Back at my Ford Dealer – 2


Audiobooks-Webinar-LOGOHere I am as I sit and wait
yet one more time at the place
that lately has been my home
even though I would rather roam
than be sitting here writing these words
to fill the time that I have on my hands
although I really do understand.

Two weeks ago when I was here
they took a look and as I feared
said that it would take some time
to order the part by going on line
and that I should wait for their call
before bringing back the truck
and so with these words I was stuck.

This time the unit that lets me hear
Audiobooks or shows me a map
decided that it would not work
leaving me to listen to my phone
to hear the story as I drive alone
which although not very loud
did the trick with limited sound.

I settled down expecting a wait
and it wasn’t long as I started to write
that my service lady came to me
and told me that I was free
to go as the truck was fixed
and everything should be just like new
as I shook her hand and said Thank You.

I tuned in the unit so I  would hear
the story from the speakers instead of the phone
as I took the highway home
along with the traffic jamming the roads
I did not really mind the slow drive
as from all around loud and clear
came the voice of the storyteller in my ear.

Written 7/12/2018

Back at My Ford Dealer-1


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Well, I am sitting in the waiting room at my Ford Dealer and this time, they are taking a look at my truck to see why the Bluetooth and GPS System only works spasmodically. As I have mentioned many times in previous blogs, listening to Audiobooks is one of my favorite pastimes. I always use the Bluetooth system to have my I-Phone play through the speaker system on the truck and usually, the system works very well.

A couple of weeks ago, the level of consistency dropped considerably and the Bluetooth started to lose signals causing a very disjointed playback. At first I thought that it might be the I-Phone as mine is an older model even though it is loaded with the latest software but it suits my needs very well. I took it to my ATT store and they ran a few checks and told me the phone is just fine. Back in the truck, I began to have problems with the GPS system as well as in just making the Audiobook connections and so I knew it was time to make yet another trip to Covert Ford which is located a little over 20 miles from my house. To get to it means travelling up a super highway affectionately known as Mopac to the locals, which during regular daytime hours is the second most heavily traveled road in Austin with IH35 as the busiest. During rush hour, this road is bumper to bumper with the traffic crawling along at a stop and go rate.If ever there is a wreck, then you can almost guarantee lots of sitting in place in the middle of hundreds of vehicles all with their engines running  and polluting the atmosphere. Not a great place to be. Mopac, also known as Loop 1, connects the North end of town to the South end and has just undergone a major rebuilding from Town Lake almost all the way to West Anderson Lane. This has improved the situation dramatically.

Monday morning rolled around as if by clockwork and I made a big effort and got up at 6:00 am which to me is an ungodly and unhealthy hour to be awake. I was out of the house by 6:30 am and on the road. To my surprise, there was hardly any traffic on the road compared to later in the day and I made the trip to Covert in no time flat and was fifth in line. They open at 7:00 am and are usually very busy almost all day long in their service areas.

My Service Adviser is a young lady who goes by the name of Whitney and she took down all of the details. I thought that I would be leaving the truck with them while I waited in the Lounge Area writing this blog but it turned out that because it is a Factory Warranty Item, Whitney had to wait for paperwork to come through before going forward with the repair and that she would call me as soon as it does.

So, I drove home and was going in the opposite direction to the early morning rush hour traffic and made good time. I was greeted at the door by two very excited little dogs with the third one out in the yard who also made a big fuss of me when I went out to check the ponds. Now if only my wives had been this affectionate…

The following day, Whitney called and we set up an appointment for the next day which was a Wednesday. Again, I made the tremendous effort and dragged myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of 6:00 am and was back up at Covert Ford by 7:00 am. I handed the truck keys over to Whitney and settled in with my Surface Tablet to write this blog. Since my last trip, Covert has installed a new fancy coffee machine that dispenses all kids of coffee drinks. I went with my usual Latte as I settled down to write this blog.

An hour later, Whitney walked in and said that “They have finished on the “discovery” part of the work and that they were going to have to order the part which would take a couple of days and I will call you to set up the next appointment”. She also explained that the next part of the work to actually install the part would only take 45 minutes which was good news. I have never been to Covert Ford and been in and out in 45 minutes so I am a little dubious that it will be that short.

