Due to the exceptional drought in this area, ("Exceptional" is the true technical rating) I've been watching the pond get lower and lower. There's a slight chance the shallow water left in the mud flats will go away entirely before the rains come again. On the photo above, the 'full' mark is about two thirds the way up the grassy slope. Click the images for a larger view.
The last time the pond got this low was back in '88 or '89 when we had two drought years back to back and I had the opportunity to get the mower down to the mud flats and shred the cattails that, at that time had threatened my whole side of the pond. I had fought them by wading into the muck with a machette for months, but they rapidly grew back. There were thick root systems that extended out into the pond, beyond my ability to dig them out. But the drought and the mowing had knocked out the cattails for many years.
For the past five years or so, they had been coming back, off in the northeast corner where this morning there is just a pile of shredded stalks. The water has retreated just enough to let me get the tractor down there without getting mired in the mud. We're still in a long run of triple digit temperatures, but long range weather forecasts say the Pacific will be shifting to El Nino conditions by September or October, and if past experience is any guide, a run of heavy thunderstorms could refill the pond a lot faster than you might imagine. Since I'm likely to be out of town attending conventions for a while and I hesitate to ask our neighbors and house caretakers to handle the heavy mowing, I knew this was my only opportunity.
I will be really glad when the pond refills and the new problem is how to restock the fish.