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Pond Clean Out Tips that Could Save Your Koi!

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Pond Clean Out Tips that Could Save Your Koi!

Spring is here and you are itching to get out and plant some petunias, peas, and pond lilies.  We know it, because we feel the same way!

Here a a few quick tips to help you keep your koi fish safe while you get your pond cleaned up and ready to receive those gorgeous plants.

A bonus pre-tip to get you started, don’t try to catch your pond fish until you have the water drained down so low, that their back fins are almost out of the water.  This way there’s no chasing koi and goldfish around, just dip the net in, lure them into your koi bowl and catch them stress free with ease.

ONE

Should you pressure wash your pond?  We say, an emphatic no!  Pressure washing cleans the green stuff off of the rock faces on the inside of the pond. The drawback to that is, that green stuff is called a “biofilm” and has a pretty serious job in your pond.

Biofilm is responsible for helping consume biological debris, such as fish waste, and excess food, that hits the rocks. When you do your spring clean, and pressure wash that off, you lose a good portion of your filtration right at the start of the season. It then takes several weeks, sometimes months to grow it back.

Secondly, the main debris we want to clean out of your pond is behind the rocks, not on top of them, so pressure washing the fronts of them isn’t actually getting rid of the problem.

Your rocks can build up a ton of debris behind them that contributes to the biological load in the pond, resulting in dirty looking water, the potential for sick fish, and undesirable algae growth, like hair algae, clumping algae, and green water algae.

Washing behind the rocks, helps to eliminate the build up and get the real problem out of your pond, and doesn’t remove that very helpful biofilm layer.

TWO

Once you have completed the clean out, we suggest boosting your pond’s ability to bounce back by adding beneficial bacteria for 14 days. During that time we double or triple the dose to push the good bacteria to peak levels.

If your normal dose is 1 teaspoon per 1000 gallons, add 2 or 3 per 1000 gallons for that critical first 14 days. After that resumes normal bacteria additions.

This additional bacteria does two things:

First, it helps boost your filter that has just been stripped of a lot of it’s beneficial bacteria colonies due to the pond cleaning.

Second, when the fish are pulled out and put back for the cleaning, they often stress out a little, causing them to release more ammonia than usual into the pond water. The extra bacteria will help to break this down.

THREE

Sometimes, just like a candlelight dinner with a bottle of wine, a pond full of fresh clean water inspires your koi to spawn, or breed.  I mean it’s clean, and clear, and beautiful?  Of course they want to spawn, right?

The interesting thing with koi is, there is no actual intercourse.  What happens when they spawn is first, much like humans, the male koi chase the female koi around the pond.

Here is where humans and fish begin to differ. While the male koi chase the females around the pond, the females release a BUNCH of eggs freely into the water as the males release a bunch of milt (koi sperm) freely into the water, and the sum total of this is a whole lot of biological waste.

Sure, some eggs get fertilized, attached to rocks or plants, and turn into baby koi, but the majority of the eggs and milt just start decaying in your pond water.  Suddenly, your previously crystal clear, clean water, starts looking cloudy and foamy.

This is a sign of very serious, potential problems.  We recommend you get another water change done immediately.  Somehow, the second water change doesn’t typically initiate a second spawning.  Just get a water change done, and fast, before you lose any fish, which is a very real possibility.

I hope these quick tips help you and your koi this spring.  Good luck and enjoy your pond!

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Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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The GHOST with the Most – SnapChat

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The GHOST with the Most – SnapChat

Do you believe in GHOSTS? I have proof that 100 million people believe in the SnapChat GHOST.

Here are 3 Reasons I GUARANTEE you’ll find value Following The Pond Digger on SnapChat!

BEHIND THE SCENES, SUPER SECRET STUFF

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Throughout my day in the pond world, whether I’m filming new #AskThePondDigger shows, Koi Discussions, Ponds Gone Wrong Episode, or getting ready to Broadcast Live on Periscope, I’m snapping it up and sharing valuable content that Pond Freaks and Geeks need to know!

