Winter has arrived a little early and we’re unprepared…

Fall is always a busy time. Between work, the last koi shows, getting the garden ready for winter and thinking about bringing the koi in for the winter – we barely have time to watch football  and the new fall series on TV.  This weekend we caught up on some of our tasks.
Winter POOL 2019-2020 progress
The pond builder has been traveling a great deal for business so the garage pool has gone up a little slower. However, he’s taking his time and making sure everything is right. Little details like sanding off any extra material on the PVC connections that might scratch the koi.  Over the last few weekends he has put in the aerated bottom drains, installed a skimmer on the near side, lights, rotary drum filter system placed and a little water has been added. So far it looks like there are no leaks. When completed, our garage pool will hold 2800 gallons of water. Foam board insulation will keep the floor chill down. The garage is normally heated to 62°F  during the winter. Last year our pool was taller and we were able to  load the RDF to a rolling scaffold. This year we needed some lower benches and have used the scaffold to hang things above the RDF. Aerated bottom drains
winterizing the yard
Surprise winter weather blew through the Rockies and the upper tier of the United States. Snow in early October is pretty unusual. On Saturday we had little bouts of snow showers, nothing that was sticking. Today we had some warmer temperatures so I finished cutting back all the hosta and other assorted plants in the yard. I also started putting together bamboo teepees that will frame some plant coverings and snowfall minimizing string work. I’m trying to create some structures that resemble yukitsuri in Japan. Something different than my usual stake and burlap winter constructions. I’m going to abandon covering the azaleas/ rhododendrons this year. There are too many to cover and I’m going to hope they live up to their hardiness factor. I do cover many of the small evergreens because they are prone to frost burn. Some of the new trees will have only cord to disrupt snowfall. I’ll have to see if draping a little burlap might be useful to cut down on the wind burn. Of course the little tamukeyama maple will get its usual winter protective covering. It has survived a number of winters here satisfactorily. a little snow shower teepees made with 8′ bamboo poles and lashed together with waxed black garden string a little bit of sunshine today…
Meanwhile the koi are fine…
The seventeen koi are all in the upper pond and spend most of their time at the skimmer end of the pond. The water is currently 50°F and they are no longer interested in food. We plan to start bringing them in next weekend. While it’s not fun to lug them from the pond to the pool, it is nice to measure them and take photos. I hope my koi have been adding inches on since they seem to have gotten fat as well. Koi should not have bellies and some of my crew seem a little more full in the belly than others. This year, I will be putting all of the koi on a diet over winter. We’ll feed one or two handfuls of JPD Fuyufuji a week just to keep their digestive systems going. The cooler weather means that I spend less time looking at the koi but thankfully everyone looks healthy. Koi can sprout little spots of infection just because. Treating something right at the start is so much easier.  Some koi keepers do a whole pond prophylactic treatment to kill off any heebie jeebies before moving. We do that in the spring time before they go out but not sure if we will do that coming in for the winter. Since they look healthy, perhaps it’s best to just leave it alone.
Last weekend I attended the AKJA Annual Seminar in South Carolina. I had to prepare an oral presentation on the topic “Sumi” and complete my candidate exam. I had a year to study for this exam and I’m glad I did. It was much more difficult and comprehensive than I originally thought. A student judge needs to pass with 70%; hopefully I was not too close to 70% 😂. The next exam I take will be in a few years. Continuing to learn more about koi and having more opportunities to judge will be important.   I’m hoping our local weather will take a turn for the better next week since moving koi and gardening in 35° F weather is not fun. Next post will be a catch up of how the seventeen koi are doing-