It’s a (Death) Trap!

7 Mar

This is what our pond looked like several years ago. Idyllic. Lush. Lovely.

Then the neighbor cut his nice shady tree back, bleaching the entire corner with sun. The pond filter system kept breaking down, despite the enormous piles of money we put into it (that now I wish would have gone towards my daughter’s education).  The fish endured disease and mass deaths (it was, as Isobel says, EW EW YUCKY). After the shade from the tree was gone, we couldn’t keep the plants happy, and they either scorched to death or threw themselves into our broke down filtration system. Over and over again, we tried to make it work, but it became very clear that Nature hated this pond.


Last year, when Isobel began to enjoy the backyard, we realized we should just get rid of it. Now, I am not the sort of parent that insists on hovering over their child’s every move when playing outside, but I think you’ll agree that when you have both an unsteady toddler and a potential drowning hazard, you’ll want to keep a close watch on them.

As much as I would miss the pond, I became excited for what we could plant back there. Fruit trees! A garden patch! A fort for Isobel! One year later, our dismantling project has come to a halt, and we now have a pit that’s every bit as dangerous (and way more ugly) than the pond ever was.

Behold! Lake Deathtrap!

For awhile we had a totally acceptable shallow pit of dirt and rocks. I mean, that’s not at all acceptable, but it was, I don’t know, justifiable? It was a work in progress. But this year’s rain has turned it into a nasty, stagnant, fetid marsh, and we are in the same goddamn situation as we were before, except now our deathtrap isn’t just filled with water, it’s studded with shrapnel and broken, pointy pieces of flagstone.


And, wait, a minute, are those POND PLANTS? Because we spent rather a lot of money keeping our pond stocked with fresh plants so our fish wouldn’t get baked by the sun after that tree was cut back. The fish kept eating them and getting otherwise destroyed, but we kept trying, god bless us, even though Nature clearly did not approve of this pond nor the life within it. I thought all the plants were done for, despite our constant effort in keeping them alive. And now here they are, growing as happy as can be, in our completely unintentional and unwanted pond.

Now that we have a pond that Nature actually does approve of, I am hard at work covering it with grass and leaves and clippings every couple of days so we don’t become the epicenter of the next outbreak of malaria. So, who wants to come over and wield a pickaxe and help me get rid of this thing?

13 Responses to “It’s a (Death) Trap!”

  1. Sarah March 7, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    We have a worm grave, I mean pond as well. I hate it. A lot. Luckily Attia isn’t mobile for awhile.

    • LittleBig March 8, 2011 at 9:50 am #

      Worm grave! Perfect. Have you thought about what you guys are going to do when she’s toddling around?

  2. Jen@Dear Mommy Brain... March 7, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    Curses to your neighbor for cutting back the tree! I’ve always wanted a water feature, however, I’m too lazy to do anything about it.

    • LittleBig March 8, 2011 at 9:50 am #

      They aren’t for the lazy. This is what lazy me has discovered.

  3. Shannon March 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    I’m a landscape designer and I cringe when people ask me for a water feature. They are a giant pain in the you know what. Hate them.

    • LittleBig March 8, 2011 at 9:52 am #

      Shannon, you are very obviously a wise woman. The problem is they look so pretty, but no one imagines what it will be like when they break down. Which they will do 90% of the time.

      Also, I could desperately benefit from your services about now.

      • Shannon March 9, 2011 at 7:12 am #

        Send me some pictures! I can help you out!

  4. Anne March 7, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    Not that I’d ever laugh at the pain of another, but…. I had a pond at my old house, which for some reason I actually decided to put in. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I had expressed interest in possibly installing a water feature, and my sister and then-bf decided to get it started for me. I should’ve made my low-maintenance-ness clearer, obviously. Anyway, the pump never worked right, the trees nearby shed far too many leaves into the water, all the fish I put in it died, and it ended up a mucky, smelly, disgusting pit in the corner of the yard. Sounds familiar, right? I fully support your filling in of your pond.

    • LittleBig March 8, 2011 at 9:53 am #

      Man-made ponds just aren’t low-maintenance. That’s the sad part. Nature-made ponds are easy, but they tend to be gross and swampy.

  5. Sara March 7, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    I’d fill the whole thing in with dirt. …maybe make a little zen garden. I love the rock border. I’d fill the dirt right up to there and use the waterfall as a plant/gnome/buddha stand. 😛 (Yeah, maybe “gnome” and “buddha” don’t go next to each other.)

    • Anne March 8, 2011 at 7:04 am #

      Gnome stand! Best. Idea. Ever.

    • LittleBig March 8, 2011 at 9:57 am #

      Fanastic idea! Gnome stand! Brilliant!

      We thought about just buying a truckload of dirt and filling it in, but I really want to start some dwarf fruit trees back there and I think the pipes and the cement would interfere with the roots.

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