Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Goldfish Story

First, we'd like to congratulate Ned Lamont for his fantastic victory in the Connecticut Senate primary. This win is one of the most uplifting and hopeful political moments we have felt in many years. Of course, Lieberman is going to run as an Independent, and CNN said something like, "What's a centrist to do?" We intend not to let their mindless drivel dampen our happiness in the moment. Just for a second we feel like what it might be like to have our country back. Oh, it's a heady feeling for sure!

Now here's the goldfish post.
All gold
In 2004, when we finally retired and moved up to the peninsula, we bought a dozen very small "feeder" goldfish at the local pet store and added them to our little pond. We'd had a pond in Santa Cruz, and liked the presence of that flash of gold in the water. These dozen were the classic orange variety, but we do remember one fish had a bit of white and black markings. The rest were really non-descript. During the first summer here, the goldfish thrived. We were surprised by how quickly they grew, especially considering that we didn't add any food for them. We also don't filter the water in the pond, but water is pumped up to create a small waterfall, which keeps the water well aerated.
Getting big
In November 2004, we saw the first of many Great Blue herons in our yard. It was quite a sight to see such a large bird next to our tiny pond. Herons must be incredibly adept at spotting little backyard ponds containing fish, because they found ours very quickly. Needless to say the fish disappeared one by one. What the herons didn't eat the raccoons did. By December we could look into the pond and not see a single surviving goldfish. We figured that was the end of that.
Gold with dark tails
So, imagine our pleasant surprise when spring arrived and we found swimming about the pond another beautiful dozen goldfish. They were smaller than the ones the heron and raccoons had eaten, so we were certain that they were the offspring of the first generation. Their coloring was a bit different as well. A few had distinctive dark markings. They grew and thrived and by summer's end they were about four to six inches long. But by late fall they were all gone.
One completely dark
We were less surprised, but equally as pleased this past spring to notice several small goldfish again. The third generation. We've been watching them grow all summer. They hide under the lily pads, and only venture out when they sense that there is no danger. Lately I've been sitting on the bench next to the pond and photographing them. It takes a while for them to show up, but when they do, they are quite a sight. We're delighted to now have two dark fish with no orange markings at all. The pond has become a nice little experiment in goldfish genetics. Their markings, tail shape, and fins have been changing. On the other hand, the heron could have easily transported a few fish eggs and contributed to the gene pool. Or maybe these dark fish aren't goldfish at all. Either way, they are pretty, aren't they? They'll be gone by Thanksgiving.

I've already seen next year's crop. They're tiny and very cute.

No comments:

Post a Comment