Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Getting Dirty

In the poison'd entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone,
Days and nights has thirty-one;
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot!
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

Our fish ponds circulate water though a biological filter, which is actually an old well filled with lava rocks. The water bubbles up through the lava and falls, nice and clean, over the edge. This works within the well due to a virtual orgy of bacteria, breaking down the swirling toxins and turning them into a brown, disgusting and (I'm hoping) harmless sludge, which mercifully doesn't smell at all like it looks.

Over time the sludge builds up in the well and needs to be removed. Of course, I could hire someone to do this, but then would I ever get the chance to get my hands covered in the stuff or have it splash over the edge into my sandals or have a branch splash it into my face or get it all over my shirt and and pants until I'm tempted to puke? No, this is just the job for me.

Meanwhile today some Republicans and associated nut jobs are having a national "tea party" to demonstrate their irrelevance and their aversion to paying taxes--playing out some farce while millions of people face real hardships. At least I spent the day in some honest manure.

Back to the pond: the water is pumped from the lower pond and into the bottom of the well (at the back of this picture), where it bubbles to the top through the cleaning lava rocks. Then it travels down a channel to the back of the big pond (you can't really see it to the left in this picture), then to a waterfall, and then to the lower and smaller pond. Along the way, the water picks up fish pee, frog pee, mosquito pee, (certainly not my pee, in case you are wondering), lizard pee, and who knows whose pee.

With the help of the biological filter, this pee, poop, sweat, tears, dirt and funky stuff is turned into a safe form of sludgy nitrogen that is digested by the pond plants, which are pretty happy I can tell you. So today I took the sludge and poured it on my peppers and the bamboo and my other favored plants in the yard, only to have it splash on me again and again.

Time for another shower...


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