The Past…


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I do not weep for times gone by
instead I view my life with joy
the many years spent on this earth
the good, the bad, sadness and mirth
for all of the moments I have lived
knowing that my life I give
to caring for me and my pets
for no one else except maybe my vet
can give them the love that they deserve
as answer back, never a word.

I lead a very selfish life
no wife to cause me untold strife
I come and go just as I please
and spend my money in varying degrees
on whatever I fancy at the time
nothing for me is out of line
I do not justify the cost
because for me, I am the boss
I write the checks and pay the bills
and no one else in my life to fulfill.

Do I like the way I live
I really do have lots to give
but to share my life in that way
and another person having a say
in what I do and whatever the time
and someone else spending my dime
it’s been too long to change the score
over twenty years and more
and just like my pet, the one in a fix
you just can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

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Thoughts….


DSC_5112I have not walked much in a while in the Parks and special places that I choose to lose myself in nature. Instead, for the past couple of months I have been communing at home, mostly out in the garden and in and around the ponds.

Cleaning up the winter mess left over from the couple of frosts that we had and trimming back those remaining plants that the frost did not damage. Repotting the water lilies and other pond plants to give them a fresh new start in this cycle of their life. Working on the filter systems on the two big ponds to improve their capacity to clean the water.

The two sheds and the greenhouse that have not been cleaned in twenty years need work. Tidying up the Yellow Shed, the one that contains the mechanical tools used around the yard. Starting the mowers and discovering that only one out of the three that I have will work. Turning the greenhouse into a storage area for all of the pond tools and equipment including all of the various and many plastic fitting accumulated over the years and the odd sections of pipe with bends and valves and other sundry parts that have been changed out in the past. Parts kept in the off chance they can be reused in the future.

And finally, working on the big workshop. Finding tools that I thought were long gone, lost in the very jumble that happens after twenty years of neglect. Rearranging the shelves and adding new places to store things. Putting things on the walls until there is no space unused. Sweeping the floor and removing years of accumulated dirt.

Wondering what to do with the huge pile of junk that for me,  no longer has a use. Maybe a trip to the dump and another to the junkyard to recycle that which is old and worn out.

Just like me…Where do I get recycled.

Looking forward to cleaning out the sheds in another twenty years…

A Wonderful Stroke of Luck…


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The one from BJ on the 5000 gallon pond.

For those of you who have been following my blogs might remember that I managed to acquire two separate Aquadyne Filter Systems, These systems are top of the line as far as having an outdoor pond and eliminate the need to frequently wash filters. I bought one from my good friend BJ who had not installed it on her own ponds and this one, I installed on the 5000 gallon pond. I used a 3500 gph submerged pump on it but was not very happy with the amount of water it was putting out so as I just happened to have one,  I added another 1200 gph pump to the system to make a combined total of 4700 gph.  This was an improvement.

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The one from Jim on the 6000 gallon pond.

The second system,  I acquired from a Fish Rescue from an older gentleman named Jim. This one came with a 4700 gph above ground pump. I installed this setup on the 6000 gallon pond. after a few trial and errors, managed to get it up and running.  This pump seemed to put out a lot more water than the combined pumps on the 5000 gallon pond. This was the first time that I have used a pump of this type (above ground) as prior to this, all of my pumps have been submerged. I was really happy with the entire set up as it moved a lot of water through the system.

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Sea Horse (new)

Unfortunately, the pump went bad as they usually do especially as it was an older pump in the first place and it would have cost more to repair than to buy a new one. So, I bit the bullet and went on line and purchased a Sea Horse 1 HP pump that came with a leaf pot already attached, was self priming and moves 4700 gph. I installed it, which was pretty simple although it did require a few modifications to the inlet pipe as I couldn’t get it to prime. Eventually, I got it worked out and it puts out more water than the other older pump did. In fact, it is flowing at full 1-1/2 inch  pipe except when it starts to accumulate dirt inside the filters. Then it cuts back a little on the output until I manipulate the valve to clean it. That’s the beauty of the Aquadyne System, there are no filters to wash out manually and all of the cleaning is done by manipulating the lever built into the head of the tank.

