Austin Pond Society SPLASH! Party 2016

DSC_2278Today, the Austin Pond Society held the SPLASH! Party that always precedes the upcoming Pond Tour. This “Party” is really a way to get the Owners and the Volunteers together to pick up their packets of instructions and money boxes that they will each need on their respective day of the tour. In some cases, the owners get to meet the volunteers that will be working their ponds for the very first time.

As a part of the way to entice both parties to attend, the Pond Society puts on a brunch to any and all who show up. This year, it was breakfast tacos with fruit or donuts for dessert.

A special thanks goes to Gary and Cathy Ragan for hosting this fun event. The Ragan’s have hosted an Open House party a couple of years ago for members of the Austin Pond Society. They have this really pretty stream that flows alongside of a double deck ending in a small pond at the bottom. It is a considerable drop in about 25 ft in length.

As with all of these pictures, if you click on anyone of them, it will make the pictures full size and then you can move along using the side arrows. Tap on the “Escape” key to get back to normal.

They also have a cute collection of “Rubber Ducky’s”and a fish statue.

Gary has recently installed a Petanque court which is a bit like Boce.The purpose of the game is to lob a heavy ball with enough backspin to get it to stop close to the smaller ball. There is probably a lot more to it than that, Several visitors were trying out their luck in playing and there was enough interest that the court was in use for the entire two hours of the get together. Ed Priest and Thierry Amisse are the petanque players who were giving instructions. Refer anyone interested to Gary Ragan at kragan@austin.rr.com

Below are a few pictures of the players enjoying themselves.

The Pond Tour Committee were very well represented, all wearing the red Tee Shirts designed to represent this year’s tour. All had different jobs to do handing out packages of instructions for the volunteers, money boxes for the owners which also included their list of instructions, serving the brunch and generally busy wherever you looked. We have to thank this dedicated group as without them all performing the various aspects of what it takes to put an event like this together, it just would not happen. Way to much work for one individual.

The Ragans have a beautiful yard both front and back. Below are pictures of some of the highlights

The rest of the pictures are of the members, volunteers and owners enjoying the food and the company.

Finally, but not last is the attention given us by Mollie, the 12 year old puppy.

An Addition to the Family

Today was a big day in the Allcorn Residence as we added a new member to our little tribe. The house has been very quiet with both Abigail and then BeBe passing on. I’m so used to seeing a dog anywhere I look and the two remaining ones tend to pretty much do their own thing.

Richie, the male, tends to spend most of his time outside either trucking around to see what trouble he can get into or sleeping on the outdoor patio couch. Actually, he also keeps me active for if he is away for any length of time, I have to go out and check that he is not digging a hole to get under the fence. So far, he hasn’t but that doesn’t stop me from worrying. Ginnie spends most of her time under the covers on my bed. In between, she will go out and bark at the make belief rats under the deck. Actually, they are not make belief as they do come out in the evening to eat the bird seed that has fallen. Maybe, Pete will get her moving a bit more.

So I figured that maybe, the introduction of Pete, a three year old rescue Chihuahua, might add a little spice to the other two’s lives and give them an additional interest and another buddy to play with. I belong to a Neighborhood Newsletter and Pete’s picture appeared looking for a new home. His owner is going into a nursing home and she could no longer take care of him. She has already fostered him out to a couple of her friends and they were the ones looking for a forever home for the little dog.

I contacted them and we arranged to meet at PetsMart so that I could meet Pete and then bring him home for a sleepover just to see how well he gets along with the other two and also the two cats that I have.

So far, after the initial growling  and smelling of each other’s butts and the two males trying to outdo each other marking the territory, things are beginning to settle down. Pete is the jumpy one ready to show his teeth at either of the other two who seem ready to accept him into the pack. I guess two dogs is a pack or at least the beginning of one.

I hope things work out as he is a nice little dog. I do have a take back arrangement just in case he doesn’t fit in but we will have to wait and see.

More to come on this story.

Austin Pond Society May Meeting 5-16-2016

DSC_2123As usual, on the third Monday of the month at the Zilker Botanical Gardens, the Austin Pond Society held it’s May Meeting. This one was entitled Sponsor Night when many of our sponsors attend to introduce themselves and tell a little bit about their product. Many bring items for sale especially if they are in the retail business and are not pond builders and such.

