragonfly, and the wind in the hawthorne leaves—sure, the other side of the fence is a major city arterial, but y’know, you hear what you want to hear, and I’d rather hear the waterfall.

Midsouthcon wrote to say, very kindly, they were going to try to negotiate our cats into the hotel, so if they can, we’re going to go. We have them in a 4×5’x3 rolling cage that contains them, their litter, their food and water, and there’s just no way they damage things, except the obligatory shedding of cat fur. But even that is minimal, mostly confined to our petting them.  Anybody who has to travel with cats, a collapsible ferret cage is the ticket: shelves to sit on, enough room, and escape-proof: if it can reliably contain ferrets, it has a fighting chance with cats.

What else? Oh, for those of you who love a waterfall but don’t want the risk and admittedly some fuss (or effort digging) a major pond, have I got a deal for you! You know those mini-caissons/compartments they sink into your lawn around your sprinkling control center? Well…it’s a rectangular bottomless plastic box about a foot square, up and down. You dig an 18″ deep hole in your lawn 6′ wide. Circular. You lay down a square of rubber pondliner and trim the edges with scissors. You set the bottomless box down in the middle of it. You then get a pump and a hose and a stack of rock. Pile the rock around the hose, sticking straight up, and fill the whole basin you’ve made with rock of any size, gravel, rubble, skull-sized rock, whatever.

Fill the basin until you see water in that square box come up over the pump, switch it on, lid the caisson, and pile more rocks over it—some you can remove to check the water level. Voila! Water flows from the hose, down over the stack of rocks, back into the gravel, disappearing…but maintaining that water table under the gravel because the pond liner won’t let it seep away. Periodically top off with the garden hose. Alternatively, you can make a fountain, by creating a L with 1/2 inner diameter PVC pipe, then setting concrete around it, either with stones or not. Connect your hose to that bottom pipe, and water gushes out the top pipe, which can be capped with a rock to hide the pipe and divert the flow.

I saw this rig at a company that makes concrete fountains. And it is soooo easy to make I thought I would tell you guys about it. It can be made any size, but the one I describe is adequate for a chest-high fountain and an 850 gallon per hour pump. You could miniaturize it down to slightly bigger than a flowerpot if you like. It’s also fairly conservative of water, because the rock shields it from the sun.