Hiking on a Weekend…


DSC_0314I never really had any intent
to hike today thinking instead
I would stay inside and write in my blog
out of the sun and my thoughts to log
onto the page of the next blog I write
hoping to make it a wonderful sight
so that others can read the words on the page
and hope gain something as they engage
in reading this blog fresh from my mind
stories to share of the Nature kind.

I try not on a weekend to hike
not that it doesn’t give me delight
but I like to stay away from the crowd
as noisy and raucous as I have found
that out on the trails solitude makes
happiness when there are pictures to take
especially of animals and birds that need quiet
so as to not get their picture spoilt
a difficult time that often fails
approaching anything live on the trails
as my walking poles make so much noise
and there is no way to disguise
that something is coming and it’s time to flee
and they are gone before they see me.

As much as I like on the trails to meet
other people who are using their feet
getting around out on the path
walking and talking and so I ask
“Can I take your picture” as they walk by
and most of them give me a short reply
“Certainly” as I explain
that I write a blog but I refrain
from using their names just a picture or two
showing them smiling in my view.
I give them my card and wish them well
as I go forward on up the hill
one foot in front of the other I place
sticking to my usual slow pace
and like the tortoise who beat the hare
I reach the end of the trail that I share
with others like me who really feel
Nature’s serenity and beauty is something real.

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This is Texas and It Is HOT…


DSC_5375Now that Summer is finally here
and temperatures are beginning to sear
and every day is hotter than most
and the sun is making everything toast
rain is just a thing of the past
I can’t remember when it rained last
and when it did it was over quick
nothing that was going to stick
just a shower, a few drops of rain
and then back to 100 degrees again.

We still lead an outside life
as used to the heat with nary a strife
start early before the heat of the day
makes it impossible to go out and play
for no one wants if they have a choice
unless of course if you have no voice
and outside work is what you do
with anything else you haven’t a clue
so you slap on the lotion and fill your jug
drink plenty of water lots more than a mug
and brave the heat a living to make
and everything is for your family’s sake.

Me, I take walks in ninety degrees
hoping like hell to be under the trees
knowing that around the next bend
could well be a field or a hill to ascend
either out in the open the sun blazing down
or climbing steeply to reach up to the crown
hoping that shade is a coming up fast
and maybe this hill will be the last
sweat pouring off me my clothes are all soaked
near the end now and I’m getting stoked
as I finish yet another hike
out on the trails with the end in site.

Why do I do this I have to ask
an answer comes forth from my distant past
when as a kid I spent my time
out in the woods with a friend of mine
and together we covered many a mile
close to Nature’s wonderful smile
and learned about how Nature does show
us the way forward in case we don’t know
we spent hours upon hours in her company
and seventy years later she is what I see
and if I could do it all again
my whole life would not be the same
instead I would be as a young kid
and work close to Nature my life to commit
in preserving everything she unfolds
working for her was one of my goals.

Alas, an old man I have grown
my dreams and my thoughts I have not shown
except in my walks and the stories I tell
and the pictures I take and wishing like hell
that I could do it over again
and work with Nature which sounds rather tame
for what we are doing to this earth
troubles me more than a dearth
as no one is more ignorant than man
who was not here when it all began
but thinks he owns the universe
and can take what he wants with no reimburse.

One day Mother Nature will see
just what in all reality
Man is inflicting in so many ways
and will take time off to reappraise
her goodness will end and she will defend
what little is left to the bitter end
to rise again at a later date
this experiment over for failures sake
as Man is not worthy to make this his home
he came, he wasted and now he is gone.

Be kind to your Mother…

Austin Pond Society Swap and Sell Meeting 7-17-2017


DSC_0241The Austin Pond Society held it’s Annual Swap and Sell Meeting on Monday, July 17 at the usual place, the Zilker Botanical Gardens Meeting Room. The meeting was attended by about 40 of it’s members who were treated to the good old American standby, hot dogs with all of the fixin’s. Members supplied the deserts mostly of different types of cookies.

While the members were enjoying the meal, the four members who had brought items to swap or sell were setting up outside in the patio area. I would like to say that they were doing a roaring trade but alas, that was just not the case. A few people wandered out to see what was available  but it appeared that the majority stayed inside where it was cooler. There was some very interesting and useful stuff available. Everything from a push lawn mower, to pond decorations of various types, all kinds of garden tools, a birdhouse on a pole just to name a few. There were a few plants, mostly lilies which were a popular item probably because they were free which always helps. All four of the item donors made some sales but it was a little disappointing to say the least. BJ especially was pleased that she will not have to bring the lawnmower back next year. She had to give a demonstration and mowed half of the lawn out the front in doing so. Must have worked as someone bought it.

There were several of the Board that were missing including Jeannie, our President,  Nancy our Parliamentarian and Julienne our Secretary, all away on vacation.  There wasn’t anything in the way of urgent business that needed our attention and Barb Lenhardt  filled in for Jeannie  and took over the role at President complete with mic to go around the membership to get any questions, introduce any new members and generally try to convince people that there was probably something outside on one of the tables that they really needed and to go out and get it. Alas, not too many people got the message and we were all through by 8:10pm wrapped up and cleaned up.

Personally, I thought there was some pretty neat stuff out there and I am really surprised that more people didn’t take advantage of some of the deals. For myself, the only thing I can say is that the 5 gallon bucket of trimmed waterlilies that I brought in that were ready for planting, were all taken but then again, they too were free…

APS Swap Meeting 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Again, apologies for the quality of the video as I am still working out the kinks of using my DSLR camera as a movie camera. One thing for sure that if I have to film for any length of time, I need to use a tripod to stop the camera from losing focus. Below is the video of the Business Section of the meeting.

