Rain, Beautiful Rain

Rainy Day in Texas

Rainy Day in Texas

It rained at my house. So far, I have had nine inches in three days. The first night, there was a massive thunderstorm accompanied by lots of lightning and absolutely torrential rain. The next night, no thunderstorm but a long and heavy shower and today, another of the same.

The first downpour has filled the ponds to the brim but all of the overflow systems are working just fine. At least the rain has lowered the temperature of the water and the big Koi are moving around again. Now the granite paths are a different story as most of the granite is now in the dry creek area at the bottom of the garden. Looks like I will need to get busy with my trailer and haul some more in. Right now, I am so happy that I don’t mind the extra work (for the umpteenth time).

The dry creek did it’s job and became a raging torrent on the first night. The berm that I built outside of the fence re-directed the water to where it was supposed to go. The dry creek is doing what it is designed to do but there is one small problem with the cedar fence damage that I will need to replace. In the meantime, some temporary repairs will keep the dogs in the coyotes out.

And I remembered to turn off the timers to the soaker systems and it’s a lot cooler. Happy days.

When you live in Texas, it doesn’t take much to make us happy…

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Austin Pond Society Meeting, August 2014

APS logoThe Austin Pond Society August Meeting 2014

The Austin Pond Society held its August meeting at the Zilker Gardens Clubhouse as is our usual practice on the third Monday of the month. There were around 55 attendees who enjoyed a meal provided by our new Hospitality Chef, Laura Creaser ably assisted by her husband. The dinner consisted of assorted croissant sandwiches, cole slaw, chips and brownies with several members adding to the desert table.

Our speaker for the evening was Mike Gertgen from Tanks for Less. He instructed us in the layout, construction and management of using a rain water collection system. It was a very interesting seminar and questions from the membership came thick and fast.

The video of his seminar is below.

APS Speaker Correction August 2014 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Following Mike, the rest of the Austin Pond Society meeting continued. One high point was the presentation by Glen Hubenthal to Jeannie Ferrier, the Koi Person of the Year Award for her outstanding service for the APS over the preceding year as voted by the membership.

Presentation by Glen Hubenthal to Jeannie Ferrier.

Presentation by Glen Hubenthal to Jeannie Ferrier.

The rest of the meeting included discussion about the upcoming Photo Contest along with some pond business. It ended in our usual fashion of holding a draw for door prizes which always elicits much laughter and comments especially if one of the Board members happens to win.

APS Meeting August 2014 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The next meeting will be held on September 15 at the usual place, Zilker Gardens Meeting Room at 6:30 pm. Our chef will be away on her honeymoon so the membership will have to settle for Pizza along with any desert that the membership provides. Tough…

Hope to see you there.

The Nature of Life

Humans

Humans

People are their most interesting when
they get together with their friends
especially those whose likes are the same
a special group just for one thing.

Over the years in my long life
I have belonged to many such groups
all with a passion for the same thing
that brings us together from time to time.

It used to be my time was spent
on anything to do with games
preferably football of the English kind
about which we would argue as we drank our pints

Now too old to play but not to watch
and so many years spent in learning the game
I am the expert in my own mind
although my friends don’t think the same

Last night a meeting I did attend
with a group of comparatively new friends
and we listened to a speaker tell us how
to take pictures of our ponds and fish for show

Although many years I have kept fish
and built five ponds in my back yard
an expert in this field I am not
although opinions I may have

But often the same interest have we
as we listen to each others words
Do we believe what they say
it matters not at the end of the day

As we will go about our tasks
from day to day with nary a care
for none of them will come around
and work with us our task to share.

 

Its Hot. What do you expect for Texas…

 

Looking over a sun baked field

Looking over a sun-baked field

After a month or two of pleasant times
with temperatures not unduly high
hoping this might be the year
when the weather is kind to us
but this last week things have changed
with not a rain cloud in the sky
and Nature has reverted true to form
with temperatures back to the norm.

After such a slow start
with Mother nature being a dear
we were wondering what is happening to us
able to work outside without fear
of burning up or feeling faint
no energy to do our tasks
but gradually things have changed
and summer time in Texas is here at last.

For those of you from cooler climes
Eighty degrees are probably hot
and if ever ninety degrees it reached
then a heat wave is your lot
try going out when the temperature is high
lets say a hundred degrees or more
and it hits like a furnace on your face
when you step outside the door.

Welcome to Texas is all I can say
as that is what its like here today
a hundred degrees and probably more
when I step outside my door
to go to the store with things to buy
and in the car it is so cool
but when from the car I dare to step
its hot, so bloody hot and I know
that the Texas summer is now on show.

Not much of a crop

Not much of a crop

 

A Three Dog Night

fallcorn1936:

Wonderful story from a very funny and humorous dog lover

Originally posted on Storyshucker:

I agreed to dogsit for two friends while they vacationed in Greece. I stayed in the home of The Mama, a beautiful, independent, occasionally indignant, red Siberian husky. Staying with us for the duration were two miniature long-haired dachshunds. Effie Mae and Pearl Jean are two cream-colored half-sisters, short, pretty, and comical as only weenies can be.