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I was so pleased with this pump, that I decided that I needed to install something similar on the 5000 gallon pond which had the first Aquadyne System installed on it. As I mentioned before, this was powered by two submersible pumps one that put out 3600 gph and the other was only a small one at 1200 gph. So between them, in theory, they were pumping 4700 gph. I could never get a very strong flow of water out of this set up and after seeing what the above ground pump was doing on the 6000 gallon pond just knew what the answer was. Even though my intentions were good, for some reason, I kept putting off buying another Sea Horse pump which as it happens, turned out to be a stroke of good luck on my part.

Thirty odd years ago before I moved into this house, I had 5 acres way out in the country. It had a creek running through it with a small pond although it was prone to getting low on water by the end of summer. I had a garden and I bought a 1/2 hp pump to irrigate it by pumping the water out of the pond. When we moved to this house, I brought it with me and over the course of time, it got buried behind a pile of junk in one of my sheds. The other day, I decided to clean out that particular shed and came across the pump which quite honestly, I had forgotten that I had. The brain started clicking as I looked at it to see if I could adapt it for the present purpose which was to attach it to the Aquadyne System on the 5000 gallon pond.  First of all, I was surprised just how heavy the pump was but then I realized that it is made of all metal and has no plastic anywhere in it. After all, it is 34 years old and is labelled as a Sears Pump. You remember them, Sears and Roebucks or maybe my age is showing?

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Sears (very old) showing the Leaf Pot that I installed.

I plugged it in and it fired right up with the motor spinning away very smoothly. No grinding or strange noises.The next thing was to hook up a temporary inlet and outlet line and try it in some water to see if the pump part still worked. The plate only said it was 1/2 horsepower and nothing about how many gph it could put out. Watching the amount of water coming out under pressure at the end of a hose pipe, it just looked like it would work very well for what I had in mind.

The next thing was to plan on how I was going to hook it up. Out came the tape measure and I measured this and that and visualized all of the steps in my mind before deciding on a course of action. Even then, I was not 100 percent sure it would work and I kept going over the different steps in my head that it would take to hook it up. The next day, after a trip to Home Depot to buy the necessary fittings, I bit the bullet, turned off the other pumps and cut the pipe that connected those pumps leaving the smaller 1200 gph pump hooked up to an urn which has been on that pond ever since it was built more than 25 years ago.

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Note the non return valve installed in the line to help with the priming.

I turned my attention to hooking up the pump to the Aquadyne System and several hours later, had the thing connected. Then came the moment of truth as I prepared to test the new setup. The pump did not have a leaf pot attached to it and I just happened to have one that I got from some rescue or another. I had tried to give it away at the last swap but had no takers which turned out lucky for me as it was going to provide me with a self priming hook up for the “new” system. With everything in place, I filled the leaf pot for the first time and turned on the pump and all that happened was the water that I had put in came out of the temporary outlet I had rigged up. I had to take the temporary route as I didn’t want to pump any rust or 30 year old  gunk back into the pond. I would hook everything up permanently after the pump was clean. That was the theory anyway.

I tried it several times and it still wouldn’t prime enough to start pumping so I took a step back to consider my options. As I had similar problems when I installed the Sea Horse pump  on the other pond and I had got over it by taking a more direct line to the brass inlet foot which is under the water. So, I broke down a lot of the inlet pipe setup that I had just built, found a piece of 1-1/2 inch flexible  hose that just happened to have a part of the right coupling still attached to it and hooked everything back up together again. I repeated the process of filling the leaf pot to prime the pump, plugged it in and away it went. Water came out of the temporary 1-1/2 inch outlet at a tremendous rate so I waited for it to start running clear with no sign of rust and then shut everything down.

I re-hooked the line back to the Aquadyne System and turned it back on. I could hear the water within the tank just sloshing the beads around, which is a good sign and it just poured full pipe out onto the waterfall where I had placed the outlet end. I think the pump is putting out just as much as the 4700 gph Sea Horse or at least it appears so. I stood there for a while just marvelling that this 34 year old pump is still working after all of this time . In truth, it never got used very much at my old house and not at all here at this house so it has not had a lot of wear and tear but even so, it is amazing. Heck, I have to turn on my Dishwasher for a couple of seconds every day or that motor will just buzz and not run and freeze up and I have to get under it to give it a turn to start it again. So, to me, this pump is the cat’s miaow. Now all that remains is to see just how long it will last. After all, just like me, it is very old.

