The Lake–Part Two

The Lake—Part Two. John gets lessons on the food chain. Christmas, rain, and cold weather were rapidly approaching as we finished the lake repair job.  We found a few little places that needed work and then decided that the job was as complete as it was going to get for the year.  After a lunch of tuna fish and saltines we took on the job of shutting off the massive antique drain valve.  As we worked, we kept looking up at the rain clouds moving in from the Gulf of Mexico.  Lots of rain was expected. (If you missed part one of this article, you may wish to go there now and then come back)

After two or three months it was nice to see it again

After two or three months it was nice to see it again

Just as we finished closing the drain we started feeling small raindrops and we grinned and laughed because we knew the job had been completed just in time.  We all guessed at how long it would take for the spring to fill the lake. Judging from experience I said at least a week.  Santos guessed four days, and Victor Hugo picked up the middle with five days.  It was raining harder, so we packed up and left for home.  The rain started coming in torrents with high winds.  It rained all night. To my total surprise the next morning when I went to visit the project, the water level was within one inch of the overflow.  I guess the four inches of rain combined with the spring and the runoff to fill it right up.  It was a pleasant surprise.  I planted a flower bed or two, turned on the aerating fountain, and stood back to admire the site – instant gratification at the end of a two month project.

I had planted some flowers waiting for the lake to fill

I had planted some flowers waiting for the lake to fill

While I was planting the flowers the water had risen so that it cascaded over the little waterfall that I had built for the overflow.  Little creek like noises finished off the peaceful feeling, adding another dimension to the visuals.

We turned the over flow from a ditch to a babbling creek bed.

We turned the over flow from a ditch to a babbling creek bed.

Betty came down to the lake to look at it with me.  She was pleased with everything.  She told me that the duck from the week before was happy in its new home on another more protected duck pond and that the hawk was alive, well fed, and healthy.  This was good because when it comes to a respect for life, Betty is a bit of a Buddhist. She doesn’t want any hurt to come to any living thing.  I respect that.

Filled with the fountain running--in time for Christmas, 2009

Filled with the fountain running–in time for Christmas, 2009

So, I asked, “Betty, do you want me to get you some more ducks for the lake”? She replied, “No, I really love the ducks but something always seems to happen to them.” She paused for a bit in thought and continued, “You know, John, I love the animals, both tame and wild.  I know there is a food chain and all of them have to eat, but I can’t stand the thought of a big animal killing and eating a smaller one.  I think that rather than worrying about the ducks as part of the food chain, I would prefer to not have any of them on the lake to remind me of the natural process.” While Betty and I were thinking about the food chain, I noticed a slight movement in my peripheral vision.

The heron scouts it's territory

The heron scouts its territory

I turned and looked and grinned and said, “Look, Betty, the blue heron is back.  I haven’t seen it since we drained the lake”.  The heron stood stately and imperious surveying the water.  Betty was excited. She exclaimed, “OH, I love it.  I have missed the heron”.  Then she paused “John, do you think the heron is hungry”? I told her that I thought the heron was just exploring or surveying its territory. And that’s when Betty said, “Do you think we need to put some fish in the lake for it to eat”? And I’m still trying to figure that one out.  I know it has to do with the food chain. For more adventures of John the Plant man, try the kindle version here: Or, on Amazon read the comments by visiting


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