Thursday, July 19, 2012


Every artist has a vision.  It comes from deep inside them.  Being an artist myself, you'd think I understand this, but alas, there is always room for more growth.

So when my husband started saying he wanted to turn our old swimming pool (which is un-useable and full of murky water) into a pond, and put fish and frogs in there, I thought he had gone mad.  You see, my hubs LOVES nature.  And he loves to create aqariums and natural environments for critters.  It's his art. 

When we were dating we could often be found hunting frogs and turtles....what a sight, both of us in our 20's catching frogs, but it was fun and I loved his passion. 

Now that we have kids, Justin likes to make an aquarium each summer.  He and the kids catch something, make a natural environment for it, and catch its native food, and then they release it late summer so it can prepare to hibernate again.  We had a painted turtle one summer (those things are SMART) and frogs.  The past two summers Aiden has raised garder snakes.  The boys are always outside catching bugs for them.  It really is a great learning experience for the kids, and they also learn the importance of releasing them back, so they can live a natural life. 

So this year he wanted a pond.  Just so you know, our pool is not an inground pool.  This would in fact be the truest of red neck ponds.  I was not fond of the idea, I was actually quite embarassed.  I thought for sure we would end up on one of those facebook posts, you know the ones- red neck pond- with a picture of him fishing in it or something.  *sigh*

So off he and the kids went (work was slow, and he and the kid took full advantage of it).  Turns out they found huge puddles that were drying up, and had sunny's (fish) and frogs, and tadpoles in them.  So they rescued them, brought them home, and dumped them in the pool.  Justin then made platforms from wood, coated them in tarp and even made a little overhang.  He brought home plants from the creek too, and began to run the filter again.  We had a redneck pond. 

Well, its been a few weeks now, and today, I finally saw the art in it.  My littlest came in, pure joy on his face.  They were finding bugs and throwing them in and watching the fish eat them.  They were all telling me at once how many little frogs with tails we have, as they have been watching the tadpoles change into frogs.  They have also, unfortunately, seen the big frogs eating the little frogs.  So goes the food chain. 

So this morning, since I was up early enough, I ventured out to play at the "pond" with the kids.  Let me tell you, it was fun to watch them feed the sunnys'.  And I couldn't believe how many little frogs we have.
Here are the platforms Justin made.

They are pretty great really, with drift wood and shells for the tiny frogs to hide from the birds.
Upon closer you see them?

Look at all those tiny little frogs!

This guy above still has his tail.

This little guy was hopping all over the place.  He must be hungry.

We even have minnows, see him?  To the far left of the platform?  He was quick, it was hard to get a picture. I bet he was hiding there from the sunnys'. 
So this morning, I finally saw Justin's vision.  It wasn't the pond he was building, it was the lessons the kids are learning by watching the critters grow and change.  It was the joy this would bring to the boys (who finally have a reason to collect bugs).  It was the team effort it would take to keep up with the care of it.  The kids helped catch the critters, and build the platforms, and get the sticks and rocks and shells and plants, they feed and check on the animals throughout the day.............
Good vision sweetie.  Good vision.


  1. That is really awesome!! My little ones have to be satisfied catching fireflys. Which they have fun doing. I like that the kindergarten class kept a caterpillar till it turned into a butterfly. Nature is awesome, watching a spider spin its web. Great thinking on your husbands part. Your boys are lucky having two creative parents, they will reap what you sow!!!

  2. It looks like a little frog convention! My boys would LOVE this - they'd be in there with goggles on! hahahaha

  3. i love this..just mound some dirt around the pool's sides and you have a bonifide stock pond..i promise not to take a photo of you fishing in there.
    so many kids miss out on experiencing nature..your hubs is a smart guy.

  4. That is just a brilliant teachable moment you have created! Your kids will grow up with a passion for the world around them and how cool is that? Your husband does indeed have a vision and I love your little pond and all the lessons it is teaching. Way to go! Enjoy the day. Erin

  5. I LOVE THIS!! What a great idea!!

  6. How fun! What a great teaching tool for the kids. Don't you wish schools could have such hands-on teaching?

    When I was young my father was constantly teaching us things, like reading a map and learning the highway system, irrigation, crop rotation, erosion, measuring, counting back money, how to know just the right spot to find arrowheads in a freshly plowed field, and so much more. Being a kid I took all this for granted, and sometimes with a bit of eye-rolling. Now with my own kids I want them to have these same lessons.

    Your kids will always remember these times.

  7. That is AWESOME! I'd love to have a water feature in my yard where I could watch tapoles grow into frogs & have fish to feed!

  8. You guys are all so kind, I still laugh, cause its sooo ugly. But indeed, my kids are getting a great education. I love that last weekend they got to enjoy and art show and meet artists and be exposed to so much creativity and then they can come home to hands on nature lessons. Its sad how many parents don't go "creekin'" with the kids and flip rocks and look up what they find. And they joy on their faces is priceless.

    1. you know... we could do the redneck post-it page.

      Too fun!! This reminds me of my cousin's blog... Nature Posts! It's on my sidebar, on my blog, if you ever get a chance to check it out - you should.
      He is a Homeschool Dad with tunnel vision towards anything nature-ish. Great photos and tons of amazing information. Great for learning. You should see how "intense" he is on getting that perfect photo.

      Good going Justin! and you Staci for letting him dream. ;)

    2. He had so much fun doing it. He and the kids really poured a lot of time into making it all work right. I was going to protest, I really was, but I bit my tongue and let him run with it. It kept his mind off not working at the time too. Much good! I will check out your cousins blog. Sounds great!

  9. how cool!! love the little froggies!! you could prettify it by attaching vertical twigs and branches to the side, like fencing.

  10. Boy, that IS a redneck pond for sure! But all the critters on the inside are really cool. You do have a bunch of frogs. I'm a nature girl too (I even like snakes), and two of my kids inherited that quality. My youngest is ALWAYS catching stuff and then saying, "find out what it eats, Mom." I call him my little biologist. I think kids really benefit when we teach them hands on about nature. And they don't grow up to be terrified of all the little critters.

  11. Fascinating! What a wonderful way for your hubby to bond with the kids! They created this wonderful little nature spot where they can view and be a part of the life cycle of animals. I think it's wonderful they are learning about the balance in life and learning to use things from nature to create a living place.

    xo Genea

  12. So cool Staci...and truly a terrific lesson! Great vision I agree!