Thursday, April 07, 2011

hooking on the malecon

My friend Jonna over at blah ---, blah ---, blah ---, Ginger! posted a personal confession about two weeks ago. 

She is not a country girl.

If you have been following her remodel of a home in centro Mérida, you are already aware urban flows in her veins.  Cities were built for the likes of her.

But she also appreciates her slices of country -- as long as they serve a city purpose.  Her pond is the best example.  It has been a centerpiece of her garden since it was constructed.  But it is definitely a city pond.

I also have a pond.  But it is no city accessory.

Let me brag about it a bit.  It can be beautiful.  Like these water lilies in their natural state.

Jonna's pond constantly needs tending and maintenance.  It takes a lot of work to make a good pond look natural.

My pond needs maintenance, as well.  But it is wholesale maintenance.  Left on its own, it would die and become a field.

When I moved into the duplex in 2009, our little inlet pond was carpeted with a patchwork of water hyacinth and water lettuce.  It was almost impossible to see any water.

Because the vegetation floats on the surface, it was cutting off the exchange of oxygen between the water and the atmosphere.  The laguna was dying before our eyes.

And we were not going to let that happen.  At least, in the area where we had some control.

My land lady, a mutual friend, the maid for the duplex, a hotelier neighbor, and I took matters into our own hands.  (weeding with benito).

And you saw the results.  We opened up enough space at the end of the inlet to attract wading birds, fish, and the odd crocodile.  After hours of pulling out raft after raft of weeds.


That was over a year ago. 

When I finally returned from my meanderings through Mexico, I found our work partially undone.  Aquatic vegetation is like anything else in nature.  Let it be and it will return to its -- well, natural -- state.

So, out came the grappling hook and the rake.  There was weeding to be done.

After an hour or so of weeding each day over the past two weeks, this is the result.


It is still not a city pond.  But it is a country pond with enough wildlife to sponsor my own Audubon tour.

Now, I just need to come up with a way to improve my internet signal.  It would be great to sit beside the pond pretending I am some reincarnated shogun.

Water tends to do that.  We start indulging in delusions of adequacy.


M Cotton said...

I had just read in Proverbs regarding the slothful man who had allow his vineyard to go to weeds and thorns. Then I read your posting. You and your friends are to be commened for the work you have done in the Laguna. It takes work to pull out the weeds. It is looking good.

It snowed today in Bend, but it was gone by noon. The birds came looking for food. I took out 2 or 3 pounds of seed to the feeder. More than half a dozen different kinds of birds came with their familes and friends thruout the day. The feeder is empty. I was surprised how they didn't mind eating together. I enjoyed watching them.

Steve Cotton said...

Maybe your birds are like our family. All are welcome at the table (family or not) -- and always lots of food.

John said...

Good job - as mom suggests - you and your group are to be commended.

Tancho said...

The Cotton Pond, I like it!

Nwexican said...

Croc show up for snacks?

Carolyn King said...

And mosquitos? are they thriving or being consumed by the pond creatures?

Steve Cotton said...

We have a bumper crop of mosquitoes this year. They thrive in the water lettuce. That was one reason for trying to reduce its range. But we are without biting bugs for only about a month each year. The rest of the time we are bug meat. One thing I do not particuloarly like about the beach.

Steve Cotton said...

Would that be charca de algodón?

Steve Cotton said...

I now have two obsessions: the leaf-cutting ants and the water lettuce. If I could just get the ants to harvest the lettuce, all would be right in the world. Well, until I found my next compulsion.

ANM said...

Old Duck, at your next neurological examination, you might mention to the doctor the pond phenomenon -- too much vegetation on the surface, impeding oxygen exchange between water and the rest of the universe.

All knowledge is metaphorical.

I keep mine in a small leather Belgium-made coin purse.

I'd say more, but I have three pairs of shoes that are waiting to be fed and watered.


Jonna said...

I rather doubt that the laguna was dying from the water lettuce and hyacinth, what happens is that life continues but it changes and often to something we don't like much. As long as there is water, sun and food there will be life in your lagoon, Mother Nature hates a vacuum. You can do as you are and remove the water lettuce so that things you prefer take their place, Mom doesn't care as long as something is growing.

Both water hyacinth and water lettuce are commonly used to clean open water of all kinds of pollution, even heavy metals but mostly fertilizer run off. Those white,species water lilies you show will do the same but slower. In the lagunas of Rio Dulce in Guatemala there are miles of inland waterways totally covered by the large leaves of the native white water lily. It's a gorgeous sight but it is difficult to navigate, likewise an expanse of blooming water hyacinth is incredibly beautiful but man has spent millions trying to eradicate them from navigable water. The fish and other creatures that live under them change, that is true, and mostly we are not as happy with the replacements.

I do commend you for creating a spot of open water for differing wildlife and you are no doubt correct that eventually the vegetation will stop the inflow of more water, dam up the silt and create a bog or a marsh. Again, mother nature doesn't care - it is life. We do though and prefer habitats for birds rather than mosquitoes.

Your problem will be that unless you replace the lettuce with something that consumes as much of the nutrients, or find a way to drain nutrients back into the larger body of water (basically get more water flow through your area) then the lettuce and the hyacinth will always return. It's an honorable task though, and satisfying in a Zen way. I could say that one must find some way to entertain oneself on those long country days :)

Felipe Zapata said...

Gotta tell you, this fixation with the lagoon escapes me. I don't get it. Let Mama Nature run wild, I say. Especially if there are crocs involved.

Steve Cotton said...

With the way my hairline has been changing, there is little danger of vegetation impeding my oxygen exchange.

Steve Cotton said...

If I truly wanted to eradicate all of the lettuce and hyacinth, I could not even get Sisyphus interested in the job.

The best I can do is open this little hole and keep a bit of diversity going. Each year, during the rainy season, the powers that be open the laguna to drain into the sea. Out goes most of the lettuce and hyacinth. Of course, within months, it is back.

I may be delusional, but I am not mad. Controlling this stuff for more than an instant is the best I can do. To Mother Nature, I am just another annoying circumstance -- not worth much notice.

Steve Cotton said...

And who could explain Humbert Humbert's facination with Lolita? We all have our foibles. At least, when the vegetation is gone, I can see the croc coming.

Stewartj said...

" hooking on the malecon" does not translate well here in river city. I was relieved to find it wasn't a new lide style for you.

Steve Cotton said...

My former secretary was fond of saying: "Many a truth is said in jest." Of course, she was prone to saying things like "now, you're skating on dry ice" and "you've got crow on your face." So, I am not certain where the wisdom lies.

sparks said...

I saw you walking along the highway past El Aguacate and pretended I saw your camera. Just beyond was your "suv" .... so with camera in hand you must not have been in trouble. I was on a mission

Steve Cotton said...

No trouble. I was out taking a few photographs for an upcoming topic. I did discover one thing -- walking on a highway shoulder is not a safe place to be.

Jansmith said...

I think it is a good thing your internet signal doesn't reach the laguna. If it did you wouldn't see that croc coming for you because you would be so engrossed in your computer. Things happen for a reason. Jan in Mississippi

Steve Cotton said...

I have often dreamt of having a Tom Sawyer to float on the laguna while keeping up with the comments. I wonder if the croc can ghost-write?

Jansmith said...

I hear a clock ticking right now.Tick Tock. Jan

Steve Cotton said...

You may have mistaken the sound of my biological clock.