Tuesday, December 13, 2016

On Opperman's Pond : 13: Beat the Polar Vortex

On Opperman's Pond : 13: Beat the Polar Vortex: I've paid a few visits to OP since the last post and usually these have been with Scout. She's a great fan of the pond but it is not...

13: Beat the Polar Vortex

I've paid a few visits to OP since the last post and usually these have been with Scout. She's a great fan of the pond but it is not easy to clean-up a pond and a pup. So that day the focus was on Scout. This morning Al Roker said a Polar Vortex is on its way and I trust Al...so today was the day to get at it!
Me and Al...comparing vortexes
Ice is forming...Bintanic!
 Upon arrival at OP I was met with the recycle bin thrown into the pond. This is the 2nd time and is as mystifying as the first time. It takes a lot of work to throw a big bin several feet into the pond and I'm sure the pleasure is fleeting - lift, throw, splash ... Yippeee! Yawn. Let's go to Starbucks but first let's sip out of my water bottle...
...oh sorry...I recycled it
Sure...cat people
Safety first
 Picked up some trash in the usual walk about the pond. Ice was forming around the edge. Pond Keeper doesn't let a little thin ice stop him - safety precautions were all around and the water was ankle deep. The recycling bin rescue was accomplished with very little fuss - which is surprising because there was opportunity for fuss. As the vortex approaches the pond will get even more use as the ice skaters and hockey games begin. Opperman's Pond remains a little local treasure.
Maybe next time!
Mission accomplished

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

On Opperman's Pond : Post 13 - Nov. 10, 2016

On Opperman's Pond : Post 13 - Nov. 10, 2016: Scout and I paid a visit to OP because it was a beautiful autumn day and it was after Halloween so we wanted to check if any mayhem ensued. ...

Post 13 - Nov. 10, 2016

Scout and I paid a visit to OP because it was a beautiful autumn day and it was after Halloween so we wanted to check if any mayhem ensued.
Scout supervising the work
The OP was in fairly good shape from a trash standpoint - not perfect and we weren't fully equipped to grab some of the trash strategically thrown out of reach. It always amazes me when at least 50% of the trash we pick up is from Starbuck's. Now...I know Schultz is not littering OP personally but you would think, or at least I think, that the corporate position of fair trade and sustainability would rub-off on Starbuck's customers. Maybe...recycle? No...the big controversy for Starbuck's customers is whether or not they will have the red cups for the holidays. Scout and I look forward to some new and colorful trash this December.      
The other discovery we had was one of the wooden discs was thrown in the pond.The intention was a better path through the wetlands for everyone. Sadly...I wondered when this would happen. It took 2 months.        
Disc in the pond - well the mud of it 
I have more discs so I can (and did) replace it. The idea that this was fun or a feat of strength by someone baffles me. I presume it was done by the same people that won't walk 20 feet to place a Starbuck's cup in the trash can. This is everyone's pond and it is having a tough year because of the drought. The fish are stressed (my friend mentioned they get stressed - I feel you fish), the turtles are lying low, the geese and ducks haven't headed south and the Blue Heron remains stoic. All this really neat stuff in our neighborhood, so how about a little cleaning up after ourselves. FYI - fish, birds and turtles DON'T have opposable thumbs! It's not their fault they can't pick up after you.  
Scout's reward for supervising me was a trip to the Pleasantville Dog Park. This is our 2nd visit and we have never met another dog. Is it us? Oh...and this is one place we won't clean up other people's stuff .
Hello...it's me

Friday, September 23, 2016

Post 12

Signs of Autumn
The second day of autumn was beautiful down at OP. As I began my preparations to retrieve the last few week's deposits from visitors, a Mt. Pleasant sanitation crew pulled around and were emptying the bins and doing some trash pick-ups, too. My brothers in picker-uppering! Thank you! They asked if I was the guy with website. I didn't ask if they read it or were merely aware. Based on my Google analytics I already know the answer.
I am always amazed by the things people leave behind or decide to dump at the pond. If you are leaving your home with trash and have a specific purpose of dumping it - why not drive to the town dump? You already have the junk in your car and they even help you a little...oh, it may cost a couple of bucks. So...not only are you a litterbug and an enemy to nature & wildlife; you are a cheapskate.
Lawn ornaments, basket and air freshener 
Bathing suit or underwear?
The pond is still very low, so that gave me a chance to mud-walk out a little further to collect pond treasures. As always, the pond gives up a collection of interesting things. The winner this time was a bathing suit, 1st runner up: a car tire and 3rd place: a Pepsi bottle from the 1940's. Until next time!    

