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RE: What is your worst garden nemesis? (Follow-Up #30)

posted by: slogal on 07.16.2008 at 12:11 am in California Gardening Forum

Here's the best solution for earwigs -- and it's non-toxic: equal parts soy sauce, molasses and veggie oil. I usually put 2 TBSP each in an empty tuna can (the large size) or smaller amounts in empty cat food cans. The soy/molasses attracts the earwigs and the oil layer floats on top, preventing the earwigs from getting out. I buy gallon-size jugs at Smart 'n Final -- much less expensive than the smaller containers.

You'll get a LOT of earwigs in these traps, and except for the odd snail or ladybug, that's all they entrap -- just earwigs. These have saved my zinnia seedlings more than once!

NOTES:

Great earwig concoction!
clipped on: 07.16.2008 at 09:09 am    last updated on: 07.16.2008 at 09:10 am

The difference between a liner pond and a REAL pond

posted by: ccoombs1 on 06.10.2008 at 11:46 am in Ponds & Aquatic Plants Forum

Before I start, I will preface this by saying I know what I am going to say is going to make a lot of people mad. Many of you will disagree with me....hopefully a few will agree, and maybe some of you will come to change your mind. So here goes.....

Frequently on this board (and others)I hear people make comments about how rocks in the bottom of their ponds help create a natural ecosystem and how their ponds can be set up with plants and rocks and duplicate a natural pond. I have a few observations I would like to share with you.

First: Stocking rate
farm pond:
To stock a farm pond (or lake, etc), the suggested stocking rate is 100 bass, 500 bream and 100 catfish per acre. that's a total of 700 fingerling sized fish. Many will not make it, many will be fished out before they get big. But for the sake of argument, lets assume this pond is 48" deep and all the fish survive. That's 700 fish in 1,306,800 gallons, or 1800 gallons per fish.

Liner pond: show koi are stocked at 1 fish per 1000 gallons. Most koi serious koi hobbyists go with 300 to 500 gallons per fish. But most casual hobbyists go with a stocking rate of one fish per 100 gallons.

This means a liner pond stocking rate is approximately 18 times heaver than a natural pond.

Water changes:
Natural ponds are normally spring fed or creek fed. Most have a large spillway somewhere, and if you measured the flow you would see that thousands of gallons of water per hour is flowing out....and new water is flowing in at the same rate.

Liner ponds get maybe 10% water change per week, if any.

Cleaning crew:
Most natural ponds have a host of microscopic and larger aquatic critters that are constantly scouring the bottom of the pond, cleaning up debris. I am not talking about a couple snails, I am talking about millions of underwater critters, constantly at work eating dead plant materials and fish waste.
Liner ponds have a filter. Sometimes, there is a good filter that gets cleaned often, but most of the time it is a poor filter that gets cleaned once a year, if at all. There is beneficial bacteria that lives on the surfaces in the ponds, but this bacteria is not enough to break down waste. It's main purpose is to convert ammonia into nitrates. It does not digest waste.

Rocks in the bottom of a liner pond give the appearance that all is nice and clean. Actually, what is going on under the rocks is far from clean. Harmful bacteria and parasites are growing there, and as the material decays, hydrogen sulphide gas pockets can develop.

Ponds can have rocks safely, if stocking levels are kept very low and the rocks are cleaned thoroughly every year. But this doesn't usually happen like it should, and in the spring, fish start getting ulcers, raggedy fins, and die for unknown reasons. I am a koi health advisor and spring is when people start calling. I see it all the time. Water quality and koi health issues secondary to rock bottom ponds are so incredibly common. But I know....now people will start posting about how successful their ponds have been with out ever being cleaned. Good! I hope your ponds stay that way. But believe me...an improperly maintained rock bottom pond is a tragedy waiting to happen. It's just a matter of when.

Fish are our pets and it's our responsibility to keep their environment clean. You would not leave your dog in a filthy kennel and rely on the flies, ants and maggots to keep it clean....why would you it to your fish?

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 06.12.2008 at 09:55 am    last updated on: 06.12.2008 at 09:55 am

Pond 2008

posted by: nosambos on 06.07.2008 at 09:27 am in Ponds & Aquatic Plants Forum

NOTES:

Great ideas - logs as a waterfall, floating frog islands, coco fiber mats for plants to root!
clipped on: 06.07.2008 at 10:06 am    last updated on: 06.07.2008 at 10:07 am

RE: I wanted to thank him!! (Follow-Up #14)

posted by: chickadeedeedee on 02.15.2008 at 08:51 pm in Ponds & Aquatic Plants Forum

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Not *quite* sure where to post this story but I think here is OK....

Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam.

After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands.

He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison.

He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, "You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!"

"How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb.

"I packed your parachute," the man replied.

The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked!"

Plumb assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today."

Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man.

Plumb says, "I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you?' or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor."

Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, "Who's packing your parachute?"

........ And so ...... Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day.

:-)

NOTES:

What an inspiration....
clipped on: 02.16.2008 at 08:36 am    last updated on: 02.16.2008 at 08:36 am

RE: Salvia apiana in nature and cultivation (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: ccroulet on 02.06.2008 at 01:48 pm in Salvia Forum

I want to amplify and correct some things I said in my earlier posts.

First, a correction: I said my photos of S. apiana in nature were "west" of Temecula. Well, they're sort of west from my home, but for those of you looking
at a typical road atlas to figure out where the heck is Temecula, CA, the photos are south-southwest of Temecula. If your map is detailed enough to show the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve, the photos are between the Reserve and the county line, a bit west of I-15. "Temecula" is accented on the second syllable, not the third.

Also, I hadn't said anything about pre-treatment of the seeds. That relates to the question of when to sow them. Available info is confusing and contradictory. Dara Emery's "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" says on p.23 that Santa Barbara Botanic Garden sows "shrubs and trees by the middle of March," but the table on p.92 says to sow S. apiana and S. mellifera in "early fall." An online propagation protocol from the James H. Ackerman Native Plant Nursery on Santa Catalina Island says they sow them in a shadehouse "during late winter and early spring." Hmm. I decided to go for a fall planting, because I hoped to have some good-sized plants by the following fall. I also decided to experiment with cold stratification for an intended three months.

In early August, not long after I'd collected the seeds, I soaked them in water at room temperature for 24 hours. The seeds glued themselves together into a paste, which I hadn't expected. I spread the damp seed "paste" onto coffee filters and inserted the folded-up filters into peat moss in butter containers, which I then put in the fridge for an intended three months. In late October I checked the progress of the seeds, and I found that some of them had already germinated, and, worse, some of them were rooting into the coffee filter paper. Emery says (p.20), "If any white root tips are visible, the entire batch should be sown immediately." I mulled it over for a few days before getting down to work. Most of the glued-together clumps of seeds were easy to break apart. At first I tried to sow three seeds per cell in the 72-cell tray, but I quickly decided that parsing out a few at a time into each cell was tedious and probably not worth the effort. I sprinkled the remaining loose seeds over the top of the growing medium. I manually pressed them down into the surface of the medium and sprinkled a dusting of peat moss over the top, thin enough to allow them to get plenty of light. For the seeds that had rooted into the coffee filter paper, I clipped the paper with scissors and inserted the paper & seedlings into the medium. To my delight, these coffee-filter seedlings became the largest and most vigorous of all, and the filter paper itself completely dissolved into the planting medium. As a group, these S. apiana seeds, have shown much higher viability and have grown much more rapidly than some S. mellifera seeds sown at the same time in part of the same container, but I don't have any controlled data to say whether it's due to the pre-treatment or some other factor.

NOTES:

Interesting method for sowing S. apiana.
clipped on: 02.09.2008 at 08:27 am    last updated on: 02.09.2008 at 08:27 am

RE: Lotus Barrel Pix (and other bowl lotus pix) for Rodney (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: joyce on 01.11.2008 at 04:05 pm in Ponds & Aquatic Plants Forum

Thanks everyone!

Sarah, cold will not cause the tubers to rot.
I plant mine very early in the spring, and often the lotus tubs have thin coats of ice over them in the morning. Lotus are VERY hardy to cold. The only way you can kill a tuber is to freeze it solid...rock hard.
Lotus are not tropical...they are hardy through zone 4.
I plant mine in March, usually before March 15th...and they sit outside in their tubs up against the sunny side of the house on the patio. For WEEKS they are subjected to near freezing and light freezing night temps, and maybe getting in the 50s and 60s during the day until the end of April. April they start putting out little pads, and the REALLY get going by the end of May. By July they are blooming or in bud. :)

The best way I have rotted tubers was to start them indoors, where they do not get sufficient sunlight. In my experience, starting them indoors is a death sentence for lotus. Unless you have a greenhouse or a sunroom where the surface of the water is in the sun for at least 6 hours a day....you are asking for trouble....ROT.

