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Random Things Happening Behind the Scenes at Bricks ‘n Blooms

What a week it was!

We hit the ground running here with Christmas decorating. The inside of my home is almost finished.


I still need to get outside and start working on our porches and winter planters. That’s up next week.

But I love how the inside of my home is coming along. We moved here just about two years ago and it’s starting to come along and feel more like our home.

vintage farmhouse dining room decorated for Christmas with rustic elegance and touches of gold and neutral plaid

A Weekend Getaway

Since it’s been a bit hectic the last few weeks with Thanksgiving and decorating for Christmas, we decided to get away for the weekend to our Vermont cabin.

It rained quite a bit but it was nice to slow things down, shop, and dine out. While there, we set up a Christmas tree and did a small amount of decorating but I don’t go crazy with ornaments and stuff.

cozy Christmas pillows in formal living room on dark leather sofas with green and red plaid

Tragedy in the Back Pond

I can’t believe I’m saying this but our fish all died in the zen garden back pond. We think we lost two just before netting the pond. A blue heron was hanging around just after netting it so we think it got to two of them.

At the time, I wanted to believe they were starting to hibernate in their tunnel, but I was wrong. Here’s how we know.

Over the last two weeks, the last three were out and about and slowly dropped off floating on the bottom of the pond. Last year, we saw none of them during the colder months so this was concerning.

When I found the third fish floating the other day, I immediately called our pond guy and asked him to come over.

Unfortunately, the 3 fish got hit with a parasite called costia that infects their lungs. It’s in the pond and sometimes affects fish this time of year. We spoke at length about the fish and how it could happen and I learned something I’d like to share.

zen garden koi pond in full bloom

We bought our fish from a local koi fish shop that gets them in from Japan. Our pond guy recommended going with domestically raised koi as they are more resistant to this type of parasite and do better in our climate.

After we took the three dead fish out of the pond, we looked around for the other two and there’s no sign of them. So the only thing we can surmise, is they got eaten by that heron. When the pond was netted he came back and looked like he was trying to figure out how to fish through the netting but didn’t get to anything and there was no damage to the netting.

So…next year, we’ve decided to net that pond much earlier when the leaves start to fall. It’s pretty well covered by foliage before so we think they’ll be ok until then when we restock.

And we will restock in May with domestically raised koi fish. Let’s hope they do better.

It was so sad too because they were getting so big and were so fun to care for. We love them and were pretty upset they didn’t make it.

pond in the zen garden in fall

What I’m Shopping For This Week

This week was all about Christmas shopping for friends, family, and a few extras I’m thinking about.

Here’s what I bought this week!

  • I bought Chris a train set for Christmas. He told me he’s always wanted one so of course I got right on it and we have it all set up. Yes, I gave it to him early because Christmas will come down shortly after and I’d like for him to be able to enjoy it. So Merry Christmas to him!
  • Do you remember when I cut my finger not too long ago on a can after opening it? Well, I cut myself twice since then on cans. So Chris bought me a new can opener and IT IS THE COOLEST gadget! If you need to update yours or are looking for a Christmas gift or stocking stuffer for someone, this is a good one. It removes the whole top smoothly so for me, I can remove them safely now.
  • These leggings are on sale and were so marked down I had to get them! I have a different pair of leggings from them and they are super comfortable, very slimming, and look great dressed up or down.
  • While I was shopping on the site I also bought these to wear for the holidays.
  • This cozy blanket is perfect for the white elephant party we are going to. But it also comes in this color too.
  • I LOVE these Christmas ornaments and these ones too. I am adding them to my front entry hall flocked Christmas tree.
  • This fresh Christmas wreath is beyond gorgeous! It’s my inspiration for this year’s front entry.
  • These rustic grapevine Christmas trees with lights are GORGEOUS! I have something similar and get lots of compliments on them.

What’s Happening at Bricks ‘n Blooms

It was a fun week on the blog!

I shared my Christmas home tour this week where we toured the front entry hall, dining room, living room, family room AND sunroom this year! Wait until you see how pretty the house looks!

Did you buy or receive a poinsettia this year? Learn how to keep them thriving through the holidays and beyond with these simple poinsettia care tips.

gorgeous red poinsettias in greenhouse
Red Poinsettias

I also shared how to celebrate the spirit and meaning of Christmas with this easy tutorial to make a beautiful advent wreath DIY using fresh or faux winter greens. Are you making one this year?

If you are looking for an easy-care indoor plant that flowers, look no further than the Christmas cactus. It is my favorite houseplant to grow and I know you’ll love growing it too. Learn all about Christmas cactus care and how to get a few sets of blooms throughout the year in today’s post.

I also shared some 5-minute quick mantel decorating ideas for Christmas.

Craving a dip that’s creamy, cheesy, and oh-so-addictive? This hot spinach artichoke dip is the perfect party appetizer or game-day snack.

Christmas mantel in the dining room decorated with rustic elegance with touches of gold, christmas greenery and twinkle lights

Amazing Inspiration from Around the Web

I love finding cool inspiration from around the web and wanted to share some of what I’m loving right now.

Rustic Farmhouse christmas tree in the formal living room

Thank you so much for following along.

Enjoy a beautiful day! xo

Stacy Ling logo
The bricks \'n Blooms guide to a beautiful and easy-care flower garden book by stacy ling
The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy Care Flower Garden
  • Have you never met a plant you couldn’t kill?
  • Have you dug around in the dirt with nothing to show for it except a sunburn and a sore back?
  • Do you currently enjoy growing flowers, but are looking for more tips and ideas to level up your gardening game?

Then the Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide is for YOU

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  1. My sister lives near Chicago and she has to put baking soda in her koi pond during the winter to stabilize the Kh factor. Not sure what that is exactly but she lost 20 koi two winters ago to low levels. Not sure if that applies to the lose of your koi but I thought it was worth mentioning.

    1. Thank you for that tip Deb! I will ask them in spring about that when we regroup to prepare the pond for the season. Did the baking soda help with the fish?

    1. We are SO UPSET about the fish. I refused to believe they were dead too. Had to bring our pond expert in to tell us what happened. And I’m glad we did because he is a wealth of knowledge and we learned so much. There wasn’t much we could have done – we’ll be doing things a little differently this year and hope for the best!

  2. So sorry Stacy. Living in Kinnelon for 20 years we knew after a year the pond needed to be netted.

    No it’s not ideal and pretty but before we began netting the pond Heron got one fish

    We had outs built extra deep because of bears.

    Hopefully next year will be better