Time is Wearing Things Out…Part 3- New Printer

dsc_4354As I said in the last blog, these things always come in three’s. The third part of this story is related to my printer. I have had a Canon Pixma printer for about the last 8 years and it has always given me good service. It was a bit frustrating way back then as I tried to hook it up so that it could receive signals by Wireless. It involved using a cable first and then fiddling around a bit before removing the cable and hoping that the wireless signal would hook up.Things have changed a lot since then as I discovered with this new printer.

Apart from the initial setup, the old printer has always worked just fine until yesterday. I tried to print something and the printer displayed a message to the effect there was a problem and to contact the service center which I did but to no avail. They could not help me and suggested that I needed to return it to a repair facility.

I loaded the printer into my car and drove a couple of miles to the Best Buy store where they had repaired my computer when it crashed a couple of years ago. The gentleman behind the counter explained to me that if the printer was under a Best Buy extended warranty, they would replace it for a brand new one. I told him the age of the printer and we both knew it was not under any sort of warranty. He did mention that if I bought a new Epsom or HP, they would give me a further 15% off the price and they would re-cycle the old printer. Apparently, printers are so cheap, they are not worth repairing. I thanked him and returned the printer to my car and then decided that I should at least take a look at the new printers.

I wanted to get a new Canon as I print a lot of pictures and Canon does a good job on them. I saw plenty of Epsom’s and HP’s and had to ask the sales clerk where the Canon printers were. He directed me and they had several different ones all with the prices marked down by some considerable amount. They even had one that was as cheap as $54.00 but I was afraid that the print quality would not be very good. I settled for a Canon Pixma MG7720 for which I paid $120.00 down from $210.00 and added a two year warranty for good measure.

I drove home with my new printer after asking the sales clerk who had carried the new one to my car if he wouldn’t mind taking the old one back in to be re-cycled. He willingly obliged and I drove home with my goodies.

Setting up the new printer still took a couple of hours. Transferring the contents of the supplied disk took 20 minutes alone. I worked through the process following the supplied instructions and the first problem I ran into was not getting the ink tanks to light up after they were installed. I eventually managed it but it took a while even over something as simple as that. The rest of the work was plain sailing, after the disk installed the drivers. The WiFi hooked up quickly and we were in business. As with all new things, the panel is different and of course, the ink tank numbers are also different so the 4 brand new tanks I have for the old printer wont fit. Maybe I can find someone on my Neighborhood watch who will take them.

The trouble with a printer is that it only gets used very occasionally but you can’t not have one for those times when you do have something to print or scan.

That makes the 3 incidents. Wonder if there is a 4th?


dsc_4115I think back about my life
that spans four score years and one
remembering days of long ago
when things were different and oh so slow.

Time is not measured by a clock
in hours and minutes as we know
that time in life is a different time
sometimes fast and sometimes slow.

When I was young all those years ago
time was passing ever so slow
and I could pack much in a day
and life just seemed an endless play.

Now that my race is almost run
even though life is still much fun
days that used to be so long
pass by so fast just like a song.

When I get up to start the day
not knowing what I will do to play
maybe a hike or write a blog
or out in the yard to work like a dog.

Whatever it is I will have fun
knowing my race is almost run
no more worries and no more cares
just live the life and see what fairs.

Of one thing I can be sure
life is not a revolving door
I only get one chance to shine
to make the most of my allotted time.

When my time is up I will be sad
there is so much living left to add
to the years spent on this earth
when each day brings a miracle of birth.

And Nature brings forth and shines
new growth new life each welcoming times
making a brand new cheerful day
for those that remain behind to play.

Life is an ever changing thing
in this magnificent universe
to get share whatever the strife
is worth the time we span our life.


Time is Wearing Things Out…Part 2 – Garage Door Opener.

dsc_4357In Part 1, we talked about the motor and pump going out on the hot tub. It must be that all things with electric motors have all decided to quit at the same time in my house. First was the hot tub and now the garage door opener is playing around. I installed the current opener about 2 years ago to replace one that I had installed probably 10 or so years before that. I will not mess with changing out the broken springs on the door. A man could get seriously hurt with one of those but there is not a lot of speciality work involved in changing out the openers.

I went into the garage with the intentions of going to the store and as I normally do, pushed the open button before getting in my car. Luckily, I happened to watch the door go up instead of just backing out as the door had stopped at halfway. Repeated attempts at pushing the button only brought about more frustration with the door not opening more than half up.

As with all motorized garage doors, there is a built in safety that always makes it possible to open the door manually as long as neither of the springs are broken. It just take a pull on the release rope to disconnect the door from the motor and the door can be pushed up so I was not really stuck and not able to get the car out.

I went to work on the door adjustments which is where I figured the problem had to be as the tracks were not broken or misaligned. Repeated fiddling with the adjustments only brought about more frustration on my part as the door would either go up with a crash or only go up a little bit or go down and immediately bounce back up. I decided to unhook it and use it manually and leave the thing while I went to Starbucks for a favorite brew. I figured that I needed to get away from it for a bit to lose my frustrations.