I packed up all of my stuff and made the journey back home and again and as I was going in the opposite direction to the rush hour, made good time. Again, I was greeted at the door by the same little dogs as before only this time all three of them gave me a cheerful welcome home.

So here I am at home continuing to work on the the most recent events with the ongoing saga of “Me and Life at Covert Ford”.

 

Looking for a Subject


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Some of the blogs that come into my mail box that I take the time to read are obviously written with the Author struggling to find a central theme for that particular blog and at the same time, they are having the uncontrollable sensation that they ABSOLUTELY MUST post something or all kinds of bad things are going to happen. The end result is a single picture or a bunch of words apologizing for not having anything to write about and almost begging the readers to forgive the Author for being so dumb (literally).

Guess what folks, in the big scheme of things none of your fellow bloggers will really care if you post or not. In fact, if you are one of those that post several times a day, your followers are probably glad that you have nothing more to say so they can have a rest from you and spend time with other bloggers. The same is true of those of you who for whatever reasons have not blogged in a while and then when you do, are full of apologies for not being active. Your readers are not looking for an apology, all they want is another good blog to read and admire so even if you have been away, if your stuff is worth reading, your blogger friends will find you. Bloggers and blog readers are a fickle lot and if your blog is missing for any length of time, they will quickly move on to someone new to follow.

Guess what started this tirade, Yes, you got it. The lack of a subject to blog about. Therefore, I am in the same category as those of you with nothing to say and yet managed to put together a blog to say just that…nothing.

Written 6/26/2018

Like’s and Comments


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Blogging. I wonder where the word came from? What does it conjure up in your mind? Whatever it is, what compels us to sit down in front of our computers and turn those thoughts into a blog and even worse, share that blog with whoever wants to take the time and trouble to read it. Some of the more prolific bloggers turn out several pieces a day, posting them one after the other in a vain attempt to get their word out. Those are the ones that I unsubscribe from as I just don’t have the time and energy to read all of that stuff. Nothing personal but I do not want to spend my days in front of my computer reading other people’s blogs. I have things to do, places to go and people to see.

I blog for the fun of it. I have things that I do in my life that I like to write about and share with whoever is inclined to read my stuff. I don’t make any money writing although everyone, me included would like to. In truth, I am not a true writer as I don’t dream up plots and have shady characters living out their roles until the good guys come along and save the day. Heaven forbid, I have tried but I just don’t have the sort of intricate mind to do it. I’m no good at love stories having made a mess of that in real life. I do have an autobiography that I have been working on for a few years but I don’t suppose that I will ever finish it.

No, I am more of a reporter than a writer. I can write about things that I am a part of or something I am witnessing or an event I am attending, things of that nature. Generally speaking, I have to have a subject in which I am physically involved and then I can transform those events into words for other to read. It helps that I like to take pictures which can add to the story especially if I turn it into a video which can tell a lot more of the story than I can. My words just help to move things along.

Being a member of the blogging community has brought me in touch with some truly wonderful writers and bloggers from all over the world and my in box is filled every day with a couple of hundred blogs awaiting my attention. My problem is I do not have the time to read every one and I generally do a quick scan to see if it is interesting enough (to me) to actually read and digest the content and then add a “Like” if I find it deserves one (in my eyes).

I presume that most other bloggers treat their inbox the same way that I do and even though in the process, we may click the “Like” button without reading any part of the content, we do it to be nice and of course, in the hope that the beneficiary of my “Like” will reciprocate and give me a “Like” for my stuff.

The reality is that we are just playing a big game. I am retired and have lots of time but I don’t want to spend all day reading other peoples blogs some of which really do not appeal to me at all. I have yet to understand how any of the bloggers who claim to have hundreds of “Likes” on a daily basis have anytime to do anything else other than to scan through the hundreds of blogs that they surely receive if they even do that. It is easy to push the “Like” button and then quickly turn off that blog when the screen comes up meaning that you have registered a “Like” without reading any part of the blog. My blog stats say that I have 2530 followers which I find absolutely incredible. Where did they all come from and am I reading their stuff?

Don’t get me wrong as there are a lot of the blogs that come into my inbox that I find truly interesting and take the time to read. I have a few favorites and like them to know that I really like their work by adding a comment or two. They probably do not amount to more than a couple of dozen of the couple of hundred that land in my inbox.