That must have been some blow-out
that it landed all the way in the pond!
Go Panthers!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Evening Stroll

Scout and I took a stroll down to and around the pond yesterday afternoon. I like to walk her there because we use a busy road and we do some focused training. Cars and trucks doing 45+ in a 30 MPH zone can really test one's ability to focus -  that goes for Scout, too. At the pond, we passed a Mom with 3 little kids. Scout was a gentle lady with them. As we walked the path they had just come from, left in the middle of it were 2 used condoms. PK uses gloves and a picker-upper thing when it is trash day and has encountered used DNA before at OP, pretty disgusting.  My question is, what does a Mom tell little kids when they need to make a wide berth around the dead slugs? Maybe that's it. My 2nd question, do parents teach their kids that it's OK to leave used condoms in public places?  At least, using protection was one good lesson learned. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Post 11

The last time we were together, I showed you the recycle bin tossed in the pond. Yes, it was a little discouraging on many levels. I did go back the next day fully anticipating a walk into the deep end. Imagine the delight and relief when I arrived at OP and someone already did the deed!
Together again!
This gave me the opportunity to begin my intended task which was to build the path in the wet area using the log discs the town cut for me.
There are 2 wet areas separated by a wooden bridge, this spot was the worse of the 2 so it begins...
I won't kid you or bore you with lots of details but this was hard work. The ground was rock and clay with the old wooden planks rotting in place. Also, the log discs were on the other side of the pond so I felt as if I were on the Biggest Loser carrying out some torture invented by network execs for the in-shape to impose on the not-so in-shape for the sake of televised weigh-ins (lots of hyphens).
I'd like to get some gravel (requested from the town) to really make it look nicer, provide greater stability and support drainage. There was a storm a couple of days after it was finished and it held up - 3 weeks later it is still there.  In the coming cooler weeks, the PK will be back at OP to finish the job.      

Found a 1/2 hollowed out log and
used it for a drain...it actually worked!? 
Always a chance to do a little clean-up, too. The pond freezes in winter and lots of hockey games occur, so the hockey puck is not a surprise. The hard drive was an interesting discovery. Either Trump's tax returns or Hillary's e-mails. Pond Keeper is not a hacker so it has been moved on to the town dump.  
Hockey Puck and a Hard Drive, many
games played at the OP 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Post 10

Today was a regular errand day yet as I drove past the OP something blue in the water caught my eye. Now OP has not had anything close to a blue color since the Opperman's Ice House days so this was a bit unnatural. I circled back after my errands and found the recycling bin thrown in the pond. Vandalism never seemed like a fun thing - buy hey, that's me. I didn't have my galoshes so I will head back when the heat breaks a bit. If someone else pulls it out before me that would be OK, too. One step forward, two back.
Real wildlife still shows up 
A vigilant Scout 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Bonus Post

I normally don't post 2 days in a row - not because I have nothing to say but because I want people to think I have a life beyond the pond. My photos of the wildlife around the pond have been fairly standard pond stuff - fish, frogs, turtles, crayfish, blue heron (that is pretty cool) and still-life in trash (e.g. cans of corn, a study of the galosh). A couple of weeks ago, Karen was in our yard with Scout. Now, you know my yard is in close proximity to Opperman's so we will consider this as "around the pond life." Check the video.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Post 9

Scout and I were getting ready to place the log disks for a new path when I decided, she agreed, that we should just take a stroll around the pond to see the state it is in. Well...we didn't start the path because the low water level revealed a whole new clean-up opportunity!
My picker-upper would have
 been underwater 2 months ago
Scout anxious to get started
on the path. I think she needs
a sports bra for this type of work 
   I took Scout home, grabbed my boots, my picker-upper, gloves, trash bag and headed back to OP.  Overall it was a messy, mucky day but it didn't smell too bad. Most of the trash I collected was uncovered by the lower water level so it was really good to see that more and more visitors are either taking their trash away or using the trash/recycling bins.
I always find items of interest. This time some party balloons either floated into the pond or there is even more nightlife than the empty bottles, cans and wrappers indicate. My original thought was to walk out and grab them but three steps in, my petite dancer's feet sank about 8 inches into the muck. I didn't want to add to the galosh count.     
My 1st thought was the turtles had some shell work done 
Opperman's Pond must have been on the "Meet Here In Case of Apocalypse" list. Another CAN of CORN (see Post 8)! This time UNopened...if I find another I'll know where to go...you know...in case   
Apparently, it's not all  Busch Light and Slurpees... 
...it's also large Canadian Night
 Crawlers. You know who you are! 

