Austin Pond Society Christmas Party November 2017


The Members at the Party 2017

The Austin Pond Society held their Annual Christmas Party at the November Meeting which is the last meeting of the year. Around 55 members showed up, many of whom were dressed in their Christmas finery and with several wearing strange looking hats decorated in a Christmas motif. All the members were really getting into the swing of things as on Sunday afternoon, several of them had come in to set up the tables and decorate the room in the Christmas Spirit and the setting was very conducive for a Christmas Party.

Christmas Party 2017 Slide Show from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The food comprised of Roast Beef and Ham provided by our very popular Steven Monfrini, with all of the fixings many of which were supplied by the members who also supplied the deserts and appetizers. There was a lot of food but by the end of the evening, it was all gone. There were several bowls of punch to drink, some with and some without so the members had a choice.

Christmas Party 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The guests of honor were Mr and Mrs Klause from the Austin Police Department who were here to pick up the many gifts that the members had each brought in for the kids in need so they would at least get a gift on that special day.

Among the several things available to the members were a Blackjack Table complete with a professional croupier the proceeds of which went towards the Mayfield Ponds Project. The players each donated $10:00 to the cause and played until they lost all of their money. There was another game in which the members had to do something with Candy Canes but I have no idea what that was.
There was also an area that was in the business of making funny hats complete with flashing lights for anyone brave enough to wear such a contraption and enter into the Funny Hat Contest to be held later in the evening.

Christmas Party 2017 food line from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The first part of the evening was devoted to the very important business of feeding our faces which we all proceeded to do with much gusto. Following that, Jeannie our President took charge as she went through the very small amount of business that needed to be conducted. The main and very important part was the appeal for someone, anyone to step up to fill the vacancy for the Pond Tour Chairman without whom, we will not have a Pond Tour as we know it, next year. She then introduced the new Board all of whom with the exception of Keith as Secretary, are all returning members. The New Board officially takes over January 1 of next year. Following the announcements, Jeannie called upon Ted Paone as this past two year’s Pond Tour Chairman and presented him with an Honorarium for all of his efforts.

Christmas Party 2017 Business from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

With the business out of the way came the very difficult task of choosing the Tallest Hat Winner along with other members who were sporting all kinds of flashing and blinking contraptions on their heads. Everyone really got into the spirit of things.
The winner of the Tall Hat was Catherine Bilbrey with Nancy Reinert as the runner up.

Christmas Party 2017 Crazy Hats from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Another member, Karl Tinsley brought in his latest work of interest which is a Sand Table that he had constructed along with all of the programing that it takes to make it work. Basically, it is comprised of a flat box about 2 inches high and about 2 feet square with a glass cover sitting on a small table. In this box is a covering of sand on the bottom and a single large ball bearing. Karl has written software that drives the ball bearing into marking grooves in the sand in a designated pattern including his favorite Alpacas, of which he and his wife Linda own several. It is fascinating to watch as the bearing moves up and down creating pictures in the sand.

Quote from Karl
The sand table uses a magnet mounted on a computer-controlled mechanism to move a steel ball through sand, creating stunning designs. The table and the designs it draws were created by Karl Tinsley. You can see some videos of the table on my youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLaaBO5pY1QpVtX9WOEYiw.

Here are some of the sand pictures that Karl has created


He has also put together a short movie showing the ball in action.

With the food and drink all gone and no more fun and games to play, the evening gradually wound down until the few remaining members stripped off the table cloths, straightened up the room and closed the doors on another fun and successful year for the Austin Pond Society. All that remains is to wish everyone out there, Happy Holidays and we hope to see you next year.

Our first meeting for 2018 will be on January 15 at the Zilker Gardens Botanical Center starting as 6:30 pm. Hope to see you there.

Don’t forget to keep checking the website especially in the MarketPlace section as the availability of used equipment and pond plants is always changing. If you have any of the aforementioned equipment or plants that you want to sell or give away, use this link to fill out the form.

Taking the time…


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Have you ever taken the time
to look around you at the checkout line
and what is it that becomes known
that everyone has their phone
busy scanning just in case
as around the store they did race
they might have missed a call or two
and if they did what would they do
shrivel up and die because of the loss
maybe it was a call from their boss
or better yet one from the kids
telling her they are in a fix
and whatever the trouble may be
its instant contact so Mother can see
that they are OK no harm done
no need to hurry we’re having fun
and out to the car to make the drive home
once more to check on the phone
just in case between here and there
another text comes in wanting to share
did you get the ice cream this one reads
and on it goes until one needs
to turn it off to get some relief
for personal time there is no belief
all the time that you have the phone
you will never be alone.

Written 9/22/2017

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What Can I Say?