I kept it on the manual lifting for a few days and then decided to have another go at adjusting it. This time, I went to a different adjustment panel for the adjustments and lo and behold, got it working properly. A few more tweaks and the door is just like new again. Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch as it is at least a 30 year old door but at least the mechanical door opener is now working properly. I have a button I can push on the visor of my car and I spent several happy minutes just pushing it to make the door go all the way up and then all the way down.

I wonder what is next as these things always come in three’s?

Austin Pond Society November Meeting 2016

dsc_4552The Austin Pond Society held their last meeting of the year this past Monday, November 21st at the usual location of the Zilker Botanical Gardens Meeting Room. Close to 50 people were in attendance to help celebrate this final meeting of the year.

The room was set up with round tables each seating 12 people and almost every table was taken. The tables had green tablecloths and in the center of each table was a Poinsettia plant that were later donated to different members. There was also a large scrap book on each table of events of years gone by about the Austin Pond Society from it’s inception in 1992. A very nice touch. Sparkling up on the ceiling and on any member who happened to walk through the beams, a thousand lights shone and twinkled.dsc_4529

The first 30 minutes was for mingling and visiting and eating hors d’oeuvres and consuming adult beverages. People were  checking out the scrapbooks. This being a pot luck, our members never let us down and the desert table was just full of scrumptious goodies, all I’m sure, loaded with calories. Who cares, they tasted great.

The main meat dishes were provided by the Pond Society and consisted of Beef and Ham. The members provided all of the fixin’s. There was not much food left at the end of the meal  as it was all delicious.

Following the meal, Barb Lenhardt introduced Mark Wester who is the representative for the Brown Santa Christmas Gifts for needy families. Brown Santa is the name of the Christmas program put on by the Travis County Sheriff’s Department and is this years cause for the Austin Pond Society members to donate unwrapped toys for the kids. There were two cart loads of donated toys, a wonderful response from the membership.Thanks to all of you for your efforts. You have helped to make it a great Christmas for some needy children.

The Brown Santa is a hard act to follow but the Pond Society was not done yet. Every year we donate a part of the proceeds from the Pond Tour to some needy cause. This year, the cause was closer to home as a check for $5000.00 was donated to Kat Newland who represents the Zilker Botanical Garden Conservancy (ZBGC)  to help pay for the renovation of the ponds and streams in the Zilker Botanical Garden Center. The existing system is leaking and long overdue for an overhaul.dsc_4545

Following the check and gift presentations the Membership got back to the serious business of having fun. Many of you may have noticed that some of the Members had lost any notion of dress sense that they may ever have had and were adorned in sweaters, ties hats and other garments that under normal circumstances would have belonged to a Fancy Dress Parade. These are, normally, just your average people and here they were dressed in the most outlandish of garments and what was worse, flaunting themselves in front of the entire room of people.

Turns out that they were all participating in the Ugly Sweater Contest which was not just limited to sweaters. Ties, hats, suspenders, skirts and all kinds of odd garments were on display as the membership proudly joined in with the fun.dsc_4547

This was the last event of the evening except for the group shot at the top of the page. This group reverted back to their teenage years and had me take a picture of them acting strange. I couldn’t resist and displayed this one in black and white. Anything to stop those ugly sweaters from blinding my vision.


Following the frivolities, the group quickly pitched in to help with the clean up and to gather up any foodstuffs which may have been left over. I know there wasn’t much.

This meeting concludes the year for the Austin Pond Society as we do not meet next month, December. The next time we get together as a group will be January 16, 2017. We would like to wish all of our friends and members, a Happy Thanksgiving, A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you then.

There are four videos for you to watch.
The first is the wining and dining of the Members,\.

APS Thanksgiving-Christmas Party 2016 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The second is the Brown Santa Program.

Brown Santa from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The third is Presenting the check to Zilker Botanical Garden Conservancy (ZBGC).

ZBGC Check Presentation from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

and Finally, the last is the Ugly Sweater Contest.

Ugly Sweater Contest from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Time is Wearing Things Out…Part 1 – Hot Tub Pump and Motor.


The pump is behind the blue box.

I have had a hot tub for the past 25 years. Not the same one of course as the original one collapsed as I was moving it to a different site. This forced me to buy a new one which I have had since 2002. I find hot tubs to be very soothing and relaxing after either working hard at something in the yard or ponds or after covering several miles on a hike. Tends to help the old aches and pains in muscles that I never knew I had.