With the pump running at full tilt, the last part of the project was to make a basket that the brass foot sits in to shield it from the leaves and silt that tend to block things up. The bane of having ponds is the amount of dirt that the fish generate hence the need for cleaning the water in the first place and shielding the inlet in the second. Ponds, being what they are, also grow algae which also can block the inlet pipes and that is not counting the debris like leaves and such from the trees.

What I do is take two of the plant baskets, the sort that are perforated and place one on top of the other with zip ties, cut a hole the size of the brass inlet in the top and attach it with wire to the pipe that sticks out. This will slow down the amount of junk that attaches to the brass foot but will not stop it completely requiring that from time to time, I have to disconnect that section of pipe and take the whole thing out of the water to clean it. Small price to pay for having clean water. I include screw couplings just for that very reason in the inlet line.

You may notice the large 4 inch diameter pieces standing on the top of the vertical pipes. These are to place a leaf blower in that which when activated, stirs up the beads that are inside the Aquadyne tank. It only needs to happen about once a week. It is possible to buy the newer systems with a blower already permanently installed.

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Oh yes, it was a good job that I decided to clean the shed and to locate the pump after all of these years or maybe, if my memory wasn’t so bad, I would have remembered the pump and could have foregone the shed cleaning.

Next up is to clean out the greenhouse. Wonder what hidden goodies I might find there and I can’t wait to clean the workshop. I might even find my 3 pound club hammer that somehow has disappeared. Dream on, as it is probably buried out in the garden somewhere, victim of my forgetfulness. Anyway, if I ever get around to cleaning the workshop, I will need a dumpster to get rid of 30 years of surplus junk.

 

Feeling Blue…


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The sun is shining and the air is warm
and yet somehow I feel forlorn
I woke after a good night’s sleep
with pain in my foot making me creep
from place to place as the pain grew worse
wondering why in this Universe
my foot could be hurting and feeling sore
the minute that it hit the floor.

I crawled back to bed and lay there for a while
all the time I was in denial
why is this happening what did I do
that my foot is so sore I haven’t a clue
so I got out of bed and with the aid of my stick
found my crutches I used the last time I was sick
and with the aid of these walking device
to get up and about my heart did rejoice.

Why the pain in my foot, I haven’t a clue
there is not much about it that I can do
except pop a few pills and sit back and relax
and look out of the window at the beautiful day
wishing the pain would go away
so I can do what I love to do
outside with Nature my mood to renew.

Austin Pond Society Meeting – April 2017


DSC_5179The Austin Pond Society held their monthly meeting this past Monday, April 17 at the usual place and time. This meeting was our Annual Plant Swap when members bring in pond or garden plants surplus to their requirements to swap out for those of a different kind that other members have brought in.

It is always a fun event and usually, there is always someone who brings in something different or exotic just as a change from the usual pond and garden plants. The meeting was well attended with around 55 members showing up. Not everyone brought in plants to swap out but as usual, there were so many that if they wanted to, everyone went home with something new and different.

Prior to the start of the swap, Steven Monfrini, our Hospitality person, treated us to hot dogs with all of the fixin’s with desserts of different kinds brought in by the members. As I am not a big hot dog fan, I made up for it with extra helpings of desserts especially those of the chocolate kind. While the members were enjoying the food, they were able to watch a video made by yours truly of the APS Website and some of the things available on it.

15 Minute Video from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Following the food and the video, Jeannie brought the meeting to order and went around the room for reports from the various Board Members. Nancy Hall talked about the upcoming Garden Tour and Ted Paone, Chairman of the Pond Tour, outlined the progress to date which he states, is is falling into place quite nicely.

At 7:15 pm, the swap started and although it didn’t appear so, there was some method to the madness with those that helped to set up going first to get the first dibs, followed by those others who had brought things into swap and finally by everyone else whether they had donated or not. It went pretty smoothly thanks to Barb and Darren who kind of kept an eye on everything. One of the rules of the swap is that if you bring it in and it doesn’t move, it goes back home with you. Not sure how much of that happened or whether everything found new homes.