Finding the top of a trash bin as part of the trash is special. Can't wait to find the bottom...and possibly Jimmy Hoffa. Notice the place of honor for the can of corn. Answers to Post 8 quiz: Hardest = brown bottles because they match the water. Green is a good 2nd guess because they match the algae. Easiest = Bic lighters because they are neon colors 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Post 8

The weather has been great and the pond has seen a lot of activity - which is excellent! I let the weekend pass and thought Monday would be a good day to walk the pond and collect leftovers. I am happy to say most of the debris collected is old because the water level is low and not due to new additions. People even used the garbage bin that I found and placed near the bench. There were a few gems - the other size 11 galosh (see Post 6a), a can of corn (who eats corn at a pond?), a 3/4 full bottle of Fanta orange (who drinks orange soda? answer: no one at this pond!), a cone and a winter glove (I'm sure some kid caught some stick from his parents on that one). I didn't take Scout on a clean-up run - too many interesting things (galosh, gloves and corn). We visited last week for a walk around. Minimal new wildlife, usual suspects abound - turtles, pumpkin seed sunnies, snappers. Encountered a Bull Frog. I presume it is a Bull Frog because it was big and, frankly, pretty ugly. Don't get me wrong - I am NOT a frog hater. Yet, you have to admit, they did get the short end of looks in amphibian world. All those fairy tales can't be wrong. Thanks everyone for reading and, more importantly, keeping your Opperman clean!
Pop quiz: can you guess which is the hardest and which is the easiest trash item to spot (hint: none of them are a Kardashian).      
Alpha Frog at Opperman's
Scout on Opperman's Beach

New bin in use - and yes, weird to photograph trash 

Really? Corn? And you were not feeding ducks  

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Post 7

It's time to meet my new Pond Keeper partner. She is a rescue dog from Danbury Animal Welfare Society via a high-kill shelter in Kentucky. She is suspected of being an Aussie Shepherd/Pointer mix but seems pretty tiny for that hook-up. She is 11 weeks old and being leash-trained so you won't see her at Opperman's just yet. Too many things to explore! Her name is Scout - remember "To Kill a Mockingbird?" Movie, book or Cliff Notes. In the meantime, let's enjoy and keep the Opperman's clean. See you round the pond!
Official Portrait for Pond Purposes 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


May 14, 2016: So much to say...I almost forgot to tell you about the rest of my trash booty. I found a boot. Really a galosh which I presume is the singular for galoshes. This was truly a banner day for trash. The gift of a garbage can flung at the pond, a size 12 galosh and a bag of trash. I have to admit it is getting more difficult to fill an entire kitchen-size trash bag - which is excellent! Thank you for not littering!
So Many Deposit Opportunities and a Galosh
You'll also notice (if you've been keeping track of the receptacle situation at the pond - as I'm sure you have), we now have a recycle bin! It'll cost me a couple of nickels but all for a good cause.
Also, if you have a single size 12 galosh at home let me know. We can reunite them and make them galoshes once again.      
I don't want to seem ungrateful for the trash can gift from the people of Pleasantville or from the students coming back from Foley's. Yet, I truly felt I could not take it home with me. The main reason was it already came with trash. Even though; "one man's trash, is another's treasure," I don't think the person who said that actually had this trash in mind. Thank you Mt. Pleasant Crew for keeping it clean!  
Fret not, the can has a home.  I added the lock and wire today. Not that I don't trust but it looks like it would float.
Nice Can 

Post 6

May 14: It was a foggy sunrise on the pond today. So I enjoyed my coffee and let the day unfold. OK. So much for that...time to go to the pond and see what's in store.  
Seeing Fog through the Trees  
I took the long walk to the pond with garbage bag and picker-upper in hand. The usual suspects were around - Fritos bags, Starbucks cups, White Owl wrappers, Gatorade bottles, Slurpee Big Gulp cups and Beef Jerky wrappers. Now, Opperman's Pond is in the suburbs. It's not as if this is "The Revenant" - so who eats beef jerky in the suburbs? I can see a Slim Jim - you got hungry after pumping your own gas. Jerky seems a little hardcore for a town named, Pleasantville. Now this was a big day in terms of trash. I actually found a trash can that was thrown down to the pond.
A Gift for the Pond Keeper
Since I always see the best in people, my guess is people felt bad for your Ol' Pond Keeper and left me a gift. Thank you!  The pond was busy. A nice gent reading his book (yes, made of paper!), another person fishing and a man walking his dog named, Skippy. Pond Keeper had a smile and greeting for all which was met with suspicion and discomfort. I need to work on a less painful looking smile. Then Skippy and the man came running to me excited to show me a video he just took on the other side of the pond. It was of a fish at least 18 inches long with a dorsal fin and tail fin breaking the surface. Pond shark!  I did not fish that day.       

