I have a little Koi pond that is a delight for three seasons but a litmus test for sanity during our long cold winter. The fish hibernate when it is below 50F so they have been sleeping for a couple of months and have at least that much longer to just stretch out and relax in the icy water.
It is up to me to get up everyday and, among other things, make sure there is a hole in the ice so that there is oxygen in the water. A small pump that bubbles up through an opening that is decreasing in size accomplishes this.
There is “insurance” in that there is a heating circle that can be plugged in when the temperature plummets. I don’t think it’s working as I put my hand on it in the water and it felt cold. Then I told myself that even a heater would feel cold in icy water. It must be working or it wouldn’t be loose. Then I told myself not to put my hand into the water to check the status of a plugged in electrical appliance. My being here to write this blog tells you that I did not sacrifice my life.
I have an ice chopper. It is a heavy rod with a thick blade on the end. I can’t chop without hurting my neck but I can drop it and it usually makes a dent in the ice and sometimes breaks off a section. Today I managed to drop chop a hole big enough to feel satisfied. One of the chunks that broke lose, though, dislodged the pump and I had to reach my arm, after unplugging the pump, into the icy water and try to bury the pump in a bucket of sunken stones. I found a big loose stone near the house to weight the pump down more securely. I left the heating circle in place just in case it is working. I came back into the house and told my husband of my work.
He said, “Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just buy new fish in the spring?”
I said, “Yes,” but I remember the color of each one and they have names.