Backyard Pond

In the summer of 1999, I decided to put a water garden/fish pond in the backyard.  In the afternoons and weekends over a course of 3 weeks, I dug and removed enough dirt to fill up the 160ft x 5ft x 1ft garden beds.  That worked out to be about 800 cubic feet, using only ax picks, shovels and wheel-barrows (well, my neighbor let me use his hand tiller to break up the soil!). Fortunately, in this area of Nebraska it is all soft clay underneath the top soil.  The pond dimensions came out to be approximately 15ft x 20ft (irregular) with plant shelves.  The depth varies from 18 inches to 44 inches at the deepest end.  I lined it up with rubber roofing material (EPDM) to hold approximately 4,500 gallons of water pond1.  I also constructed a smaller upper pond as a reservoir to provide biological filtering for the main pond pond2.  The upper pond is 4ft x 8ft x 2ft and connects to the main pond via a cascade water fall/stream that is about 14ft long and 3ft wide pond3.  The elevation between the two ponds is just above 2ft.  I also lined the upper pond and the cascade/stream with EPDM rubber material and figured that they hold about 480 gallons and 300 gallons of water, respectively.  So the whole thing comes out to be about 5,300 gallons altogether and has about 30 small koi and gold fish (1 inch to 8 inches).  A water pump rated at about 2800 gallons per hour circulates the water from the main pond to the upper pond (via 40ft of 2-inch irrigation pipe) where the water returns via the cascade pond4.

For winter survival, I built a makeshift holding tank in the basement and moved the fish inside just before the first snow. The pond froze over after the first snow storm in mid-December 1999.  I accidentally left a couple gold fish in the pond and they did not make it through the winter, even though I had kept an opening in the ice with an air stone.  I would like to find out what happened to them because I plan to leave the fish in the pond next year:  everyone kept telling me that the pond is deep enough for the fish to survive the winter outside. Here is another shot of what I have near the end of winter 2000 (all the snow and ice were gone): pond5.  I still need to complete the edging around the main pond and to hook up the electricity, among many other things.

1957 Cessna 172

I belong to the 5-member Low Gravy Flying club that owns this little four-seat airplane.  We fly out of Millard municipal airport here in Omaha, Nebraska.  I love flying here in the Midwest over the open plain.  It is a lot more enjoyable than the congested air space over the Los Angeles area where I first got my private pilot license back in 1985 (at Hawthorne airport).  Here are some pictures of this venerable airplane: cessna1, cessna2, cessna3.   The club plus its airplane offer an inexpensive way to fly.  This aircraft is fully IFR-equipped which makes it very nice, because I would like to get the instrument rating eventually.  Here are a couple shots of an experimental airplane inside a nearby hangar that caught my eyes: kr1.  A home-built airplane such as the tandem wing Dragonfly would make a great project one of these days!

Ham Radio

I received my Novice license in 1976 in Tahlequah, OK, and earned my Extra in 1978 (my call-sign is NO5T).  I have not been very active for many years (still have the Kenwood TS-520S transceiver that I purchased in 1979!).  When I joined the CEEN department of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1996 here in Omaha, a student and I reapplied for the station license for the university (UNO) amateur radio club.  Records show that UNO ham radio club used to be quite active back in the 70s.  We still have a line of old, but working equipment.  As a license trustee for the club, I hope to get it active again with the students when we move to the new Peter Kiewit Institute building.

Classical Guitar

I first learned to play this wonderful instrument in Da Nang, Viet Nam.  My instructor was from the National College of Music in Hue, Viet Nam.  He used Method de Guitar by Ferdinando Carulli (French edition) to teach his students.  One of my favorite songs is Romance (Anonymous) that got me hooked when I first heard it played by a friend many years ago.  Another favorite of mine is Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (J.S. Bach).  My instrument is a Yamaha Grand.  Here are some classical guitar links,


The other instrument that I learned to play back in Da Nang was the harmonica (it fits in a pocket and travels well, especially for hiking and camping!)  I also love to indulge in playing competitive games of Chineese chess reading Chineese kung-fu fictions and selected Vietnamese poetry Tran Trung Dao. I enjoy playing tennis and snow sports (skiing and snow boarding).  Recently, I started to mess around with an old 1973 Jaguar E-type OTS.  This classic cat came to me in the summer of 1999 by ways of St. Paul, MN and Miami, FL.  It is a driver Picture1, Picture2 (taken at the home of the previous owner in MN) with about 50,000 miles on the original, purring V-12 engine.  This OTS is a solid candidate for a restoration project if and when I have time (and lots of spared changes!).  As is, it is a very fun car to drive around and sure to be an attention getter, as long as I can just keep everything working!