In fact, my producer Dietmar Quistorf is constantly yelling at me to stop snapping and get back to work, as I let my Fans and Followers in on all the behind the scenes action.

Catch my freshest content for upcoming YouTube videos before the film even hits the editing table as I snap throughout our day filming.

EXCITING KOI ADVENTURES

When we are building a cool, new water feature, checking on the health of someone’s fish, or putting koi through our quarantine procedures, I snap quick videos and photos for my story too!

This means that you can actually watch the pond come to life instead of just some before/during/after shots on FaceBook or Instagram. It’s great fun to see my crew and I constructing, and playing throughout the day as we build someone’s dream right in their own backyard.

We treat our Koi at headquarters before offering them for sale to the public and we walk you through what we are doing, so you learn the proper procedures for a safe quarantine. We also go to homes to perform biopsies on client’s fish, and you learn signs of problems to look for and the methods we use to treat parasites and bacteria.

Plus, if you live too far for us to visit your pond, and you have a question or concern about it, you can send me some snaps so I can see your koi, and offer you suggestions!

POND PRO TIPS

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Every time I have an opportunity to share a Tip, Trick or Secret that could help a pond enthusiast shorten their learning curve in the hobby, I Snap It Up and post it to My Story!

I’ve Snapped Construction Tips and Tricks on how to cut stone, properly foam in a waterfall and even snapped the best methods for Handling and transporting Koi are just some of the Pond Pro Tips I’ve shared in the last week!

The opportunities for me to share content with you are endless! Catch me on SnapChat and I’ll have you believing in the Ghost in no time!

You can SNAP me at www.snapchat.com/add/theponddigger

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

Connect with The Pond Digger:

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What’s Happening on YouTube!

YouTube Channel Updates!

We love sharing our knowledge on YouTube. We give you, our loyal viewers, all of our experience, including not only our successes, but also our failures, in order to help you have a great experience with your pond, whether you are building one, or just appreciating the one you have.

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So, we are happy to give you our latest news on The Pond Digger YouTube Channel, about our recent and upcoming videos, and some exciting news on turtle views!

We are pleased to share that one of our first YouTube videos, “Turtle Pond Design” has reached 1 million views. We have produced many videos since Turtle Pond Design, that have more views than it does, but it holds a special place in our heart, and will always be one of our favorites.

We also just released the newest in our “Ponds Gone Wrong” series, “The Real McCoy”. This series will help you understand just how critical seaming your pond correctly is. We will reveal some great secrets in seaming, and some critical mistakes that we don’t want you to make!

On February 13th, we will begin filming a new tutorial on building a waterfall without a pond! This is especially great in homes with small children that don’t want the worry of a pond, or for businesses that want the magical sound of water without the liability of a body of water.

Also, we have great tips and tricks daily on Snapchat, and Periscope. Look for The Pond Digger on both sites to get your daily dose of pond fun! We hope to see you soon on YouTube, SnapChat, and Periscope.

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Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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Master These 7 Fundamentals, and You Will Be Well On Your Way To Selecting Brilliant Koi.

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Master These 7 Fundamentals, and You Will Be Well On Your Way To Selecting Brilliant Koi.

  1. Once you have confirmed that the body is correct, good shape, all eyes, fins, and tail accounted for, and no kinks or bends, then you begin to look at pattern and color.
  1. Pattern and color are different. The color is how “deep” and “pure” the red is on the fish. The pattern is where the color is located on the fish.
  1. IMG_9762The white needs to be as pure and close to snow as possible, though when they are young, the white on Koi is more flesh colored.  It whitens to “snow” with age.
  1. There should be some red pattern on the head, and all the depth of the red should be even throughout the Koi.  So, the patterns or islands of red need to be all the same color tone.
  1. On the back of the Koi we are looking for a pattern of “steps” leading from head to tail, with breaks in between. If there are no breaks, the pattern should be interesting. If the solid pattern of red is sort of lightning bolt shaped, it is highly desirable and is called Inazuma.
  1. The red pattern should end before the tail, so the tail is white, like the other fins.  The fins should be pure white with no red, or any other color on them.
  1. If there is a red circle on the head and also red elsewhere on the koi, the red on the head is called Maruten, and the Koi is a “Maruten Kohaku. If there is only red on the head, and no where else, it is a Tancho. A Tancho is another variety of Kohaku.  A good Tancho would have a perfect circle of red on it’s head, perfectly centered between it’s eyes. The Tancho is considered very special because it represents the Japanese flag, which is designed after the Tancho Crane. A very special bird in Japanese culture.

