“Do you have a picture of this?”

It’s not even July 1 and our major pond structures and landscaping are done. It’s actually unsettling to have all this time to do more bike riding, hang around, relax more…the pond digger is having a little work withdrawal symptoms.

However, I can not say enough about our contractor. He promised us a July finish date and yesterday he knocked out the last project. Tim of TJU Construction manages to transform my scrawls and made up sketches into reality. He must think we’re crazy because I’ll describe a project and he’ll say “do you have a photo?” Of course not, we’re making it up as we go.

We’ve actually been talking about how to cover the upper pond pit for two years with Tim and this spring he completed a really beautiful cover that looks like a teahouse.

While I don't like netting the pond, it's better than leaving the koi out for the heron to snack upon.
While I don’t like netting the pond, it’s better than leaving the koi out for the heron to snack upon.
Walking up to the upper pond..
Walking up to the upper pond..

Tim also gave the pond digger some pointers on squaring posts and using the bamboo flats.

The decorative fence sections that are supposed to hide bead filters and other ugly but necessary equipment. We have also put in some new shrubs (hedge cotoneaster) which the garden center folks call "the cadillac of hedges" and "a dream to shear" - hmmmm
The decorative fence sections that are supposed to hide bead filters and other ugly but necessary equipment. We have also put in some new shrubs (hedge cotoneaster) which the garden center folks call “the cadillac of hedges” and “a dream to shear” – hmmmm

However, this lower pond shade feature came out great. Originally there was discussion about a standard squarish pergola…then maybe a half pergola…then I thought about the sun and when it hit the pond. So I thought about the lower pond as theater and kabuki theaters often have a screen background and a japanese black pine. Some day, I hope to have some japanese black pine bonsai placed in front of my screen. For the pergola rays, Howie the landscaper had proposed aluminum. Neat idea but sourcing aluminum was difficult and pricey. We went with cedar and the rays are tilted up slightly, arranged and trimmed to resemble a fin if you look at it from below or above. The shade should reduce a great deal of sun but will still allow plenty throughout the day to ensure the koi colors do not fade.

June 29, 2016 11:00 am - starting work on our shade element.
June 29, 2016 11:00 am – starting work on our shade element.
The new shade element - inspired by a koi fin and Japanese kabuki theater.
The new shade element – inspired by a koi fin and Japanese kabuki theater.
The lower pond shade element from above...
The lower pond shade element from above…

I’m pretty pleased with the overall look of our ponds and garden.

The path from the upper pond to the lower pond.
The path from the upper pond to the lower pond.
The upper pond koi will be getting three more koi in over the next two weeks.
The upper pond koi will be getting three more koi in over the next two weeks.
the lower pond
the lower pond
A few steps from my dining room is like stepping into a different world.
A few steps from my dining room is like stepping into a different world.
Taking a photo from the roof is like soft lighting on portraits -- you can't see all the weeds I have to pull!
Taking a photo from the roof is like soft lighting on portraits — you can’t see all the weeds I have to pull!

Meanwhile I’m not very disciplined when it comes to quarantining koi and I really should do better. However, Natsumi was coming home and I needed the quarantine tank for her. So the two little koi purchased at the Chicago Koi Show went into the pond. 24 hours later, no problems. The quarantine tank is a little small for Natsumi to spend two weeks so Mikki Hernandez Swanson gave the folks at Mystic Koi a call (on a day that they’re closed) to ask if we could order and have a 6 foot soft tank drop shipped to us. It’s nice to have friends who are koi dealers 🙂 Mikki and Devin Swanson know a great deal about koi and always so willing to help out. In transporting Natsumi to Chicago, a little bit of her tail fin began to split. Last night, Devin carefully put in a few stitches which will allow the fin to heal better.

Stitching up Natsumi's tail
Stitching up Natsumi’s tail
Stitching Natsumi's tail fin so that it will heal better.
Stitching Natsumi’s tail fin so that it will heal better.
Natsumi will rest in this smaller tank for about two weeks before joining the larger koi in the upper pond.
Natsumi will rest in this smaller tank for about two weeks before joining the larger koi in the upper pond.
I was planning to quarantine these little guys for another week but they looked very sad in quarantine. Each would go to a different corner and sit with their noses to the corner. Since Natsumi needed a quarantine tank, I decided to put Roxie and Velma into the lower pond - much happier.
I was planning to quarantine these little guys for another week but they looked very sad in quarantine. Each would go to a different corner and sit with their noses to the corner. Since Natsumi needed a quarantine tank, I decided to put Roxie and Velma into the lower pond – much happier.

Once our little delivery and surgery was done, we headed out to one of the best sushi restaurants in the Twin Cities area (probably the best). Sushi Fix – kind of funny how much we all love koi and love eating raw fish (ʘ_ʘ) I would normally have a photo but after having a cocktail called a Tokyo Side Car and a little sake – no photos please! It was a good ending to an exciting day!

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