Happy Sunday . . . from the Perspective of a Puggle.

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Good morning!! My name is Gracie.  I am Adam’s trusted Puggle. I just wanted to show you around the farm this morning.  Adam’s been pretty busy lately with all the chores and his office and trying to be a human.  I thought I’d show you what it looks like from my view.

So, follow me . . .

Much of the day is spent by my pack just napping in the kitchen.  You know . . . Arizona is HOT!  It’s 108 degrees out there right now.

But when I do get up and run around, I get to visit the chickens.

IMG_1889This is Rudy.  He’s the rooster that takes care of all the chickens.  He also wakes me up at 4am . . . what a bird brain.

IMG_1888Rudy chases around his 20 hens and seems to keep them in line.  These three hens follow Adam around begging for food . . . now that I think of it . . . maybe they think they are dogs?

IMG_1893This is Annie.  She’s not a puggle like me, but she seems like a true farm dog.  She likes the chickens too.  In fact, she likes to wait until all the chickens are gathered into one spot and then runs full blast into the middle, scattering the chickens . . . she calls it “chicken bowling.”  Can you see her grinning?

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Adam has a really nice mate.  He calls her Tiffini.  She came home with two of these furry small whiney things.  Tiffini calls them “kittens.”  They named them Aravis and Mini.  All they ever do is drink milk and poop in a gravelly thing that smells terrible.  They have blue eyes and when I look at them they smack me in the nose with their claws. I’m not quite sure about them yet.

IMG_1895When it is hot, the ducks get into the pond and bath.  Somehow, they can stay on top of the water.  Every time I’ve gotten in . . . I sink.  Isn’t fair . . . but the water is always cool.

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Sometimes, Tiffini empties out the leftovers from the big cold food container called the “fridge” onto the lawn.  The chickens and ducks love that.

IMG_1927Oh yes, I can’t forget to tell you about the goats.  They eat everything.  I think that they’d even eat my ears if I remained still long enough.   This is Daisy.  Her head is quite hard.  That’s all I’ll be saying about that.

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Did I tell you about the ducks?  They have the ability to create a mud hole out of a teaspoon of water.  But their eggs are quite tasty.

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Oh, the fish . . . I can’t forget the fish . . .

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Adam calls them Koi.  I’m not really sure what that means, but they are really cool to watch and they taunt me . . . constantly. However, Adam seems to want to keep them around because their waste feeds the plants and the plants clean the water.  Adam says that it’s an aquaponics thing.  I just know that I prefer the taste of the water to tap water.

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But it’s not all fun an games around the farm.  Occasionally, we have a few visitors.  Gophers that is.  Meet George, the King Snake.  He climbs.  He climbed up on an old shelf in the tack room this morning to catch the mouse that’s been living there. He chases mice and gophers . . . Oh, and he eats them too.

Well, that’s the farm.  Come, again, and visit.

Hope you have a really nice Sunday.

Aquaponics Pond Paradise . . . Paths Untrodden

In paths untrodden,

In the growth by margins of pond-waters,

Escaped from the life that exhibits itself,

From all the standards hitherto publish’d—from the pleasures, profits, eruditions, conformities,

Which too long I was offering to feed my soul;

Clear to me, now, standards not yet publish’d—clear to me that my Soul,

That the Soul of the man I speak for, feeds, rejoices most in comrades;

Here, by myself, away from the clank of the world,

Tallying and talk’d to here by tongues aromatic,

No longer abash’d—for in this secluded spot I can respond as I would not dare elsewhere,

Strong upon me the life that does not exhibit itself, yet contains all the rest,

Resolv’d to sing no songs to-day but those of manly attachment,

Projecting them along that substantial life,

Bequeathing, hence, types of athletic love,

Afternoon, this delicious

Ninth-month, in my forty-first year,

I proceed, for all who are, or have been, young men,

To tell the secret of my nights and days,

To celebrate the need of comrades.

Robert Frost

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Aquaponics Koi Pond . . . Progress

Had a little time yesterday to work on the second grow bed.  Placed an 8×16 foot liner in the grow bed area that sits a foot above the pond.  After leveling it out and dropping the liner, I transferred my 1″ siphone over and plugged it in.  I filled the grow bed with water and then brought in my gravel.  You can see the finished images below.

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As you can see, the algae bloom is cleared up and the pond is doing fantastic.  You can almost see the bottom of the pond clearly now. We’ve had a couple of bull frogs join us and they love to sing bull frog at night. . . . It drives the dogs nuts.

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Algae Bloom in the Koi Pond

Koi Pond June142015The electrician came during the week and got my Sequence 9700 pump up and running.  Initially the water began to clear, but because I was running two much smaller pumps, I think I had an algae clog in the end of my grow bed piping because the bed wasn’t filling very fast and the pond continued with its wonderful shade of green.  I realized it was clogged and was able to clear it with a change in the pressure and water flow.  Now the pond is cycling quite well and I am hopeful that over the next 48 to 72 hours it will begin to clear up so we can see the Koi.

