Water without animals is just used for breeding mosquitoes. I keep everything in the pond native (with the exception of the
water lettuce and hyacinth). Animals include eastern painted turtles, stinkpots, blue gill sunfish, pumpkin seed
sunfish, fathead minnows, shiners, crawfish, bullfrogs, common toads, green frogs, catfish, snails, clams, etc. No
Some of my previous pets have really inspired me to keep building and to put up with the sometimes endless issues that can
Bernadette turtle is at the top of the list and she has a memorial stone inside the fenced area dedicating the area
"Bernadette's Pond". Lucky also spurred me on to create "Lucky's Lodge", a place for wayward and injured turtles to be.
I grew up on the ponds and lakes of South Jersey. From middle school onward, I spent most of my time on the ponds along
Valleybrook golf course (before people lost their minds and overbuilt it with townhouses). I then migrated to the ponds back
behind Broadmoor West, particularly "turtle cove". It was just a sandy beach, away from people, where the turtles would be.
I'd fish. Sit. Think. It was around that time that I promised myself that when I could, I'd have that kind of peace in my
Fast forward to 2009, the "year of the house". I finally had my own house and way too much work to do on it. But, brewing in
the background, were pond plans. Actually, that's when I bought the first webcams; 3 years before I used them. I knew I'd
The backyard started as an above ground pool
. It had not been opened in awhile, the cover had torn
and nature had taken
over. I even had ducks living on it. After some irritation with Craigslist, I eventually sold it and was left with a sandy,
weed infested space.
The first ponds went in the Spring of 2010. I had some ideas as to what would work (and some of it was even right). I had
constant problems with leaks, ponds draining, filter boxes melting and all sorts of things. That winter was even more brutal
with freeze ups leading to overflows. Somehow I made it to 2011. Well, as any pond person will tell you, they're addictive.
I added 100% more water that spring.
In spring 2012 I reconfigured again. This time I added at least 100% more water again (in the same space, with the
same pumps). The 1-wire sensor network was also installed.
In 2013 I added the center rear pond and installed the matrix video switcher, upgrading the number of available
cameras to 8.
In 2014, I installed Milone eTape liquid level sensors. They worked well for the season but ultimately I found them to be too fragile for an outdoor environment. I also put X10 controllers on the pumps so I can control them remotely.
In 2015 I added additional 1wire thermometers (to the deep pond, rear center and alligator pond). A new weather station was installed to get more accurate weather data. I also had my first eggs! I dumped the X10 for a dedicated power controller, an IP Power 9258. Hopefully it's more reliable (it's not and I went back to X10). I also built the box turtle commune. I'm hoping to have a breeding colony of box turtles in 2016. Season start 4/5. Season end first week of October.
In 2016 the season started late at 5/8 for the big guys and 5/28 (!!) for the small guys. The DS2438s started acting a little weird so I swapped them out for DS2406s. The float sensors didn't utilize the DS2438 very well anyway. I swapped out the Beagle Bone Black with a Samsung ChromeBox XE300M22. It uses about the same amount of watts but after flashing the Chromebox to run CentOS 6.8, I can do many more things (namely running ffmpeg natively and mounting iSCSI LUNs).
In 2017, I retired the Axis 241q and AutoPatch Half-Y and replaced them with an Axis m7016. It took over a month in the mail to receive, but it was worth it.
In 2018, I didn't change much up. An intense thunderstorm overloaded my 1-wire bus master controller in September. I didn't get any hatchlings -- the loss of Baby P left me without an adult male for the season. Season started 1st week of May and ended Oct 7. I upgraded from the Chromebox to an Intel NUC DC3217IYE -- faster CPU and more SSD.
In 2019, the season started for the boxies and spotteds on 4/6. 5 adult and 10 youngin' painteds went out on 4/19. Doc was picked up from Lititz, PA on 4/26. The season ended on 10/12 due to forecasted weather.
In 2020, the season started for all the turtles on 4/6. The ObserverIP was replaced with an Ecowitt GW1000 and the WS1400-IP weather station with a WS-2902-Array. The painteds came in 10/3.
In 2021, I was really craving the spring due to a snowy winter and pandemic. I pulled electric from the house to the shed underneath a newly created box and spotted turtle house. It was a massive build but ultimately the enclosure went from 4'x4' to 4'x12' (50% larger for boxies; 115% larger for spotteds).
Painted turtles (eastern)Chrysemys picta picta
Painteds have been a favorite turtle of mine since the 6th grade. That's when I got Pete (who was my companion for approximately 25 years). They're fun to watch and each one has their own personality. It's amazing how they range from being totally docile to... extremely "feisty".
14 brought in (-1)
|Clutch||Drop Date||Eggs||Disposition||Incubation||Hatch Date||Mother||Hatchlings|
|1||Mid 2014||1||Natural||Late 2014||Mr x Baby P||1: Primo|
|1||5/25/2015||4||84°; 75% RH||7/21-22/2015||Mr x Baby P||1: Bernie|
|2||5/27/2015||5||84°; 75% RH||--||Ms Reg x Baby P||0: first clutch issues?|
|3||6/14/2015||5||84°; 75% RH||8/9/2015||Ms Reg x Baby P||3: A, B, C|
|4||6/30/2015||4||84°; 75% RH||8/21/2015||Ms Reg x Baby P||3: D, E, F|
|Changes from 2015:|
Only used 1/4 pound deli cups; max 4 eggs per cup.
Used HatchRite instead of sphagnum moss.
Lids on each cup; all but one air hole sealed.
|1||6/4/2016||4||84°; 75% RH||est. 8/1||Ms Reg||4: A1, A2, A3, A4|
|2||6/24/2016||3||84°; 75% RH||est. 8/21||Ms Reg||3: A5, A6, A7|
|3||7/9/2016||4||84°; 75% RH||est. 9/5||Ms Reg||4: A8, A9, A10, A11|
|4||7/13/2016||7||84°; 75% RH||est. 9/9||Mr||2: A12, A13|
|5||7/27/2016||4||84°; 75% RH||est. 9/23||Mr||4: A14, A15, A16, A17|
Baby stinkpot 22g; 36g; 47.9g; 76.2g; 97g; 122.9g