Saturday, June 25, 2011

FC Almighty ... With Apologies To Evan and Noah.

The voice came to me one day as I crunched across the dusty, brown grass down by the pond ... only there was no pond, just a hole in the dirt.

"FC, YOU MUST BUILD AN ARK"

"No, I must not."

Notice how I did not question the source of the voice? I don't stick earbuds in my ears and there was no one else around, so ...

"YES, YOU MUST"

"No, that's not a good idea. Don't you remember the duck hunting boat I built in the backyard when I was 17?

"OH ... YES, BUT YOU ARE A BETTER BUILDER NOW, AND THIS ARK IS A DIFFERENT ..."

"Sorry, I'm still emotionally scarred by the experience. Remember how that old Minorcan fisherman,  Mr. Capo, leaned over the fence every day and criticized each cut, each hammer stroke? He must have told me a hundred times how he could do it better."

"HE WAS A BIT CRITICAL."

"A bit?"

"JUST SHUT UP AND LISTEN FOR A MOMENT ... YOUR CONSTANT INTERRUPTING MAKES ME WANT TO SMITE YOU."

"Okay, okay, ... no smiting. I'm listening."

"THESE ARKS ..."

"Arks? Plural?"

"...WILL NOT INVOLVE BUILDING ANYTHING. YOU ONLY NEED TO DIG."

" Dig? Okay, I'm listening."

"YOU ARE TO GO FORTH AND INSTALL WATERING HOLES AROUND PFHQ SO THAT ALL MANNER OF BEASTS MAY HAVE WATER DURING THE DROUGHTS."

"All right, but ... couldn't you do that with like ... a wink and a nod?"

"I AM TRYING SO HARD NOT TO SMITE YOU RIGHT NOW."

"Okay, okay. I can dig holes."

"AMEN TO THAT."

So, I got busy of course. Currently there are 4 in-ground artificial water bodies scattered around PFHQ and 2 above ground "ponds". This spring has been incredibly dry with almost no rain for months.
We are as dry as back in 1998 when Florida was burning and an entire county (Flagler) was evacuated due to fires.
On a good note, it rained here yesterday and there is the promise of more!"

Even though iris can tolerate dry periods, having the arks around helped these potted irises to thrive and multiply.

The Florida Cooter babies I hatched back in '06 are the kings of the livestock tank turned "Ark" out by the garden.

The blue flag iris out in a mini-ark by the aquaculture tank were so happy to have water during the drought that they made fruit.

A mix of frogs found the different in-ground arks on their own.

This guy was added to the aquaculture ark as a tadpole rescued from the drying "real pond" on the east end of PFHQ.

He's one lucky frogling.


So, what's the lesson here?

Well, for one thing, water holes are vital during droughts and they don't have to be huge to be important to wildlife.

Three of these "arks" are 30 gallon garden pond tubs from Home Depot or Lowes. They have attracted all manner of beasties from insects to vertebrates. I did stock each with Gambusia minnows to prevent mosquito breeding, but most of the critters found them on their own.

There are deer tracks around the one that is deep in the woods, and an owl has been perched on a low limb over that "ark" almost every day this month.

I think he may be hunting some of those who come to the water hole.

I have plans for more, after all water is THE limiting factor for wildlife. The goal here is to help my critters get through droughts ... a lifeboat if you will, but one filled with water, not riding atop it.

Heck, I may even dust off those skiff boat plans I mail ordered back in the '80's and finally build that real boat.

After all, here at PFHQ, there are no neighbors to peer across the fence and critique my work ...
... except for Mr. Omniscient of course.

"I HEARD THAT!"

Oops.

17 comments:

debbie said...

It's been 5 years since the turtles hatched? Seems like they hatched just a couple of weeks ago.

Sandcastle Momma said...

When you get that rain thing going at your place could you send some up my way?
I guess this is the "If I build it - it will rain" theory.
Good luck!

Dani said...

Started storming here around 11 last night. What a blessing to finally have some rainwater back in my barrels.

Aunty Belle said...

I'd build water arks jes' to have that cute frogling!

I'se touched by your shepherd nature.

raining up thar' today? We's had a gully washer in town but Uncle do say that the ranch be so dry the rain jes' bounced. Hope ya git real rain real soon.

threecollie said...

Wonderful idea. Even here in the rain forest the garden pond with its splashing fountain made a huge difference in the amount and variety of bird life around here. How I envy your frogs though. Have yet to see a single one this summer.

Ericka said...

nice job, fc! and you didn't even have to figure out what a cubit was!

Floridacracker said...

Of course it rained like crazy on the day I post a drought survival tale ...

Debbie, isn't that amazing? I had to go back and see for myself in the old posts.

SandMomma,
Apparently that is true, we got a great rain here while I was at the movies.


Dani,
The rain has arrived! I think maybe the dry spring pattern is giving way to summer pattern.



Aunty,
Aw shucks, maam.
The rain came Saturday afternoon! The grass greened up overnight and the treefrogs are singing.
Please excuse my absence at the Front Porch, Aunty. For some reason my Internet Explorer locks up every time I try to open your site.

3Collie,
No frogs? Ack.
I have been reading your rain posts with envy.

Ericka,
Thanks, yes, I was allowed to dig free form with no ancient mideastern measuring units required!

Julie Zickefoose said...

One of your best. The synthesis and the structure most pleasing to my mind and eye, herpy-phibby eye candy the cherries on top. Creating little ecosystems from duckweed and Gambusia on up, well, it's all about making your own weather, isn't it?
SO GLAD it finally rained! May there be many more such days!

JZ

Miz S said...

Hmmmmm. This post got me in the mood to dig another pond in our backyard. When I say "me" I mean "Josh."

tai haku said...

Awesome stuff (and I always love to see the turtles reappear).

Aunty Belle said...

glad ya got some rain. Hope more shows up too.

No idea why IE is lockin' up--thas'a new thang...an' very distressin'. But I'll be lookin' in here onc't in awhile to see what all ya got goin'.

Daytona Beach Biker said...

yes, really thankful for the rain we've finally been getting, every time I smell the smoke in the air I flashback to 98...not good:(

LaDivaCucina said...

Well aren't you the busy little bee, FC, man, between your projects and hobbies and school, you certainly have enough blog fodder! And I love reading it. When there is drought, doesn't it force the critters to come closer and closer to "man" for food and water? Ever see any gators on the PFHQ?

We were going home from a birthday party at a South Beach club late Saturday night, hopped off the local bus and ran like hell in the rain to get home. Got soaked in less than a block...my garden was very happy and so am I. I hope the rainy season has finally begun.

We'll be waiting to see that ark full o' water! (love your label!)

Thunder Dave said...

Glad to hear you're finally getting some rain down there! We'd galdly share ours if it were possible; we've already gone over our expected precipitation level for the entire year!

Shelllady said...

I love your post...great stories and pics!! I especially love the frogling picture...looks like it was posed with the perfect tiny leaves!! Love your site!!...do you know how lucky you are to live down there in beautiful Florida? I just spent 2 weeks down there and I love it...one day I'm going to come down there and not leave...would love to have a setup like you have!! Thanks for the interesting posts!!

Bill said...

I hate it when He shouts.

faiz said...

I enjoyed reading it. I need to read more on this topic...I admiring time and effort you put in your blog, because it is obviously one great place where I can find lot of useful info.