Following our normal practice, we opened with a meal. This time we had chicken along with the many side dishes brought by the members and again was enjoyed by everyone. Jeannie, our President, brought the meeting to order and introduced a couple of new members. This was followed by the business section which was entirely made up of discussion about the upcoming Pond Tour. BJ made a plea for Volunteers to man the ponds as we are still at least 25 or so people short. Anyone that may be interested can check out the website at www.austinpondsociety.org and register on line or email Mary at volunteers@austinpondsociety.org. For a four hour shift, you get a free tee shirt and a ticket to visit the rest of the ponds on the tour plus all you can eat at the SPLASH party.

With the business out of the way, the mike was handed over to Barb to introduced the sponsors who each spoke about the business they own and the work they perform. Unfortunately, I developed camera problems as this part of the meeting was going on and do not have them on video. My apologies.

Following their spiel, the meeting was opened for the members and sponsors to get together during which, Jeannie announced the winners of the door prizes many of which had been donated by the sponsors.

The meeting came to a close around 8:30 pm.

Below is the video of the meeting and below that, a bunch of pictures. If you click on any picture, it will enlarge them and you can use the side arrows to move the pictures along. Use the “Escape” key to get back to normal.

APS May Meeting 5-16-2016 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Kicking a ball…

rangers getting coached right

Half Time Talk

When I was a kid and still very young
my whole idea of having fun
was to get with my mates and kick a ball
and the girls would cheer and watch us run
no interest in them that I can recall.

Moving along in just a few years
my mates and I still kicked the ball
but this time we tried to impress the girls
hoping that one would not like them all
but pick one of us that was most enthralled.

As time moved on the girls came first
as many of us settled down
married with kids not much time for games
life was never ever the same
on weekends we still got together and kicked a ball

Further on down the line
marriages failed and its alimony time
visit the kids once a month
and maybe take them to one of our games
this time in the older guys league we played.

Time has passed and the kids have grown
and they all play in a league of their own
trying to impress the watching girls
choosing a mate as life unfurls
and it all starts with kicking a ball.

Now I am old and life has passed by
the closest I come to kicking a ball
is to cheer on my team as I watch them play
thinking of what were the good old days
when we were just starting along our way.

“Football, English Style is good for the soul”

 

The Beauty of Water Lilies and Lotus

Ripples Publication May 2015 PDF Final-CopyYesterday was the monthly meeting of the Austin Pond Society and as usual, was held in the Zilker Botanical Gardens. I arrived a little early and could not help but notice the beautiful show that the water lilies and lotus were putting on in The  Willy Birge Memorial Pond located at the entrance and  managed by Darren Bayhi and maintained by him with help from other society members.

Every year, he and bunch of APS volunteers empty this pond, scrub it out and then meticulously re-pot the lilies, lotus and other plants that reside there. Judging by the pictures, it is a job very well done. Usually, the water is pretty clear but for some unknown reason, it is currently having an algae bloom which has turned the water green. I am sure that Darren with his expertise will figure a way to clean the water up.

Below are a few pictures of the lilies and the lotus that are currently in bloom.

Beautiful Flowers at McKinney Spring 2016

I took another walk at McKinney mainly to take better pictures of the wonderful display of flowers that are happening this year. I brought my Macro lens with me this time on my D7200 Nikon and although the 16-300 Tamron lens is a great multi purpose lens and takes really good pictures, it can’t get as close as the Macro. Most of the flowers that I remembered from a couple of days ago are at the Highway 71 Trailhead at the very start of the trails where both Whitetail and Pine Ridge start. This area was subject to a major burn a few years ago and there are no large trees so there is plenty of sun.

I spent 30 or so minutes happily clicking away and in truth, just when I thought I had a great picture of a flower or group of flowers, not more than a few steps away were even more and better picture opportunities. I went a little nuts with the amount of images but I can’t remember such a wonderful display ever before.

If you click on any image, it will enlarge it to full size and then you can use the side arrows to move from image to image.

Plans for today…

DSC_1963
I had plans today to spend my time
working on some things left outside around the ponds
and updating the Pond Society’s website
and then I was going for a hike at McKinney Roughs
my favorite hiking place.

Even the best laid plans can falter
as Mother Nature sometimes has other ideas
like she did today as it came onto rain
putting an end to both the garden work
and the hike.

But wait, the sun is coming out
and is shining brightly
and a quick glance at the weather site
on my computer shows just a shower
which passes quickly.

I can finish up my outside chores around the ponds
and quickly do the work I need to do on the website
and in a couple of hours be on my way
to McKinney to do the thing I like the best
hiking and taking pictures.

“We were born with two legs. We should use them…”