There are many other subtleties to learn, but if you understand these 7 fundamentals, you would be well on your way to understanding the Kohaku, where all koi begin, and end.

Watch This Short Video To Better Understand The Kohaku –

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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NEW RARE KOI – SNOWFLAKE ASAGI

NEW RARE KOI – SNOWFLAKE ASAGI

This new rare variety of Asagi is most stunning Koi to hit the scene in many years. It is called a Yuki Asagi or better known as the Snowflake Asagi. Yuki means Snow in Japanese. At the time of this Koi discussion, there are only 2 or 3 of these rare Koi in the US!

A couple decades in development, this gorgeous Koi symbolized the first snowfall on the red leaves of fall. In this Koi Discussions episode you will learn about the uniqueness of this wonderful koi before you ever see it available at your local koi shop.

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Our Koi Discussions video series on The Pond Digger YouTube Channel, is designed to educate, inspire and show case the beauty, art and history of Koi.

With World Renowned Koi Expert, Shawn McHenry, we offer a very special insight to the discussions including behind the scenes stories from his trips to Japan to acquire Rare and Unusual Koi or his very special clients.

We gain the most incredible insight from Shawn’s experience, his warm personality, and his ever-changing collection of Japanese koi he brings in for sale.

Watch the video of this amazing Snowflake Asagi and be sure to SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel for on going information on koi, goldfish, water turtles, ponds, water features, How To Build a Pond Tutorials and our weekly show that releases every Friday called Ask The Pond Digger, were we answer questions from our pond community.

snowflake asagi

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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The ONLY 3 Fundamentals All Koi Experts Can Agree On

colorful koi fish

If you were getting ready to build a koi pond, and you wanted the opinion of the top 10 koi pond builders around the world, you would get 10, or possibly 11 different answers.

They have different ideas for filters, returns, where to UV or to not UV, pond skimmer selection, size, or depth!

You name it, every choice could be different for every builder.

We understand this can be confusing for someone just getting into the hobby, and amidst the debating and arguing, we would like to show you what all KOI EXPERTS actually do agree on; which quite frankly, is not much.

1. GET OUT THE WASTE

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The first thing is to “REMOVE ALL ORGANIC WASTE FROM THE POND.”

By organics, I mean fish poop, excess fish food, leaves, pollen, dust, and anything else that is floating (or sinking) around in your pond.

Now, of course they may not agree on the BEST METHOD of removal, but they want that stuff out of the pond.

A few methods of removing the organics from the pond are skimmers, and bottom drains.

When debris hits the surface, good skimming will pull it out of the pond and into the skimmer 24/7.

If you have debris trying to settle on the pond’s floor, then a bottom drain can be installed, which will pull stuff out 24/7 also.

Another alternative if you don’t have a bottom drain, is to vacuum the pond on a weekly or biweekly basis.

2. SEPARATE SOLIDS

The next point the top koi experts in the world will all agree on is to “Separate solids before filtration.”

There are a few ways to do this too, so of course there is plenty of room for disagreement.

One spot to separate solids is between the pump and the bottom drain. There are a couple of ways to achieve this.

There are settlement tanks, a large chamber the water swirls around in before it is pulled through the pump that allows solids to “fall out” of suspension. Then you empty the sludgey muck out of the bottom of the tank on a routine basis.