APS Business July 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The next meeting will be held on August 14, same place, same time. The Speaker will be Steve Lash from the Honeycomb Fish Farm. Steve is one of the new sponsors for this year and is located in Cedar Park.Come and learn about what to look for when you are choosing Koi & Goldfish.

Reimers Ranch 7-19-2017


DSC_0275-PanoAs you may have read in a previous blog, I have bought new camera gear and wanted to try it out some more. The weather here in Texas is very hot with the afternoon temperatures reaching into the high 90’s and sometimes the low 100’s so any hiking needs to be done early in the day. This goes against my built in adversity to early mornings and I consider that if I am out on the trails by 10:00 am, I’m doing pretty good for me.

I reached Reimers by 10:30 am and spent 20 minutes assembling my new camera carrying system, first hooking it up this way and then that in an effort to balance the heavy new telescopic lens to make it comfortable to carry. It turns out that what I had settled on was very uncomfortable for the rest of the hike and I spent considerable time on the trail re-adjusting first this and then that to no real avail. I have to come up with a better system.

After leaving the Mountain Bike Trailhead, where I managed to find a tree that gave off some shade to park the car, I took the trail that leads to Johnny’s Homestead with the intention of following the Multi Use trail in a southerly direction back around and back to the Parking Lot. I knew from previous hikes that there is much more tree cover going in this direction. Not true of the other half of the Multi Use trail which is pretty much out in the hot sun for most of its length.

Just after setting out, I had the opportunity to use the new telescopic lens on a pair of Warblers and also a Brown Thrasher that had landed in the trees ahead of me. Normally, I can’t see these birds with the 300 zoom lens but the 600 zoom picked them out and gave me a couple of decent pictures.

The hike itself was uneventful with the exception of having to stop repeatedly to adjust the waist carry belt which kept sliding down.  As I keep repeating  to myself, I definitely will need to make some adjustments before the next hike. The top picture is a panorama of 4 pictures showing just how well Mother Nature recovers after the controlled burn in this area back in January. Other burns have been performed in other areas of the park much more recently as shown by the pictures below.

There are a very few wildflowers to be seen as the flower season is pretty much over.

As I always do, I have included pictures of the trails that I walked.

Finally, some views of the park.

All in all, it was an enjoyable hike and it felt good to be out communing with Nature. I really do feel that another part of me comes alive when I get out and about in the countryside.

Thinking about the World.


G13-4709I sat here thinking about the world and the small, very small part that we play in it. To us, the most important part is the life that we personally are involved in whether it is our own or those immediately around us.

We each originate from a family which can be as small as a Mother and Child or as large as an established family with parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and on and on.

Our upbringing and early years shape the sort of person we will eventually become and whether that is just a Mother’s love or the bonds of a large and close family, we are stuck without a choice. It is true that we can change all of that as we grow older but it takes a very big effort of will and independence that very few of us have.

So we are who we are because of circumstance. Our likes and dislikes, our view of the world, our attitude towards others, towards Nature and towards life in general are all based on those early years.

Can we change? Some might argue that we are perfectly content the way that we are and do not want things any other way. Others might see us as rude, selfish, snobbish, greedy, uncaring and totally unaware of the World in which we live.

Still others may hate us because of our color or our religion or sexual beliefs. Some just seath with anger and others get physically violent in the form of theft, murder and chaos.

What does this do to our society as a whole. We like to think we are civilized and can act that way but how little does it take to turn a gathering into a
crowd and then a crowd into a mob. Just read the newspapers or go online or watch the news on television to discover that for us, violence is just under the surface. Take a look at yourself and think about the times you read something or watched something and became angry. Was that enough to send you over the edge or did common sense prevail? How close were you?

I am not a violent man and yet I own a couple of handguns. Would I use them against my fellow man. To tell the truth, I don’t know. Fear might cause me to pull the trigger but to kill or maim, I have no idea and won’t know until the time comes which I hope is never. I don’t want to make that sort of a choice, ever. On the other hand, who knows what the human mind is capable of under stressful situations.

Where am I going with this, you may ask. To tell the truth, I don’t really know. This is what happens when you allow your mind to wander in any direction especially after having read this or watched that and then letting the active mind get busy. This is where I ended up, after thinking about the World in general and just how messed up we humans have made it. Probably this is a follow up to one of my previous blogs, Todays Thoughts

The mind is a funny old thing with its twists and turns. Now if I could just remember where I put my car keys…Oh wait a minute, that’s my forgetful memory and not my overworked mind.

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 After Party 2017


At the invitation of one of our sponsors, Texas Ponds and Water Features and its owner Matt Boring, the members of the Austin Pond Society and many of the pond owners, who had so graciously put their ponds on this year’s Tour, were entertained to Hamburgers with all of the fixin’s and a goodly supply of beer following everyone’s exertions of the day.

The event was held at a soon to be ‘Cosmic Coffee and Beer Garden’ that is still under construction. There are a couple of food trailers already on the site. The new place will be serving craft coffees and locally made beers and cocktails. The food trucks are Leroy and Lewis BBQ and Lotus Joint- ‘Tacos con Chutney’. Eventually, they will also feature live music. What is interesting about this location is that Matt built a fair sized pond and waterfall as an added attraction. It has a couple of large Koi in it and is surrounded by a whole variety of Cactus in pots. Just a little unusual. Another unique attraction is the main pole that holds up the canvas covers has a face carved out of the top. Someone said it was a replica of Willie Nelson or maybe they were just hoping…Click on any picture and then use the side arrows to move along.

There were probably around 50 people that showed up and braved the inclement weather spending their time talking about the Tour and the many things that happened along the way.

Below is a small collection of pictures shot at the event.


Finally, somebody had started a raised garden which contained vegetables. Very industrious especially if the added attraction of fresh veggies are included in the food trailer menus.
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