My Little Dog


Ginny the new girl

Ginny, the last one remaining of the original dogs…

I lost one of my dogs today
she was not there in time to play
she had her shots the day before
and I knew she was a little sore
I watched her wander out into the yard
and settle down on the deck so hard
I thought she would probably sleep for a while
from soreness to be free
when I looked up she was gone
and I hadn’t seen her go
so I walked out into the yard
and started searching high and low
calling her name again and again
in an all to familiar refrain
Ginnie, Ginnie-Girl, I called
where are you was the cry
but true to form no sound was borne
no barks or whines leaving me forlorn
I searched and searched in the hope
of finding a trace  of my little girl
I searched for an hour or maybe two
but ended up with nary a clue
and then I heard a familiar bark
as Mikey found something new
he had not helped to show the way
to find his buddy with whom he plays
but his bark brought another too
as Ginnie answered in a muffled tone
so I figured that under the deck
she had manage to crawl all alone
although I really haven’t a clue
where she found the entrance to
for I thought that I had blocked it all up
so that the dogs would not venture there
for fear that the snakes would find it cool
and a place to shelter without fear
I took down a piece of the lattice to see
if my little girl would come to me
but she ignored my plea to come
and left me standing all alone
wondering just what was the next move
I would have to crawl in there I supposed
and then I turned only to see
my little girl walking free
limping a little from yesterdays shots
feeling sorry for herself for getting lost
as I made a fuss helped a little in part
by Mikey, tail wagging, adding his bark.

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Mikey looking very bright

Written 8/14/2018

Nature…


Jeff Price-52

This tree is made up of 5 different pictures in order show the whole thing. I wonder how old it is?

Mother Nature, what wondrous pictures you paint
with your palette of colors so bright
each different in their own way
depending on the light
which too has its own shade
at different times of the day
from the soft tinge of dawn
to the bright skies with the sun so high
to the evening quietly closing into night
and the moon and stars to show the way.

Green the most beautiful color of all
lasting until the Fall
when the colors change to a very soft brown
as the leaves come tumbling down
and another season comes to a close
not everything giving up its glow
as evergreens show their true worth
adding color to Winters birth
which is nature’s harshest season
and only she knows the reason.

The snow and frost are soon to appear
covering everything with a blanket of white
lasting for six months of the year
hiding everything from sight
with the brave evergreens doing their best
to provide color with as much zest
waiting for the something big to appear
and the snow to melt and the cycle complete
and another Season is nigh
as Winter goes out with a sigh.

Spring arrives and with it new growth
tiny flowers are quick to appear
and soon they are followed by buds all around
with the start of painting a scene
with everything new and fresh and green
and flowers burst forth to add to the charm
and the birds and animals building new nests
and the cycle completes with every new round
as the Seasons progress until the day
as Nature has finally found the way.

Written 8/13/2018

The Passage of Time…


Santos1982

I was invited to a party the other night when a dear friend was being honored for his services for our local Soccer Organization. His was for forty five years of service as the Legal Council and founder member of this League from all of that time ago.

I first met Phil just after I moved to Texas in 1977 with my third wife, Susan. We had moved down from New York State mainly because of a job offer that I had and also to get as far away from the awful winters that is a part of that State’s makeup. We settled in Austin and Susan, knowing that I liked to play soccer (football to the rest of the world), asked around and finally hooked up with Phil who asked me to come and practice with his team named Santos. He considered me good enough that I signed on to play. I played for the team for a few years and also the subsequent team named Santigous formed to play in an Over 30 division as the younger punks in Division 1 were really running us ragged. Time and age was already catching up with us.

Over the course of the next thirty or so years, our paths crossed on the soccer fields and in the League Meetings where I was also very active as the Administrator. Although we never played together again, we remained good friends until I finally quit the soccer scene in 2008 due to knee problems. I had one knee replaced but have managed to get by on the other even though the cartilage has gone. As it doesn’t hurt, why mess with it. Phil is still showing up to the fields to play although he is suffering from macular degeneration and can’t see worth a damn but he likes the company and camaraderie that playing with a bunch of old guys that you have known for a very long time, brings.

The party was a surprise and even though eighty odd people had been invited, the secret never got out and Phil was suitably impressed when he walked in the door to the cheers and claps of all of those present. We had all been asked to arrive early, get a drink and socialize which wasn’t hard to do as we were in the company of people that we hadn’t seen in years. It was interesting to see someone you recognized but could not place a name and in other cases, the name came straight back to you. I had the unfortunate distinction of being the oldest person there although many others were not that far behind. As I surveyed the scene trying to recall the names of the many men gathered there, I was struck by the fact that  the passage of time had not been kind to some of them. In some cases, it was hard to recognize them as their faces had grown old and their bodies had shrunk with the passing of time. I compared them now to when they were playing all much younger healthier and vibrant men and bemoaned that the passing of time is so cruel. Many of the men were still playing albeit in the Over 50 division and at a much slower pace but they still enjoyed the game and the company of their fellow players.  Team sports and football in particular does that for you.

