Garden Pond Part 2

August 21, 2018

Part 1 of this project covered some initial construction of our garden pond. Now it’s time for some photos with water!

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The pond and swamp pool take quite a bit of water to fill! I haven’t calculated the exact volume, but between the 300gal and 150gal stock tanks, plus liner extensions, and minus filter media, I’m guessing we’re in the ballpark of 500 gallons. We’re trying to avoid any chemicals to that might stress the fish, so most of the water comes from our rain barrels.

According to various websites, moving water loses about 0.5-1% per day of the total gallons pumped per hour, so we’ll have to occasionally top this off to maintain the water level. We’re pumping 1000gph so can expect to lose something like 5-10 gallons per day to evaporation. Another way to calculate water loss is based on an archaic government-issue kiddie pool. It’s all a bit fuzzy and dependent on surface area, cloud cover, and humidity, but after eliminating any detectable leaks we’ve noticed water loss consistent-ish with both these measurements (about 5-10 gallons per day).

The smaller swamp filter pond is a little higher in elevation than the main fish pond. As mentioned previously, “dirty” water gets pumped from the fish pond into the bottom of the swamp, where it percolates up through gravel, screen, and mud. To get the filtered water back down, I could have done a stream or waterfall, but decided to do a canal instead. Naturally a canal needs a set of lock gates to allow boat navigation between the different water levels!

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The lock gates are hand-operated, and work pretty well. They aren’t particularly watertight, so enough turbulence and splashing develops to help aerate the water.

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The swamp pond has a miniature dam with some extra filter media behind and below it, to help keep mud from migrating out of the swamp into the main fish pond. So far there’s been a little mud slipping through, but it clears up fairly quickly. I imagine we’ll have to clean things out and relocate the dirt periodically.

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As I’ve probably mentioned in other posts, we have some pet waterfowl (ducks and a goose). While they’ve been quite interested in the process of digging this pond, we’re not planning to let them use it. Ducks are just too messy and destructive for a small fish pond like this. They rapidly pollute the water, tear at the liner and plants, eat the fish, and drill holes everywhere with their beaks in search of bugs. Our birds have their own private pond with an oversized filter, which I’ll detail in another thread.

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Apparently the local wildlife hasn’t heard about this “duck-free” idea, as we’ve already had a wild mallard hen land in the garden for a swim!

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In the next update we’ll try to make this hole in the ground look prettier and add some actual fish!


Garden Pond Part 1

August 20, 2018

This summer we decided to build a garden pond. I figured we could do it “simple” and “quick” using plastic livestock water tanks… but it has become a bit more complicated over the course of construction! Below is the final-ish plan for how our pond is set up. It includes a main, deep pool for fish, and a second pool mostly filled with various materials to act as a natural bog or swamp filter.

This design is based on a combination of sources, from pond books to internet forums to various other info. While it may not be the best/cheapest/simplest method, I’m hoping that it will manage to combine natural filtration, low-ish maintenance, and an interesting look! The main fish pond should be deep enough to over-winter fish in Minnesota, perhaps with the addition of a bubbler and/or heater.

Transporting stock tanks is always entertaining…

After extensive planning, we started digging the holes.

Thanks to some research, I had already determined that our garden used to have a duplex in the 1800s, which was at various times home to a saloon, an election polling place, and a local con artist. While digging the smaller hole, we ran into the limestone foundation.

I dug up an entertaining array of artifacts from the old rubble, including bottles, pottery, coal, a narrow-gauge railroad spike, a knife blade, and an empty .38 revolver casing!

After getting the holes finished it was time to install some plumbing for the pump and filter system. I added heat tape to the pipes since there’s no easy way to drain them. The pump will probably stay turned off in the winter and I have a thermostat-controlled switch to turn on the heat tape if the ground temperature drops too low.

The pump is also located underground in a waterproof box. This will eventually have a bench on top of it.

Next came the stock tanks. The pond holes ended up quite a bit larger, as we decided to just use the tanks as the bottom of the pond and extend everything with flexible liner. This might be a bit redundant, but it does make the bottom few feet of pond extremely leak-resistant!

Getting a square liner to fit an oblong hole is a hassle, and results in a lot of unsightly creases. I did my best to reduce or hide these, but still ended up with some ugly folds (pic below is not the final liner arrangement).

The bog filter received a plastic shelf raised off the bottom with brick (which is safer for fish than cinderblocks or limestone, which can leach lime into the water). Below the shelf is a PVC diffuser for incoming “dirty” water. Above the shelf goes gravel and dirt for the swamp in various layers. The two pipes at right are cleanouts to help deal with the inevitable mud that will make its way into the bottom void area.

