You might recall that a few months ago, I said that my toilet just might be the best seat in the house, because there is such a great view. Well, the view has not been so great this summer, because algae has really started to grow on the pond. After doing a lot of reading about algae control, I finally decided that we should remove as much of the algae as possible by hand. Jonathan actually volunteered for this job. Sounds like something a teenager would enjoy doing, but as he started working, it seemed a lot like mucking out a barn. He initially thought he would be able to simply grab the algae and toss it, but he decided fairly quickly that it would be better to use my idea.
My brilliant idea was to use snow fencing as a net to grab the algae and pull it up on shore. For you non-midwestern readers, snow fencing is this flexible plastic fencing that farmers put up as a temporary fence to create snow drifts where they want them. So, I stood on the shore, holding one end of the fencing, and Jonathan took the other end and walked through the pond. In a few spots he had to swim. It was much more difficult than I expected it to be. I was surprised when I almost got pulled into the pond as he started pulling his end through the water. It didn't help that the edge of the pond was really slippery. We were able to cover most of the pond by pulling the fencing across three different sections.
You can see the pond looks much better after Jonathan's hard work, which took several hours to complete. My contribution was pretty minimal. Now, to get the water clear and avoid future algae blooms, we need to create long barley straw snakes with the snow fencing and empty water jugs as flotation devices. If this sounds way too weird, but you're intrigued and want to learn more about how barley keeps ponds clean, check out this link from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. I hope we can get the barley snakes out there before the algae takes over again.