We just had a beautiful Fall here in Central NJ. The colors of the leaves were spectacular this year! Naturally, I tried to capture some of that beauty in this pond update...

Back at the start of Summer, we cleaned out the birdhouse after the chickadees flew away. Within a week, another pair of birds had taken up residence, this time using wood as the preferred building material. We were just leaving for vacation when I took this picture and when we returned 3 weeks later, the nest was empty again... so maybe someone can identify the bird that laid these eggs?!

Here's a shot of the pond looking West, with the pebbled beach area and cattails in the forefront. An iris that seeded itself by the water pump has grown into many tall shoots that run along the bamboo retaining wall. Behind the pond, you can see some of the perennial flowers that brought more color to this sea of green. The flowers did much better this year, I think, because our neighbor let us remove a branch from his tree that was blocking a lot of sunlight to that area.

What do you suppose they're talking about? The large one appears to be complaining about something... the lack of tasty bugs, maybe?

As Summer went on, I noticed the pond was losing a little too much water than could be explained by evaporation. By mid-September, I found myself topping it off every few days. There had to be a leak... but where?! I searched everywhere for that telltale sign -- wet dirt by the edge of the liner -- and found nothing. What a puzzle! After a week of guesswork and peeking under rocks, I was crawling around under the pine tree to the left of the waterfall when I reached under a rock and found... mud!! And so began a minor reconstruction project... :-)

What happened was, over time, a heavy rock placed inside the liner slowly sank to the point where water could now escape over and behind the liner. Then, as the dirt under the rock/liner became mud, the rock sank even faster... and the pond started losing even more water each day.

I had my son help out with this one... what we did was, after using a concrete block to shore up the mud beneath the liner, we put the liner and large rock back in place -- now higher -- and then brought in some garden dirt to level off the new space behind the rock. You can see the large (very heavy!) rock there, in front of the shovel.

Ahhhh... it's officially Fall! Like I said, we had some beautiful colors this year!! You can see the leaves atop the black mesh net (which you probably cannot see). The animals don't seem to mind the net; I was watching a bird the other day jumping on it like a trampoline, and the frogs are content to stay underneath it. I left the entire waterfall section uncovered again; that's where the birds generally fly in for drinks and baths.

The garden path leading into the back yard...

And finally, here are 3 pictures taken By the Light of the Silvery Moon, at 1:00 AM on November 24th, a couple days after Thanksgiving.

This 15-second moonlit exposure captures the garden looking back toward the house. The pond is hiding there in the center. It seems I left the kitchen light on too... and the glow on the right side of the house is from the street light out front.

One more picture lit by the full moon. This one looking across the pond out toward the garden. Maybe you can make out a couple stars in the sky? It was down to 30F (-1C) when I took these pictures... brrr, I think Winter is on its way!

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