Eula Stanley has given a whole new meaning to the term “cement pond.”
After maintenance costs became too high, she and her husband Jim converted their backyard swimming pool into a fish pond, complete with more than 100 fish, lily pads and an aerator.
The pond is part of the couple’s backyard oasis.
The two live in the 3900 block of Eastwood Drive, in the heart of Northeast Jackson. But their deep backyard transports visitors to a country scene – with a pond, tall pine trees, bamboo, crepe myrtles, and other trees and bushes.
Stanley decided to turn her in-ground pool into a pond years ago, after she and her husband realized they’d be unable to get a bulldozer in their backyard to fill it.
“We did keep it as a swimming pool for a while, but it got very expensive,” she said. “And I’ve always wanted a fish pond.”
The pond has approximately 100 fish that are fed every morning around 7:30.
“There are some solid white ones, red and white ones, and some lace tail goldfish,” she said. “We have some ‘mutants,’ a water snake and bullfrogs.”
The bullfrogs and water snake were still hibernating last week and nowhere to be found.
The water is aerated by a large copper fountain shaped like a coy, which spews water out of its mouth.
Fish nibbled on the roots of water hyacinths after they finished the fish food – about five or six handfuls that Stanley threw in by hand.
The pool has been home to an occasional water moccasin and has attracted owls.
Stanley wanted to fight off one owl, which swooped down and grabbed one of her fish.
“He (the owl perched) on a limb and looked down and I told him he could have more (fish), and I never saw him again,” she recalled.
Jim Stanley enjoys the pond, but said it has been a lot of work. He said the pool was converted to a pond out of necessity.
The two have lived at their Eastwood Drive home for around 30 years. The previous owner had installed a steel pool, because it would hold up better in the Yazoo Clay. The steel, though, was eventually eaten away by the chemicals used to treat the water. The couple quit using the pool when they found out it would have to have a new liner.
The two initially had hoped to fill it, but couldn’t get a bulldozer into their backyard.
Stanley didn’t know much about fish when she started the pond, but learned through trial and error.
She found out she shouldn’t use Jackson water in the pool because it is treated, and instead uses a special water that is designed to help keep down the algae.
“Early on, some died because it was summer and the temperature rose, but that happens in the wild,” she said.
She wanted to stock the pool with coy, but realized the fish were too expensive. Instead, she stocked it with less expensive fingerlings.
“They are not people fish, but some were eaten by the bullfrogs,” she said.
As the fish have gotten bigger, the larger ones began eating some of the tadpoles.
Stanley grew up north of Vicksburg. After high school, she attended the University of Mississippi.
Jim Stanley is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and a Vietnam veteran. He spent 23 years in the military, serving as a fighter pilot and test pilot.
The two traveled around the country as Jim was transferred from assignment to assignment.
The couple has three daughters, who are graduates of Ole Miss, Mississippi State University and Ohio State University.
In addition to raising fish, Stanley is also involved in Oriental gardening. She and her husband installed a curved pathway running from their back porch to the corner of the yard. Jim Stanley also installed a wooden bridge over a drainage ditch the two refer to as a “water feature.”
“I think it’s a lot of work, but it’s very peaceful,” Jim Stanley said. “You don’t even know we’re in the city.”