Then there are sieves. A sieve has an area where the water slowly pours over a fine screen to catch the debris out of the water before it goes to the pump. The screen can then be cleaned to remove captured debris as needed.

Another place to separate solids is between the pump and the filter. A small unit relatively speaking called a “multi-cyclone” that swirls the water in a chamber so the solids can spin out of suspension. The unit can then be cleaned of the captured waste.

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3. NITRIFY THE WATER

The last point all koi experts will agree on, although not how to do it, is “nitrifying” or filtering the water before it is sent back to the pond.

After the water is pulled from the pond, and goes through the pump, before it goes back in to the pond, it needs to be cleaned and purified for the fish.

There are many ways to do this including but not limited too, waterfall filters, pressurized filters, up flow filters, down flow filters, shower filters, and more. The list goes on and on.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Now that you understand the three fundamentals that all koi experts will agree on, you can evaluate your personal koi pond and/or you can decide on how you might want to accomplish each of these important steps on that new dedicated koi ponds you are planning to build!

Of course if you are looking to ask 10 experts for a design we would love to provide you with one of the 11….

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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3 Things the Heron Knows About Your Pond That YOU Don’t!!!

PART_1447877653331_IMG_8423The name “Heron” evokes many emotions from pond owners, and none of them are good. They can range from devastation to hatred due to the loss of their beloved koi collection! Here’s a few tidbits to help you beef up your anti-heron arsenal, because we know, “Knowledge is Power” and this is one smart bird.

  • Herons can live up to fifteen years, reaching four and a half feet tall, with a six foot six inch wingspan.
  • They lay as many as 7 eggs annually, continually re-populating your neighborhood with new offspring to consume your precious koi!
  • They are absolute Pro fishermen.  They earn their living hunting dark colored, (well disguised), super fast, fish from dark, murky waters in the wild.
  • Imagine their sheer joy when they discover your CLEAR pond water filled with BRIGHTLY colored, slow moving (compared to their wild counterparts)  koi and goldfish!
  • It’s literally like spearing fish in a barrel.  Remember the old adage, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”?
  • The more you learn about Herons, the more likely you’ll be able to outsmart them.  Here is what herons know about your pond, that you never knew they knew.

#1.  MEAL PLANNING

They know where their next meal is coming from.  That 15 year lifespan is important because once they learn your pond’s location, each time they migrate through your area, every spring and fall, like Arnold Schwarzeneggar, they WILL be back.

For the next FIFTEEN years, your pond is on their flight plan.You can take extra precautions during these seasons to help prevent loss

#2. FULL MOON MADNESS

Herons are typically crepuscular, stalking your koi only in the early morning hours and at the failing light of dusk, but 3 days a month, they can eat your koi ALL NIGHT LONG!

When the moon is full, and the nights before and after the full moon, there is enough light for that ultra-determined predator to wait until you are tucked in before stealing your family jewels.

#3.  FEEDING YOUR FISH

This is the most incredible factoid that will shock, and maybe even disgust you.

Herons are smart, you know that, and patient, standing for hours at the pond’s edge waiting for the koi to get comfortable enough to swim near their scary shadow, but did you know they will FEED your koi?

Thats right, those genius predators know that if they regurgitate in to your pond, the fish will come running to that smell, because of course just like in a heron’s belly, the main ingredient in koi food is FISH!

Your darling babies, so well trained to come to the smell of koi food, will literally come RUNNING to heron barf.

PREVENTION

There is no 100% way to insure you koi are safe, unless you fully enclose your pond, but here are a few tricks to try:

  • A scarecrow; a motion sensor sprinkler that shoots the heron, and anyone else approaching your pond, with a harmless, but SCARY stream of water.  Change batteries MONTHLY!
  • Netting over your pond.  Helps keep out leaves too! Fishing line in a pattern over the pond, or as a trip wire around the pond.
  • Trees, shade sails, or a gazebo creating a safety canopy over the pond
  • Hotwire around the pond-shocking but not deadly
  • Heron statue-used to establish “territory claimed”- needs to be moved several times a week to replicate live birds.
  • Dogs- VERY effective deterrent, especially bird dogs!

