The Second Day of Harvey…


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I got up early just so I could see
damage caused by Hurricane Harvey
I slept soundly through the night
and did not hear weather to give me a fright
I did not even hear the rain
as it beat upon the window pane
and yet the two rain gauges show
that 4 inches fell of this I know

As I walked around the yard
the wind was still blowing pretty hard
treetops swayed first this way and that
as I stood waiting for them to crack
but so far everything is fine
in the part of Texas that I call mine
I’m sure before this storm is gone
something will break before too long.

I looked into the biggest pond
wondering where the tree had gone
as in this pond sits a cypress tree
in a pot with rocks but standing free
although it has a couple of ropes
cross tied so that in the hope
to stop it from falling upside down
when the big winds come around.

Alas the winds were mighty strong
and the tree is floating so before too long
I need to jump in and work on the tree
in order to get it vertically
but not much use until the storm ends
and then maybe with the help of friends
the tree we can right the way it should be
pointing upwards and proud for all to see.

So far nothing to make me sad
or damage so bad it makes me mad
the little bit that I can see
is not very much to worry me
not even enough to bring me tears
which I can fix when the weather clears
with trimmers and rakes and a wheelbarrow too
it won’t take long to make it look new.

There is still maybe two more days
of Hurricane Harvey coming our way
before he will blow himself out
and we will no longer be in drought
as the rain that he has left behind
will water our yards for a long long time
enough to last the rest of this year
as Fall is approaching and is quite near
and the weather will cool and more pleasant be
and the super hot days will be history.

“For this year…”

Farewell Ellie…


Animal Cairn

The cairn under which at least eight of my pets are buried

My beautiful Ellie who I recently wrote about, has joined Brown Cat in that special place that all cats go to when they pass on from this earthly life.

She did not handle the passing of Brown Cat very well and it was obvious that even though they were not close, she did miss him if only for the companionship of another cat in the house. She totally changed her lifestyle from being an indoor cat sleeping on the bed all day to spending hours outdoors in any of the special places that she found to sleep, on the deck, under the deck, in between the trees and under the shed. If I didn’t bring her in at night, she would probably have spent all of her time outside not even coming in to eat. Even after eating, she immediately wanted back outside again although I wouldn’t let her out until the morning choosing instead to listen to her plaintive meowing in protest.

We had a rainy day and true to form, she again slipped out using the doggy door. I looked for her as the rain pelted down but could not find her anywhere. Eventually, around 12:30 that night, I located her under the deck totally soaked and very dirty and managed to get her indoors where I gave her a bath, sort of. Have you vere tried bathing a cat? I do not recommend it as they have teeth and claws and put them to very good use. I eventually got a lot of the dirt off her and dried her and put her in her room.

The next day, when I let her out, she immediately headed for the doggy door but only made it halfway and collapsed on the floor. I could see she was in trouble so I put her in a carry crate and off we went to the vets (again). Although I love my vets dearly having been with them for the 32 years I have lived in this house, they have seen far too much of me these past couple of years.

I left Ellie with them and waited for the call confirming what I already knew the news would be. True to form, Dr Donop, called and we talked about Ellie. Turns out that she had an open wound on her leg that I had not noticed before even when I bathed her.  With her outdoor life, the flies had gotten into it and they had made it much worse with their eggs and maggots and Dr Donop could not find any way to sew up the wound in order to treat it. We discussed the alternatives of which there were very few options and in the end,  based on his recommendations, I told him to go ahead and put Ellie to sleep and out of her suffering. It was something I was prepared for this time, not like Richie. I told him I would be back later that day to pick her up.

I walked out to the garden carrying my spade and shovel and headed for that special place next to the big pond where so many of my pets are buried. Normally, the digging is hard but as we had recently a lot of rain, it was somewhat easier than normal. Being Texas Hill Country, the limestone is usually only a foot or so below the surface which limits the depth of the hole and I make up for it but covering everything up with rocks.

I buried Ellie next to Brown Cat and Richie, the most recent of the many dogs and cats that lay in this special place. I stood for a while and said my goodbyes to Ellie as I have to all of the pets buried here. She was the last of the many cats that I have had the pleasure of living with over these many years both here and in my previous home out in the country as I do not plan on getting any more. My little menagerie has dropped radically in size from an all time high of eight dogs and three cats to two very small and very noisy dogs. What they lack in size, they truly make up for with their noisy barking at anything that moves out in the yard, perceived or real. Ginny is about eight and Pete around four so they should be around for awhile, hopefully, the rest of my lifetime.

There are stone statues of dogs and cats on the cairn.