The ducks are loving the pond and have been fun to watch, but they keep eating my plants.

Listening to the sound of the water and the quack of the ducks is really one of the most relaxing things I’ve found to do while sitting on my porch on a Sunday afternoon.

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So, now as the water cycles and begins to balance itself, the next step is to finish bringing in the boulders, rock and landscape the perimeter of the pond.

Progress on the Aquaponics Koi and Duck Pond

The project that I thought would only take two to three months is now on month eight.  But I have learned a great deal and lost a few pounds in the process.  Here are the pictures of further progress since the liner and stones have been placed.  I am still waiting for additional stone to fill in the gaps.

IMG_1539IMG_1537I placed the liner and after a rain storm and irrigation lifted the liner and rock in the base, I decided filling it would hold it in place much more effectively.

Bottom drain bubbler was inserted and the water filling began.


I put pea gravel into the grow bed and bog areas and while waiting for the electrician to finish the wiring on my big pump, I temporarily inset my small aquaponics pumps into the swirl tank and skimmer to get the water moving.

The ducks love it. So do the dogs.


I found some water lillies and horsetail at Home Depot and added them to the  grow beds to get things started.

 I’ve included video below explaining how the pond works.  Little by little it is getting completed.

Levels and Liners

Had some time last week.

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Took time to shore up the walls, smooth out the rough areas, and level the bottom.

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I pulled out the underlay material and my son and I lined the pond bottom in preparation for the rubber liner.

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Prepped the bottom drain to make it easy to attach the liner by taping over the screw holes ahead of time. . . learned this little trick from The Pond Digger (Thanks Eric Triplett!!)

IMG_1480I called up my family and coaxed them over to the house to roll out the 700lb liner . . . Stay tuned for the moment of truth.

Pond Persistence

I’ve been working on this pond now for the last four months.  Little by little it is taking shape. I never realized it would take this long, but I have learned a great deal about pre-pond design, making walls, plumbing and filtration.

I placed my bottom drain, swirl filter, skimmer and found a large water trough to use at the top of the waterfall.  The swirl filter was designed by cutting the top off a 55 gallon barrel below.

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Once the filter was placed, I filled in the area and this is what it looks like from the top.

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With these pieces in place, walls have been shored up and the waterfall base has been built.  You can see the skimmer in the center of the image.  I was impressed with the Helix Skimmer from The Pond Digger.  I got my bottom drain plumbed, concreted in and smoothed out.  You can just see it (bottom drain) at the base of pond (I’ve got it covered with a piece of underlayment.)

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I decided on the Koi Toilet from The Pond Outlet and I’m hoping that the 4″ drain will accommodate for the ducks.

The The Pond Outlet has a much better image of this bottom drain that I included below:

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Bottom Drain with aeration line (fromm http://www.thepondoutlet.com)

I’ve reinforced the waterfall base with cinder block and used a 100 gallon water trough as the waterfall collection tank.  this way I can plant some plants in the top of the trough that will further hide the waterfall.

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So, the next step is to begin laying the underlayment to protect the liner from holes.  Stay tuned . . .

Pond Progress

The aquaponics Koi pond is progressing . . . slowly.  I could get so much more done if people didn’t get sick and have to be seen.  Although, I’d be out of a job.

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I coaxed my son into helping me with the concrete.  We placed and poured the concrete into the retaining wall.  I started pre-setting the cinder-block for the waterfall and the grow bed.

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We used re-bar and concrete and it worked quite nicely.  The boss was pleased.

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Because we have ducks, I am afraid there will be no way to keep them out of the pond, so I need to add a swirl filter for the heavy waste that will come out of the bottom drain.  I did a great deal of reading and I think a simple design like this one from http://koi-bito.com will work.

55 gallon swirl filter design

I dug the swirl filter location out yesterday and purchased a nice new 55 gallon drum and have my hole saw at the ready.

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The dogs have been helping as much as they can.  They are on 24/7 gopher duty. They’ve also been helping to keep my level floor less than level by digging holes and burring bones while I’m at work.

Next step is to place the swirl filter and the skimmer and set the water level.

Who knows, maybe I’ll have my liner in by next week.  We’ll see.  Have a great weekend.

Aquaponics . . . Just BIGGER!

I’ve always wanted a Koi Pond, so after experimenting with my small aquaponics system, I’ve decided to go big.  I’m going to try to keep a pictoral record of the construction progress of my full sized aquaponics koi pond.  I’ve been researching this for the last two years and started digging last month . . . little on the digging each week when I have a chance.

Here are the first few pictures of the progress on the Koi Pond:

Koi Pond

The pond is about 10 feet wide and 28 feet long with a maximal dept of about 3 1/2 feet.

Koi Pond & Dogs

My dogs have been helping . . .

Koi Pond East View

The digging is now done.  Next stage is to place the skimmer, waterfall and filtration systems.  I will build some lifted grow beds that will sit along side of the pond to help with filtration . . .

It has been quite the project thus far. More to follow . . .