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What can I say that will change your mind
as you look at me for one last time
with that long and lingering stare
showing me that you do not care
as other things you need to be
and other places you want to see
and the time we spent has now gone
and you are in fact, moving on
to pastures green with everything new
what that means I haven’t a clue
as I believed with all of my might
that what we had was pure delight
and in each other’s company shared
many moments with none compared
and the love we had would always last
how was I to know it has now passed
as bit by bit it drained away
never to return until this day
when you say to me that we are through
and even though I hadn’t a clue
that in fact you didn’t care
even though my bed you shared
that it was so hard to see
that you no longer cared for me.
I should have written this years ago
twenty five years and I should know
that the day my world came crashing down
as those fateful words did sound
and you walked out of the door
not listening as I implored
for you to stay we can work it out
just give me a chance I have no doubt
that we can be a couple again
instead of you wanting just to be friends
but alas it was not to be
as I remained in my misery
not wanting to live and at the same time
nothing can ever be that sublime
I had my chance and blew it too
an ignorant male who had no clue
that the love of his life no longer cared
and the life that he knew they no longer shared
and as time passed as the years slipped by
never again did I feel the joy
of marriage for love no longer came
and a bachelor’s life it did remain
and now so old so withered and grey
love has passed like the end of the day
and all that remains are the memories true
of the love of his life when things were new.

Written 9/22/2017

Violet Crown Trail – 9-20-2017


DSC_1019-PanoAfter having located the 290 entrance to the Violet Crown Trail, I was eager to give it a shot and explore as much of it that I could. I parked in the Spec’s Parking Lot making sure not to park too close to the store so as not to impact the shoppers or the store’s business. After the usual preparation work of boots, harness, backpack and cameras, I was ready to go. A short walk from the parking lot brought me to the very nice entrance to the trail. A couple of bike’s came through and as I always do, I moved to one side to allow them to pass. Heck, I am so slow that I am constantly moving to one side to let others through.
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There are a couple of signs at the very beginning of the trail which warn people that the trail is sometimes very steep and is also very rocky in many places and to, “Take every precaution” whatever that means. True to the signs, especially on the way down the very first hill, the trail is very rocky and uneven coupled with the steepness so one has to be a little careful. In many places,the trail is nice easy walking and much of it is in the shade. The trail follows Gaines Creek pretty much all of the way to where it connects to Barton Creek and there are several low water crossings on the way. This time of the year is not a problem as most of the Creeks have long dried up awaiting the next rainy season but I imagine, during the wet season, the trail is prone to being closed after heavy rains. Not being the case today, I crossed Gaines Creek at least four times.

I headed in about 2 miles to where the cliff face trails are very interesting to walk. The trail is narrow and the cliffs overhang on one side and Barton Creek is on the other. I decided that I would turn around at this point and make my way back. This is just past the turn off for the existing greenbelt Trailhead at 360. I would like to hike all of the way to the Zilker Park Trailhead but would need a friend with a car to meet me there otherwise it would be a 10 mile round trip. Not sure I can do that anymore especially on a rough trail.

There were a few flowers but so much of the trail is in the shade, not too many are growing.

The return trip was uneventful as I made my way back to the 290 Trailhead. Several cyclists passed me in both directions and there were even a couple of runners and hikers who were also using the trail. It is probably a lot busier on the weekends. I found the trails to be a little tiring. It was probably a combination of the rocks underfoot and the changes and steepness of the terrain but I was glad to get back to my car. Altogether I covered 4.5 miles.

The first slideshow is of the trails which are pretty varied.

Violet Crown Trail from 290 9-20-2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

This slideshow shows the rock face on one side of the trail and the creek on the other. In many places, the rocks overhang the trails. I wonder what the chances are of any of them coming down….

Violet Crown Trail Overhanging Rocks 9-20-2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

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Written 9/21/2017

Too Much Rain?


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I was looking for something to do
my brain was acting without a clue
as the rain outside came teeming down
and the wind blew hard to add its sound
we were going through an unusual remake
of three days of rain without a break
as the hurricane moved way inland
and off to the East with its heavy rain bands
the weatherman says we are not through yet
as more of this wet stuff we will get.

Texans complain when they’re in a drought
things are dry and withered no water to spout
so a hurricane that brings lots of rain
to make things green and growing again
is a welcome site for those who hold dear
or live off the land the rain brings good cheer
usually one day is enough
two maybe and thats pushing your luck
get to three and then it is time
for rain to stop and for sun to shine.

Actually I kid a lot
as we will take any and all that you got
to fill up the lakes and rivers too
for when rain comes it’s something new
and we never know how long it will last
or how quickly it is a thing of the past
as the sun scorches down at one hundred degrees
baking the land and shading the trees
and before long you will hear people say
“Sure wish some rain was heading our way”.