Here is my planting method, which for me, gets blooms by mid summer through fall, no matter what kind of lotus you start with.
I fill my wine barrels about 3/4 with composted cow manure, but plain old compost can be used too. Before putting the compost in, put one cup of Osmocote (Veggie Formula) or Multicote (Veggie Formula) at the bottom (these are NOT your typical water soluable fertilizers...please read the entire label on the container to understand exactly how they work). I do NOT recommend any other kind of fertilizer with my lotus in a barrel planting method. You will NOT get the same results as I do unless you follow my instructions precisely: PLEASE NO SUBSTITUTING!
Gently lay the lotus tubers on top of the compost. (you can make a little depression and nestle the tuber into it) Then gently cover the tubers with about 1-2" of pea gravel, keeping the growing tips above the gravel. Gently, slowly add water until 3-4" of water covers the gravel. Then do nothing but top off the barrel(s) when the water gets low, and watch the lotus grow and bloom. DO NOT ADD ANY MORE FERTILIZER...at all. Osmocote and Multicote are time released, and will last through fall.

Remember, besides the Osmocote/Multicote, compost is LOADED with all sorts of micronutrients which your lotus will devour.
Regular potting soil or clay, or topsoil does NOT have all the micronutrients that compost has.
That is why composted cow manure is the best, with regular compost coming in second place.

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 01.12.2008 at 08:14 am    last updated on: 01.12.2008 at 08:14 am

A little Algae/UV info

posted by: watershaper on 09.10.2007 at 01:37 pm in Ponds & Aquatic Plants Forum

Does anyone know a good spot we can point to as an answer to the standard UV / algae question? I have one, but I can't mention it since I own a business. Please let me and anyone else interested know.

Basically as many have said for hundreds of posts, there is so much difference b/w string, carpet, and green water algae. When dealing with Ultra Violet lights, you must know these differences and wattage/flow numbers.

Carpet algae is healthy! Don't scrub your pond to the black! Have you seen the posts about bio boosts, you just killed a lot of what you paid for. Bio filters carry a lot, but the patina is where it lives too. As long as it isn't really long leave it alone.

String algae isn't a huge negative either, short of appearance. Barley is a great inhibitor, not an algae-cide! If you don't have that bale in a month or more before the season starts it won't help (bales must break down to be effective). Extract or pellets work much quicker and are easier to use. Otherwise there are decent topical treatments or just old fashioned brushes get removal done.

Pea Soup is the only thing that UVs handle. If you still have green water after you use a UV, either the flow or wattage is off OR the UV is faulty. I would refer Savio to any person and have sold/installed their products for a few years. That being said they have had issues with their skimmer UVs. (reference to frustrated with savio and other posts) Just replacing the bulb doesn't always work, the transformer has been the source of much the their issues. They have a new unit that we have had success with recently, Uvinex is its new name I believe. Just remember, every company has praise and ridicule, their products are great on a whole.

If you're done with UVs, the only answer is more plants for filtration, competition, and shade, OR treatment. But that is a whole other post. Good Luck and I hope this brief snapshot of algae and UVs helps.

NOTES:

Well-explained algae info.
clipped on: 09.10.2007 at 07:00 pm    last updated on: 09.10.2007 at 07:01 pm

RE: Settling tanks (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: zinniachick on 09.08.2007 at 08:43 pm in Ponds & Aquatic Plants Forum

Your settling tank is another smaller pond next to your main pond. Your pump sucks from the settling tank, and a big open pipe connects the two ponds. The water from the main pond flows through the pipe to the settling tank as the tank's water level is drawn down by the pump, because two bodies of water connected thusly will always try to remain the same level.

So the water flows like this: From the main pond, through the bottom drain to the settling tank, then to the pump usually through some kind of brushes or mat to help filter out debris and critters (mine is a black box with brushes in it, sitting underwater). Then the water goes from the pump to the UV light, if you want one, and then to your biofilter, which is often the head of your waterfall back to your big pond.

That's one way to do it that works. There are surely other good ways.