In retrospect, this has been a bad couple of years as far as pets go in the Allcorn Residence. Four of the last six dogs and cats that I have taken to the vets have all come home in cardboard boxes and then there was Abigail who drowned in the septic tank. In fairness, with the exception of Richie and Abigail, all of the others were getting on in years and their time had come. Ellie was at least 18 years old and she had a good life.

I will miss her as I do all of the ones that have gone to that animal heaven up in the sky. They all asked for very little and in return, gave me their unconditional love. A man could not ask for anything better than that.

Rest in Peace Ellie. You will be missed.

Written 10/8/2017

 

APS Meeting September 2017


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Koi Person of the Year for 2017 – Alejandro Villa

The Austin Pond Society held its September Meeting at the Zilker Park Meeting Room on the 18th of the month attended by almost forty of its members. There were several new faces in the group and a couple that we hadn’t seen in awhile. Always glad to see new and returning members.

They were treated to a meal of chicken, potatoes and gravy, rolls, salad and desserts, lots of desserts most of which was consumed by the hungry members, me included. Thank you Stephen. Following the meal, Jeannie Ferrier, the President, awarded the Koi Person of the Year Award to Alejandro Villa . It was originally voted on way back in the summer but Alex had missed a few meetings and this was the first opportunity to present the award.

Below is a video of the presentation.

Koi Person of the Year 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Following this presentation, Barbara Lenhardt, our Programs and Special Events Rep introduced the speaker for the evening, Jeff Price of Price Landscaping. His subject matter was the plants in and around our ponds and how to improve the appearance of our yards. He generated a lot of interest and there was a lot of Speaker/Audience participation. His presentation was well received.

Below is a video of Jeff and his presentation.

Jeff Price of Price Landscaping 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Jeannie then moved on to the Business Section of the meeting and discussed many things including the equipment for both the Mayfield and Zilker Park Projects which was delivered to her house yesterday, toys for Blue Santa who will be the Beneficiary at this year’s Thanksgiving/Christmas Party, AAGC and the survey that had been circulated and filled in by the members to name a few of the items.

As it is almost time to vote on the new 2018 Board. Julienne Smith, the current Secretary and head of the nomination committee took the floor and went down the list looking for nominations for the different Board positions. Even though she received nominations for most of the positions, many of which will be filled by returning officers, it was very noticeable that there were no nominations for the Pond Tour Chairman which, next to the President, is arguably the most important position each year. Without someone to lead this effort, there won’t be a Pond Tour and although the Tour is not called for in our by-laws, it is our main money raiser for our chosen charity. Without the Tour, we will not be making any donations or providing several hundred people a weekends worth of entertainment or at least twenty pond owners their opportunity to be famous for a day with a spot in the limelight. We will vote on the Board positions at next month’s meeting with final votes for any outstanding positions closing at the November meeting. The Nominating Committee is Julienne Smith as the Chair and BJ Jenkins and Philip Smith making up  the Committee. If you are interested in any of the positions on the Board, you can contact Julie at secretary@austinpondsociety.org . For more information regarding the various positions use this link.

Following the Nominating Committee, Jeannie then moved on to discuss the survey that we all filled out regarding the Zilker Botanical Garden Conservancy (ZBGC) taking over Austin Area Garden Council (AAGC ). More can be read on this subject by Pam Penick. You will need to scroll halfway down the page to read about the interview between Cat Newlands, executive director of Zilker Botanical Garden Conservancy and Pam Penick. The membership approved by a show of hands their approval of the agreement. This was the last of the business and the meeting closed following the drawing for the door prizes.

The Business Video of the meeting

Business Section September 18, 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

A few of the members.

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Margaret on the left is the Librarian. Barb on the right, the Publicity/Special Events

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Julienne Smith and Philip

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Ellen Filtness and her husband. Rodney and Keith in the blue tees in the background.

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Nancy and Husband, Barb, Ted Paone,Jeannie with Jeff Price. Glen is in the background.

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A special guest…

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Good Food…

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Ted, Barb, Jeff and Jeannie

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Speaker Jeff Price

Post written 9/19/2017

APS Meeting August 2017


DSC_0837The Austin Pond Society held it’s monthly meeting on Monday August 21, 2017 at the usual time, 6:30 pm and the usual place, Zilker Botanical Garden Center. For a while, the Board Members outnumbered the guests but as the evening wore on, there were around 30 people in the room. They were treated to a meal of Tacos and Salad plus desserts brought in by the membership.

The Speaker’s for the evening were Tom & Sherry Gringas and their subject was  “Enhancing your Pondscape with Metalwork and Sculpture”. Tom teaches welding and the art of metalwork at ACC and Sherry is the designer of his projects. She also put together the wonderful slide show of their work. The presentation is marred by the poor sound quality due to yours truly forgetting the camera mic. Apologies all around.

