APS September Meeting 2018.


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True to form as September 17th rolled around so did the Austin Pond Society monthly meeting held at the usual place, Zilker Botanical Gardens Clubhouse. There were about 34 people in attendance plus several of the Sponsors as this meeting was dedicated to them to give everyone a chance to meet them in person.

DSC_3425 John from Jet’s Pizza with Steven Monfrini

The evening started with a light meal in the form of Pizza with all of the fixins delivered by the owner John. Member’s brought deserts as they usually do which I for one am very grateful. About the only time I eat deserts is once every month at the Austin Pond Society Meetings.

Following the meal, the Business section of the meeting started with the President Jeannie, going around the room and taking comments and questions. The high spot of the evening apart from the opportunity of meeting the Sponsors, was the announcement and presentation of a list of names compiled by the Nomination Committee ably led by Nancy Reinert for the 2019 Board of Directors. Much to everyone’s surprise, this Committee had managed to find willing people to serve in all of the vacant positions which included, President, Treasurer and Pond Tour Chairman, the three most difficult positions to fill. There was some shuffling around as  people switched positions but in the end, all of the Officers and Directors positions had nominees. These need to be ratified which will happen by the Membership at the next meeting in November. None of these nominees are cast in stone and if there are any other candidates willing to run at that meeting, then the positions will be decided by a vote of the membership. There are still two other outstanding positions that are classified as Volunteers meaning that they do not have to attend Board Meetings and neither do they get a vote if they do choose to attend. Those positions are Hospitality and Librarian. The Hospitality position is the most popular person in the Club as that person is the one that feeds us every month. The other vacant position is the Librarian who brings the books and maintains the records of those that are loaned out. If any of you are interested in either of these positions, contact Nancy Reinert at parliamentarian@austinpondsociety.org

Time was given to mix with the Sponsors to see what they had to offer and ask questions about their products. My favorite was Barb Lenhardt who is a Realtor as she had the best chocolates. Actually, the Sponsors who were in attendance or had representation at a table were as follows, the aforementioned Barb Lenhardt, Realtor, Water Garden Gems from Marion who brought several goodies that they offered for sale, Taylormade who builds ponds and Kirk Perry with Perry Aerial Photography.  Both Jet’s Pizza and Bamboo Bistro had tables but were not in attendance due to the calls of business.

The meeting finally came to a close with the business out of the way as it was time to turn attention to the other important part of the evening namely the judging of the pictures that will go into the Calendar. As Calendar sales have been dropping off with the advent of the internet and cell phones, this item will eventually go the way of the DoDo even though the Photo Contest will remain as an integral part of the organization with the pictures getting posted on the website, the modern way of showing off prints. There were a lot of pictures on display split into four different categories, fish, ponds and pond features, wildlife and pond plants. The participants were each given four stickies with a number that they affixed to each of their pictures. The voters wrote down their selection by number and the votes were tallied up and the winners announced. These winning pictures will all go into the Calendar and will be posted on the website usually as the heading picture for the month. This is always a very popular occurrence every year and regardless of the Calendar survival, will continue as an integral part of the Austin Pond Society.

Jeannie thanked everyone for attending including the Sponsors and for making the evening a huge success and called the meeting to a close. The next meeting is October 15 at the same place and the Speaker will be Alex Rabadan, Owner of Oasis Water Features & Landscaping (512-630-6786). Alex offers services such as Pond Installations & Monthly or Yearly pond & water garden maintenance.
This will be the last real meeting of the year as the November Meeting is dedicated to having fun and partying.

APS September Meeting 2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

APS September 2018 Meeting Video from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

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Sponsor Night from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo


APS September Photo Contest 2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo
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Hope to see everyone at the October Meeting.

Written 9/21/2018

Nature…


Jeff Price-52

This tree is made up of 5 different pictures in order show the whole thing. I wonder how old it is?

Mother Nature, what wondrous pictures you paint
with your palette of colors so bright
each different in their own way
depending on the light
which too has its own shade
at different times of the day
from the soft tinge of dawn
to the bright skies with the sun so high
to the evening quietly closing into night
and the moon and stars to show the way.

Green the most beautiful color of all
lasting until the Fall
when the colors change to a very soft brown
as the leaves come tumbling down
and another season comes to a close
not everything giving up its glow
as evergreens show their true worth
adding color to Winters birth
which is nature’s harshest season
and only she knows the reason.

The snow and frost are soon to appear
covering everything with a blanket of white
lasting for six months of the year
hiding everything from sight
with the brave evergreens doing their best
to provide color with as much zest
waiting for the something big to appear
and the snow to melt and the cycle complete
and another Season is nigh
as Winter goes out with a sigh.

Spring arrives and with it new growth
tiny flowers are quick to appear
and soon they are followed by buds all around
with the start of painting a scene
with everything new and fresh and green
and flowers burst forth to add to the charm
and the birds and animals building new nests
and the cycle completes with every new round
as the Seasons progress until the day
as Nature has finally found the way.

Written 8/13/2018

Losing Pets


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Losing a much loved pet is very difficult for all of us and some of us grieve for a long time as we try to move on.  The same is not true, at least for me when I lose any of the big Koi that live in my ponds. Fish, by nature, are cold blooded things and don’t do well in the cuddle department. I know that some people do not share my views on fish but I find it hard to even come close to any form of grief when a fish dies as they are sometimes apt to do.

