Late Spring is a busy time

Late May in Little Siberia is always nice. All the plants have settled into the routine of staggered blooms to enjoy. The purple rhododendrons bloom first, then the pink and orange. The bleeding hearts look beautiful for about ten days before turning into nondescript green bushes (really ugly would be a better description). The trees are at their prettiest with the new spring green look and I always think the hakone grass fluffs out overnight. I flew down to the farm with some hakone grass in my suitcase. I’m hoping it will take on an invasive quality. The lilacs are in bloom so the entire MN yard smells very nice. Then my favorite flowers bloom – peonies. My favorite are the two Japanese peonies – one blooms yellow, the other yellow orange. I am going to try to transplant some peonies this fall to the farm.

The upper pond is open and we have moved the Minnesota koi outdoors. The eleven moving south to the farm will remain in the garage pool for a few more weeks. We don’t plan on purchasing anymore koi for Little Siberia, so I hope these koi will be around for another ten years. I am leaving a kohaku (red and white), sanke (a failed sanke tosai, very ugly), showa, shiro utsuri (black and white), asagi (gray and red) and a budo goromo (wine red and white). I think they will be an attractive look for the upper pond.

While we were enjoying springtime up north, it was spring hay cutting on the farm. We only had 35 large bales because the weather has all the hayfields off production. The 4M farm team completes the 25 acres over three or four days.

Our fields will need another round of broadleaf weed spray. While the fields look pretty, we would prefer more hay.

KOI SHOW!!!! The Louisville koi show is always a great time and I wanted to hang out with some of my koi friends. It’s always on Memorial Day Weekend so I flew out for the two days before the judging started. I enjoy helping out, talking koi stuff and catching up with people I have not seen for ages due to COVID. Koi people are all very nice and just about everyone loves ramen. There is a little ramen and chicken joint in Louisville that has decent ramen. I went there two days in a row.

Since we had nothing scheduled on Thursday night, Gerald Ellison (another candidate judge) and I went to the local koi dealer’s facility – Kyodai Koi. It’s very new, indoor ponds, outdoor mud pond and plans for twenty or twenty five more holding ponds to be built this spring. Alex Nguyen’s goal is to become the largest koi dealer in the US. We enjoyed the impromptu tour after dinner.

At the show site, the koi arrive in boxes and coolers. Some people move koi in specially outfitted trailers, portable ponds in their truck bed…some fly their koi in. Pond builder and I decided the cooler/box option would be best for moving our koi. We have purchased some extra coolers and will be lining a few boxes with polystyrene for insulation. I also have some new cooler mats that can be placed in the containers with the koi. So we’ll load up the koi in a bag with water and air, towel on top, cooler mat and load sideways for the safest position while transporting. It’s a seventeen hour drive so our plan is to load up a panel van in the morning, the pond builder will drive away and I will fly to the farm and wait for them to arrive.

transporting the koi to the farm in assorted coolers and boxes

The farm bound koi will remain in the garage for easy load up. I added some color food and growth food to their usual food. Everyone seems to be doing well, except for the koi that I am writing about at the end of this post.

I did not stay at the Louisville Koi Show all weekend because we had pond demo scheduled. We are in Minnesota for only short intervals so we need to squeeze in a lot of work when we can. I have an estimate for a demo team, but the pond builder wanted to see if he could actually knock down the concrete form. It’s a pretty sturdy build and he determined it would take forever. I’ll be scheduling the demo team.

Saturday morning, peeling off the cedar boards
Pond builder rented a concrete saw – very large, very heavy, a ton of dust
we’ll just continue to take away wood, move the plants from the berm to other spots around the yard, might keep the black upright poles for something

We left the following weekend for a trade show in Texas. The pond builder manufactures carwash chemicals and the trade show exhibits include anything related to carwashing – equipment, chemicals, retail items, marketing, insurance, etc. The pond builder found the material we will be using for our new pond on the farm – snapback panels from Octaform. The walls can be white or black – we’ll take black. The nicest feature is that we can create curved walls within a rectangular structure. We have noticed our koi always prefer the roundish upper pond and the Octaform guys said all their professional fish farms builds use a round structure. They will design the pond to our specs and they have a contractor in the Carolinas. I’m really pleased since my daughter reminded me that according to some asian Feng Shui thought – evil travels in straight lines —- so round is good.

We flew home from the trade show on Thursday and Friday morning, about three hours before we need to leave for the airport, Abbott has an injury. Someone had knocked one of the bottom drain connections loose and we believe abbott was the cause of the problem. Since we were limited on time, we gave an antibiotic shot and placed Abbott in the outdoor pond. There is nothing to bang into and more real estate to swim around.

We arrived late Friday night and woke up yesterday morning to see that the jungle was growing back. during the three weeks we were away the wisteria is trying to make a comeback and we have fresh vines everywhere. Pond builder will be out with his brush mower and he’s already busy taking down trees. I’m on new wasp nests control and spraying down the Japanese beetles that are chewing up my young fruit trees. Once we get some of the garden tasks done, we’ll start building the indoor garage pool for the koi. I’m feeling a little exhausted just writing about this.