The most simple settling tank I've seen was a cement hole in the ground next to a gorgeous cement koi pond, with the two connected by a 4-inch pvc pipe buried between them. The guy drew from the settling tank with his pump right beside it and pushed water to a huge waterfall, and he could vaccuum out his tank real easy any time he wanted.

Most people make their settling tanks ponds instead, with plants and frogs, etc., and cleaning them out is more of a chore, but they're pretty in the meantime.

NOTES:

Simple explanation for future use!
clipped on: 09.09.2007 at 11:16 am    last updated on: 09.09.2007 at 11:17 am

RE: Water Lily (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: luvmypond on 07.22.2007 at 07:53 pm in Ponds & Aquatic Plants Forum

Thanks everyone. Not too sure what the name of the lily is,I have had it for about 5 years ,I have since forgotten what it is called LOL. It is a darker pink lily and I shot it with a Kodak Z710. So far I have only had 2 flowers to come out, been a bad year for it. Last year it flowered one right after the other.

NOTES:

Another great camera reference.
clipped on: 07.23.2007 at 10:26 am    last updated on: 07.23.2007 at 10:27 am

RE: Froggie Love Aftermath (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: nosambos on 07.02.2007 at 12:04 am in Ponds & Aquatic Plants Forum

Olympus 510-UZ with 10x optical zoom. Great price. You can find it on line for about $250 including postage (Beach Camera on amazon). However you need to spend another $30 for a memory chip. It also takes short movies with sound. My only complaint is that the software is not very user friendly. I prefer to download the pics then use a shareware program called Irfanview.

NOTES:

More camera ideas.
clipped on: 07.02.2007 at 02:35 pm    last updated on: 07.02.2007 at 02:35 pm

RE: water lettuce has bugs (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: joeyb5980 on 06.11.2007 at 07:55 am in Ponds & Aquatic Plants Forum

I mix up 1/8 cup rubbing alcohol, 1/8 cup hydrogen peroxide, 8 drops of phosphate free liquid dish soap, and then top off with enough water to make 2 pints of the mixture. Put in spray bottle, spray aphids on leaves until drenched, leave on 30 minutes, then thoroughly rinse. Do not do this in the sun- it can burn leaves- do early in morning or late in evening. This method is per Sean, and has worked great for me- gets rid of them once and for all.

NOTES:

Pond-safe aphid treatment.
clipped on: 06.12.2007 at 11:46 am    last updated on: 06.12.2007 at 11:47 am

pond with small stream and falls; new pics

posted by: fragaria on 06.03.2007 at 05:11 pm in Ponds & Aquatic Plants Forum

I took these pictures yesterday evening and a few more this morning. We are enjoying a NorthWest heat wave. The afternoons have been in the 80s. We love to sit by the pond in the evenings and watch the fish eat. A Great Blue Heron and later raccoons ate all the koi. Now we share the pond with feeder gold fish and lots of frogs.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

NOTES:

If I could start over, I'd build THIS! LOVE IT! :)
clipped on: 06.03.2007 at 07:19 pm    last updated on: 06.03.2007 at 07:20 pm

RE: Soil mix for xeric salvias? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: dicot on 04.26.2007 at 02:01 pm in Salvia Forum

Thanks for the suggestions and contacts Rich. Las Pilitas says they won't discuss propogation methods, but Theodore Payne's salvia grower sent me this:
+++
Our soil mix for the seeds is:
3 parts perlite
1 part coco fiber
1/2 part washed sand
About 1 tblspn of a slow release pellet fertilizer

Our seeds are primarily sown into flats, so we make two mixes. One with fertilizer and one without. Two one gallons of soil mix with fertilizer are spread into the flat first and tamped down, then the mix without fertilizer is added on top of that. The size of the seed determines how deep they are planted or how much of the non-fertilized mix you add. The reason the fertilized mix is on the bottom of the flat is so when the seeds germinate and start to put down roots, they will hit the fertilized soil and have nutrition. When to water after germination just depends. Usually every couple of days is enough unless the weather starts to really warm up, then every day. I physically check the flats by lifting one side to see how heavy it is. This gives you an idea of what the existing moisture content is like.

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 04.26.2007 at 07:34 pm    last updated on: 04.26.2007 at 07:34 pm

RE: Bird Sightings Part 2 (Follow-Up #124)

posted by: jeanner on 02.01.2007 at 07:53 pm in Ponds & Aquatic Plants Forum

I think they are just drilling for bugs at this time of the year. As soon as the pileated left, the downies and red-bellies had to go investigate. I didn't notice any new holes today.

