Force stopped in its tracks
Frozen moment magnified
It is not the weather to be outside messing around with water, but the Siberian temperatures are playing havoc with the pond. I have been managing to keep the surface fairly clear of ice for the fish, but all was not well when I arrived at my son’s home.
The water level had dropped dramatically and the pond needed to be topped up urgently. It is pretty much heron-proof as a rule, but when the levels drop too far, the big birds can land and fish from the slope we created to allow accident-prone animals and birds to get out if they fell in the water.
Unfortunately, the fifty foot length of hosepipe was also frozen solid and had no chance of thawing. I would have dragged the hose into the sun and taken a chance, until I noticed the large, object at the far end of the deck shimmering brilliant orange-gold.
The poor fish was already frozen completely solid. It wasn’t the heron… you can tell where their beaks have been and anyway, he would not have left such a good breakfast. The only thing I know of that would have done so is a well-fed cat… and one of my son’s cats is a huntress known for watching the fish and trying to catch them. We think that where the herons had failed, Boots had succeeded.
While they are alive and moving, she will play with any creature that she catches, ignoring them as soon as they are dead. The poor fish had barely a mark on him, but he had to have been fished out and carried a fair distance to get to where I found him.
Unwilling to put any more fish at risk, I wrestled the frozen hosepipe into the shower… not an easy task. Draping the fittings in the basin full of warm water, feeding the hose through a bucket of hot water and running the shower on everything else, I managed to get the thing thawed, reconnected and set the pond to filling.
The ‘full-body ice-pack’, as my son put it, didn’t help much, though. The spine I had just begun to be able to move after a week of painful immobility, is now back to square one. But at least the fish are safe again. Checking the waterfall at the head of the articfical stream that runs across the garden, I found where at least some of the missing water was going…
As the water splashes and falls, it was freezing instantly, making icicles, sculpting fantastic shapes and encasing whole plants and tiny fronds of moss in pure crystal. It was worth feeling like an ice cube just to see so much otherworldly beauty in miniature.