The evening ended following a procession of speakers who made their way up to the mic to relay what Phil had done for them in their lives. Everyone spoke in glowing terms of his different exploits both on and off the soccer fields recalling memories of Soccer Camps of long ago, notable games against teams long gone and of the players who have passed on. All in all, the evening was a huge success for those of us lucky to attend to honor a very dear friend for his outstanding soccer accomplishments.

Written 8/13/2018

 

Friendship…


Santos1982_InPixioNU_InPixio

I am sitting here waiting for time
to pass and then I can get ready
ready for what I do not know
only that I need to change into something
better than I have on now
as shorts won’t cut it.

A dress shirt and a nice pair of dress pants
should do the trick so I don’t stand out
in a crowd who would all rather wear shorts
but all have come with the same purpose
to honor a lifelong friend
for his services to the cause.

We are all members of a group
who in our free time
kicked a ball around
the game played with the feet
and called football
to the rest of the world.

My friend who I have known
for forty one years
welcomed me on his team
with open arms
even though
he had never seen me play.

Tonight we honor our friend
for services to the football community
for his dedication to the sport
in helping to form the League
so that enthusiasts like me
had a place to play.

Now forty one years later
he gets the recognition he deserves
as a founder member
and as a true soccer enthusiast
and a real gentleman
in every sense of the word.

A Lawyer by trade
dealing with the misfortunes
of broken marriages
a more warm and caring man
you could not hope to meet
in any lifetime.

I consider myself very fortunate
to be a  part of his circle
and to have known him for so long
even as I played against him
on different teams
still a true friend.

Poem by Francis Allcorn
written on the occasion of
Phil Friday and his 45 years in the
Austin Soccer Community.

Written 8/12/2018

Losing Pets


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Losing a much loved pet is very difficult for all of us and some of us grieve for a long time as we try to move on.  The same is not true, at least for me when I lose any of the big Koi that live in my ponds. Fish, by nature, are cold blooded things and don’t do well in the cuddle department. I know that some people do not share my views on fish but I find it hard to even come close to any form of grief when a fish dies as they are sometimes apt to do.

A couple of days ago, I lost a big white Koi which was the biggest fish I have ever had. She was one of the originals so probably close to 38 years old which is pretty good for a fish in an unprotected pond. She was well over three feet long and probably weighed close to twenty pounds. I suspected that she was  going to that big Koi pond up in the sky as she had been acting very lethargic the past few days and did not appear to be eating and sure enough, when I came out to feed them the other morning, I could see her laying on the bottom of the pond. It is my experience that these large Koi don’t float immediately and it usually takes a couple of days for them to get up off the bottom of the pond, I suppose as they start to decay and the gasses start to form.

After a real struggle on my part due to her size and weight as my net was hardly big enough,  I managed to get her out of the pond.  Close inspection did not reveal any outwardly visible signs of damage or disease so it must have been an internal problem of some sort. Anyway, dead is dead and after pulling on a pair of long sleeved rubber gloves, I carried her to the bottom of the garden and with some effort, tossed her over the fence for the vultures or other wild things to clean up. She was heavy enough that I managed to wrench the muscles in my left upper arm in the process causing me to light up the air with a few well chosen cuss words.

I have at least fifty or sixty Koi in three of the five ponds some of which are almost as large as the one we just lost. These are the second batch of Koi bought way back in 1980 following a refilling tap water incident which wiped out the original stock purchased in 1977.  I have one surviving Koi from that original 1977 group and he is definitely the oldest and is at least 41 years old but being a male, is not among the very largest ones. There are also a couple of hundred or so Goldfish in three of the ponds and it is hard to stop them from breeding especially in the ponds that are populated by Goldfish only. Koi do a good job of keeping the population down as do a couple of turtles that are in the other ponds as they eat the eggs and  young fry.

The occasional fish die off is not always a bad thing as it keeps the population manageable. I am glad though that I don’t have to make the choice  of who lives and who dies. I’ll leave that to Mother Nature…

Here come the buzzards,  Mother Nature’s cleanup crew and so the pendulum swings as it always does, in the grand scheme of things.

Written 8/9/2018

 

Too Darn Hot…


DSC_6798

I looked at the weather forecast for my part of Texas in Austin just to see what the weather was going to be like for the following day. There appeared to be a lull in the almost incessant 100 degree temperatures with a  forecast high of only around 95 degrees. Well, I thought to myself, I can handle that and made plans to take a hike the following day.