Here are some holes made by the yellow-bellied sapsucker. I tried to hide out in the brush and get a picture of him in the act but never did get to see him.

I think I've become a bit obsessive with my bird feeding ...
here is my "stash"

There are shelled peanuts, sunflower chips, and nyger in the big tubs. Walnuts and unshelled peanuts in the rectangular containers and the smallest container has peanut chips (mostly for the suet but I also add some into the sunflower chips) and a container of meal worms.

Here is the latest batch of suet which has raisins, dried cranberries, walnuts, peanut chips, lard, peanut butter, corn meal, flour, and oatmeal.


Next time .... new thread!

And now I'm going to read about the Nyssa sylvatica - I might have to plant some of those!

NOTES:

Saving Jean's suet mix.
clipped on: 02.02.2007 at 08:57 am    last updated on: 02.02.2007 at 08:58 am

RE: How do I get rid of these stupid advertisements? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: youreit on 06.19.2006 at 12:20 pm in Ponds & Aquatic Plants Forum

Froggie, the post below was care of Fratelli back in Dec of 2005. Depending on which browser you have, you can use whichever solution he suggests. I used the Universal solution, and it worked great for me!

Hope this helps!

Brenda

RE: IVillage lost it's format!
Posted by: fratelli_can z5 (My Page) on Sun, Dec 25, 05 at 16:00

Once and for all: How to stop the iVillage ad onslaught.
First we need to understand how it's done: iVillage doesn't bother to try and buy ads directly from all the various companies that show up on the pages of GW. Instead they use large ad-service agencies like doubleclick, akamai and pointroll. You can visit some of these sites if you'd like to see who's behind the ads.

http://www.akamai.com
http://www.doubleclick.com/us
http://pointroll.com

This makes it easy to block out all or almost all of the ads very easily, just block the originating sites. Right now all the ads on GW come from:

http://amch.questionmarket.com
http://a820.g.akamai.net
http://iv.doubleclick.net
http://i.ivillage.com
http://m.2mdn.net
http://tste.ivillage.com
http://img-cdn.mediaplex.com
http://ads.vmirror.com
http://cmhtml.ivillage.overture.com
http://ads.pointroll.com

The Universal Solution.
This will work on Windows systems for all browsers; IE, FireFox and Netscape.
The Windows operating system provides a system-level method to block specific IP addresses before they even get to the browser. To effect this solution you need to edit a Windows system file called hosts. This file is located in the directory:

Windows XP: C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS\ETC
Windows 2K: C:\WINNT\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS\ETC
Windows 98: C:\WINDOWS

Open the file in Notepad. Cut the following from this post and paste it to the end of the file.

127.0.0.1 amch.questionmarket.com
127.0.0.1 a820.g.akamai.net
127.0.0.1 iv.doubleclick.net
127.0.0.1 i.ivillage.com
127.0.0.1 m.2mdn.net
127.0.0.1 tste.ivillage.com
127.0.0.1 img-cdn.mediaplex.com
127.0.0.1 ads.vmirror.com
127.0.0.1 cmhtml.ivillage.overture.com
127.0.0.1 ads.pointroll.com

Edit each entry so that there is a tab between the IP address 127.0.0.1 and the URLs. Save the file and you're finished. Close and re-open your browser and all the ads will be gone.

Unfortunately, iVillage may in the future buy ads from a new source. In this event the new ad source will have to be added to the list.

The IE solution.
Most of the ads are placed using Java$cript. You can remove the more offensive ads in IE with the browser settings. You can't however remove them all. To improve GW using IE do the following:
From the menu select Tools -> Internet Options -> Security and click on Custom Level. Scroll down to the end of the list and you'll see an entry for Scripting. Disable all the sub-entries. Now select the tab labeled Privacy. In the bottom of the box that appears check on the option to block pop-ups. I recommend you also click on the button Advanced and select the option to block Third-party Cookies.

NOTE: By disabling Scripting you will also effect the way other websites behave. You may need to get used to switching scripting on and off as desired. That's why this is the least desirable of these various options.