Austin Pond Society Meeting April 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The meeting was over early around 8:00 pm as members lugged their new goodies out to their cars. The clean up crew tidied up the back porch and the Swap was over for another year.

Austin Pond Society April, 2017 Business from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The next meeting is on May 15 and this one is our Sponsor Night when many of our Sponsors will set up a table and share their wares with the members. This is always a popular event and is well attended. We are having a potluck dinner which is always fun as we taste other people’s cooking. Hope someone brings an apple pie…See you there.

The Pumps Stopped Working…


I noticed that the pump in the stream had stopped working and as it sits in a box I assumed that the thing was blocked with sediment which happens a lot of the time. I mumbled to myself that is was not important enough to jump on immediately and went about whatever I was working on at that particular time.

That evening, as I was sitting in front of my computer, I noticed that the video feed from one of the outdoor cameras was blank but as this happens from time to time, I did not think too much of it. The video screens are next to my computer.

The next day, I uncovered the box from the disappearing stream by taking off the layer of stones and retrieved the pump. It was not blocked as I originally thought so took it to another outlet and plugged it in. It worked, sort of, and was making the most awful noises so I could tell it was on its last legs. It is just a small 550 gph pump and not very expensive and a quick trip to Lowe’s to purchase a replacement was called for. It did not take very long to replace the new one but when I went to switch it on, it would not work. Nothing, No water pumping, just nothing.

So my brain kicked in and I started to backtrack to the source of the electrical supply. I went to the box on the side of the house and noticed that the 30 amp breaker was tripped and would not reset. The feed for that particular pump (and also the video camera) is one of the outlets within the workshop which has its own electric supply from the main breaker box. Then I noticed that none of the outlets in the workshop were working and as they are all wired in line, I had to eliminate the problem by checking each one at a time.

While I was engrossed in this particular problem, I suddenly realized that it was very quiet. None of the usual sounds of moving water and a quick inspection showed that none of the pumps were working in the entire yard on every pond. It was not quite time to panic but was getting close. Luckily, logic took over and calmed me down as I retraced all of the circuits that supplied the ponds and shed. Resetting the breaker in the main box turned on the 5000 gallon pond as it had its own separate circuit but I was still facing the problem of all of the other ponds. Then I noticed that the breaker for the pond circuits was also tripped and it would not reset. I solved that problem by changing out that particular breaker and lo and behold, all of the ponds started back up again.

I still had the problem of the stream pump and the video camera not to mention the outlets in the shed. I bypassed the circuit that originally fed the stream pump and video camera with a temporary lead cord and managed to get both of them working again.

That still left the problems with the shed outlets, none of which were working. I could not test any of them as the circuit breaker within the box in the shed would not hold. I determined that power was going to the shed as the lights and power saws were each on their own circuits and they both had their own breaker and they were all working.

So once more, logic was called for. I reasoned that I would have to work my way from outlet to outlet and disconnecting the outlets down line one box at a time. If the breaker would hold, I reconnected and moved to the next one. Then I found an outlet that was not working properly so I changed it out for a new one and before moving on to the next, tried the breaker hoping it would hold. It didn’t. By this time, I decided to give it a break until the following day as I was tired of messing with 12 gauge electrical wire.

The following day, instead of going to the next outlet, I jumped a couple in the hope I would get lucky and not have to do every one. No luck as the breaker would still not hold. So as I moved back one outlet, I noticed that the grinder was still plugged into it. I tried to unplug it but it would not come out and closer inspection revealed that an old chain saw blade that was hanging above it, was welded to one of the prongs to the plug. What had happened is that the plug had come out of the socket just enough for the saw blade to touch it and as it was still live created a weld and blew the circuits. The outlet was toast so a quick trip to purchase a new one. Ten minutes after getting back home, I had it replaced and gingerly tried the circuit breaker again while holding my breath. It held.

A quick trip around all of the outlets with my circuit tester told me that every outlet was back in working order and I was back in business. When I stop to think just how lucky I was. It is a wonder the shed didn’t burn down. I know that there are rats in the shed and I suspect that one of them dislodged the chain but for it to fall just right to lodge onto the the very small piece of prong of the plug is pretty amazing. Certainly not something I would expect to happen. If the outlets ever stop working again, I certainly will check every one for anything unusual.

Now, I wonder just what the next problem might be.