True stories with a twist!

Posts tagged ‘Koi’

Belafonte Song About Foxes

Harry Belafonte recorded this song many years ago:

A fox went out on a chilly night,

Prayed for the moon to give him light,

He’d many a mile to go that night before he reached the Town-O

Town-O, Town-O

He’d many a mile to go that night before he reached the Town-O.

That song that whizzed through my mind when I looked out of the window and saw a fox. But this was no chilly night, and he was not searching for any Town-O. This was a hot July afternoon, and rather than reaching the Town-O, he reached my front yard.

Foxy was comfortably resting on a spot on the front lawn. Then he yawned, got up and walked to the red maple tree in front of our house and started digging. His foxy memory remembered that he had buried a foxalicious treat right there, so he dug it up and started gnawing on it. Finally sated from his snack, he picked it up and started digging another hole, buried the food, and scratched dirt over it.

That evening, we saw him sauntering across our stone patio in the back yard. He stopped in front of the stone wall protecting the Koi pond. Whish! That’s how fast the malicious varmint leapt up on the ledge of the stone wall. Unfortunately for him, that’s also how fast he fell off. He wasn’t able to reach high enough to remain on the ledge, so he missed out on his chance to scoop the water and pull out a delicious seafood dinner.

Although we do not permit Fox-fishing, hunting by Foxes or Fox Koi thievery on our property, now we wait, hoping the Fox has forgotten about our house, hoping he won’t come back and hoping he doesn’t grab one of our Koi next try.


Furious swooshing, whooshing and splashing water greets intruders of the secluded, romantic and peaceful back yard. Jumping, twisting and chasing meet our eyes. What have we stumbled into? What X Rated scene is going on in our own back yard?  In the pond?

The pond is usually the calmest, most peaceful place in the garden. The quiet, dreamy hideaway offers surprises like the beautiful, colorful koi pond. The Koi smoothly glide by, unperturbed by human worries, blissfully involved in fishy meditations.

Unexpectedly and abruptly, the scene changes from one of contentment to a maddening chase. There is rapid, panicky, hysterical action swishing through the water. “What is going on?”

Have demons of the deep pervaded the pond? Has the Loch Ness Monster slivered into it? Is“Jaws,” threatening to invade the peaceful Koi Kingdom?

This is spring fever in the wild. Spring fever may turn a human young man’s heart to thoughts of love, but springtime turns Koi thoughts to breeding. There are no charming mating dances that some birds perform, or showy, flirtatious showing off of colors seen in other species. No songs of love and devotion. This is raw, violent, passionate need, graphically clear to anyone indecent enough to watch. Suddenly, unexpectedly there is a violent, ardent chase: the pursuit of males after females.  The females swim away for cover, but the males surge in power to overtake them. The females often bruise their bodies on the pond’s rocks as they move to escape marauding males with mating on their minds. This destructive behavior is reminiscent of scenes from “Shades of Gray.”

The plants get pulled up by the roots, the water gets splashed out from pond to patio in the violence of their chases.

And then, in a few hours, all is quiet again. Peace reigns. The female Koi have dropped their eggs and the males have fertilized them. Relaxation returns.

Shortly after the orgy something looks different in the water. Upon closer inspection we see microscopic eggs. My husband, Harvey, gets the fish net and swoops a batch of them out and places them into a three gallon plastic pail. “Let’s see if we can save any. If we leave the eggs in the pond the Koi will eat them.”

So the mass of water plants filled with eggs lies at rest in a work sink in our basement. Harvey puts an aerator into the pail to oxygenate the water. And we wait. Will they hatch?

In a few days this is what we see:

As a life long fish enthusiast and collector Harvey knows what to do next. “If we have any hopes of keeping these babies alive we have to find a way to get some nourishment into those little bellies.” Now that they have advanced from eggs to baby fish he moves them into a five gallon tank, where they have room to swim around.

One trip to the Dover Pet Shop and he comes home with a small container of a product called “Baby Bites.” This stuff is as powerful to Koi as spinach is to Popeye. Look at the change in those little guys in a single week; they are starting to look like fish. They even have those black, button eyes that baby fish have. Not Koi yet, but recognizable as a member of the fish family nonetheless. They are beginning to exhibit some of the Koi colors: mostly orange and yellow. The experts tell us that in a year they will be the size of Guppies. Which means it will take at least two years for them to resemble the traditional Japanese fish, the Koi.

20120607-043113.jpgWatching the development of the tiny tank  critters has become a daily occupation. They change and grow before our eyes.

Some day when they are grown perhaps some can be returned to the pond. Maybe they will be part of the serene, romantic, peaceful scene. Or maybe they will be members of a future orgy some time in the future.


It’s time to recognize the glorious signs of spring. Everyone is talking about the record breaking warm temperatures and early spring of 1212. The crocuses were blooming in March, and so are the daffodils and forsythia. Cherry trees are swollen with new buds and the maples are leafing out. But nobody has mentioned the Koi. Koi are a species of fish originating in Japan and known for their beautiful colors, graceful movement, and impressive size. Koi ponds are becoming popular as highlights of home gardens; they add a fascination for living creatures to the plant world. Our Koi Pond “came with the house.” We didn’t install it: the former owners of our house did. Therefore we inherited a Koi Pond.


Our friends, and anyone who stops by to read meters, deliver packages or cut grass are fascinated by them. The most common question they ask is, “What happens to them them in the winter?”

In winter the Koi’s metabolism slows down and they go into hibernation, much as bears do. They need no food during those cold months. Only when the temperatures creep back up to 50 degrees can they resume their normal feeding schedule.

Early in the spring, when the temperatures fluctuate so wildly, they start the season with light snacks.  Surprisingly, a favorite choice for beginning the feeding is Honey Nut Cheerios. Imagine children of Koi hobbyists wrestling with the Koi for their Honey Nut Cereal. If General Mills knew about this extra use for their product they could launch a new advertising campaign aimed at fish hobbyists.

The Koi zoom to the edge of the pond to get their first season’s taste of their favorite cereal to get them eating again after their long winter of hibernation. From Honey Nut Cheerios they graduate to regular Cheerios, then on to wheat germ pellets, which accelerate the digestive process.

Then comes the big day: the Koi finally get to eat their normal diet of Growth Pellets: a blend of protein, fats and fibers laced with dried seaweed, soybean and vitamins. Their feeding schedule increases up to four times a day. Their growth rivals that of  thriving summer flowers.

But all is not perfect in the peaceful Koi pond. A dangerous creature lurks overhead, longing for a tasty meal. The Heron. Herons fly overhead searching for a substantial feast. They do not swoop down from the air and catch a fish, as a pelican would. They land nearby and walk to the pond, seeking entry to their quest.

That is why ponds are built with steep rock walls; if the access to the pond were easy to walk to and wade into, the Koi would suffer large losses. To protect them from heron attacks we installed a motion detector called “The Scarecrow.” Every time anything approaches the pond a noisy, powerful spray of water turns on, frightening living creatures from getting too close. The Koi become quite tame, and swim to the edge of the pond when they sense a human bearing food pellets. Welcome, summer, and welcome to our Koi Pond.

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