Friday, May 30, 2008

Great new pictures of my rain barrel!

Pictures of my Cascata Rain Water Collection and Storage System

Here's what the Cascata rain barrel looks like in my backyard! Who says rain barrels have to look ugly???

Backyard Pond Maintenance Tips

With a minimal amount of effort, you could keep your backyard pond in pristine condition. To follow are a few tips for how to properly maintain your pond.

1. Monitor water quality

One problem which many pond owners have is algae-buildup. Other than using chemicals, there are two main ways to control algae: (1) UV Clarification, and (2) through natural means.

A UV clarifier helps to kill algae by running the pond water through a UV light. UV Clarifications start at $100, and can be purchased from garden centers, pond stores, hardware stores, or online.

A second, and more cost-effective, option that is available to pond owners, is to invest in barley straw extract. Barley straw has received considerable attention as an algaecide based on research done in England. Results have shown that barley straw prohibits the growth of many types of algae. Barley straw extract can be purchased from garden centers.

2. Monitor water levels

Throughout the course of the summer, evaporation will lower your water levels on a weekly basis. Keep an eye on this, and make sure that you don’t end up with a dry pond (this is very bad for your pump!)

3. Proper pump maintenance

Once every couple of weeks, take your pump out of the pond and clean it (and any filters that come with it) to ensure that there is no debris building up that may cause it to jam. Remember, a pond without a pump is just a cesspool of water (i.e. breeding grounds for mosquitoes). It is crucial to keep your pump running throughout the entire existence of your pond. If a pond fails, replace it immediately. It is actually advisable to have a spare pump on hand, in the event of failure, since the average pump will only last for 2 years.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Boxtops for Education/Labels for Education Program

My name is Brenda Badmone, and I am the Boxtops for Education/Labels for Education Coordinator at Diven Elementary School in Elmira, NY. I would like to thank you for your generous donation, of a metal wind spinner, to our school to be used in our raffle. Diven Elementary School, in Elmira, is holding a Blacktop Carnival on the 14th of June, and this year, the Boxtops for Education Program has been invited to be a part of the Carnival. We have decided to hold a raffle, selling the tickets for 5 boxtops each. In searching for donations for this raffle, I found these beautiful wind spinners, one of which is a dolphin which is the mascot of our school. Thank you for generously donating this windspinner for our raffle.

Please know that our Teachers, Students, Parents, Staff, and I thank you for your efforts to help our cause.

Websites for the BTFE/LFE programs:

Thank you again,
Brenda Badmone BTFE/LFE Coordinator
Diven Elementary School
Elmira, NY