Coming soon, some more details and photos with actual water in the pond!

 

 

 

 

 


Funter Bay History: Pulling the Trap

June 28, 2018

Fish Traps were a major part of Southeast Alaska industry in the first half of the 20th century. I’ve mentioned the traps around Funter Bay in many previous entries, including some photos of trap operations here and some of the designs and technology here.

As noted on many of the Thlinket Packing Co’s labels, they claimed to be “The only cannery in Alaska fishing with traps exclusively”. This was said to make for “fresh, wholesome, and delicious” canned salmon. Collector George Freddora was kind enough to share a label for “Tepee Brand” Coho salmon that I had not seen before:

Tepee Brand Salmon Label, courtesy of George Freddora.

 

Below are a few photos of trap operations, including “pulling” or “brailing” the fish out of the trap. This was a popular scene to photograph, as the wriggling, splashing fish made for an exciting display. As such, there are a lot of duplicates and variants of these photos for Funter Bay! My apologies if I have posted some of these particular images before.

“Brailing Salmon into Scow”, Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Case & Draper Photograph Collection, PCA 39

 

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Case & Draper Photograph Collection, PCA 39

 

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Case & Draper Photograph Collection, PCA 39

 

“T.P. Co Salmon Trap”, Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Case & Draper Photograph Collection, PCA 39

The next image and variants of it became a popular Alaska postcard, both in original and colorized versions:

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Case & Draper Photograph Collection, PCA 39

Photographer William Case took a number of back-to-back exposures  of the brailing process seen above. So far I’ve found 5 of these, and stacked them together into a quick animation:

(Various sources including Alaska State Library and University of Washington Digital Archives).

And finally, a look back at the trap (center-right) and the Kitten Islands, on the way back to the cannery.

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Case & Draper Photograph Collection, PCA 39

 


Funter Bay History: Tugboat “Nimrod”

June 15, 2018

I’ve mentioned this boat in a few prior posts (here, and more detail here). Most of my photos have shown the boat in various stages of decay as an abandoned derelict on the beach. When I was in Juneau researching Alaska history last summer, I found a photo of the boat in better days.

‘ Nimrod, Waterman T.B. Co. Small diesel tug. Port bow, speed, racing “Ben Hur” ‘. From Lloyd Bayers collection, album 9, MS 10, Alaska State Library Historical Collection.

Close-up of the above photo.

As mentioned before, the Nimrod was built in 1903 and served a variety of towing companies in Washington State, including the Waterman Co. It showed up in Funter Bay sometime in the 1960s as a fishing boat owned by local resident Elmer P. Loose. It’s been pulled up on the beach since approximately 1965, evolving from a boat shape into a more relaxed pile of wood and metal, slowly returning to the soil.

It’s always nice to see the “before” photos for something that’s well into the “after” stages! Plus it adds a special extra dimension to a familiar object or site from childhood.


Funter Bay History: An-Dis-Cla

June 15, 2018

While searching through the Alaska State Library’s collection, I found a portrait of an elderly Tlingit woman photographed in 1908 at Funter Bay. The photo is labeled “An-Dis-Cla”, presumably the woman’s name. I am assuming she worked at the cannery or was part of the seasonal Tlingit community nearby, as most of the photos from this collection are related to the cannery.

This photo is notable for a few reasons. The photographers Case and Draper took a number of photos at Funter Bay, but rarely if ever included the names of their subjects. They also photographed most of the cannery workers in groups rather than individually, the expense of glass negatives would make a personal portrait somewhat special. The other Tlingit women Case & Draper photographed also had a tendency to avoid eye contact with the camera, as mentioned here and in this book.

I have not been able to find anything about the woman shown in this photo. If any readers know more, I would be interested to hear it!


Monorail Museum Updates

May 10, 2018

I’ve added some “artifacts” to my miniature monorail museum, located in the head car of the former MN Zoo Monorail that I bought a couple years ago.

While I’m trying to keep the monorail mostly original, that big hulking power box in the back of the driver’s cab was just begging to be turned into a display case. A little dremel work and a plexiglass window and it’s much nicer than before! Plus the mice don’t chew on my toy trains now! (Keeping mice out of this thing might be impossible, it even came with some free zoo mice when I first got it 😛 )

The Baron, as a former monorail driver, has moved up to my upper shelf of MN Zoo-related memorabilia. The lower shelf is more general monorail “stuff”, since people keep giving me monorail toys and whatnot that they come across. In addition to the obvious Disney monorail, I managed to find an HO scale Von Roll MkIII model that’s pretty darn close to this one! The MkIII was in the same family as the zoo’s UMI Tourister, just a little more developed and streamlined.

