It’s so easy to love having water in your yard. The enjoyment to be had by the constant run of critters to water (as I sit here writing this I hear a crack of ice and a splash and I look up and see a neighborhood cat dragging himself out of the water and up over the rocks and I assume home – a little cold and wet but none the worse for wear) that you have supplied for them, the beautiful fish you have in your pond and the changing of the seasons in the garden that is your pond. I see a lot of ponds that are shut down in Winter which is a shame as Winter provides some magical moments with the ever changing ice sculptures that appear and disappear in your pond as the day progresses. Snow is another element that adds come and go beauty to your pond. As long as water is moving in your pond it is safe for the fish as oxygen is exchanging and it is safe for the pond itself. Moving water keeps an open area in any ice thus relieving pressure against the sidewalls. This last part is important only if you have a pond that is based on a concrete foundation. Even the strongest reinforced concrete is no match for the force created as the surface of your pond freezes and exerts outward pressure. This is where having a pond heater comes in handy. I have a simple thermostatically controlled heater that is economical to run and simply heats the space around the heater itself just enough to leave a hole in the ice layer. I don’t even use mine unless there is a power outage and the surface starts to freeze. Then when the power is restored, I just drop it on top of the ice and within an hour or so it has melted its’ way through the ice leaving an opening. A wise $30 investment. In the Baltimore Washington metropolitan area we are just as likely to get a 50 degree day as there is to be ice. So when a thaw comes right after a series of 20 degree days and the ice melts and the Robins suddenly appear, you know Spring is on the way. Reality intrudes though with tomorrow’s forecast of 4-8 inches of snow. Ahh well, Spring will surely come!