The Koi aren’t visible now because they hang out five feet down. Since their metabolism goes with temperature, they are lined up like cord wood on the bottom. I reduce the flow in the water recirculation and filtration systems quite a bit, otherwise the waterfall unnecessarily super-cools the water. The fish still respirate, although slowly, but they don’t eat and shouldn’t even be fed when the water is below about 50F. It’s about 40 now. The natural heating from the ground, which remains at about 55, prevents the pond from completely freezing, but it can get down to about 35 during protracted cold spells, especially if it’s also windy. At 40F, their gut is so sluggish that ingested food decomposes before it’s digested and can make them sick and even kill them. If the water surface begins to freeze, I place a floating 1,500W heater in the pond to maintain an opening. The resulting dissolved gasses from their respiration will poison them if it can’t escape into the air.
I have a standby generator wired to indispensable circuits in case we lose power due to an ice storm. If the pond pumps aren’t running, all the plumbing will freeze and the crying towel will be sopping wet.
All my fishy friends are healthy, the New Year is upon us with positive aspects, the days are getting longer, and camping season approaches. We are especially jazzed about our upcoming trips to Moab, UT and Yosemite.
This photo is two different entrances to the same shrine. The sign says “First Visit” in red. To start the New Year off right you visit the shrine and get the gods on your side. People buy amulets.
The nest photo I think is self-explanatory. New Year’s Eve is for cleaning.
(The little sign tells every one when to throw away certain things. The top two are every Wednesday for plastics. The next one says second and fourth Thursday for non-burnable trash. The last one is every Tuesday and Friday for burnable trash.)
These next photos are taken near the shrine by my house at about 8 PM New Year’s Eve. It is a fair type atmosphere.
Candied apples anyone? Only 300 yen.
Roasted corn for 400 yen. Golden fried chicken at 300 yen for the Single, 500 yen for the Double, 800 yen for the Mega, and 1000 yen for the Giga. (Send money to my PayPal and I will send back a low-calorie picture.)
The biggest holiday of the year is New Year in Japan. It outranks Christmas by a lot. People prepare for the New Year by cleaning their houses and preparing Osechi. The holiday last from the first of January to the third.
Japanese want to start the New Year right so that means get the house in order. Not a light cleaning for guests but a thorough cleaning. Some people I have heard change their light bulbs at this time of year.
The traditional New Year’s meal is Osechi. As you can see by the picture it is beautiful. There is a wide variety of dishes and it is served cold. For the New Year’s meal it is put into trays. Later the trays are stacked on top of one another. The top tray is has a lid. Depending on the size of the families it the number and size of the trays differ.
As I wrote it is served cold so the only thing that is hot is tea and Ozoni. What is Ozoni? No, it is not a San Francisco treat. It is a type of soup with lumps of rice in it. The cooked sticky rice is smushed together to make a patty. This patty gets put in the soup. Sometimes it is one lump sometimes it is two lumps. This soup must be eaten carefully because you may choke on it. People have died.
My first New Year’s meal was around a kotatsu. This is a low table with a electric heater in the middle and a blanket (blue in the picture) to keep the heat in. In the old days they used charcoal for the heat. We ate the meal and watched special New Year’s day TV programs. Also we would eat mikan. Mikan are easy to peal oranges.
It used to be that was about all you did on New’s Years day besides visit a shrine. I live near a shrine so I see a lot of people pass my house to go to it every New Year’s. They even close off the street and restrict parking. Now there are a lot of businesses open during the holidays.