Last week I noticed my pond had turned a thick, sickly shade of green, like pea soup — algae bloom.

“Hope we don’t have a fish die-off,” I told Angelyn.

I was at work Wednesday when she texted me: “All the bigger fish are dead! And a snake!”

Great. I knew what that meant.

After supper that evening I went out to the pond, grabbed my dip net and got to work.

Dead bream floated everywhere. Stinking.

I walked the bank, scooping up carcasses, piling them in the grass for buzzards.

Nature thinning the herd. Happens to humans, too.

Miserable as a fish die-off is, I’ve had it happen a couple times before, so this one wasn’t all that unusual — except for one thing.

The snake.

The fish died because they couldn’t get enough oxygen. But why the snake?

A reptile doesn’t depend on the oxygen content of the water.

A closer look showed the snake was swollen behind the neck, indicating it may have tried to swallow a dead fish and got choked. That’s my theory, anyway.

Butternut bonanza

On a brighter note, I checked my burn piles the other day and found a good crop of butternut squash.

As I wrote a while back, I burned off a couple of brush piles and planted squash and pumpkin seeds amid the ashes. They sprouted, along with a lot of poke salat.

When I went to check the other day, the poke salat had turned into a jungle, and at first glance you wouldn’t think the squash had a chance. But a closer look showed the vines running everywhere, with lots of squash. The poke salat actually helped by shading them from the blistering summer sun.

I picked a bunch of the orange-meated squash, plus a few small pumpkins.

I’m not crazy about butternut squash, but they sell for $1.49 a pound at the grocery store, so what I have may be more valuable than I realize.

Hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Is there such a thing as rain gear that will shed heavy rain yet won’t condense underneath?

The topic came to mind a few weeks ago when I got caught in a downpour wearing my bright red rain jacket. Naturally I got wet.

Over the course of my lifetime I’ve tried rubber slickers, ponchos, a Gore Tex rainsuit (supposedly breathable), jean jackets, nylon jackets — you name it. I’ve come to the conclusion that we haven’t come far from the Stone Age when it comes to rain gear.

In Papua New Guinea, mountain tribesmen wear capes of beaten tree bark. I daresay they’re as good as anything our society can come up with.

The latest L.L. Bean catalog featured a page of “best-value rainwear.” A coat, pants and hat come to around $250.

An umbrella is best but ties up one hand, not too good if you’re doing something.

I’m at the point where I just grab whatever’s handy and expect to get wet.

Reminds me of the old Bob Dylan song: “And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, and it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.”

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