Thursday, August 2, 2012

Water Gardens/Ponds/Waterfalls

I love water gardens.

I blame Seth. He's married now, with two adorable kids, but when he was a teenager, he wanted to dig/build a water garden. So we did.

Back then I had a big old shade tree out front. We dug an upper garden and a lower one with a waterfall. I loved them!

But between digging the water garden and a big broken tree root in the driveway, the big old maple died. And with it, all of my shade plants WITHERED....  Which meant a complete change of garden. Which meant time. And money. Neither of which I had.


Time went on. I decided to let my English Ivy take over.

Oh. It did. It only took 4 years of NEGLECT to have the ivy bury the water gardens. One needed a new liner, and the other one... Oh, bother, I think I just ran out of time!

This is Seth's son Logan making Dinosaur Soup last year... Yup, you guessed it! He's making his soup in the base for the Mother's Day water garden they got me in 2008.

I am officially pathetic.

So this year we instituted the WATER GARDEN RECOVERY ACT OF 2012.


Seth and I bartered for work. I watched his kids while he worked, and he's restoring my yard and gardens to something pretty.

Let me just say:  My work with the kids is a joy.

His?  Backbreaking, but he loves it!  We messed up our first water garden. And a little of our second. And our third. But we learned each time. So now we have this:

This is the oblong pond right in front of the front porch. You can't see it from the road, but the frogs LOVE IT!!!  And the little fountain in the middle keeps it aerated. So the frogs and fish are happy. Except something ate the fish.
RIP, fish.

This is the one that housed Dino Stew last year. Or two years ago. Whenever. Seth is now giving it a place of honor in the front yard. It will have a spillway waterfall once the plastic pond forms are in place with rubber sheeting between them. Today he dug... and dug... and dug.... Tomorrow is leveling.

And here is the original waterfall pond that I'm digging out of the ivy. (With poison ivy all through it, so I dress up like a stinkin' hazmat person... Very attractive.)

We're standing at the top of the waterfall... I got that far three weeks ago, and then had family stuff or work each weekend... But maybe this weekend I can uncover some more. I need to reline this one, so it's a complete "dig out" of the ivy, remove the snake-riddled liner, very scummy, and then replace with the new rubber liner. And then a new pump. That's my birthday present this year, to see if I can get everything humming, trickling, and pretty.... without spending a fortune.

Do you barter? To old-world me, bartering is one of the most sensible things folks can do. For Seth, it's worked well. He gets child care, I get a landscaper.

All in a day's work!


  1. wow, very cool! I've always wanted a koi pond but I'm afraid my boys would be fishing in it when I wasn't looking.

    My mother had a koi pond with lilis, and when we'd visit in the winter, there would be lilis in the master bathtub. 'Cause lilis don't like the cold. I'm assuming you turn the pond off in the winter?

    Um, yes, I barter with some moms I know... I teach piano lessons for haircuts. Also, I give French and Russian lessons in exchange for art and sewing for my kids. I can't hardly sew a square but I can teach your kid how to find the bathroom in Moscow, hahhahaha!

    We have a large homeschool group and we barter a lot of things, mostly teachables.

    1. I love bartering. One of my daycare dads is a remodeler. So he's rebuilt our porches (North Country series, LOL!) and this year he's going around this old house and finding all the bad spots and fixing them with new cedar siding... Amazing how badly water and wood mix, right???

      So we barter for that. And it works well for both of us because he can do my work on weekends and still make money all week.

      Love it!

  2. Sounds cool. At one stage mum and the neighbour over the road came to an arrangement mum would bake and she would do the gardening (she thought it was sand like her place but the area had better soil and took more to do). Mum provided cakes, slices and cookies etc.
    We had one lady who use to clean the chimney for us for cakes too.

    At one stage I did the ironing in exchange for someone one who mowed the lawn.

    1. Jenny, exactly! I love gardening and yard work, but there are only so many hours in a day. This way is mutually beneficial and gives us money to spend on other things.

      The western half of the U.S. was built on bartering, so it's a great idea. People forget that these days.


      Not me! (laughing in NY while my little pond burbles...)

    2. it does work well. I know there have been times at church where they collect money to pay for something and I have provided food instead. I often dont have the extra money but can do something instead. I know when my friend had kids in Kindergarten there were a few parents on a roster who got a reduction in fees if they did the cleaning. I think she did it every second week and saved quite a bit.

      (would be great if I could barter something for my ambulance bill which came today. have to admit it was less than I thought just over $400 so I am happy at that but bartering for it would be good).
      Think its time for bed. I go back to the dr tomorrow so will see what the last lot of blood work says.

    3. Oh, Jenny! I hate medical bills. On top of being sick and feeling awful it costs a bunch, too.


  3. So excited to see the results but even more excited to see the dinosaurs. Grandson is having a dinosaur-themed birthday in a week or so. Is there nothing better than boys and dinosaurs? And a boy who makes dinosaur soup?

    Our neighbors just put in a similar set up to your waterfall to help with drainage. It only runs when it rains but it is a beautiful way to handle run off!

    Bartering. I have done with sewing and massages. I only barter for the good stuff.

    Peace, Julie

    1. Julie, I'd barter for a massage, LOL! Boys... dinos... I've done dinosaur cakes for the kids, that are a HUGE hit. No pun intended. Kind of. Nothing like rugged cake terrain to spark a little guy's imagination and palate.