I have been giving this some serious thought and have almost decided that I am going to take the “Like” button off my blogs from here on out. If somebody wants to comment, then at least I know that they have read my work and have something to say be it good or bad. This way, my fellow bloggers will not feel obligated to give me a “Like” deserved or otherwise and in turn, we can express our appreciation of each others work by leaving comments.

So, my fellow bloggers, there you have it. All of this long winded writing just to tell you that I am taking the “Like” button off my blogs. I will wait for this blog to get posted and then it will happen. By the way, many thanks to those of you who have “Liked” my work in the past and truly meant it. I am pleased that you took the time.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that in the future, I am only going to “Like” blogs that really appeal to me. You could say that I am out of the “Like” game. Nothing personal but I have got to get control over my inbox somehow.

Written 6/15/2018

Sitting and Waiting


Today it is raining but the forecast is that it will clear up this afternoon. That is good as I really need to get outside to continue work on my latest project which is to install permanent electricity to three of the ponds.

The first pond that I built more than 30 years ago was around 2500 gallons and actually looked very nice with a patio that surrounded the entire pond. It developed a leak and even by letting the entire pond drain down to nothing, I was still unable to locate it to make a repair. By then I was hooked on Ponding and I decided to rebuild the pond and at the same time, enlarge the entire thing. The end result is a 5000 gallon pond. I did this one right and it has a permanent electrical supply to it.

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5000 Gallon Pond

I spent the next 30 years messing around building other ponds and streams sometimes even rebuilding because of a change of heart or of different ideas. Because of my restlessness and having a very hard to please attitude, I never installed permanent electricity to any of the 3 other ponds for good reason. For example, the middle pond was actually 2 ponds in the shape of an “L” with water from the top pond filtering down to the bottom pond and then recirculating back to the top pond.
Double Pond 1-2

The original “L” shaped pond

The smaller of the two ponds in this system developed a leak so I decided to separate them into two ponds which meant installing a Sanyo skimmer and another pump on the upper pond. I completely rebuilt the lower pond and installed a new liner and increased the depth to almost 4 feet. It too has its own skimmer box and pump. The electricity to drive the pumps was supplied by lead chords and temporary outlets and worked very well and I kept telling myself that as soon as I was satisfied with the ponds themselves, I would change the setup to something more permanent. Besides, I lived alone with no desire for any sort of company other than my dogs and reasoned that I would be careful as I worked the yard.

I had other water feature that I had built, one in the shape of a “Y” with two streams running into a small pond. This one actually worked pretty well but again, only had temporary electricity to drive the pumps. In a fit of madness, I decided to enlarge the pond at the end of the streams which eventually led to me taking out one stream completely along with the small pond. The end result was a 6000 gallon large pond, quite a bit larger than the 1000 gallon pond it replaced. I kept the one small stream and it still runs very nicely. Throughout all of this building and rebuilding, the electricity to drive the pumps was all supplied through the same system as outlined above, lead chords and temporary outlets.
New Pond 2 5-3-2014

The New 6000 Gallon Pond

Human Nature being what it is and with everything running smoothly, I moved onto other things and although the thought would cross my mind very occasionally, I never seriously considered doing much about the electric supply to the ponds. Things were working fine so why mess with it. Besides, I had plenty of other things to do that seemed to be more important and anyway, I was not in the mood to dig trenches and bury conduit.

Then, a couple of mornings ago, I came out to check on the ponds and everything was very quiet except for the 5000 gallon pond, the one with permanent electricity, that was running just fine. I wandered over to the other ponds and both the “L” shape and the 6000 gallon pond were very still. None of the pumps were working. Luckily, the system can be down for a few hours before any problems are likely to develop in the form of oxygen deprivation and less dangerous but just as frustrating, muddy water. As it is still early Spring, temperatures would not be high enough to really cause oxygen deprivation problems.

I traced the lead chords as they snaked from pond to pond and quickly discovered that the very first chord was scorched where it connected to the next chord. Even as I watched, the next junction suddenly burst into flames. At least I knew where the problems were located and went to work in temporarily replacing the burnt out lead chords with different ones so as to keep the pumps running while I planned out the new permanent power supply.