One day a couple of weeks ago, the pump in the hot tub developed a real screeching sound so it didn’t take an Albert Einstein to figure out that the bearings had gone and either needed a repair job or at the worst, a new pump. Previously, on any hot tub work, I have always contacted a couple of gentlemen who made a living by repairing hot tubs but neither of them did that sort of work anymore. I am not surprised as it is not easy working on these things as it requires having to kneel down and stick your head under the rim of the tub in a very limited space enclosure which made it extremely difficult to perform the work. I thought about for a bit and decided that there was nothing magic about this particular job and that apart from the difficulties of getting at it, the work should not be beyond anything that I could do. So, off came the cover panel, on went my knee pads along with a cushion to kneel on and I went to work. It turns out, that apart from the location and the difficulties that created, the work to remove the pump was comparatively easy. I took the pump to an Electrical repair shop here in Austin only for them to contact me a few days later to tell me that it was beyond repair and that I needed to purchase a new pump and no, “They did not deal in Spa pumps”.

In this modern day and age of the internet, I got on line and located a couple of Spa repair/suppliers and found just the right pump for a little over $200.00 with no shipping costs so I went ahead and ordered it. A week or so later, it was delivered to my garage door and I went back to work on re-installing the new pump. As with anything that you haven’t got a clue in what you are doing, there are right ways and wrong ways to do those things. I probably chose the wrong way and even when I reversed myself, it was still the wrong way. Actually, apart from the difficulties made by the location, reinstalling the pump went very smoothly. I had not shut one of the valves properly and had to refill the tub before I could test it out which took about 20 or so minutes. Then came the moment of truth as I switched on the power and lo and behold the pump started to spin very quietly with no screeching. I adjusted the thermostat to 102 degrees and then waited for the hot tub to warm up which would take several hours.

The pump is a 2 speed and when the heater is on, it runs at low speed. The high speed is for someone who is using the tub to help provide the therapeutic movement of the water. It is also programed to turn on the high speed blowers for about a minute once every 12 hours to purge the system of air. Did I mention that even a hot tub has a motherboard in it that tells it when to go through the various cycles? Ah, the miracles of modern science.

Turns out, that even though I rewired the motor exactly the same as the one I took out, the new one is just a little different and the low and high speeds are reversed. Instead of the motor coming on to bring the water back up to the chosen temperature, which only happens at low speed, the pump kicked in on the high speed cycle. I went back online and looked at the specs and there is a statement that says, “If the high speed comes on first reverse the white and green wire” or something like that. Trouble is, you can only find that out by hooking everything up and running it to make sure it was correct.

Today, 2 weeks after completing the first motor change out, I am back under the tub again getting ready to reverse the wires. The weather here in Texas has not been kind in terms of me getting out to work on this little project. It has rained for more than a week and this project wasn’t that pressing but today, the sun came out and I decided that I had waited long enough.

Although the main gist of the job was to reverse two wires, unfortunately, I had to retrace my steps almost exactly to get at the wiring meaning a complete removal of the pump. This time though, I had a much better idea of what I was doing and I had it all done, the hot tub filled with water and back running again in about an hour.

Can’t wait to get back in it again and soak my tired muscles and aching back. It will take about 6 hours to properly warm up to 102 degrees. I don’t mind waiting….

Post Script. Just to report that reversing the wires did the trick. Everything is working just fine…

Sit and Hear the Rain

Picture by …  504_1920x1080_gloomy_day

I love to sit and hear the rain
striking against my window pane
as Nature opens up her skies
to soak the earth and the waters rise
when things go dark during the day
we know that rain is on the way
how hard or how long we do not know
as we watch the water flow
from the skies onto the ground
raindrops falling all around
giving life to the earth
so that plants and animals can give birth
of more of their kind and all looking the same
as Nature plays her wonderful games.

Walking McKinney Roughs 10-16-2016

dsc_4226-panoIt was time to walk as I headed for my most favorite of walking places, McKinney Roughs. I arrived at the Park and there were several cars in the parking area so I thought I might run into some people out on the trail.

Following my usual routine of boots, hat, neckerchief around my forehead, water and backpack along with my camera belt and camera and I was ready to go. I decided that I would start off along Riverside and then onto Pine Ridge and hike it for its full distance, steps and all. Actually, I ended up taking Cypress so that I could walk alongside of the river just in case there might be some wildlife around but that  was after I had reconnoitered the many steps both up and down Pine Ridge.

I was in the area where the Zip Lines are being built and it looked like they were real close to be opened for the Public. The lady in the office had told me they would be testing everything “next week” before they could be opened.

From Cypress, where I had met another hiker taking a rest on one of the picnic tables, I headed up Riverside for a short distance before taking the trail to Bobcat Ridge which brought me back to the Parking Area. I met several people along the way and stopped and chatted to most of them before giving them my card and taking their picture.

Altogether, I covered a little over 4.5 miles in much cooler weather ideal for hiking. There are still a few flowers some by the office attracting a large number of butterflies.

Altogether, this is a beautiful place to hike and everything is still so very green. With the weather cooling down, there is not so much urgency to start early and consequently it was closer to 4:00 pm when I got back to the Parking Lot. I never met any horses on my trails but did catch sight of a couple that were on Whitetail.dsc_4206