It’s a new year

…and COVID is still here, cancelling all sorts of 2021 koi events 😩. If it wasn’t for our new farm in North Carolina, it would have been an extremely boring year. We have been doing a lot of heavy duty yard work (which you can see on another page of the blog ) and the koi pond is on our list. The current to-do list includes:

  • build a firewood shed
  • build a greenhouse
  • build a koi pond
  • build a log bridge
  • continue to clean up the forest areas and battle the briars
  • transplant trees
  • encourage moss growth
  • create some huldufólk structures and a few fairy towns for the amusement of grandchildren

The pond builder is going to stay pretty busy. The koi pond site will most likely be behind our farmhouse now. There is a little more shade and we have easier access to electricity and water. Plus we were having difficulties envisioning a Japanese design aesthetic that would blend in with our farm look. We would like to transport our koi soon so a simple build is probably the best idea. My thought is 10′ x 30′ x 6′; three feet in the ground, three feet above but the water depth will only be 5′. This will give us a 11,000 gallon pond. I am sure that we will have a second pond eventually so this is a good start. The pond builder has started on a crate to ship a RDF south.

While we are spending more time on the farm, we are checking our indoor pool cameras daily. Pond builder does a few commutes so he’s able to squeeze in some water changes. I have a battery operated feeder that is not really feeding the koi enough. When I set up the feeder, they were not eating well. I didn’t worry because in the past they have proven to eat the algae that develops on the floor and walls of the pool over the season. We saw a large area of algae growing so no worries.

We came back to Little Siberia after New Year’s and taking a closer look – the pond builder noted that one of the koi had knocked one of the bottom drains loose. Consequently the water was not as clean as it should be. We decided to sweep up the algae and the pond builder reattached the bottom drain. All of the koi except for one, a budo goromo, seemed fine and very hungry. We have upped the hand feeding and increased the amount of food being dispensed by the feeder. The budo goromo was staying separate from the pack, skin was showing some redness and once in a while it would swim very erratically. It would also do the death dive swim and I was thinking, ‘I need to pull that koi out for some medical intervention.’ The first task was to fix the bottom drain so we delayed and the goromo was looking okay-ish and I thought ‘tomorrow I’ll pull the koi out.’ Well tomorrow came and we do have to work so things were a little busy and I pushed it off for another day. I did observe the koi and we still had redness but now it nibbled on a pellet or two of food. By day five of our return, the koi was in the middle of the pack, eating well, swimming over other koi to get food and the skin has cleared up. Clean water is a pretty good solution.

January 9, 2021 – eating well, clear skin
January 2, 2021 – doing the death dive swim
more interest in food

All of the other koi are doing fine. We have a new canary koi in development. You always have to have the one ugly koi to test the waters. Last year, I bought three tosai for fun to see what happens. Most tosai never pan out but I enjoy watching koi development. The little trio that came to Minnesota in April 2020 are all about 12 inches long now. The gin showa (Merryweather) and showa (Fauna) are maintaining their color, nice white where it should be, lovely translucent fins and fattening up. Then there is Flora – just a mess. The beni has broken up, the head is decidedly yellow and just looks ugly. Unlike the ugly duckling story, this koi is not going to improve. However, Flora will be useful for testing the waters and being a quarantine pal if needed.

April 2020
January 2021

Aside from the farm and koi, I am co-chairing the Upper Midwest Koi Club annual koi show with Michelle Gravenish. We took a little field trip yesterday to find our storage container and check out the koi show site. The koi show will take place in the hockey rink area, June 25-27, 2021. We don’t think there will be many koi shows prior to ours to guide us on pandemic era koi shows. So Michelle and I are planning using ideas from the rec center, dog shows and CDC guidelines. It will be a scaled down affair and hopefully we will not have to cancel due to a Minnesota shutdown or lack of participation. The rec center is planning to leave most of the boards up during our show in June. Not sure if that includes the glass but the boards will help us to limit and guide traffic. We’re thinking about placing the vats next to the walls in a horseshoe. A little pain for the the judges walking back and forth; but allows spectators to watch behind a solid ‘fence’. We can also control access to the inner ring. The built in bleachers provide areas where anyone can sit with plenty of social distancing space. There are plenty of event liability waivers related to COVID populating the internet that we will have to adapt to our event. We are assuming that in June, we will still be under masks and 6′ apart guidance. The banquet will most likely end up being a boxed dinner since there are all sorts of rules associated with open food at events. We will most likely hold our awards ceremony during our box dinner on site using videoconferencing of our traditional powerpoint. There’s a lot to think about but we are crossing our fingers and will continue to plan.

The koi are pretty lucky – life is pretty much the same with or without COVID. I think the only thing they may notice this year is that some of them will not be going to the new farm. Who’s going and who’s not, even I’m not sure. 😂

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