Swimming in the water, swimming in the water...

As many of you know, I keep a few fish.  Hugo, Blanco and Oro are simple Goldfish, but they have been part of our household for over 4 years.  In fact, when listing off members of our family group, the boy is quite adamant that the "fishes" not be forgotten.

To that end, we have a 40 gallon aquarium in the living room for winter quarters, and a 75 gallon "summer home" pond on the back deck in which the fish reside.  I built the new deck/pergola/planter a few summers back and our fish reside in the middle portion of the planter.

As you can see in the photo, I built the deck before we completed our exterior remodel.  If we (n)ever do it again, I will be sure to finish the siding prior to decking.

The house as it is today - I am particularly pleased with my wee fence and contorted filbert.

Anyways, I digress...  We've made a bunch of changes to the house. The end.

Part of those changes was to add the pond on the deck.   Approximately four years ago, whilst researching ponds,  fish and aquatic plants became an area of interest to me.  I began to day dream about ponds big and small.

I also know that Laur would like to have a swimming pool.  However we are not interested in the cost of installation, the cost of heating and upkeep nor the inconvenience of maintaining a chlorinated body of water, and so a pool remained out of the question.

That is until one day, while conducting more pond research, I happened to come across this video - a "natural swimming pond".   I was hooked.

Check it out.


A fraction of the cost, no contractors, no poisonous chemicals, special plumbing, wiring, nor complicated filtering equipment.  It is entirely within our capabilities to construct ourselves and is all natural - will not harm water creatures, insects or plants.

If planted correctly and in correct proportions, water plants will do the actual filtering themselves.  It is easy to construct a mechanical means to circulate water.  I've already made several simple filters for the current pond. Adapting a filter for a pool large enough to swim is simply a matter of scale. Except for the pond liner and pump, all other materials can be found at hand - soil, and stones for the path/stairs are all on site.  Timbers and dimensional lumber can be made from trees already on the property. In fact, small saw mills are quite common in the valley and many people take wood from their own property to be sawn into lumber.

Plants can be transplanted from the creek side without any impact to the existing environment.

So what about water?  I did some further research and it appears in this instance that David Pagan Butler used rain water to fill his pool. This is certainly an option, but what about the near by spring-fed creek? It might be quite easy to construct a simple sluice from the running creek with no environmental impact.

The biggest downside is labor!  I can imagine hand digging such a large hole... and then renting an excavator.  In fact I'm sure our friend Gerard would help us with the technical advice.  This might be the best option, especially since the soil could be quite rocky.

But could the fish live in it, too? All of my research says it's best not to have fish, but I can't imagine three goldfish would place a burden on the system... three male goldfish that is.  Although it would be nice if conditions were perfect for breeding, having a zillion goldfish is not what I'm after.

Nonetheless, the possibility is exciting and the options are endless.  I know there is A LOT of other work to be done to the farmstead, but a little recreation never hurt anyone! 

Stay tuned for more blog entries - I've been researching saunas, how to lay a traditional hedge, building chicken coops, chicken breeds - meat vs eggs, oxen vs horses for heavier farm work, heritage seeds, DIY wide plank flooring and smoke houses.

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