New Foreigner Book!


a few hardcovers and pbs available from Closed Circle, signed. Latest: Moonlover and the Fountain of Blood, Jane Fancher short story. Chernevog, part 2 of the Rusalka trilogy co-written by CJ and Jane; and Orion's Children, a tetralogy from Lynn.

Snow is coming down in huge pieces…

A real picturebook snow.

We thought we were going to go out to dinner.

I don’t think this is likely.

17 comments to Snow is coming down in huge pieces…

  • 82Eridani

    It doesn’t look like you’ll get much and come on, you have a Subaru!

  • WOL

    I woke up to a dusting of snow Tuesday morning. Bits of it are still about, particularly where the low angle of the sun casts shadows of the house into the back yard (which is on the north side of the house, which is why we have (algae? moss?) green concrete). For a couple of nights it was down into the teens and only in the 40’s during the day, but it’s warmed back up to the 30’s at night and the 60’s in the daytime. The wind, however, has been cold and razor sharp.
    Question, CJ. An English friend has a gold fish in an outside pond. The pond has been icing over the last couple of days — are goldfish like carp with their metabolism slowing down during the freezing weather? I don’t know how big a goldfish it is — no doubt size is also a factor in survivability of cold weather — as is size of the pond (about bathtub size). She is not a fish person, but she has this small outside pound which harbors frogs, which she encourages for slug and insect control in her garden. She has 5 cats and a gaggle of hens with access to the pond. She took in these two gold fish, albeit unwillingly, as the alternative to her taking them was their being flushed down the loo. Not being able to keep them in the house, she put them in her pond. The little one has since disappeared (probably predated), but the larger one was still around a couple of days ago.

  • I’m not a fish person, but that size pond and that they are goldfish, I’d think an aquarium indoors is needed during the winter freeze months. A really hard freeze could completely freeze a bathtub sized pond, and I wouldn’t expect a goldfish to survive ice-cold water either. A nice indoor spot, though, hmm, I’d think the fish would need a gradual warming of the water, instead of sudden drastic temperature change. But I may be talking through the hat I’m not wearing.

  • Recalling the pond at the Japanese Garden in Spokane, which was devastated by someone putting their no-longer-wanted goldfish in the pond with the koi. Not a happy result, as the goldfish had a fungus infection for which the koi had no defense.

    I’m not sure that the goldfish would survive the winter, either, but they are a type of carp, if I recall correctly. So, who knows, depending on the depth of the water, they might go to the bottom and stay there, as long as they have oxygen. That means your friend would have to keep the ice broken up on the pond in order to get air and water mixed. My mom has a recirculating pump that kept her koi pond ice-free.

  • smartcat

    A good rule is is you have doubts about the weather stay home. After so many years of having to drive in all sorts of weather I stay home when the weather is awful

    .We didn’t do anything to our pond last year and the goldfish came through fine……and presented us with babies in the late spring! Of course last year was mild and the pond never really froze. My pond is about 3000 to 3500 gallons and three feet or more deep so it never freezes solid. Years ago my sister had a 4’x8′ pond that was 4′ deep. She assumed the goldfish would die but they were big and healthy in the spring. We will probably put in a small heater ring this year.

  • ‘Lo, everyone.

    Someone pointed out to me that getting on the road at any time is a numbers game — the more time you spend behind the wheel, the more likely something ungood will happen (the more likely *anything* will happen).

    Artificial ecosystems like gardens and aquaria can teach so much about the workings of the world. Prehistoric phenomena like coal beds (cyclical catastrophic flooding and burial of large forests), Baltic amber (a region-sized forest dying of disease) and legends of sunken islands (post-glacial submergence and flank collapses) all make more sense and greater terror once such nonlinear imbalances are witnessed on a small scale at home.

    Here in Big Sur, visitors for years have plucked plumes of pampas grass and held them out the windows of their cars like pinwheels, delighting in the spray of fine seeds as they cruise Highway 1. Pampas grass is a pretty cool-looking plant, especially so in its native paramos of the northern Andean highlands; but nothing eats it in California and it’s churning and drying every creek and watershed between Hearst Castle and Point Lobos.

    • paul

      One of ODFW’s (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife) jobs is finding where some mush-brained human who couldn’t take responsibility has released pet goldfish into natural waters and poisoning it with rotenone.

      “No, Virginia, we won’t kill Sally and Sammy, we’ll let them go in the lake, so later they’ll have kill everything in the lake.”

      The American public has become so divorced and ignorant of how things work in the real/natural world that they have disqualified themselves from making any decisions about it, and yet they do, every day.

      Got a boat? Where have you taken it? Where are you going to take it? Never heard of Quagga Mussels or Zebra Mussels, have you?

      I’m an American! I can do whatever I want, and nobody can stop me!

    • chondrite

      Even the ancient Hawaiians, who are usually held up as a model of ecological responsibility, proved the Law of Unintended Consequences: they brought rats and pigs with them on the first canoes. The rats and pigs established themselves in the wild (although the original rats were later mostly done in by the far more aggressive rats from Western sailing ships) and now are as much of an ecological problem as many Western imports. The pigs particularly root up swaths of virgin forest, destroying the native undergrowth and letting invasive species like miconia get a foothold. It might not have been so bad when they were a primary food source, but these days pigs are a problem for the DLNR.

