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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Check out my mussels...


Isn't my mussel a beautiful thing? It's certainly bigger than my muscles! This lovely freshwater mussel was living in the pond. Don was there the other day when our dog Caoihme (pronounced Kee-va) came trotting out of the pond with this mussel in her mouth. She'd found an elephant ear mussel, known in the scientific world as the species Elliptio crassidens.

This is a good indication that our pond is very healthy. Mussels are nature's water filters and can filter several gallons a day! When we moved here a neighbor told us this particular pond (at the lower end of our front yard) was dead. He said nothing had ever lived in it and told us when our property was a cow pasture the cows wouldn't drink water out of this pond. It's a "run-off" pond and isn't spring fed, so that concerns me as to what pesticides, etc. were being sprayed out here before we bought the place.

Fortunately all that appears to have dissipated and we have a thriving pond. For that, I am very grateful. The pond is a source of entertainment for Don and I. We enjoy sitting there watching the dogs swim and play, we enjoy discovering all the wildlife in and around the pond and I enjoy fishing there.

Unfortunately, freshwater mussels are considered the most endangered critters in North America. Approximately 70 percent of their species are in peril of becoming extinct and in the past 100 years 30 of those species did cease to exist. Believe me, this particular mussel was quickly returned to the pond where I hope it lives a long and healthy life!

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