APS July Meeting 7-16-2018


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In keeping with the last two meetings that were held outdoors, the first at Zilker Botanical Gardens and the second at the AquaDome, the Austin Pond Society held the July Meeting at Mayfield Park, here in Austin.

This is also the same park that the APS has been helping the City of Austin clean and maintain the six ponds that are located there. Now that most of the work is finished at least for this go round,  the Board decided that it would be a good idea to show off just what the Members have accomplished these past few weeks.

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We turned this meeting into a pot luck and the food table was absolutely full up with all kinds of goodies, most of which were home made. Altogether, there were close to forty members that showed up. The Mayfield Gutsch Cottage located on the grounds served as a gathering and eating place to start the evening off before everyone moved outside to explore the grounds and ponds. Most people were impressed with the amount of work performed by the APS volunteers and commented as much. Jeannie, our President was quick to point out to the group the work that the City of Austin had done as their part of the project.

The Peafowls, both cocks and hens put on a great display and serenaded us with their loud squawking. One Peahen was proudly showing off her two babies and walked right up to me as if to say,”Make sure you get a good picture of me and my babies”.

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The first of the two videos is the Business part of the meeting conducted indoors. The quality is not very good due to the poor lighting made worse by the row of windows directly behind the camera which cast big shadows on all of the people assembled there.

The second video is a short one taken outside of the Members as they walked around the ponds.

The next meeting is back indoors at the Zilker Garden Center on August 20th. The Speaker will be Steve from Hill Country Water Gardens. Hope to see you there.

One of Those Days


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Have you ever had one of those days
when the brain doesn’t work in so many ways
to go outside to work in the yard
but the brain tells you that it is hard
as the temperature is a hundred degrees
and no comfort found even under the trees
so you try to think of things to do
and your brain will not work like it hasn’t a clue
you stare at the screen hoping words will appear
that will tell you that the time is near
and your brain will start working and words you will write
but nothing appears on the screen in your sight
you try to think of other things to do
but your brain is acting like it hasn’t a clue
maybe go for a drive in my wonderful truck
with an Audiobook as my brain runs amok
as I try to figure the story ahead
but fooled by the ending as the hero is dead
my eyes are heavy so maybe a nap
but when I awake I will feel like crap
for having wasted such a beautiful day
when I should be outside at play
I think and think but nothing appears
I hate to waste a day of the years
of the few that are remaining to me
on this earth in this life my time foreseen.
the dogs are asleep in their usual place
each has a spot so as not to displace
each other or me as they snore away
content in their world no fears to allay
sometimes I wish that I were a dog
a beautiful life to sleep like a log
whenever the urge creeps up on me
safe in the arms of my family
Alas, for I have no such luck
and my brain is still not running amok
with ideas for me to do today
so inside writing poetry I will stay
and tonight later on I will spring back to life
and my brain will lose the anger and strife
that seems to have bothered me
as my brain does not work consistently
tomorrow is another day
and my brain will switch on and I will play
out in the woods along the trails
taking pictures of whatever Nature avails
something that I love to do
I think of yesterday and I haven’t a clue….

Written 6/30/2016

The News is Bad…


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Red Wolf

It seems to me like every day
when I check the mail in my usual way
to see what has changed in this ongoing fight
to prevent this world from disappearing from sight
at least the contents of the world
the animals and birds whose fate is unfurled
as day by day something else is news
and another species lives are reviewed
as being dispensable in the name of greed
as someone figures that to succeed
they must change the land that has been decreed
to protect an endangered species whose needs
have already been put on the list
that without protection they will not exist
and yet even though they will be gone
greed for many is very strong
and to take the land to make a buck
leaves the animals and birds out of luck
the almighty dollar rules this land
to amass a fortune things are planned
that do not consider the impact they say
too bad for the wildlife that gets in the way
and the fact that extinction for many is real
these people for animals do not relate
any empathy and they may even hate
the fact that the species was already aligned
for thousands of years in the annals of time
long before man walked on this earth
to spread his will on the land and make it his worth
Man will destroy the very world that he claims
too late will he realize that to further his aims
as he poisons the air and water and land
at the end of it all what will he have planned
what good will money and gold be then
as the Earth will be just a desolate waste
and Man a memory just drifting in space.

Prompted by the news that there are only 40 Red Wolves left in the wild in Eastern Carolina and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a 90 percent reduction in the land available for red wolf recovery in eastern North Carolina. This area supports the last wild population of red wolves. And worse, the proposal would allow private landowners free reign to shoot any red wolves that wander across their property.

Sometimes, I am truly ashamed to be born a human.

Written 6/28/2018

 

 

The Beauty of Nature


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I love to look out at the world
to see the beauty that is there
with things so green and colors so bright
as Nature’s brush paints everywhere.

The beauty shines in so many ways
in the sky the water and land
and no matter how hard we try
we cannot match her plan.

With so much beauty in front of our eyes
you would think we would understand
that Nature’s gift is not for free
and our part we need to plan.

To clean the air we breath would be a start
followed by the seas
and stop destroying the very land
as Nature has decreed

For we are such an arrogant bunch
in ourselves we only believe
that the Earth was put here just for us
that our lives are interweaved.

We cannot continue to rape and kill
that which Nature provides
for all too soon she will turn
and our end she will decide.

Written 6/27/2018

Austin Pond Society Meeting June 6-18-2018


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The third Monday of the month rolled around just as it is supposed to and with it, the Austin Pond Society held their monthly meeting at the usual place, Zilker Botanical Gardens. This meeting was just a little different as instead of a Speaker, we opted to take a Tour of the beautiful facilities that we call home.

