Signs of Spring


The pig pond peepers piped out their shrill calls all day long while we worked on fencing in the warm spring sun. Their mating song is one of those sure signs of spring. We have finally lost almost all of our snow, even the half foot that fell last week. The ice sculpture has finally faded to just a little bit of dirty crystals hanging to the north side of the cliff. Tomorrow it may be completely gone. This morning I saw the first of the parasitic wasps that hatch out each spring. By afternoon there were thousands of them. They hunt the flies and are a very beneficial insect. Their hatching is something I look for as it tells me the soil is warming and soon I can plant.

I tried to catch a photo of the frogs in the pond but they are too wary and the intense light reflecting off the surface hides them when they submerge. I sat quietly by the pond for a while and they resumed calling for mates. In the photo above there are many little bumps in the water, those are frogs, spring peepers, singing their chorus. Soon dragonflies will be skimming across the water and hopefully avoiding the frogs.

When I first made this pond there were no frogs in it but soon a few came and then they called more. I dammed up the road edge of a slightly moist depression where I had tested the soil and found 20% clay. Along the road side we had loads of waste granite and marble dumped from the local quarries and stone sheds. They have to get rid of the material so it is free fill. I picked the best pieces for fence posts and other projects. The rest I covered the rock piles with a thick layer of dirt. After shaping the banks I directed the over flow of our spring into the hollow. At first the water leaked out but the pigs played in the resulting puddle and packed the soil. Soon the water level rose to the height of the overflow and it has never dried up since.

The pond is not really ‘done’ yet, but it does hold a satisfying amount of water. Imaginative little boys like to sail boats on it and during the heat of summer pigs find it very alluring. They submerge themselves most of the way looking like hippos to which they are related.

Another frequent resident of the pond is our small flock of ducks. Their swimming keeps the water stirred up and they help the dragonflies keep the mosquito population down to a minimum. I think the ducks may also eat frogs. They can be quite amusing to watch as they dip and dive, often hanging pointy back-end up while they search around below the water for morsels to eat.

Ducks float but chickens don’t as the occasional hen has found when she gets panicked about something and ends up fluttering out over the water. Generally the chickens stay out of the water and don’t have to discover this the hard way.

Someday I would like to put some fish in the pond but that has not happened yet and may still be some years off. The pond is a work in progress and I enjoy that progress.

56째F/33째F, Sunny.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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4 Responses to Signs of Spring

  1. pablo says:

    Is this the same swimming pond you’ve written about before? Do you have any concerns about mixing pigs and humans in the same water?

    It’s good to see that other’s bodies of water are still works in progress.

    (Still no capitol photo, but at least I can get to your blog now.)

  2. John says:

    What a great day at the farm!
    We had a great first time visit to
    Sugar Mountain Farm yesterday and got our first piglet. It was wonderful meeting the family and we enjoyed the conversation. On the ride home, my wife named our piglet Sugar. Thanks again and we look forward to seeing you soon! The Russo Family….

  3. “Along the road side we had loads of waste granite and marble dumped from the local quarries and stone sheds”

    I would love to see that “dumped” along our road side, there’s a useless broken idol ~ I mean old TV outside our homestead by the neighbors house…….not my kind of trash.

  4. Pablo, We don’t swim in the pig pond and they don’t swim in our play pond. Back in the days before it was a pig pond we did swim in it. Will and Ben still do sail boats there still on occassion. There are times of the year when it isn’t a pig pond, but once it became a pig pond we stopped swimming in it. Pigs are messy bathers who do not respect the rule of no peeing in the pool. :) Perhaps I need to post the swimming pool rules in some other language?!?

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