Keeping Koi in Little Siberia | January 2020

I haven’t posted for some time now. The holidays and work have been keeping me busy. Plus the koi have been low maintenance and boring.Here’s a quick look at what’s been going on in Little Siberia…

11.2.2019 Some of the koi club board members before our meeting.
11.9.2019 – finally finished covering up the lower pond and making a protective cover for the equipment. I am hoping we do not find animals living under the plastic in the spring.
11.27.2019 heavy snow
12.1.2019 more snow….even when it snows a lot, you have many days with beautiful sunshine
12.8.2019 the casual winter garden visitor
12.11.2019 Indoor pool looks pretty, the koi do not seem to mind that they are on a diet.
12.23.2019 I’m sure our non-koikeeping visitors think we’re crazy.
1.11.2020 some koi are hungrier than others – the shiro utsuri in the front is always looking for food.
1.11.2019 My koi memory game showed up from Shutterfly. I will be manning a booth at the local Japanese American Society of Minnesota for their Shinnenkai celebration. It’s difficult to have “something interactive” with koi in the middle of winter. So I asked my sister to knit some amigurumi koi for prizes and will be running a memory game tournament. This is the harder set, the easy set has varieties.
1.16.2019 more cold weather, but sunny
We’re heading back to Japan 😍

Yes, we booked our trip to Japan in early spring 2020. We will be visiting family and the three great gardens of Japan: Kenroku-en (Kanazawa), Koraku-en (Okayama) and Kairaku-en (Mito). Collectively they are known as the Nihon Sanmeien. I love gardening almost as much as koi keeping. Unfortunately gardening in little siberia is pretty difficult. The pond builder and I will need to get some property farther south to expand on this interest.

I’m hoping to squeeze in a trip to a koi farm in southern Japan just to look around. Some day I should go on a koi buying trip with the dealers but I’m not sure if I would love the grind of visiting farm after farm. I watched a video on Youtube about the ikeage. It looks like a lot of fun to watch the koi being harvested and visiting all the farms.

While the idea of a koi only trip sounds good, I enjoy seeing other things in Japan. We thought about trying the western coast of Japan this year, seeing the sand dunes at Tottori but passed due to lack of time and no Shinkansen. We love traveling by bullet train. I’d love to go up to Hokkaido. We did decide to go visit the snow monkeys near Nagano – Jigokudani Monkey Park. After doing some research, it might end up being a not-so-great experience (read this amusing blog post by someone). I’m not too worried if the trip to see the monkeys is lousy. I booked a ryokan (Kanbayashi Hotel Senjukaku) which looks lovely, offers those full kaiseki dinners and hot springs baths. This ryokan is also very close to the monkey park which appears to be a long walk to their onsen, 10-15 minutes of photos and walk back.

Trip plans change frequently since I have plenty of time to do research and ignore the boring winter koi.

Which brings us to today…the cold weather pretty much limits me to indoor activities like blogging 😂

We’re experiencing some pretty cold temperatures in little siberia this month. The extended period of sub-freezing weather should ease up in a few weeks.
1.18.2020 A few inches of snowfall yesterday.
1.18.2020 the lower pond
1.18.2020 The pond builder is an outdoors guy. I’ll probably see something new being built for the indoor pond because he gets bored during winter. You can do only so much shoveling, raking, salting and skiing.
1.18.2020 The indoor pond has started to grow some algae. Some days the koi seem to be in torpor, other days they are very active.

Filming assures me that no one is hiding an ulcer on their sides or undersides…and it’s a good way to check if the diet is working. I think some of the pot bellies are looking sleeker.

Hope your koi keeping is not in sub-freezing weather. Only a few more days until we start seeing All Japan Koi Show news, the start of koi shows in the United States and new purchases from koi dealer trips.