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We met as we usually do in the Zilker Meeting Room and were treated to Fried Chicken with all of the fixin’s accompanied with sides and deserts supplied by the members which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. Following the meal, Barb Reinhardt,  who was filling in for Jeannie Ferrier, the President who was away on personal business, introduced four new members and then held a brief Q and A prior to everyone joining the three Docents who had so very kindly volunteered to show us around.

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There were around 30 members in attendance including the 4 new ones and we split into three groups each accompanied by a Docent and started on the walking tour of this wonderful place. Austin is so lucky to have these beautiful gardens for all to see.  Having visited many times before, I took off on my own so that I could take as many pictures as possible which I have turned into a video set to music.  Many of our Members have not visited the Gardens before and I am quite sure that it was an eye opener for them.

The Business section of the meeting on video.

APS Business Meeting June 2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The video of Zilker Botanical Gardens.

Zilker Botanical Gardens 6-18-2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The next meeting of the Austin Pond Society is on July 16 and will be held off site at Mayfield Park. Check the Website and Facebook for further details.

Written 6/20/2018

McKinney Roughs Hike – 6-8-2018


DSC_2686 The view from Riverside going down towards the river

As I hadn’t been out for a while, I asked my friend BJ if she wanted to take a walk over in her neighborhood, McKinney Roughs in Bastrop. She was game and we agreed to meet at 9:30 am at the main entrance.

We both showed up on time and after paying our $2:00 each for the luxury of spending quality time on the trail, set off along the trail leading to the river, aptly named Riverside. We stopped at the new bird watching shed that has recently been erected and chatted to a couple of people already there. The water to the water feature was turned off for some reason and that was one reason there were not many birds to watch.

We pushed on and LCRA has done such a good job of trimming the vegetation around the trails that it was difficult to recognize that in fact, we were on the right trail. We eventually came to a more recognizable part and headed down towards the river. I have either gotten a lot slower or BJ is walking faster. Whatever it was, it took us a while to adjust our paces. I tend to think that I have gotten a lot slower…

We passed a young family with a young child that were on their way back and chatted to them for a bit. Later on, we passed a couple of others all out enjoying the early morning sun and getting their exercise. The walk by the river was beautiful and I took some nice shots of the trails. Actually, the only shots I took were of the trails as we didn’t see anything else.

We made the turn back up Coyote which would bring us out to where we started in the Parking Lot. Altogether, we covered a little over four miles of very pleasant walking although the trail was a little rough underfoot at times.

Below is a short video of some of the trails.

Trails at McKinney Roughs 6-8-2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Written 6-8-2018

Cleaning the Ponds at Mayfield Park, May 2018


 

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Julie Smith and hers Husband Phillip, along with Cory Ferrier, snuck out as I was getting ready to take the picture of all of them together. Their prerogative of course.

The Austin Pond Society has an ongoing project at Mayfield Park located in the center of Austin. The Park has six large ponds that were in woeful need of a little TLC and the Society decided that it was going to be our project at least for this year to provide a little love and care. Incidentally, note that the center circular pond is surrounded by 4 oval shaped ponds (the petals) along with one hourglass pond that contains a small waterfall (the stem).

Consequently, in cooperation with the City of Austin and with help and advice provided by Shane of Water Garden Gems, members of the Austin Pond Society have met several times to clean the ponds and the City has gone forward and provided additional electricity to operate the new filtering system and additional air systems that are now in all of the ponds.

This past Thursday, May 24 was deemed a pond clean up day or rather evening as several members of the Society showed up to get themselves wet and dirty. Altogether, there were fourteen people providing assistance and doing the grunt work from cleaning the ponds of leaves and debris, to repotting lilies and in the case of Steven, Jeff and Ruben, installing a new floating filtering system in the big pond and getting the pumps to work. To Steven, who is a Master Electrician during the day, this was just up his alley. The rest had different duties spread around the other five ponds. Glen was stuck in the last pond (the stem) for most of the evening, this one having the most leaves and debris in it. He seemed quite happy to be working the pond until he came across a water snake that was nestled in the Iris plants. From that point on, he was shall we say, a little cautious. Says he doesn’t like snakes but there again, not many people do.

As is usual at Mayfield Park, the work was accompanied by both the company and the very loud and raucous cries from the twenty odd Peafowls that reside there. One of them grew very attached to Jeannie’s Lexus and was very busy pecking the bugs off the front of the vehicle. It stayed there for the entire time we were at the Park and no amount of shooing would get it to move.

The APS would like to thank the following members for showing up and giving of their time and efforts. Jeff and Ellen Bennett, Mary Ward, Barbara Lenhardt, Nancy Reinert, Charlie McLear, Cat Bilberry, Anne Clarke, Cory Ferrier, Julie and Phillip Smith and finally Jeannie Ferrier and Steven Monfrini and Ruben Angeles. Me, I was there strictly to record the efforts and almost broke into a sweat a few times as I hustled to record what was going on. Ruben is a City of Austin Employee who is at Mayfield Park full time. Really nice guy to work with.

Jets_BizCard_Austin The evening ended with a veritable feast of Pizza from one of our sponsors. That make for me, six large slices of Pizza in three days which is more than I have eaten in the last ten years although I have to say, it was very enjoyable.

There is still some work to be done both by the City and our volunteers but it will not be until next month. Again, thanks to our members without whom, we could not perform these sort of tasks.

I recorded a movie of the different members all performing their tasks and also put together a slideshow of the still pictures that I took.

Cleaning the Ponds at Mayfield Park May 2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Mayfield Park Pond Cleanup May 2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Written 5/29/2018