St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Weeding Ducks

When one sets out to know your home, you can choose any thing you feel like to explore more.  Today I chose something we used to dislike and call pond scum as it turned our pretty blue clear water farm ponds into green sloughs.  We associated it with the dog days of summer -- an aesthetic blight on nature.  Today we take a closer look

Gathered at the south end of the pond, the duck weed has begun in its effort to cover the entire pond by summer's end.  

Wikipedia "Duckweed is an important high-protein food source for waterfowl and also is eaten by humans in some parts of Southeast Asia. As it contains more protein than soybeans, it is sometimes cited as a significant potential food source. The tiny plants provide cover for fry of many aquatic species. The plants are used as shelter by pond water species such as bullfrogs and bluegills. They also provide shade and, although frequently confused with them, can reduce certain light-generated growths of photoautotrophic algae.
The plants can provide nitrate removal, if cropped, and the duckweeds are important in the process of bioremediation because they grow rapidly, absorbing excess mineral nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphates. For these reasons they are touted as water purifiers of untapped value."

The south end of the pond --out of the photo to the right is the location where the duckweed has been blown by the north wind of Saturday.

The pond seeding has begun as the floating cancer spreads across the lake (that was my younger days view of the plants).  When I was 14, I got a microscope for my birthday (my request).   That got me acquainted with the microscopic life of a pond -- rotifers, amoeba, euglena, and all the life in pond scum.  Fascinating to think that all of those creatures and plants were eating something smaller or being eaten by something bigger, had injuries and diseases and struggled to make a life for themselves too.

The Dub Lake Monster appears occasionally.  Brother Byron, I think it was, got a baby alligator at the fair and brought it home for the cement fish pond but as it grew to threaten the grandchildren, he released it to the dark lagoon in the cow pasture -- where it occasionally took a calf and now waits for fawns to come to drink.