The FireFox solution
This is an excellent choice -- it's the fastest performing of the options listed here: FireFox is superior to IE in every possible way. FireFox provides the added advantage of blocking all Spyware, an evil that IE brought into this world.
* download and install Firefox 1.5
* in the FireFox address bar type about:config
* scroll down the list to the entry xpinstall.enabled
* right click on the entry and select toggle from the menu
* toggle as needed to set the value to true
* go to the Firefox website and follow links to extensions
* find the extension adblock and install it
* remember to toggle xpinstall.enabled back to false
* in Firefox select Tools -> Adblock -> Preferences
* use the New Filter field to add the following items:
http://amch.questionmarket.com
http://a820.g.akamai.net
http://iv.doubleclick.net
http://i.ivillage.com
http://m.2mdn.net
http://tste.ivillage.com
http://img-cdn.mediaplex.com
http://ads.vmirror.com
http://cmhtml.ivillage.overture.com
http://ads.pointroll.com
* enable Adblock

The trick with Adblock is to block the domain rather than the specific ad. If you click on Adblock to disable an ad. Select Tools -> Adblock -> Preferences from the menu and then edit the new entry; remove anything that follows after .com or .net. This will block everyting from that source.

The Netscape solution.
With Netscape you can shut down all the iVillage ads using the browser preference settings. From the menu select:
Edit -> Preferences -> Privacy and Security -> Cookies
Allow cookies for the originating website only

Edit -> Preferences -> Privacy and Security -> Images
Accept Images that come from the originating server only

Edit -> Preferences -> Privacy and Security -> Images
Block unrequested popup windows -- turn this on

Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced
Enable native object scripting -- turn this off

Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Scripts & Plug-ins
Enable Java$cript for Navigator -- turn this off

NOTE: GW will now be ad free, however disabling Java$cript will effect how other websites behave. You may have to get used to switching this setting back and forth. Therefore I suggest the Universal option above is more appropriate.

NOTE: You MAC users out there: Sorry I don't have more info for you except to say that FireFox and adblock are available for the MAC.

There's no sense in further complaing, iVillage IS an ad. We need to let them be who they are and stop them on our end. Take care all.

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 09.19.2006 at 01:08 pm    last updated on: 09.19.2006 at 01:09 pm

Yeah!! My 1st Service Dog Team just certified!!

posted by: sheepco on 08.26.2006 at 05:10 pm in Ponds & Aquatic Plants Forum

I'm so proud of them!!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I've been a field trainer for Hearing and Service Dogs of MN for several years and have trained 4 Hearing Dog teams but this is my 1st Service Dog team. Not that I did much, the wonderful staff and volunteers at HSDM trained 'Merlin' very well, and he was placed with Neil just 3 weeks ago. (Neil has Cerebral Palsy) The 3 of us put in alot of hours in these 3 short weeks and today it paid off when they passed both their public access and home skills portions of their certification test with flying colors!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

'Merlin' can open drawers, shut doors, push handicap door buttons, retrieve anything Neil wants or drops (including a dime off the floor)and go get help if Neil asks. He can sit or down and stay while a stranger steps over him or under a restuarant table while you drop french fries on the floor. And after all that and more, 'Merlin' gives Neil more independence, more sense of security and of course, unconditional love.

Look out world, my guys are goin' places now!!!!

NOTES:

I'm honored to have met folks like Sarah on GW.
clipped on: 08.27.2006 at 02:12 pm    last updated on: 08.27.2006 at 02:12 pm

RE: Need advice on a settlement-chamber. (Follow-Up #21)

posted by: jim2991 on 08.23.2006 at 08:38 pm in Ponds & Aquatic Plants Forum

I guess I thought someone had used a microscreen set up on the pump inlet (with success).

The SC concept works, mine will suck up the lava rock my fish knock out of the plants.

My SC is 350 gallons, (larger than a 55 gallon drum) but I think I need a larger volume or slow the flow down.

I was thinking of a larger diameter, maybe 64" and still keep the 48" depth. But the new one would have a cone bottom and a discharge for cleaning that will gravity flow to a lower part of the yard. But I have a sore back and am getting tired of the challenges.

Well it will be frozen anyway in a couple of months, summer is too short.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

An option I had considered last week was a tractor and fill the thing in. My family protested.