I got up earlier than I normally do in the hope of getting to the park and enjoying an easy walk on one of the trails but unfortunately, something came up necessitating my attention and I did not arrive at the park until close to 11:30 am. I chose to walk at Reimers Ranch mainly because of the river and the hope for seeing some of the wildlife that abounds the area. On the way in, I noticed that the Park people had been doing some more of their controlled burns and many of the Live Oak tree canopy was brown and charred. I wondered if they will survive as the damage looked pretty extensive.

I parked the truck at the furthermost parking lot with the view of walking the Turkey Trail heading to the end of the Park and then coming back along the river past the rock climbing area. I stepped out of the truck and was hit by a wave of hot air as by now, the temperature was in the low 90’s. I walked around  the Parking Lot for a bit and then decided that it was way too hot to be out in this temperature and maybe I should put this off until tomorrow or another day.

The wuss in me won out and I jumped back into my truck (and the air conditioning) and found a shady spot to park and then proceeded to spend an hour listening to my latest Audiobook, The Outsider by Stephen King which I found much more enjoyable than sweating it out on the trail. I am definitely growing old if I pass the opportunity of a pleasant walk with my two cameras at the ready and choose to listen to an Audiobook instead notwithstanding the quality of the story which, by the way,  is excellent and hard to put down.

I decided to head home but to take an alternate and more scenic route back into Dripping Springs as I need to purchase fish food from the Tractor Supply Store located there. As I rounded one corner I saw what looked like some sort of a problem or maybe an accident up ahead and as I got closer, could see that one of the Telephone poles on the side of the road was broken and that the cable was hanging low across the road. I immediately pulled up, turned on my flashers and acted as a traffic cop as it was impossible to get through for about 30 minutes until the local Fire Department arrived to take over.

With my help no longer needed, I turned around and drove back the way I had come and took a different road into Dripping Springs and the feed store only to discover that they were out of fish food and to “Come back in a couple of days”. I drove the rest of the way home uneventfully.

Tomorrow, I plan on getting up early (for me) so that I can get that walk in.

Written 8/6/2018

Austin Pond Society August 2018 Meeting


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After being away from our home location for the past two meetings, the Austin Pond Society was very happy to return to what we consider to be our home base, Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin, Texas. The first things I noticed upon our return was the Photographic Art that adorned the walls, showings from one our local Photographic Artists,

This was our monthly meeting for August. We had originally lined up a Speaker but he had to cancel at not quite the last minute as we had time to line up a different event. This time, we held our Swap, Buy and Sell meeting where the owners brought in their used equipment in the hope of moving it along to others who may have the need. There were also many plants both for sale and free and one Member brought in a bunch of baby Koi that he was giving away.

For the first time, there was quite a bit of duplicate pond equipment such as skimmer boxes, filter boxes and such with no less than three owners having similar items on their tables. Some of the equipment was brand new and still in the box as in the case of Member Mike Peppar who purchased the items with a view of DIY pond and then ended up contracting it out to one of the many reputable pond builders in the area.

DSC_6877-Pano

I counted thirty four members at the meeting all who appeared to enjoy themselves. The meal was the good old American standby, namely hot dogs with all of the fixins and there was plenty to go round including deserts brought in by the members.

The Business section of the meeting comprised of two major items. Ellen Filtness has come up with the idea that has been named Pondsitters. Basically what it is is a service provided by the current members to help one another out on a volunteer basis either in Emergencies or when the owner want or needs to go away for a few days and the volunteer would act as the Pond sitter in the time the owner is gone. She explained the idea to everyone and it is currently posted in a lot more detail on the APS Website. Great idea for those of us that do not have anyone to look after our ponds and need to take that trip. If you are interested either as a volunteer to Pondsitters or have the need for such a service down the road use this link for more information.

The second item was the presentation of the revised bylaws after a couple of months of hard work by Margaret, Jeannie, Julie and Frank working on the Revisions with Nancy Reinhardt as Chair of this project. Nancy presented it to the floor for it to be voted on as the new APS Bylaws. There was some discussion over one item to do with the number of Directors but Julie suggested a simple change of verbiage which was accepted by the Members who then proceeded to pass both measures. We should be good for at least 4-5 years without having to make further revisions. That was the last of the major business and the Swap and Sell opened to the floor. I would like to say it was a roaring success but I don’t believe it was. I sold some small items and made the grand total of $27 but there did not seem to be anyone with a pond building project in their futures so none of the major equipment that was offered by three of us, sold.

The plants and fish went well and their seemed to be a steady stream of buyers for the plants which were located outside because many of them are water plants and we did not want to mess up the floors.

The evening finally wound down and by 8:00 pm. nearly everybody had left. The next meeting is on September 17th and will be our Sponsors Night when we dedicate the entire evening to our wonderful Sponsors. Hope to see you there.

APS August Meeting 2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Written 8/20/2018