329: Muck raking

Somewhere in the neighborhood

According to the World English Dictionary, a muck rake is an agricultural rake used for spreading manure.  A lake rake, on the other hand, is an agricultural rake used for raking weeds out of a lake or pond.  The pond here at Breezy Acres not only has weeds, it has muck (also known are mud or mire).  So when I rake weeds and muck out of the pond, I think of it as muck raking.  It is a very dirty, messy, muddy, mucky business.

Cows in a field somewhere in the neighborhood

That is how I spent my outdoor time today.  Muck raking.  Lake raking.  Mechanical pond weeding.  Call it what you will, it’s difficult work.  It is a good cardio and strength workout that uses a lot of muscles in the arms, legs, chest, and core.  The lake rake itself is somewhat heavy.  To mechanically weed the pond, I lift the rake, and using momentum, I swing it out into the pond while simultaneously holding tight to the handle so I don’t end up tossing the entire rake into the pond.  The rake sinks into the weeds.  I pull, or dredge, bringing back weeds, muck, tadpoles, small fish, frogs, and turtles.  I lift the rake, which is now very heavy, and wait for the tadpoles, small fish, frogs, and turtles to make their way off the rake and back into the water.  Then I swing the rake to throw the muck and weeds on land.  I watch the muck and weeds for a few seconds to be sure nothing is wriggling in there.  If something (usually a tadpole) is moving around in the muck/weed pile, I pick whatever it is up and throw it back into the pond.  I’m rather sensitive about killing the residents of the pond.  Other than the weeds, that is.

One of the main things to remember about mechanically weeding a pond is that the person doing the weeding is the machine, and the machine gets dirty, slimy, and mucky.  It’s no place for a camera.  I was thinking, though, that the next time I do some pond weeding, I’ll bring the camera within walking (but not muck) distance, and try to get a few shots of this dirty work before I get too covered in mud and muck.

The photos used above are from a bike ride I took a few evenings ago.  It was a short (5.4 miles) ride around the neighborhood.

The rest (following this paragraph/sentence) will be from last week’s trip up to the Holden Arboretum to search for gnomes.


It’s a very warm day here in the Bogs, but breezy enough that it didn’t feel too bad out there.  I worked at weeding the pond for a little over forty minutes.  I was hoping to get an entire hour of weeding in, but I had to stop when I reached the point where my arms could not lift the rake anymore.

I'll bet the flower beds at the arboretum are well mulched and mixed with compost.

Much of the muck stays put along the side of the pond, helping to build up any areas that might erode.  We let the weeds dry in the sun, then come back around a day or two later with a pitchfork to scoop up the dried weeds and take them (in a wagon) up to the compost pile.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

I was looking online today to see if there’s a better way to do the pond weeding.  I came across the Jenson Lake Mower.  While most of the time I dream of buying a new camera, after forty minutes of weeding the pond I am dreaming of a lake mower.

I’d even be willing to test one out, and write a review.  Anyone want to donate one for the cause?  😉

Ah well.  I thought not.  It’s an expensive donation/proposition.  But a girl can dream.

Tomorrow will be a full day.  I’m off to see the doc for my yearly check-up.  I’m not where I’d hoped to be by this time in terms of some of the numbers the doc will be looking at, but there should be some good numbers to go with those that haven’t changed much.  I hope.  We’ll see how all those fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes have paid off numerically.  After my visit with the doc, I’m going to visit the Hartville Market.  It’s nearly time for the annual ritual of the Canning of the Tomatoes and I often buy a bushel or two from one of the vendors at the Hartville Market.  I’d like to get some peppers while I’m at it and make some fresh salsa.  Our garden tomatoes and peppers are not quite ready yet.  Another place I want to visit is Walnut Drive Gardens.  The peppers are ready to pick now so I may go picking instead of buying them at the Hartville Market.  It depends on time and weather.

Meet HAP — The Gnome.  I’m not sure what HAP stands for, although I am guessing that the HA might have something to do with Holden Arboretum.  He looks like a park ranger to me.

HAP was ready for his close-up

That’s about it from the Bogs for today.  Hopefully tomorrow’s post will involve a little less muckraking.  It’s too bad the same can’t be said about politics.