5 Fall Pond Care Mistakes You Might Be Making

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5 Fall Pond Care Mistakes You Might Be Making

The leaves are changing, the mornings are crisp and cool, and your pond needs some tending.  We have five simple tips to help you prepare your pond for the upcoming season so that you can enjoy your pond all winter like you’ve enjoyed it during the summer.

1. NOT TRIMMING BACK AQUATIC PLANTS
Trim those sad sack aquatic plants – I know you love those aquatic plants, they’ve bloomed their hearts out for you all summer long, but they need a break!  They need to sleep this winter to prepare for the show they will put on next spring.  Encourage them like you do your eight year old at bedtime.

Cut off the leaves and stems that are brown and droopy.  Make sure they are safely snuggled in between their rocks for the long winter nap.  If you’re in a heavy freeze zone, make sure the submerged roots are below the ice line so they have a better chance at coming back next spring.

2. NOT SWITCHING TO SEASONAL PRODUCTS
Cold Temperature Koi and Goldfish FoodYou really need to switch your seasonal water treatment products and fish food.  Feed a good quality Cold Temperature Food that your finned family pets can easily digest.  Feeding your fish when the weather changes should be done as early in your day as possible so that the food is digested when the nighttime temperatures dip.  It helps keep your koi from getting a bellyache.

Cold Temperature Bacteria is actually different little organisms than the Summertime Beneficial Bacteria.  They function better at the lower water temperatures of winter.  A quality blend of cold temperature bacteria will even work in your pond under the ice! It’s like sending in little tiny Eskimo bacteria to work on your pond in the winter.  Consider switching by mid to late October for powerful results.

3. NOT CLEANING YOUR WINDOWS
I know this sounds crazy, but think about this; where will you spend most of your time enjoying the pond in the colder months?  You will most likely be looking out a window rather than sitting beside the pond.  In many regions, it’s just to cold to chill pond-side, so you’re left with gazing longingly out the nearest window.

4. NOT INSPECTING YOUR UNDERWATER LIGHTING SYSTEMS
To insure your best viewing potential, make sure that all your underwater lighting and landscape lights are in working order and adjust your light transformer timer to come on at dusk, which may be as early as 5:00 pm in many areas.  If you are so lucky as to be in a zone where you can still spend time outside in the evenings, be sure to fuel up those Tiki torches with mosquito repellent oil and prep those fire pits.

5. NOT ADDING WINTER WHITES
Plant some terrestrial plants with white flowers around the pond edges.  The white blooms will reflect moonlight and give you some nighttime enjoyment.  It will surprise you how different you pond will look with white flowers at night.

We hope these tips will help you in the coming winter months.  Wow your friends and neighbors with your new knowledge and amazing pond guru-ness.  Share these tips, or not, if you want to remain the “Big Dawg of Ponds” in your neck of the woods.

If you want an up close and personal live demonstration of how to perform all of these life changing tasks, come by our headquarters October 17th, 2015 at 10:00am and learn from The Digger himself!  Door prizes, fun contests, and food, who could ask for anything more?

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Saturday October 17th at 10:00 am

31710 Dunlap Blvd. Yucaipa, CA 92399

Life Is Short, Enjoy Koi!

How Helix Helps Reduce Algae

waterfallbannerHere at The Pond Digger, we believe in water changes and would like to see a small percentage done weekly. Not a lot; maybe as little as 25 gallons per 1000 gallons of pond water. This accomplishes a ton of beneficial activities in a very short time frame that ultimately give your fish a cleaner, healthier home to live in and reduce the risk of diseases.

The Helix Life Support Filtration equipment help to support that goal. The Helix Waterfall Filters are cleaned by running water out of the pond as they rinse the media out. This equals a water change, and is frequently as much as you need to do to get that weekly percentage that totals 10% water change a month.