  • I have two bathtubs recycled as little ponds. No maintenance now for awhile and drying up in summer is the worst hazard. But for many years they had goldfish and gambusia mosquitofish summer and winter, even under occasional ice.

  • CJ

    Goldfish and koi are both carp, once raised in ponds for food, until one little self-preservative fish developed spots and gold sheen. You have to be very careful to get only quarantined fish, ie, shop from ‘clean’ sources, and know your dealer. As for release into the wild, their bright color dooms them in pretty short order; or if they survive, their unculled offspring will blend back into the local carp in a number of generations. Bacteria are a problem. Poor care can let a few bad bacteria become a lot of bad bacteria, and then the owners, who have a mess on their hands and have probably gotten tired of caring for unhealthy fish some of which have died, then take their diseased survivors to a public facility and bestow the gift on everybody. If you see signs at a dealer like ‘Do not put your hands in the tank” —this is probably a good dealer. (People dipping hands in one tank after another are a disease vector—and could spread a treatable little problem in one tank into something that would close the shop.) If they have a separate quarantine facility for their new stock for 4 weeks of isolation, they ARE a good dealer.

    Re wintering-over: if your pond ices over, you need a heater. The one I use for a 5000 gallon pond is a 1250 watt rated for 600 gallons, but the pond also covers 20×15 feet: so I put the heater in the deep end near the edge rock, and the heater keeps a nice little circle open and allows co2 to vent — which is what you need. If you don’t, and your fish are large enough to raise the co2 level of the pond, they’ll suffocate.

    Re pond depth: the requirement varies. Here in Spokane, the ground doesn’t freeze very deep: about a foot is our limit. The suggested depth of 3 feet for the deep well in a koi pond gets you below the freeze line.

    A pond is oxygenated by 2 processes: first, from its surface area, where co2 goes out and oxygen goes in. A tumbling and injection of air, as in a waterfall (ours is 3 feet) also helps expand the surface area (if you flattened all those bubbles and irregularities) considerably. You can help a fish tank that’s in oxygen trouble by getting a pitcher, standing on a chair, and dipping and pouring from as much height as you can. Or by running an oxygen diffuser (a block of ceramic or wood that sends out microbubbles.)

    If the goldfish are very small, they should be fine. You can create a hole in the ice for co2 to escape by letting a child’s ball freeze in at night and by removing it during the day. DO NOT break the ice—the shock waves as you do can actually cause pain to the fish, or even kill them, in an extreme case. If you MUST get through deep ice, boil water and pour it in until you have a hole which will accomdate your ball-float. Best and least trouble is a sufficient floating pond heater. The power draw isn’t that extreme.

  • Aja Jin

    We have both goldfish and Koi — they overwinter just fine. Our pond freezes over completely from time to time, but usually not for more than a week at a time.

    • haika

      Same here on the west side of the Cascades(Washington state). Some of the goldfish I have I’ve had for over 2 decades. They have overwintered in whiskey barrel sized miniponds without a problem. No heater… circulation (shrug). Now I have stock tank sized mini-ponds in the 100 – 150g size range which I handle the same way. They spawn regularly in the spring (another shrug). I give away the offspring to manage bioload. Someday I’ll have a larger water body (I’ve got the space) but for now, goldfish and koi do just fine (grow and breed) managed this way.

      Predators: In my area, raccoons, bald eagles and ospreys, great blue herons, and river otters are the biggies. Now I cover my miniponds to prevent predation. Personally, I’ve only had great blue heron predation before I covered the ponds with wire mesh. I have had raccoons on the property but they avoid the area I’ve got my live food culture tubs and goldfish/koi because my dogs use this area for exercise etc. I’ve seen bald eagles in my Doug firs but they were paying more attention to my poultry than to my miniponds. I’m within a mile of a salmon stream but my chain link fencing is a workable deterrant to river otter incursion and the raised stock ponds help as well.

      CJ is correct in that quarantine issues are important. The biggie is a virus (a herpes virus).

  • haika

    Good info on koi herpes virus and quarantine procedures.

  • WOL

    Thanks, all. I have conveyed this information to my friend, including your ball trick, CJ. She only has the one small goldfish. Hopefully her pond is deep enough that it won’t freeze entirely. She lives near the Somerset levels in England, and I would imagine their climate is similar to the Washington state climate. As I was typing this, I was “infiltrated” and I now have a cat-sized lump underneath my lap robe. Definitely snuggle weather here. :o))

  • Growing up in Wisconsin there was a very deep and large pond back in the woods. The water was always fresh that I recall. And, the darned thing was filled with goldfish of all sizes. Totally fascinating to children. I don’t recall anyone drowning there but I do know that several of us caught holy hell for going there unsupervised. In any event, there were always fish there so I’m assuming they wintered okay… at least most of them.

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