30 Comments on “329: Muck raking”

  1. ceciliag says:

    That was a great post. Sorry about the muck, but love the gnome! c

  2. tedgriffith says:

    I can certainly sympathize with you about the muck raking. We do it in the original sense of the words- 2 horses= muck every day! Yours is much heavier though. The pictures are great, and I especially like the butterfies! I hope that all goes well with the doc, my wife and I can both relate to the numbers. Our diets changed dramatically last year in an attempt to make help change what years of poor diet had done to our bodies. Not where we want to be, but improving. As a guess…HAP- Holden Arboretum Police (I’m a retired cop)

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Ted! I bet your guess is spot on. I should have guessed that (my father is a retired cop, my brother-in-law and several of my cousins are cops, etc.). A good look at HAP’s uniform should have given it away for me, too. I was obviously not paying attention. Fashion never was one of my strong suits. 😉

  3. Kel says:

    a lake mower! something i never knew existed, but now I do thanks to you 😉

    thinking of you re the doc visit

    may the numbers which are high
    that you wish to be lower
    be so

    may the numbers which are low
    that you wish to be higher
    also be

  4. Interesting information about the muck raking–often heard of the muck rake but didn’t exactly know what it was. What a job! But it pays off view-wise and health-wise! Good luck at the doc tomorrow. Even though one of my high numbers came down 53 points–he tells me I’m “not there yet.” Geesh!

  5. Who would have ever guessed you needed to weed a pond. Really fascinating to learn about this. Sounds llike a damn good workout! Good luck at the doctor tomorrow!

    • Robin says:

      I wouldn’t have guessed it, Kathy. That’s for sure. I thought a pond would take care of itself. Turns out that’s not entirely true. We could let the weeds grow, but then it would transition from pond to marsh to wetland to meadow.

  6. I love reading about the muck and then the surprise photos at the end with the beautiful swallowtail and of course your gnomes. 🙂 .

  7. I bought a blade to cut the pond weeds off at the roots, so they’d be easier to rake. I don’t have the heart to use it; I’m afraid of injuring too many of the pond residents. So I’ll just go with the cardio workout.

    In small doses… 🙂

    Wishing you luck at the doc’s!

    • Robin says:

      I will probably stick with the cardio workout too, Marie. Even with the blade type thing, we’d still have to rake out the weeds. There’s probably no easy way to do it that doesn’t involve harming something.

      Thanks! 🙂

  8. TBM says:

    Love the butterfly photos. I was trying to snap some photos this week of a butterfly but I failed miserable. Great shots.

    • Robin says:

      Thanks, TBM. 🙂

      You wouldn’t believe how many of my butterfly shots are a big fat FAIL. That’s one of the things I love about digital photography. I get lots of chances at it. However, patience and stillness seem to be the keys no matter what type of camera you’re using.

  9. eof737 says:

    I was thinking there should be another way to do this that isn’t as labor intensive… I hope you find another way… Jason’s? as usual, beautiful pictures and thoughts. Best on your appointment.
    Phew… glad I’m finally catching up on posts I missed… I’ve been battling pneumonia and household changes as my children go off to college; I am grateful for God’s grace and the love/support in my life. 🙂

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Elizabeth. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. I hope you feel better soon. I’ve been through the Empty Nest syndrome, and hope it goes smoothly for you. 🙂

  10. You missed a trick there I think… What you SHOULD have done, was get someone else to do the muck raking, while you stood at a safe distance and took photos… 😉

    Beautiful collection of shots again Robin….

  11. carlaat says:

    Your muck rake doesn’t sound very mechanical – sounds like hard work! I too, would be tossing back tadpoles and little fish . . .

    • Robin says:

      It’s very hard work, Carla. I don’t know why they use the term “mechanical” when it comes to hand pulling (or raking) weeds.

      It’s nice to know there are others in the world who would toss back the tadpoles and small fish. 🙂

  12. SAJ says:

    love the pictures. robin i bet that alot of these pictures would do GREAT on a stock photography site. especially the first three!

  13. CMSmith says:

    I’ve heard and used the term muck-raking before but never really knew what it meant. Thanks for “clearing” that up for me.

    Messy job. But someone’s got to do it.

  14. Love the shots with the butterflies! They’re perfect!

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