Also, when you are performing this filter media rinsing, you are using your pond water, not hose water to accomplish it, so it keeps all your beneficial bacteria from being damaged by the chlorine in your tap water.

The cleaning sends waste water, loaded with emulsified biological waste in the form of fish poop, fish food, and ground up plant materials, directly to your yard where they work as AMAZING fertilizer for your garden, fruit trees, or even your lawn. This same debris left in the pond is what fed the bad algae. By removing the food, you starve out the algae.

The benefits are adding up, right?

Now, this cleaning/water change accomplishes something even more amazing in the pond itself for your fish.

The fish poop, food, leaves, pollen, dust, and any other biological waste in the pond are food for the algae, so removing them means you will have less undesirable algae.

Tap water is loaded with oxygen and a few key elements that have an important job in reducing biological waste in the pond. This is going to get really scientific for just a minute, but bear with me. I’ll be as concise as possible, while still trying to be easy to understand.

Your tap water contains oxygen, calcium, magnesium, often trace amounts of copper to name a few things. All of the elements have a “charge” and each of these I just mentioned actually have a positive charge. Everyone, I’m sure is familiar with the old adage “opposites attract,”

In this particular instance, your pond contains all that biological waste that we talked about earlier. This waste is from, fish poop, food, plants dropping leaves, and fish respiring which produces ammonia. All of these by products have a negative charge. You may see already where I’m going.

When the negative charge from the fish poop (hydrogen sulfide) and the waste created when the fish breathe (ammonia) combines with the positive charge of the fresh oxygen, calcium, and magnesium from the tap water, the bad stuff gets broken down.

There is a really cool chemical reaction that happens and the ammonia and sulfides are literally broken apart at a molecular level, resulting in cleaner water. And that is what we want!!! Fish get happy, water gets clearer, and you have less algae! Its a win/win.

Helix Waterfall filters are designed with built-in air assist cleaning systems to make it easy to do a water change as you are cleaning your filter. The air helps to break apart debris that has been gathered on the filter media and then the rinse cycle washes it out of the filter. This action means you have to replace the poop filled water that you just evacuated and there you have it, a water change, courtesy of Helix Life Support Filtration.

Whether you have an existing pond, or you are about to build a pond, call our headquarters and we will help you get Helix Life Support Filtration on your pond.

Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Hall of Fame

Eric Triplett is being inducted in to the “Green Industry Hall of Fame” on Saturday May 2nd, 2015. Typically accustomed to rocking the pond world, this particular honor has rocked Eric’s world.

While we feel this honor is richly deserved, Eric humbly continues to question if he has really contributed enough to the field, frequently heard saying, “I thought you had to be older to win an award like this?”

Eric’s recent contributions to pond filtration, the Helix Life Support Filtration line has helped dramatically reduce the annual water consumption of a pond, while still maintaining the high water quality standards required by his water features’ aquatic inhabitants. This is an especially important achievement in California’s current water-starved climate.

Eric’s career in the water feature world was initially spurred by his love for anything with scales, eventually making him a leader in the pond world. Triplett’s unique and innovative ideas in pond filtration have opened the waters for many people who love ponds, whether they are building for others or simply enjoying their own backyard oasis.

Eric loves to share all he has learned with everyone he meets. He willingly helps people start their own pond installation business and through his “Ponds For Schools” program, helps kids around the Inland Empire learn the benefits of water features in daily life. He has contributed dozens of water features to schools throughout the IE.

Loaded with tips and tricks he has learned through years of installing, Triplett’s Youtube channel is a mecca for do-it-yourselfers hoping to build the pond of their dreams. His new #asktheponddigger show is getting great reviews, thanks in part to Eric’s level headed responses to serious questions.

On the horizon for Eric is his new TV show “Pond Diggers”. More than just about building ponds, the show features Eric’s eclectic crew and provides an education in one entertaining program.

Leslie Triplett, the Pond Gal

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