How I got a homemade pool pond from youngest son

by Denise Dykstra

A (sort of) guest post from my youngest son, Abe

“This is your pool pond. I just dug it. And put plastic in it. And filled it. And bought everything for it. But it’s yours. You tell the story.”

That was how my interview with Abe began. I really wanted to tell this story, but I wanted his words in it. That, dear readers, was what he gave me.

But then as I typed out some words, he filled in the story line, and now I can share with you how I got a pool pond handmade for me in my front yard.

Abe has been a fan of pool ponds for quite some time. He and Eli made a very deep, very impressive one under my lilac bushes during quarantine. Abe lines the bottom of it with silage wrapper plastic (a gift from his friends who own a farm), and he pumps water from a second hand pump he found at a resale shop around the corner.

He keeps it stocked with fish. When winter hits, he brings the fish up to his large aquariums in his room.

When sitting around the campfire ring in the backyard, you can hear the water trickling.

When summer break began, my youngest son decided to take my “water fountain saga” on as his own.

I love the sound of trickling water. When writing, I often have some sort of mix from YouTube that includes a creek water, birds chirping, campfire crackling mix.

That last sentence should help you realize just how much I love summer.

I was given a water fountain from a friend a few years ago. It was three squares stacked on top of each other. When one of the boxes broke a corner, I rearranged some pieces and had a large tin bucket to use for a fountain.

But I was always struggling to keep the water from dripping out from its fall into the bucket. My front porch was always wet from the splash over, and I was regularly refilling it.

This year, Abe had had enough of it all. He watches some TikTok-ers build “pool ponds” (his favorite one is Premier Ponds). And so, with summer upon us, Abe took on the making of my pool pond.

Instead of looking for a plan, he thought about his mama (that would be me), and he built a pond.

The initial project took about six hours. Here was his process:

Abe dug out all of the rocks (it was a rocky landscape). It was at least a foot and half deep before he finally hit dirt (clay). The pool is its deepest at two feet, and its shallow end is one foot deep. He then took sand from his old sandbox, washed the sand (I must say I didn’t even know you could wash sand), and put all the sand in the pond.

He filled the pool, hoping it would settle the clean sand down. It never did. So the next day, he had to drain the pool and gave up on the entire idea of sand. He went on one of his first solo drives to Meijer to buy some small rock gravel to line the bottom of the pool pond. He bought some fancy fish for me. From my kitchen window, I could see the crystal clear pool pond and the bright fish swimming in it.

And then Abe left on a week-long fishing trip.

When he returned, the pool pond had a stench. He added some pool pond chemicals and a few extra fish he had caught while away. Mere days later, with the temps in the 90s, all the fish died and the smell was one of death as you pulled into the driveway.

Once again, Abe drained the entire pool pond. I watched him do this, standing near him so I could watch the process in case I needed to do this on my own (and hoping I won’t have to!). In a freak accident, I got doused with the fishy, death smelling pool pond water.

To my credit, I did not puke.

Abe refilled the pond, added algae killer, and we decided to forgo all fish. After looking it over, Abe moved the water fountain to a spot on the pool pond that I could see better from the kitchen window.

Weeks later, the pool pond is still beautiful.

Tonight I am sitting on the front porch with Abe and the handsome Beau the dog. (Cash the Cat is banned to the house due to laying in the large hostas and trying to kill my birds under my bird feeders). The fountain is trickling happily away while we chat about the making of the pool pond.

During the day, birds land all around the pond. A little chipmunk washes his face in the pond a time or two during the day. Beau would really like to lay in the entire thing and lap all the water up.

It was one of the unexpected gifts of summer, and I am ever so grateful for it.

Have you ever tried to do a project for someone you love, only to have it turn into way more than you were bargaining for? Tell me about it!

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