As luck would have it, years ago, I had installed an outlet by the back porch directly from the Main Junction Box which also happened to be the one that the temporary supply is plugged into. I figured that I could come from that one and then run the wire through conduit to the first of the GFCI outlet boxes that I planned to install. I have two metal boxes that contain two GFCI outlets in each box that I acquired over the years. Bit of an overkill as a single GFCI would protect all of the outlets downline from it but as I happened to have the boxes, why not use them.

So, with a plan in mind, I went to Home Depot and purchased the necessary supplies and to start work on the project. This is actually a three phase project the first of which is to install the conduit from the supply to the location of the first outlet box about 45 feet away. The second phase will be to run the conduit to the second of the outlet boxes another 50 feet further along. The last phase will be to complete the run another 25 feet to the last of the boxes.

I started work on Phase 1 which entailed digging a trench to bury the conduit. This is the hard part of the project mainly because I hate digging and it takes more of a mind set to actually start the work than to do the work. I managed to convince myself that as hot as it was, I needed to get after it. The digging was pretty easy but it did entail swinging a pickaxe to break up the ground, something I haven’t done in years.

The next part of Phase 1 of the project was to lay out the conduit and then pull the cable through each piece before gluing the conduit together. The whole thing was placed into the trench and covered over, with sufficient conduit and cable exposed at each end to make the connections. And that is where we are today and it has just come on to rain again. It doesn’t look like I will be working outside today, darn it…

Look for part two of this thrilling instalment of DIY.

Written 5/20/2018

Austin Pond Society May 2018 Meeting


The Austin Pond Society tried something different with this May Meeting and held it at one of our Sponsors Store, namely Aqua-Dome located just off Ben White in Austin, Texas.

Aqua-Dome Meeting May 2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The meeting was held outdoors with the weather cooperating, a nice breeze and not too hot. The first part of the meeting was as usual the Business Section and although the idea was unique, the soundtrack left a lot to be desired due to external traffic sounds. The second part of the meeting in which the owner, Gary Coffman, gave a demonstration on repotting water lilies was held in a different part of the large yard and the sound is much better.

Another of our Sponsors, Jet’s Pizza located in Brodie Lane, supplied the hungry group with a grand selection of different pizzas for us to devour which we proceeded to do at a rapid rate. There were about 40 members that had showed up and they listened intently as Gary showed us how he repots his water lilies. He also discussed Lotus and all of the other freshwater bog plants that he has for sale.

The meeting was over by 7:45 pm and I am quite sure that many of the members learned a bit about repotting water lilies. Thanks to Gary Coffman and Aqua-Dome for giving us something different.

This is the Business part of the meeting.

APS Meeting May 2018 – Business from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Gary Coffman demonstrating on “How to repot Water Lilies”.

Austin Aqua-Dome 2018 Repotting from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Written 5/22/2018

Dripping Springs Farmers Market 5-2-18


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It was a Wednesday and I happened to find myself back in the Dripping Springs area primarily to visit the Tractor Supply Company where I purchase my fish food. I only ever buy one 28 lb bag at a time which lasts me a little less than two weeks and even though it would make sense to buy at least two bags, I really like the drive and the visit to this picturesque old town located at the foot of the Texas Hill Country. It helps even more now that the town has gone all modern on me with the addition of a Starbucks which I find a reason to visit. One of my most favorite things is to drive out in the countryside in my new Ford F-150, listening to an Audiobook and with a Starbucks Latte within arms reach.

I had not chosen the day, Wednesday, on purpose and it was really by chance that it happened to be the day of the Farmers Market. I don’t usually stop in to visit but on this day, I decided that I could really use one of the pastries that one of the vendors sells. So, I dragged out my camera and took a few shots of the vendors and the musician who was entertaining a small child and his Mother before stopping to purchase an Empanada. There was a long list to choose from and I eventually settled on a Mole Beef. I willingly paid the vendor his $5:00 and took my morsel of goodness back to my truck and sat for a while as I improved on my Audiobook and Starbucks Latte with the addition of the Empanada which, by the way, was absolutely delicious. I almost went back for another and then common sense stepped in and told me that spending $5:00 on one pie was OK but to spend $10:00 on two, as good as they were, would be more than a little extravagant and would spoil the moment.

I left the Market and headed home more than a little content. Funny how the small things in life really begin to mean something as we grow older and how much easier we are to be satisfied with tiny moments of pleasure.

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I wrote about this market a little over a year ago and the need for an Empanada was the reason for this repeat.

Written
5/4/2018