Post 5

April 29, 2016: I had the chance to "walk the pond" with Steve the head of Mt. Pleasant Parks and Recreation. A really nice guy who went to Paul Smith's College in the Adirondacks. I asked about some of the trees that were cut down and if they could be cut into disks and used as stepping "stones" near the bridge. He said, "yes" so I'm awaiting the sound of chainsaws to begin building the path.     
My electric chainsaw (i.e. electric carving knife) can't cut it

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Post 4

Greetings Pond Keeper Followers!
I haven't been down to the pond in a couple of weeks but I look down to it every day. The beautiful Spring weather has brought out lots of families and picnickers. Here a 2 looks at Opperman's from what I believe to be the same vantage point - just 100 years apart.
Note the ice was used for lemonade or whiskey. I think all 3 found themselves together at times

Photo is scanned from the Images of America series  Mount Pleasant by G. Waterbury, C. Waterbury and B. Ruiz. Published by Arcadia Publishing  

Note the stone column in both photos. If it's not the exact same vantage, it is close enough for Pond Keeper!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Post 3

I went down to the pond yesterday with 2 things in mind: 1) Test a fly-rod reel on a mini-rod and 2) See if the original garbage clean up had a lasting impact.
OK. The test of the fly and fly reel on a mini-rod wasn't very successful. It was pretty easy to cast in tight places but couldn't get any action on the fly.
The fish gave it a couple of looks and then gave me the fish finger - I don't mean Mrs Paul's.
Mini-rod and fly reel, noble failure
The pond, in general, was pretty clean. This time I could only fill a grocery store bag. Still...it was filling a bag of garbage after filling two 32-gallon trash bags a couple of weeks ago.
Smaller but come on people!
Lots of Dorito and chips bags (I guess they get heavier when they're empty and can't be carried to the trash bin) and White Owl Cigar wrappers - mango flavored?! Plus the assorted bottles, cans and condoms. Oh, my.
Still the turtles didn't seem to mind. It was a beautiful day and they were out sunning themselves.  For some reason, knowing that turtles live in my neighborhood makes me smile. I may have to speak to someone about that.
Overheard: Turtle 1; "No...you move!" Turtle 2; "I am!" 
    Pretty soon I'll be out on the kayak.      

Friday, March 18, 2016

Post 2

Today is the first day fishing on Opperman's. I brought my fly rod, spinning rod and my litter picker upper. Now, I am not a great fisherman. It is another activity that allows my mind to wander. That mind comes quickly back into focus if a fish strikes and my only thought is..."Now what!?" As a kid I used to ride my bike to Ridder's Pond on Long Island with a ball of dough wrapped in tin foil, my fishing pole, a PB&J and a Yoo Hoo. Dough seemed to work well for whatever was biting. Yoo Hoo always worked for me. It was still a rustic pond when I first fished there (1965ish) then it was encircled by cement and brick with a pavilion added. Real restrooms, too. Took away some of that "roughing it charm" even though you were only 1 mile from the LIE and shopping centers.        www.pondfishingbass.com/pond-fishing-bass/fishing-for-shiner-carp-at-ridders-pond-park

Back to recent times...the day didn't start in an excellent fashion. My 1st cast with the spinning rod ended up with the Rooster Tail in a tree and my 3rd cast with the fly rod ended with my English Pheasant Tail pulled off by a fence. I attribute this to a winter of minimal sportsperson activity as I will later attribute losing many golf balls to the same issue.
Re-tying another Rooster Tail for the spinner and switching to a Beadhead Hare Ear Nymph for the fly rod (I texted this to my friend, Bob, so he could tell me what it was).
Beadhead Hare Ear Nymph
     The luck and my casting abilities improved over the next hour or so. I caught 4 Pumpkinseed Sunfish - 3 with the Hare Nymph, 1 with the Rooster Tail.  Also photographed a Great Blue Heron which is in the background of the blog. Cleaned up a couple of bottles - good day.
One of  4
Had to Verify

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Post 1

So this is how it begins...
The Pond in Question

A Look Up Pond

Souvenirs from Visitors

Little Reflection on the Pond

Crayfish on Duty  

Two Snapping Turtles Enjoying the View 

One Day's Roundup

Gift Wrapped

Objects may be smaller than they appear