The Beast In Winter

It’s been below freezing at night and so a thin sheet of ice has spread across the surface of the little pond. Underneath, the fish float, barely moving. Their fins swish back and forth, holding them in position for their long half-sleep through the winter.

The pump works all winter. Water flows up and out of the big rock (there is a hole drilled all the way through it) and circulates through the pond. This keeps the water from freezing solid. It also give the wild birds a drinking fountain even during the worst weather.

The 17-ton rock in the center of the pond was installed on top of two large, oblong boulders, forming a cave. The Beast’s lair. She is a savvy old fish, and while the small goldfish float in the center of the water feature, too cold and slow to move away from danger, she lurks in the shadows, safe all winter.


  1. Wow, look at all your goldfish Terry! Did the Great Blue Heron ever return this year? I can’t imagine how you moved a 17 ton rock to your yard but I’m sure The Beast appreciates it!

    • I gave fish to a neighbor for her pond, and the heron moved over there! Also, Lily worked hard to keep the heron away. When we built this house we had to blast granite for the foundation. That rock was one of the pieces. The water flows up the hole that had been drilled for the dynamite. It was moved with a very, very big crane.

      • And the best thing is the hybrid crosses are infertile so you don’t have to worry about the hybrid’s eggs every hatching.

          • But I doubt that any of the Beast babies will ever have their own babies. So the Beast will probably never be a grandmother unless you get a male koi.

  2. Love these photos, especially the one at the top. Amazingly beautiful image, of the skein of ice above, the bright orange shapes at random angles below. And All Hail to The Beast — long may she reign!

  3. The Beast is the largest and oldest koi in your pond, and probably the only one allowed in that cave. Probably if any of the others tried to get near it she would chase them away. Good survival skills, I have been wondering if the heron does not come back, are you going to add another species of fish or other aquatic animal that might be able to eat the excess eggs and fry you will have come spring ?

      • I didn’t even think of bullfrogs, I know koi and goldfish breeders have had problems with them before eating eggs. And I remember once a bullfrog tadpole ended up at a local petstore in a delivery of feeder fish. Instead of throwing it away, they raised it to near adulthood and then released it. I can remember seeing it sitting in a tank near the front, and wondering why they had a young bullfrog in the store.

  4. The first picture looks as beautiful as a Tiffany stained glass piece.

  5. Terry can you keep that snow in the East preferably east of NY, thanks

  6. Clicking in this morning and seeing your snow was a delight. I know its so cold- but it also so pretty.

  7. We just got two 38 cent goldfish from Walmart for my little boy. Thrilled is an understatement. But he would REALLY love a “Beast”.
    I would love a pond, maybe someday.

    • I bought the Beast 10 years ago, when she was only 3-inches long. She cost, if I recall, $3.99. So, perhaps you can find a baby Koi, and by the time you have a pond, you’ll have a good-sized koi to put in it!

  8. The kids will be happy to see “The Beast” alive and well..They STILL talk about her!