Once A Pond A Time

Racoons were making our life with a fish pond a struggle. We started the pond about 13 years ago with 10 fish bought for $1. So some of the fish had been with us for that long. The rest were the offspring or several generations from those original fish. At one time, there were so many, we had to find new homes for some of them.

But over the years the raccoons seemed to be able to pry off whatever barricades or deterrents we dreamt up. In the past 5 years they seemed to be really working hard to get to our fish friends and repairing the damage they'd do was a constant routine

Josh and his pal Raleigh sitting by the pond

 Try getting through this raccoons!

Try getting through this raccoons!

I did a drawing for a permanent grill that would be easy to remove in pieces for cleaning.

I found the name of Willy, at Willy's Ironwork in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of L.A. and showed him the drawing. We talked about how I wanted it to look and how it should come apart in pieces for access to the pond.

He said said it would take 2 to 3 weeks turnaround between making a template, construction, getting the patina on the iron right, sealing it and installation.

 It's a great workshop, wonderful light in the late afternoon coming through the windows.

It's a great workshop, wonderful light in the late afternoon coming through the windows.

 Julio setting up for work

Julio setting up for work

Before he got started I went to go see the different styles of grills and expanded metals that be practical for keeping the raccoons out while allowing us to still see the fish. I also didn't want anything that looked too industrial as the house was a traditional Spanish from the 1920's.

I went to Sun Valley Metal Supply in Sun Valley. They have every imaginable gauge and style of metal mesh and grill in welded, woven, expanded, flattened or perforated sheets. 

The square 2" woven wire in steel seemed perfect. The weave gave a nice texture without looking too industrial and it being steel we could create a nice rust color before sealing it.

So, the material and specifications decided, Willy and Julio could get to work. 

In the meantime, we had to get to work getting the 20 fish out of the pond and into temporary tanks so we could empty  and clean the pond.

 Dredging out the pond is pretty yucky work; so we all pitched in.

Dredging out the pond is pretty yucky work; so we all pitched in.

Three weeks later they showed up to do the install. Finished with details like Spanish style "clavos" in the corners, it looked great.

willy and Julio very carefully measured and calculated where they would be mounting the brackets to support the grill. By placing the screws in the grout no damage was done to the lovely tile surround.

 Julio and Willy standing proudly next to the finished grill

Julio and Willy standing proudly next to the finished grill

 The fish are happy to be back in their home

The fish are happy to be back in their home

Now we have something that's beauty is a reflection of its function. In keeping with the look of it's environment, the addition to the pond looks like it has always been there.