What could go wrong?

Pond building is never a smooth, straight road. We definitely hit a little speed bump thinking we were taking a shortcut. We let the concrete contractor pour the floor when we were not on-site. Looked good on the video cam recording but upon inspection when we returned to the farm, the pond builder was very unhappy.

The bottom drains were not level. We were thinking that the we might have to purchase new drains, new 4 inch piping and have a re-pour on top of this floor. Thankfully Russ Peters of PS Koi talked us off the edge. He provided some great advice on how it might be fixed with some careful skim coating. When concrete contractor returned, he didn’t think it would be any problem to do what Russ Peters suggested. We’ll see. I’m sure the pond builder will be supervising during the work.

Another problem we noticed was that some of the black interior walls were warping in the sun. The company never told us to store them indoors until ready to use…the concrete contractor probably should not have unpacked them and thrown them in a heap near the pond…super annoying.

The interior black panels are custom made with a little waterproofing edge. It normally does not come in black so to get 6-8 replacement panels would be almost $3000. The panels only cost about $15 each, but the set up of equipment and shipping costs are astronomical. On top of cost, the panels would not be in production until August. The concrete contractor spent much of Thursday with a heat gun and working some of the panels back into shape. The slightly warped ones straightened out just connecting to the support frames and outer wall pieces. The walls will be assembled this coming week and we’re going to see how close we are to connecting. If we can close the pond walls with a loss of a few inches, we’ll probably go for that option.

So for now we have more rebar and the support structure for the walls in preparation for a future pour. Since we are not sure how the black pieces will fare in the high 90s this coming week, we have purchased some shade tarps to keep the sun from shining directly on the panels. Our confidence in concrete contractor has gone way down but we think he’ll be able to finish with a little more close supervision.

On a more pleasant note, this weekend was hay cutting and baling. Our 25 acres of hay takes two days to cut, fluff and bale. Our hay team is very efficient. We did not think our hay was looking particularly nice but we counted 48 large bales at the end of the day. Meets our quota for qualifying the farm as an agricultural activity in 2022. There was still some cut hay left on the fields, maybe for natural mulching. The hay will be harvested again in October. I’m hoping for a lot of afternoon thunderstorms this summer to give it maximum growth.

The concrete contractor dug up one of my azaleas to let the concrete truck have access to pour. He didn’t tell me that he dug up the azaleas but I noticed they weren’t sitting in the ground right. So I pulled them out and moved them to the southwest corner of the house. Once I moved the five azaleas, I decided to tackle this corner that has been left pretty much on its own.

Step 1: Decide to create a new garden based on azaleas and japanese maples.

Step 2: Go buy a bunch of new plants.

Step 3: Find someone who will do the backbreaking work of digging in this area. I thought it was going to be easy soil to work with, but every hole needed some pickaxe work with the compacted clay soil. I have the best gardening assistant you could ever ask for 😊.

Step 4: Ask the pond builder if he could find a large cedar tree to chop down because you want some path pieces in the new garden.

Step 5: He found a cedar tree that was dead and needed to be removed. It was a tricky cut since it got hung up on some of the live trees around it. He then cut a number of 1.5 inch pieces. They look kind of like meat.

Step 6: Brush some clear stain on both sides of the piece to keep their color.

and voilá – we have a new garden. It still needs some more work but I’m pleased with how it turned out. I will need some more mulch, need to put in the Irish moss and the hakone grass. They don’t seem to have hakone grass in the nurseries around me, so the next time I am in Minnesota, I’m going to buy some and bring it back in my suitcase. In a few years the plants will be larger and I’m hoping to see a more denser looking garden.

Making progress on some projects, hiccups on others. Crossing my fingers that we don’t have any more hiccups when it comes to the pond build.


  1. tmac840 says:

    Lori, It seems that no pond build is without it’s issues. Glad to hear that you have a work around for the pond floor. You guys certainly have a full plate with the pond, the farm, and the landscaping projects. Can’t wait to see the finished version. BTW, I noticed a greenhouse in the background. Did you get it locally? It looks like the size we are considering. Enjoy your blog. Regards,

    Terry McClain 704-621-7820


  2. Linda Combs says:

    Thank you Lori for keeping me on the mailing list. This was so well written that it conveyed so much about the process.

    Please do let me know if / when Tony calls Ron Reitzel. I am totally sending positive energy for that call to go well. May you be blest with an accepting attitude from RR.

    Warm….well given record breaking temps next week, would it be appropriate to say “Keep Cool regards”?



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