Directions on the care of these three took some learning. Pearl Jean, deaf since birth, understands several hand signals which I had to master. The Mama is blind in one eye and requires a daily series of eye drops. Effie Mae has an uncontrollable urge to lick people. Anywhere. Anytime.

My traveling friends have known each other for years. Their dogs are well acquainted and see each other often so it was no major production when the weenies were brought over for their stay with The Mama and me. Pearl Jean, a bit shorter in…

View original 867 more words

Mother Nature’s Art

August Flowers

August Flowers

I took a walk out in the garden
and saw the flowers growing there.
for they have such beauty
that I felt I had to share

Ruella and Spider Lily, Yellow Bells and Datura
these are the ones whose name I know
and there were a couple more
all in a group and putting on a show.

I took my pictures of one and then all
just as they are beautifully growing
and saw the same flowers throughout the yard
as Mother Nature’s art was showing.

August Flowers 2014 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.
Music is Blue Odyssey from Elevations by Erik Wøllo

 

McKinney Roughs Nature Park – August 2014

One of the McKinney Trails

One of the McKinney Trails

 

BACK TO McKINNEY – 8-3-2014

Due to the work attached to the Pond Tour both in preparation of my own ponds and then the write ups and video work for the “Ripples”, I had not had any time to take any walks in the past three months and felt it was time to get back to it. So, at the last-minute, I decided to go hiking today at McKinney Roughs Nature Park in Bastrop.

I hastily collected my camera gear, a bottle of water and some fruit and made the 30 mile trip to Bastrop. I had previously slathered myself in sun tan protection and grabbed the hat with the neck cover and was ready to go.

When I arrived at the Highway 71 trail head,there was only one other car in the parking lot and the two people it belonged to, emerged from the trails as I was getting ready to go leaving me as the only person hiking in from that end of the park. It was around 1:00 pm and I would have to assume that most of the other hikers and horse people had probably arrived early when it was much cooler. As it was,the temperature was in the low 90’s, not bad for a summer’s day in Texas.

Old Building

Old Building

I chose to hike the Whitetail Trail which would eventually merge with Bobcat Trail and finally back home via the Pine Ridge Trail. I considered a couple of others but decided that as I hadn’t been hiking in a couple of months and considering how hot it was, decided that taking the shorter trails made more sense. As it was, the trails I chose covered about five miles and my trusty pedometer said I had burned 480 calories as an added bonus.

The trails were very dry and dusty as we haven’t had any rain in a while. This made for a lot of deep sand in much of the trail making it even tougher to walk. Loose sand is difficult stuff to walk on as it is hard to get traction and can be very tiring. One thing about hiking alone in my case is that allows me to take a lot of pictures as I can choose my own pace. Another odd thing that I have noticed at McKinney is the absence of birds. Although I heard them, I only saw a couple on the whole walk, one flew off a small pond that I came across and looked like a Green Heron. The other was a Chickadee. Maybe I frighten them off before I get to them but it is strange there are not more.

I have learned from experience in hiking country trails to always keep an eye on the trail in front of me just in case there may be a snake or two

Pond at McKinney

catching a few rays. I would normally expect that I would be making enough noise for them to hear me coming but just in case, I am always keeping my eyes open. Today, I didn’t see any. It’s not that I am afraid of them but I don’t like those sort of surprises.

When I used to breed parakeets, many years ago, I went into the bird room one day and tried to close the inner wire door as I normally did just by pushing it shut behind me. When it wouldn’t close, I turned around to see what was wrong and discovered I was eyeball to eyeball with a big old snake that was draped over the top of the door. I must have screamed in surprise as my wife of the time, heard me from inside the house and came running out. By then I had recovered enough that between us, we shooed it off the door and back into the woods where it belonged. It was at least six feet long and was a big old tree snake. Harmless, but very frightening when you are eyeballing each other. I like snakes to be on the ground.

I diverse, back to the walk. It took me a couple of hours to complete the trip. The last part of the trail heading down from the Ridge is by a series of man-made wood and dirt steps. It was a little

Man made steps

Man made steps

tricky and I had to be careful so as not to go ass over tip and end up falling down the slope but I safely completed the walk down. The steps are in need of some work as a lot of the soil has washed out.  At the bottom, the trail levels and follows a dried up-stream that had water in it the last time I was there. Finally, another climb only this time, going up. Again, I had to manoeuvre more of the same sort of staircase made of wood and dirt. It was pretty steep and quite tiring but I managed it without incident. The final stretch is on fairly level ground giving me time to recover from the climb and walk the final half mile back to my car.

I was totally soaked from my exertions and had foreseen this and brought a change of clothes. Changing was not a problem as I was still the only car in the parking lot. As I was finishing packing my cameras, another truck towing a horse

Two of the horses

Two of the horses

trailer pulled in and two people got out. They unloaded two horses that were already saddled up and ready to go. On my way out, I waved to them and being the friendly Texans that they probably were, they waved back. I knew they had to be Texans as they both wore cowboy hats and the lady had on boots. Probably the guy did too but I couldn’t tell. Just kidding.

All in all, I really enjoyed the hike and it’s time to get back into the walking routine, Texas heat and all.

For a link to the slideshow:

McKinney 8-3-2014 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.