The Beast Emerges!

This is a good news post.

All winter, the Beast, the humungous 12-year old koi that lives in the water feature, has lived in a state of suspended animation. Late in the fall, when the water temperature drops to around 40° F, she slows down and stops eating. As the pond freezes over, she stations herself in her cave and waits out the winter. She swims just enough to stay upright.

The pond has a pump that moves water through the gravel on the far side, up through the hole in the 17-ton rock, and down into the pool where the fish swim. Then the water is pulled into the pump and is circulated again. This keeps the water under the top layer of ice from freezing and adds oxygen to the mix.

There were times, this winter, when Steve had to go out and break the ice from the top of the rock in order to keep the water flowing. There were times when we couldn’t even see the top of the rock! (It’s there, to the right of my son.)

pond under snow


At one point during this winter’s deep freeze, the pump broke. Removing the broken part and replacing it was difficult. It took Steve a couple of days. We worried.

The snow finally began to recede. The surface of the pond became visible. I looked through the ice and could see the smaller goldfish – I call them the Beast’s minions. But no Beast. I worried. Had she grown so large that the cave was now too small for her to safely wait out the winter? Predators can take a slow moving fish, but there were no tracks in the snow around the pond. Neither was there a dead body visible (a terrible thought, but one that of course comes to mind.)

It rained yesterday and is raining today. Rain. Not snow, not sleet. This morning the ice was gone from the pond. And there she was.

pond with beast


The Beast has emerged from her winter slumber, with her minions at her side.



This remains a white springtime, but there’s a hint of gold and peach in my backyard. Beautiful.



  1. Good news! A salute to Beast (and to Steve, who kept the pond pumping); you have certainly had a challenging winter at LPF! I’m wondering if your trees will “smoke” again this season :)

  2. Hooray!!! So glad the Beast survived. I don’t know if you know this or not, but cold water can hold more dissolved oxygen than warm water. So if that pump was going to go, this was actually the best time for it from a breathing point of view!

  3. Yay, Beast!!! What a fabulous creature, and kudos to her carers. This made my day. :) Thanks, Terry!

  4. What a beautiful sight…..the beast and her minions! Gives some hope to all of us still under feet of snow that there is a spring lurking somewhere out there. It’s snowing here at the moment.

  5. May the snow keep melting and your grass and garden appear soon! We have spring flowers everywhere and blossoms are popping,,,,take heart your spring is close at hand….hugs!

  6. For sure spring is in the air when the beast pokes her head out from the boulder.
    We have had the least snow this winter season in recorded weather for Anchorage and its dry here now with concern for fires. Sure enjoyed watching the hen cam over the winter.
    Thanks to you an your family for keeping it interesting.

  7. So glad the Beast and her Minions are safe and your pond emerging after the very hard winter, answers my question from yesterday Thankyou. Can’t believe how much snow is still around a lot more thawing yet to come, hang in there Spring is on its way !!

  8. Ah the miracles of life. You are a caring Mom right down to the little minions. Glad the The Beast survived a harsh and cold winter. Warmer weather is truly on the horizon.


  9. Great News! I was worried also. It is so nice to see your snow melting. Won’t be long now.

  10. The colours on the rock really stand out on a dull day. Terry, if I have a question but not a problem do you want me to email you or ask on blog ??

    • Hi Jan, thank you for asking. I like to keep the comments tightly focused on the blog topic. So, if it’s about something else, do email. There’s that “contact Terry” button on the bottom right of this page that takes you right to me.

  11. wonderful news!! I have bare ground in spots and an absolute mud hole. The water table where I live is very high, my call ducks were swimming in a puddle out there earlier. Its a muddy mess!!

  12. I know how Steve felt. I’ve spent time trying to fix a broken pond pump in the winter.

  13. Now someone just new to your blog would see today`s title, then scroll down to the first picture, and see the male figure appearing to emerge from the snow. He actually does look rather beast-like in that shot. :)

  14. Thanks for letting us know!! I was so worried about the beast…Steve’s extra effort paid off!! Thanks to you both for being so good & caring to your animals. We were raised every kind of animal is a living thing and is our responsibility to care for. Happy Spring!!

  15. So glad to see that the beast is well and well done to all of you for caring for the pond in such extreme conditions. My garden is bursting with spring colour and I feel for you still having so much snow. It surely must go soon.

  16. Good Morning, just seen you letting everyone out and collecting early eggs (breakfast maybe). Do you have Herons or Storks in US, I was wondering if they could walk into the pond as the colour of the fish must stand out against the white of the snow and be very tempting and Lily can’t chase through snow to keep them away ?

    • We have several species of herons in this area. The Great Blue is huge and a very good hunter. Some friends can’t keep fish in their water features because the Great Blue eats them all. Lily does a good job keeping them away – but herons have taken many of my smaller goldfish. The Beast, though, has survived by wits. Amazing fish.

  17. I know they have to eat but sad when we lose our smaller ones. The Beast is canny probably sees the big shape and hides in his cave for safety. Also I may have messed up, tried sending a reply to you through my emails instead of using Contact and I can’t make out whether it went or not, could you let me know Thanks. Have a good weekend :)

    • About three feet in the center, shallower at the edges. Do a “koi” and “water feature” search using the search button at the right. I’ve posted photos over the years – there are some of it being built, too.

  18. Glad to see the Beast and the minions have survived the winter. I was wondering how your lilies and plant coverage for the pond came through the winter and if you will have enough cover for the Beast so she won’t end up getting sunburned again or will you be setting up an umbrella again for cover ?

    • I won’t know about the pond plants yet – nothing is growing. This morning there was a coat of ice on the pond.