A couple of days ago, I lost a big white Koi which was the biggest fish I have ever had. She was one of the originals so probably close to 38 years old which is pretty good for a fish in an unprotected pond. She was well over three feet long and probably weighed close to twenty pounds. I suspected that she was  going to that big Koi pond up in the sky as she had been acting very lethargic the past few days and did not appear to be eating and sure enough, when I came out to feed them the other morning, I could see her laying on the bottom of the pond. It is my experience that these large Koi don’t float immediately and it usually takes a couple of days for them to get up off the bottom of the pond, I suppose as they start to decay and the gasses start to form.

After a real struggle on my part due to her size and weight as my net was hardly big enough,  I managed to get her out of the pond.  Close inspection did not reveal any outwardly visible signs of damage or disease so it must have been an internal problem of some sort. Anyway, dead is dead and after pulling on a pair of long sleeved rubber gloves, I carried her to the bottom of the garden and with some effort, tossed her over the fence for the vultures or other wild things to clean up. She was heavy enough that I managed to wrench the muscles in my left upper arm in the process causing me to light up the air with a few well chosen cuss words.

I have at least fifty or sixty Koi in three of the five ponds some of which are almost as large as the one we just lost. These are the second batch of Koi bought way back in 1980 following a refilling tap water incident which wiped out the original stock purchased in 1977.  I have one surviving Koi from that original 1977 group and he is definitely the oldest and is at least 41 years old but being a male, is not among the very largest ones. There are also a couple of hundred or so Goldfish in three of the ponds and it is hard to stop them from breeding especially in the ponds that are populated by Goldfish only. Koi do a good job of keeping the population down as do a couple of turtles that are in the other ponds as they eat the eggs and  young fry.

The occasional fish die off is not always a bad thing as it keeps the population manageable. I am glad though that I don’t have to make the choice  of who lives and who dies. I’ll leave that to Mother Nature…

Here come the buzzards,  Mother Nature’s cleanup crew and so the pendulum swings as it always does, in the grand scheme of things.

Written 8/9/2018

 

Common Sense.


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I walked around out in the yard
trying so very, very hard
to ignore the heat that I felt out there
and wondered how much I could bear
before I give up and move back inside
or my face and skin will be fried
even though I had carefully rubbed in
sun tan lotion upon my skin
which would keep me from getting a burn
and please my Doctor from whom I had learned
that too much sun is not good for the skin
and makes bad things grow eventually within
as I worked on things needing to be done
I was thinking about the rising sun
and wondered what I could do instead
as obviously I have been misled
into thinking the task I was working on
was something that would not take long
and I could quickly get it done
before the heat from the sun
made me think for a bit
that maybe tomorrow I can fit
this project into my busy day
and get out early if I have my way
I packed up my tools and put them away
this project can keep for another day
I’ll get up early and while it is cool
do the work that is needed as common sense rules.

Written 7/13/2018

Today


What did you do today the store clerk asked
as I checked out the things I had bought
groceries and such and things put away
in case I get hungry during the day.

Oh I don’t know let me think
what did I do different than any day
I said as I helped her pack my stuff
in the bags I had brought just two were enough

Nothing much was different I said
a shower to wake my sleepy head
and coffee to start the morning off right
and feed the dogs with their eyes so bright.

Check on the ponds just to make sure
that everything works just as before
and feed the fish as they splash around
as the gurgling water makes its sounds.

Read my mail and send a response
to all of my friends who have taken the time
to read the blogs that I posted there
as sharing with them to see if they care.

Then back outside in the garden to work
as usually something needs to be done
trim the paths and rake the leaves
as I look at the beauty that my eyes perceive.

Lastly I am here at your store
buying groceries just like before
as I have done about everyday
nothing much changes along the way.

Now I have told you the story of life
as you asked me how was my day
this is how it is now I am old
very little changing as my story is told.

What you heard from me today
of things that happen along the way
is pretty much the way it will be
from here on out to eternity.

The store clerk looked at me so sad
I could tell she wanted to pity me
she went all quiet as if to say
You poor old man what a terrible day.

I looked right back at her and said
young lady I know it’s hard to reply
but look at this from another way
the alternative is that I will die.

As we live our lives out to the end
we make the most of the life we have left
and if that means everyday is the same
I’ll take it so my life to sustain.

She looked back at me and gave me a smile
the look on her face made it all worthwhile
as she finally realized what I had said
that to live like this is better than dead.

She rang me up so I went on my way
thinking of things that happen each day
if nothing much changes from the day before
then I’ll be happy for evermore.

The joys of being old. Who says change is great…

Written 7/10/2018

Blessed Rain


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Today we are having rain
something about which we do not complain
as I have said many times before
in Texas it rains and we let out a roar
as a sign of our pleasure for so simple a task
more rain is something we always ask
to combat the heat with the temperatures high
looking for clouds to darken the sky
and hoping that rain will fall on the ground
and so doing will cool the temperatures down.

I took a walk around the yard
in between the showers so hard
to make sure that things were OK
and the ponds could handle the rain this day
I barely had time to make one loop around
before it started to rain on the ground
and I dashed to get in the house and the dry
as the rain continued to fall from the sky
and sat by the window to watch it fall
as the rain is at Natures beck and call.

Written 7/9/2018

Mechanical Water Fillers


The rain has come and the rain has gone
and we are left to carry on
with just enough to water the plants
and top off the ponds which at first glance
are where the water level should be
no sign of hydration that I can see
but that’s because I cheat a bit
and have auto levelers that see fit
to turn on the water when the needs arise
like having a helper in the disguise
of a mechanical part designed by man
to take over the work just as planned
of keeping the level where the water should be
and so it is no mystery
of why the water remains
topped up to the level as ascertained.

Written 7/4/2018