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Bagging a Duck(weed)

February 29, 2012

“Great!” I was exultant as I balanced precariously on a chunk of broken concrete on the edge of an old farm pond. I surveyed the tiny green dots on the water surface with a grin on my face.  Duckweed season has arrived to Kentucky!

Now to get a sample so I can start growing it in my garden containers. I extended the telescopic pole on my swimming pool net and began trolling about six feet from the shoreline. Most of the duckweed is still so tiny, it slipped right through the holes of my net, but I was able to capture enough to make me happy. I emptied my net in a double plastic bag and noted that I’d snagged a lot of cattail debris in with the duckweed.

 I scooped up some pond water and mud in a bucket and poured that gently in with the duckweed in the bag. I handpicked out the larger debris consisting mostly of twigs and pieces of cattail stems. I gave them a light swish through the bagged water to rinse off the clinging duckweed, then threw them back in the pond where they could continue to be food for micro-organisms. I tied a loose knot in the bag, leaving an air space for oxygen and CO2 exchange. Done. Now to get my sample home and release it in my waiting containers.

Years ago this pond was beautiful and useful in a different way.  Situated near an old horse barn out in the country, it was the site for many happy family picnics.  My children explored the shoreline, fed  sunfish, and paddled around in a little rowboat. Years ago, the water surface stayed clear all summer. Then cattails began to grow around its perimeter and trees began to tower over it.  Both have added organic material to the water and duckweed began to make its appearance every summer.

Change. My children have pretty much grown up and no one visits the pond anymore except for me. It’s still a beautiful pond, only this beauty is found in the dark mysteries of its depth and the blanket of duckweed that coats its surface every summer.  I gathered my net and bag of duckweed but stood silent for a few heartbeats.

I breathed slowly,  deeply connected to this simple place that has brought me such joy over the years. A flood of memories surfaced,  much like those beautiful green dots on the water – dots that will flourish into vital nourishment for my vegetables, flowers, fish, worm bins, and maybe a few hens. Spring. Change. It’s all good. I leave, smiling.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 2, 2014 1:53 am

    Hahaha you must be joking.Something like that is nothing but just nonsense.
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  2. March 1, 2012 8:59 pm

    I don’t own it anymore but get permission to take duckweed samples when I need them.


  3. March 1, 2012 11:03 am

    I’ve never seen the pond but just heard about it. It looks beautiful!


  4. March 1, 2012 9:03 am

    I almost didn’t recognize the pond. I haven’t been out there in ages. Good blog.


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