The wall displays document monorail tech, MN zoo history, and other monorail-related tidbits.

And outside the monorail I’ve stuck a “historic marker” for random visitors. Although the train is on private property and not open to the public, we do get some friends and acquaintances stopping by who are curious about it!

 


Funter Bay History: The Expanded Misadventures of Fred Patrick

May 9, 2018

After writing about Funter Bay resident Fred Patrick and his accident-prone life, I dug a little deeper into the original news articles. My prior information all came from summaries written by historian “Kinky” Bayers. The articles he references are mostly available in the Alaska State Library on microfilm.

An article from October of 1931 gives more detail of Fred Patrick’s shooting of Harold Tipton. Apparently Patrick was a “fox rancher” at the time, and Tipton was the cannery watchman at Funter Bay. Both were partaking in moonshine at a “small gathering” when Patrick decided to air some sort of grievance with a gun.

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I was not able to find a follow-up article with the results of this matter. Whether Fred Patrick spent any time in jail for the incident is uncertain.

Fred shows up again in the news in 1938, when fellow fisherman George Ford sank his boat, and the two went missing briefly.

And Fred again ran into trouble with guns in 1939, this time in Elfin Cove.

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That’s all I’ve found so far on fisherman, fox rancher, careless gun owner, and all-around unlucky fellow Fred Patrick. If I encounter him again in newspaper archives I will continue posting his exploits!


Railbiking

March 27, 2018

I’ve been mildly interested in rail bikes for a while, but too lazy / busy to build one myself. However, when one popped up at a local estate sale I couldn’t pass it up.

Before the safety-conscious railfans jump on me, the track I’m testing this on is fully disconnected from any live rail and is on public land in a city park (The Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary). It’s part of a former industrial spur and was incorporated into the park as a bit of decoration by the designers.

I’m not sure of the origin of this contraption. It’s obviously homemade, but when and by whom are a mystery. The bike has a little side saddle “sidecar” on the outrigger, suitable for a passenger or cargo. The bike itself seems to have been built in England, or at least parts of it were. The nameplate is worn off and everything is pretty rusty! I’m guessing it’s from the 1950s or 60s, but whether it was a hobbyist or a railroad employee who built it, I don’t know.

The bike required a little work to get it going. Namely a new rear wheel, new crank and pedals, reinforced weld, new chain, and some minor adjustments.

It barely fits in the car, and requires the rear hatch to be open. This could get annoying if I want to transport it very far!

My initial tests showed that it does pretty well on abandoned track in decent condition. However, any bends, dents, large gaps, or major bushes on the rail will derail it. It kind of goes through switches in one direction, but tends to fall off the frog going through the other way.

A short (<1min) video of my early test runs can be found here:


Funter Bay History: Young Man’s Draft

November 30, 2017

I’ve previously written about the Old Man’s Draft, a record set from the US Government in which a number of Funter Bay residents and Pribilof Internees are recorded. The companion set was recently published, listing younger men who registered for the draft in WWII. The following are registrations from residents of Funter Bay. As before, the name in parentheses is the person listed as “Person who will always know your address”, if there is no last name in parentheses, it is the same as the man listed in that record. For the older men this was often a spouse, for the younger men it could be a spouse or parent. Some versions of the form specify the relationship, in these cases I’ve made a note of such. Spelling and dates are mostly taken from the registration cards and may have some errors.

Bourdukofsky, Victor (Alexandra) Age 20.
Born 9/28/21, Pribilof Islands AK
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Buterin, Maxim K. (Kapetolina: Wife)
Born 1/31/13, St. Paul Island.
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Clark, David Hans (Mrs. L. E. Dodson, Bremerton WA).
Born 4/20/1925, Bellingham, WA
Employer: P.E. Harris Co, Funter AK

Dorman, Max William (G. G. Brown, Juneau AK).
Born 9/26/1902, Perry IA
Employed as Fisherman

Emanoff, Mamant (Anna: Wife)
Born 9/15/1906, St. Paul Island
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Emanoff, Maxim (Frances: Wife)
Born 11/24/1911, St. Paul Island
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Fratis, David (Alexandra: Wife)
Born 5/15/1910
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Galaktionoff, Aggey (Anfesa: Wife)
Born 11/3/1906, St. Paul Island
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Galaktionoff, Frank Gabriel (Fish & Wildlife Service)
Born 10/24/1910, Dutch Harbor, Unalaska
Employed by Jack Dunn on the cannery boat Wilson
(Likely a Pribiloff evacuee who managed to find work away from the camp)