      What a good idea to make run-off decorative. Love it, Jules!

    2. I've bartered for backrubs too. I get twenty minutes from #1 son and he gets ten from me. My hands tire out much faster than his. Sounds like a win-win, huh?

  4. You dinosaur lovers -- have you read the Sammy and the Dinosaur books by Ian Whybrow? They're brilliant and guaranteed crowd pleasers for dinosaur fanatics.

    Love your water gardens in you not to settle for just one. I love them too but since I rent I'm not willing to put all that work and expense into one. Heaven knows I've spent enough time and money on my front garden!

    I haven't bartered for anything in a long time, but I hear it's coming into style in a big way. A financial whiz here in Canada left her high paying job and lived a bartered life for a couple of years and is writing a book about it. She didn't use money for anything!!! That's gutsy.

    1. Whoa, that is gutsy. I think balance is the key for bartering because we all have limited time. If you thrust yourself into a total time crunch trying not to use money, you might back yourself into a time/financial corner.

      Chocolate is the ONLY thing that should not be balanced or used in moderation. And I'll stand by that declaration forever!!! ;)

  5. I love it! I can't wait to see the final photos, Ruthy. I also love the sweet photo of Logan. Look at that beautiful red hair!! :)

    1. Isn't he adorable? He's blonde now. Summer sun... Bleached him right out. But still so cute!

  6. By the way, I don't think I've ever bartered for anything. I wish I could come up with something to barter for my monthly hair coloring! ;)

    1. I'll color your hair for you.

      But I can't cut it. Although I trim well! :)

      Hair stuff is pricey, but... as I pointed out so nicely in A Family to Cherish which is a sweet, lovely book, btw... :)

      Taking care of our bodies is important. It's our vessel. Our clay. I think it makes God smile to know we take care of ourselves. Clearly a spa pedicure is meant to make folks feel WONDERFUL!!!

  7. And another by the way...

    Virginia speaks Russian??!!!!


  8. Lovely garden, Ruthy. I can hear the water flowing down that waterfall already...and dinosaur roars in the background!

    I was a little teary-eyed when my boys graduated from dinosaurs to dragons. Just a few weeks ago they finally gave their dragons to a couple little boys at church. (Yes, we moved their dragons to South Dakota.)

    I'm looking forward to getting our garden done - perhaps this fall for spring planting (?). I don't think we'll be putting in a water feature right away, though. It's so dry here that it used up a lot of water. Someday, when we have shade, maybe!

    Bartering - I once bartered violin lessons for school books (my school books, violin lessons for my son). Other than that, we haven't lived anywhere long enough to build up those kinds of relationships.

    Did I ever mention how much I hate moving?

    1. That's "uses up a lot of water" in the paragraph above!

    2. Moving makes a difference, for sure. But mostly because folks aren't in the habit of doing it anymore. Back in the days (between dinosaurs and tomorrow) it was a matter of course. Then everyone started working outside the home and money became the thing.

      It's a great way to get back to the roots. Jan, are you expecting to live in the new place long?

    3. I hope to never move again. That's why we built on... But now that I've jinkxed myself!! Expect a moving announcement...

  9. Ruthy, the water garden is beautiful. I'm envious.

    Batering is a great way to share our talents. I once painted a friend's kitchen because I love to paint. But I'm not so fond of gardening. Her entire hand is green, so she totally revamped my front flower bed. LOVED IT!

    I've also been known to exchange home-cooked food for things beyond my realm. Like I said, a win-win situation.

    1. Absolutely! Win/win to the nth power. I love painting too. In between revamping my proposal on Saturday I intend to work on the upstairs hall I started in April... Once the weather was nice enough to require outside work, I had to stop. But the heat on Saturday will be enough to keep me inside... Scrubbing off ugly wallpaper (teaches me to never buy bargain wallpaper again) and applying soft pink paint to the bottom... Yellow on top. And an ivory chair rail. I'm hoping it will be springlike and lovely all year long.

      As long as it doesn't look like a huge ol' Easter egg!

  10. I don't think Ihave anything to barter :-( I dont' like babysitting - *shudder* - I could petsit a dog I suppose and enjoy that but my work hours arent' the greatest for that. not known as a great cook..I can quilt but I like doing my own stuff too much!

    would love someone to do my patio area at my townhome...

    btw my bestie gave birth 3 mths premature Tues night - the parents and little Logan could use some prayer - he's stable for his age but still critical of course-lungs were collapsed so dont' know how long without oxygen, other related problems.

    ready for another book Ruthy! enjoyed the last one and now own a $25 dvd called Eirobics' that I can't wait to try out when I have time! :-) figured I'd start there instead of getting riverdance and risk killing myself!


    1. Oh, Susanna, I'm so glad you liked A Family to Cherish! Stinkin' sweet, wasn't it???? And didn't you just want to fix Cameron Calhoun???? Make him smile???? ;)

      Thank you so much for the lovely compliment... Next one comes out in November... His Mistletoe Family. And I smile just thinking about it! Hugs to you!

    2. Susanna, that's so early. And so tiny. God bless them. We'll add them to the Seeker prayer list. Keep us posted, will you please?

    3. I like Matt better! ;-)

      Logan has some swelling - not sure from what or if the dr thinks it's 'normal' but that's the latest update I've seen (checking facebook mostly so I don't bother them too much)