When we bought our home here at High Prairie Acres, it came with a twenty four foot diameter, four feet deep above-ground pool. Lovely...
I was a lifeguard and then pool manager for many years in my youth. I really don’t like taking care of pools. But the family was excited so I dutifully maintained it. Every spring, we would add a couple hundred dollars worth of chemicals to clarify and purify (work with me here) the water. Then we would spend a decent amount of time each week skimming the stuff off the surface and testing and adding more chemicals. I’d backwash the filter as needed and make minor repairs as required.
And the family would use the pool for about an hour a week...
Then the liner ripped and all the water leaked out. It’s a lot of water. I bought a new liner from the local pool supply place for $400 and installed it myself in one hot afternoon. It was fairly simple as I just cut the old liner into manageable pieces to get it out and then proceeded to install the new one according to the directions – it’s just a big rubber bag.
Well, about a year or so ago, the pump broke and needed an expensive repair. I decided that the pool was not being used enough to justify it so instead, I turned it into an above ground duck pond. The ducks loved it and the water soon became “pond-like”. It also grew a whole BUNCH of mosquito larvae.
To solve that pending problem, we put about a dozen feeder goldfish in the pond and that worked very well. Now we had an above ground duck and fish pond. Winter came, the pond froze over and we waited for spring to see how the fish had done. I have always heard one needs eight feet of depth for fish to survive winter around here. Well, come this spring, we had twelve largish fish swimming around!
Then our dogs got caught in the pool, one died and they tore up the liner. I was going to just trash the whole pool instead of installing another $400 liner but we have been getting into permaculture and “going green” here at HPA and it seemed a shame to get rid of such a large water source. I did some internet shopping and found one for less than $200 delivered.
A project was born...
I decided to divert the house roof water to the pool/pond and then use the salvageable part of the old liner to line a smaller “overflow” pond for the ducks to splash in. I’d like to eventually get a solar powered pump to transfer the duck and fish-dirty water into my garden.
Removing the old liner in one piece was extremely difficult as I did it all by myself. Let’s just say it was a dirty, crappy, wet and arduous task. Next, I dug the new “pondlette” and built a dyke at the lower end from rail road ties and the dirt I excavated. Crossfit, BABY!
I dug a ditch around the new pondlette and tucked the edges of the old liner in it and covered it with more dirt. An overflow pipe comes from the pool (I need to make it longer) to the new pondlette. So the plan is – rain flows from the roof into the pool; from the pool into the duck pondlette; from there into the pasture.
Then about a week later I noticed a problem: The liner, exposed to the sun, became brittle and started developing cracks. I tried to tape them with 100 mph tape. I then laid netting down with the idea of planting grass or something to shield it from the sun’s harsh rays. Yeah. . . NO.
That’s a lot of work for a leaky pond – it won’t hold water as high as it is in the picture of it full. I MAY try to drain it, and then using the liner and additional netting as a base, put a thin layer of concrete/cement over the whole thing. I would enjoy reading any other suggestions that do not involve a lot of money.
Well, the above ground pool-pond is doing well and has fish in it once again so at least that works. I will build a little duck ramp for them to more easily get in and out of it.
I’m sure I left some details out but I got tired just typing about it!
Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. – Psalm 84:5 - 6
If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe
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