NOTES:

I don't really care about the SC info. But that fish is awesome! :D
clipped on: 08.24.2006 at 10:10 am    last updated on: 08.24.2006 at 10:10 am

I get excited over such strang things......

posted by: westelle on 06.07.2006 at 12:05 pm in California Gardening Forum

After 10 years of fussing, fertilizing & training, the Jasmine has finally covered a good portion of the railing and trellis of the second floor balcony off our bedroom.

This morning the phone rang, and while I'm laying in bed talking I realize that I have 5.... 5!!! ..... fledgling owlets sitting out there staring at me from the safety of the Jasmine arbor.
I know the Hummers think of this as their haven (and me their slave), but now my porch is a nursery for young owls. I AM SO EXCITED!

NOTES:

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clipped on: 06.10.2006 at 08:44 am    last updated on: 06.10.2006 at 08:45 am

Tips on Photographing Frogs in Your Pond

posted by: bsquared18 on 06.23.2006 at 11:16 am in Ponds & Aquatic Plants Forum

If you have frogs in your pond and would like to get photos like the two below, the method I used is described after the photos.


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting



Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


Its hard to get close to frogs without having them hop away. One solution is to use a digital camera with a time-lapse feature that automatically takes another photo every few minutes. I say digital instead of film because youll be taking a lot of shots that you wont keep, and pixels are a lot cheaper than film.

Frogs are creatures of habit, so observe where they typically sit. Then, set up the camera on a short tripod, cushion, etc. as close to frog-eye-level as possible, aiming at the spot where you have observed the frogs sitting. If possible, use an AC power cord to power the camera instead of batteries because the camera will be operating for a long time and batteries might not last.

For the photos above, the camera was only about a foot away from the subjects. A telephoto lens was used with about 400mm focal length, plus the macro was turned on. The aperture was set as small as possible, f8, so that more of the field would be in focus. With a frog, you dont care how long the shutter needs to stay open at that small aperture because the frog isnt likely to move.

Just set it and forget it. Come back in an hour or so and see what youve got. An alternative method is to use a remote trigger with a long cord, but then you have to sit and wait for the frogs to show up.

Hope this idea helps someone take some great froggie shots!

Bill

NOTES:

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clipped on: 06.23.2006 at 12:28 pm    last updated on: 06.23.2006 at 12:30 pm

Photo of Owlets (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: westelle on 06.08.2006 at 03:13 pm in California Gardening Forum

I guess they ARE all the same size, and upon closer looking I see that they are about 8" tall and still have a little fluff about them.

Here is a link that might be useful:

NOTES:

Link to pic of the 5 cuties!
clipped on: 06.10.2006 at 08:45 am    last updated on: 06.10.2006 at 08:46 am

RE: Garden Walk (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: cottagegrdnr on 06.06.2006 at 02:30 pm in Ponds & Aquatic Plants Forum

I use the Fuji s5000 and s9000. I also work on them in Photoshop. I don't use any particular filter....just curves and lots of layers with blending modes and masks, some blurring and sharpening.

For comparison, this is one of the photos "as shot" and after cleaning it up in Photoshop:

Koi Before

Koi After

I think the Fuji s5000 is one of the best cameras around. It has a 10x zoom, Raw capability, it's fast, light and uses regular AA batteries. BUT only if you use the RAW and the Photoshop RAW plug-in. Otherwise the JPG option is too saturated and overly sharpened. Best of all, it is fairly cheap.

Although it is only a 3mp camera, I get sharp images up to 11x14 on a Epson printer (2200) Epson Velvet Fine Art is the best paper to use...matte black ink.

I used the s9000 to take these photos only because it is a 9mp camera and I can print a clear image up to and exceeding 18x24 inches. However, there is a 9-second delay between RAW shots (which is maddening) and the far end of the zoom is mostly unuseable because there is no anti-shake...not a problem with the s5000. Effectively a 6-7x zoom.

They say that it's not the camera, it's the photographer...while there is truth in this, it is also true that there are a lot of bad cameras out there, primarily with bad lenses...getting a crisp shot is important to me, because it gives me greater options when editing. A fast camera and one that uses regular batteries is also key. These Fujis have excellent lenses and great color rendition and work great (except for the s9000's between-shots-delay).

But I wouldn't be doing any of this without Photoshop, or some other pixel-editing software. It is the future of digital art.

Hope that helps.

NOTES:

Camera and software editing info for future use!
clipped on: 06.07.2006 at 05:02 pm    last updated on: 06.07.2006 at 05:03 pm