Following the presentation, Jeannie had a small amount of business to conduct followed by the drawing for the door prizes, which incidentally, she was the lucky winner of one.  She always tells us that she buys prizes that she would like and this time, her wish came true. Well done Jeannie.

The meeting closed around 8:30 pm. The next meeting is on Monday,  September 18 and the Speaker will be Jeff Price from Price Landscape .  He will be talking about  “Landscape ideas for your yard ”. For those of you looking to change or make your yard a bit different, I’m sure that Jeff will have some great ideas. Hope to see you there.

This video is of Tom & Sherry Gringas presentation. Again, apologies for the sound content.

Gingras Metalwork Aug 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

 
This video is of the Business part of the meeting. Same sound problem.

Business Aug 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

 

The Countryside


DSC_6181I went out for a drive today
looking out along the way
and wondered as I sometimes do
just how wonderful the view
with everything green and the sun shining bright
it truly is a wondrous sight
how beautiful the country can be
with Mother Nature it’s easy to see
as she wields her brush and paints the scene
showing all of her colors and in between
the birds sing loud with a wonderful sound
so happy to live with green all around
and the wind is blowing in the trees
as they sway to keep rhythm with the breeze.

I marvelled at this wonderful site
as mile after mile to my delight
everywhere I looked it was the same
as Mother Nature plays her games
year after year she produces this show
with everything having this shiny glow
of new growth making everything green
the most beautiful colors I have ever seen
it will stay this way until the Fall
and the colors will change at first just small
and then the leaves once proud and strong
will tumble to the ground beyond
to replenish the earth and make it strong
and to rest through the winter before the Spring song.

Austin Pond Society Post Pond Tour Meeting June 19, 2017


DSC_0099-PanoThe Austin Pond Society held its June meeting on the 19th of the month at Zilker Botanical Gardens Clubhouse. This meeting was the Post Pond Tour with many of the owners and volunteers in attendance as it was really all about them.

Altogether, there were more than 80 people, the biggest crowd by far that we have had together in one place that I can remember. The guests and members were treated to Pizza and salad from one of our sponsors, Jet’s Pizza with desserts provided by the membership and by the big cake that Jeannie bought from Costco.

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Whilst everyone was enjoying the food, Glen, our Historian and Photographer showed a slideshow of all of the ponds that were on the tour. Following the meal and slideshow, Ted Paone, Pond Tour Chairman, spoke about the work involved in putting on a Tour such as this. He thanked the owners for opening up their yards and gardens for us all to see the wondrous things they have created. He followed up by thanking the many volunteers without whom, a tour such as this would not be possible. He spoke about the fact that this year’s Beneficiary would be the Mayfield Park Ponds. At this point, he introduced Ruben who is the sole person in charge of maintaining both the ponds and the grounds at the Park. For those of you who have not yet visited the park which is located at the very end of 34th Street near Mount Bonnell you should make the effort to do so. There are several miles of hiking trails plus the 5 large and 2 small ponds which the Austin Pond Society has done so much work by cleaning and replanting the lilies, and water plants and have also added a couple of lotus plants. The most recent of our fish rescues have also been donated into the ponds including Koi, Goldfish and Carp.

Following Ted’s moment in the sun, Jack Marshall, APS Treasurer, who had played a major role filling in for Ted on the final days leading up to the Tour, introduced the owners one by one and gave them the mic so that they could offer their thoughts and points of interest about the tour that might be useful in the future.

Jeannie took over the mic after the owners had all finished speaking and we went into the business section of the meeting. There was not too much to discuss so we quickly moved into the door prizes to close out the evening. All in all, a very successful meeting.

Below are the 3 videos of the entire evening. The sound quality is not very good as I was using my Nikon d7200 DSLR camera having recently sold my video camera for a new Nikon d7500 to use as my primary camera. I must seriously look at being able to blot out the background noise in the recordings as I get the hang of using a DSLR for videos.

The first video is of Ted and Jack’s discussion of the tour.

Intro by Ted and Jack from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The second video is of the Pond Owners talking about things that happened to them on the tour.

Owners from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The third is of the short business section of the meeting.

Business June 19, 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Can’t wait for next year to roll around and we get to do it all over again…

Austin Pond Society Annual Tour – Night Pond, Saturday June 3, 2017


The Austin Pond Society held its 23rd Annual Pond Tour on June 3-4, 2017. One of the highlights was the Night Pond held at Jorge and David’s. This pond is absolutely amazing with so much care going into the display.

Below is a slideshow video of the Night Pond showing the workmanship and detail that has gone into the bigger pieces such as the buildings.

Austin Pond Society – Annual Tour Night Pond – 6-3-2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Finally, a close up look at all of the figures and objects that are included in this truly amazing display. Jorge is a true artist with David’s support.

Austin Pond Society Night Tour Showing details, 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.