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Raining Cats and Dogs.


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I took another drive today
this one to the  store along the way
as I was running out of food
which my fridge did not include.

It was raining cats and dogs
which I have never understood
how did that saying come about
as there were no animals underfoot.

I hurried quickly into the store
as the rain came down just like before
I grabbed a cart and walked inside
to get the few things my list described.

I quickly bought the very few things
and spent more time at the Higi screen
trying to see if I was alive
as my blood pressure and pulse did provide.

Satisfied that I was not dead
to the checkouts I quickly went
paid my fee and grabbed my cart
back to the car ready to depart.

It was still raining those same cats and dogs
as back to my house without further loss
of time as I needed to get home
with my groceries no more to roam.

I got back home to my cats and dogs
they were not raining I am at a loss
they were perfectly dry no sign of rain
and pleased to see me back home again.

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Austin Pond Society October Meeting, 2017


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The Austin Pond Society held it’s monthly meeting on Monday, October 16 at the usual place, the Zilker Botanical Gardens Clubhouse. The meeting was attended by around 35 members with a couple of new ones adding to the group. New members are always welcome. The meal provided by the very popular Stephen Monfrini, consisted of pulled pork rolls with salads and dessert’s provided by the members. As usual, a very welcome start to what was a very busy evening.

This meeting started with Jeannie, the President explaining to everyone the rules regarding the photo contest for next years calendars. The entries would be identified by a number only and the members would choose the first, second and third places in each category. There were four categories, fish, ponds, wildlife associated to a pond and water plants.

Following the time allowed to review and vote on the pictures,  the speaker for the evening, Paul Lawrence from “ Texas Land and Water Designs” talked to us for about an hour on the finer points of garden selection which emphasized included plants, where and what sort, contrasts, locations, statues and other solid objects and other ideas that may not occur to most of us. I had some technical difficulties with one of my cameras and it took me awhile to get it sorted out so I missed the first part of his discussion PLUS the camera was out of focus for a bit. My apologies for the poor performance on my part.

Paul Lawrence from “ Texas Land & Water Designs” Oct 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Following Paul, we moved right into the election of officers for this upcoming year, 2018. As chair of the nomination committee, Julienne Smith explained the format for electing the officers and smoothly switched into announcing those board members who were willing to hold a position and return for another year. These officers were all elected by acclamation.

Business Section October 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Below is a list of all of the newly elected Officers.
President – Jeannie Ferrier
Secretary – Keith Neuse
Treasurer – Jack Marshall
Parliamentarian – Nancy Reinart

Below is a list of all of the newly elected Directors.
Historian/Photographer – Glen Hubenthal
Hospitality – Stephen Monfrini
Programs/Special Events – Barbara Lenhardt
Librarian – Margaret Boeneke
Membership – Rodney Lewis
Publicity/Public Relations – Ellen Filtness
Webmaster – Francis Allcorn

All are returning officers with the exception of Keith Neuse as the Secretary. Keith is no stranger to the Board as he helped Rodney with the Membership this past year. Welcome Keith.

We would like to give our thanks to Julienne Smith who has been an active Board Member for seven years and has finally decided to step down. Thanks Julie for all of your hard work over all of those years.

The only position that was not filled was that of the Pond Tour Director without whom there will be no Pond Tour in the foreseeable future. This is probably one of the the most important and definitely the busiest position on the whole board for at least half of the year. Although there are many people that step up and work on the various Pond Tour Committees, the Director is the one that pulls it all together.

Please note that without a Pond Tour Director and therefore no pond tours, we will NOT be able to make the donations and charitable contributions that we normally make as this is our only substantive fund raiser.

Following the voting, Jeannie welcomed all of the members that have volunteered their pictures and then branched into a discussion regarding the actual Pond Tour. Notwithstanding that we need a Director to fill that position, she suggested that maybe we should consider holding the Tour every other year or cutting it back to a single day or both. Her reasons, apart from the obvious one of lack of leadership, is that it takes such a lot of organization and involves so many people. Another reason is that Austin has so much going on that other clubs in our organization, AAGC have also cut back on their tours and shows finding it difficult to compete. A further suggestion from another officer is to have two Directors, one North and one South to halve the organizational time and responsibilities and also to cut back on the mileage. All good talking points and something to think about.

At this point, Darren and Glen announced the winners of the Photo Contest for this upcoming 2018 Calendar. The pictures, in order, will also be posted on this website on a monthly basis starting January 2018. The final act of the evening as it usually is, was the drawing for the door prizes.

The next and final meeting for the year is scheduled for November 20th and it will also be our Holiday Party. Details to follow.