Galanin, Gavriel (Mrs. Zoya Philemonof)
Born 4/27/1909, Pribiloff Islands, AK
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Galanin, Raphiel (Miss Angelina Merculief: Cousin)
Born 11/21/1913, Pribiloff Islands, AK
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Galanin, Moses (Mr. George Merculief)
Born 3/7/1914, Pribiloff Islands, AK
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Galanin, Laurence (Mr Alexander Galanin: Father)
Born 8/23/1918, St. George Island, AK
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Galanin, Martin (Alexander Galanin: Father)
Born 4/12/1919, St. George Island, AK
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Galanin, Ferman (Alesander Galanin)
Born 6/8/1920, Pribiloff Islands, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Gromoff, Elary S. (Elisaveta: Wife)
Born 7/24/1901, St. Paul Island, AK
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Gromoff, Smile V. (Elary S.)
Born 6/30/1924, Pribilof Islands
Employed as Fish buyer by Sandy Stevens of Juneau, AK

Hanson, Xenofont (Agraffina: Wife)
Born 2/9/1919, St. Paul Island, AK
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Hanson, John Jr. (John Hanson, Sr.)
Born 2/4/1920, St. Paul Island, AK
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Hapoff, John (Angelina: Wife)
Born 4/30/1908, Pribilof Island, Alaska.
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Hapoff, Arthur (Parascodia: Mother)
Born 7/6/1920, St. Paul Island, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Hellbaum, Richard Godlied (Mrs. Alfred Mockle Lomita of Park, CA)
Born 11/9/1898, Jekoa, WA.
Employer: US Buruea of Fish Wild Life Service (sic)

Hoverson, Carl Marcus (Edward C Johnston of Seattle)
Born 12/6/1901, Hancock Minn.
US Fish & Wildlife Service, Seattle (Funter Alaska)

Kashevarof, Laurence (Julia: Wife)
Born 7/28/1910, Pribiloff Islands, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Kashevarof, Valentine (Ludmilla: Wife)
Born 9/5/1912, Pribiloff Island, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Kochergin, Peter T. (Helen: Wife)
Born 3/24/1902, St. Paul Island, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Kochergin, Victor (Peter)
Born 9/26/1923, Pribilof Islands, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Kochutin, Innokenty (Haretina: Wife)
Born 12/7/1903, St. Paul Island, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Kochutin, Simeon (Deceased) (Maria G: Half-sister)
Born 2/13/1912, St. Paul Island, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Kochutin, Nekifer (Theodore: Father)
Born 2/22/1913, St. Paul Island, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Kochutin, Jacob (Olga: Wife)
Born 3/5/1917, St. Paul Island, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Kochutin, Mekey (Theodore: Father)
Born 8/26/1921, St. Paul Island, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp


Funter Bay History: Trolling in 1952

October 12, 2017

The Juneau Douglas City Museum provided this set of 1952 slides showing some commercial fishing at Funter Bay. Trolling doesn’t seem to have changed much since then! This set is from the Carl and Caroline Jensen collection, Accession # 2002.45. http://www.juneau.org/parkrec/museum/v_exhibit/exhibit4/e41293a.htm

Below we see Carl Jensen cleaning fish near the entrance of Funter Bay. A skein of salmon eggs is in his hand. The cannery and some other trollers are barely visible in the background:

These photos were taken near the end of the fish trap era. Traps competed with trollers such as the Jensens, catching fish on a much more destructive industrial scale. Below we see a cannery tender loading a scow from a floating trap:

And another view of a trap (possibly the same one) with a red watchman’s shack. A cannery employee would live at the trap to keep fish pirates from robbing it. Many commercial fishermen hated the traps and would steal fish from them if they got the chance!

Below we see the fishermen parked at the float at Funter Bay in the morning (based on the sun). Carl Jensen is seen picking herring from a net, likely set from the side of the boat overnight. These would be used as the day’s bait.

The herring threaded onto hooks can be seen a bucket below:

Whales, likely bubble-net feeding on small fish:

The lighthouse at Point Retreat, northern end of Admiralty Island:

Sunset at Funter Bay:

Thank you to the JDCM for helping me locate and scan these, and thanks to the Jensen family for donating this great documentation of fishing 60 years ago!