A Funny Old World, but not in an amusing way…


We live in a funny old world except it is not an amusing place to be.

Our world is populated by man and beast and Nature and the three have been trying to cohabit for millions of years or at least, as long as man had walked on two feet. Prior to that, man and beast were pretty much equal and between them Mother Nature was able to hold her own.

Move along a few thousand years and man is now fully capable of not only walking upright but also has the ability to think. Once that happens, then the earth no longer lives in harmony. Man hunts beast and beast hunts Man and so Man dreams up bigger and better ways to hunt the beast. Man has not yet endangered the Earth but is thinking up ways to do so.

Another thousand years and Man has now learned not only how to hunt the beast to the point of extinction but has also raped the trees and forests to where it has started to affect our way of life. Man in his ever ongoing role to “modernize” the world and his all consuming greed and selfishness, is poisoning the atmosphere and the Earth is warming up.

Move along a couple of hundred years and many of the beasts are extinct caused by man and his incessant greed and the atmosphere is continuing to be poisoned by mans ignorance and failure to recognize the dangers. Man is now blaming man for the problems that both of them created. War is imminent.

A hundred more years, and most of the birds and animals are gone, victims of man’s greed and ignorance. Man’s numbers are also in decline due to the hotter temperatures and the unclean air, shortage of food and water, the rising sea levels and fighting with each other. Man is no longer in harmony with Mother Nature, the remaining animals and the fellow man.

A hundred years later, there is no man who, along with the animals and all things living including the plants and trees, has perished in the problems of man’s own making. The Earth is nothing but a barren planet too hot to live on and an atmosphere that is unbreathable, just like Mars.

Farewell Man and Beast and Mother Nature, Farewell Earth. It’s too late now…

Today’s Thoughts, June 21, 2015. Father’s Day in America.

Rainy and Foggy Day

Rainy and Foggy Day

Today is June 21st, Fathers Day in America. We are probably the only country in the world that can come up with all of these dedicated days to celebrate something or another. Most official Holidays in most countries are usually religious holidays but here, in America we celebrate anything at anytime. More often than not, it is driven by commerce as with every “special” day, there goes along with it gift giving or at the very least a celebration of some sort that involves spending money. I sound like a cynic which I probably am as for me, I was a failure at being a Father in a couple of times of trying. Maybe I am just a sourpuss because no one is making a fuss over me not that I would want them to as I feel uncomfortable when I get any special attention. Pity my dogs don’t know what day it is as I know they would make a fuss over me and give me doggie kisses. Maybe I’ll tell them. Doggie kisses? Maybe not.

Anyway, be that as it may as I’m sitting here looking out of the window and watching it rain .. again. I read in the paper that Austin, a city that normally gets about 30 inches of rain a year has already passed that mark and we are only 6 months into the year. Today, in 2012, the temperature reached 108 degrees Fahrenheit,a record for that day and today, 2015, we will be lucky if we reach 85. I’m not complaining mind you as 108 is bloody hot even by Texas standards.

We can use as much rain as Mother Nature wants to send to us. Both Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan are still down from the perceived normal levels and although, the rain has helped quite considerably, we still need more.

I was able to complete my pressing outside projects. After several false starts due to the contractor going on vacation and not being able to get a pump truck because of the wet weather and Memorial Day floods, I ended up doing the entire project myself. I saved a bunch of money and lost a few pounds in the process and learned more about septic systems than I care to know. Anyone got a septic question? Bet I can answer it. Just kidding as learning is an ever ongoing process and every day brings new knowledge. Wonder what happens to those memories that I forget or have to spend considerable time in either retracing my steps or doing some serious thinking about what I was thinking about?

As I had to tear up the majority of the big deck in order to get to the septic system, I took the opportunity of replacing the wood that was showing signs of rotting out. After all, the deck has been there almost 30 years and although I replaced the original cedar with wolmanized after about 10 years of use, even that starts to deteriorate after 20 years wear and tear and weather. While I was at it and really in the swing of things, I completely tore out the lower deck and rebuilt it. So, all of my decks are in good shape and should see out my lifetime, however much longer that may be.

Power washing the deck

Power washing the deck

I wanted to power wash all of the decks and then re-finish them with some new fangled paint that is supposed to be 4x thicker than normal paint and after it is applied, one can dance barefoot on it! Yeah, right. The very thought of splinters is enough to send shivers up and down my spine. I got out my power washer from the shed and gassed it up and to my dismay, the gas poured out the other end as I poured it in my end. Damn thing had dried out again. Same thing happened last year and I took it to the shop to get it repaired. I think I used it once after I got it back and now this is “take two”. I loaded it onto my trailer and made the short trip (5 miles, short by Texas standards) to the repair shop who told me they were so busy that it would take a month to repair. I had no choice other than to leave it with them as it was no good to me like it was. Now, if I can only get into the habit of gassing up and starting up all of my gas-powered equipment throughout the year then maybe, I wouldn’t have this problem every time I want to use a piece of equipment.

My neighbor, Chris has a power washer and very willingly allowed me to borrow it. His worked just fine and I spent a busy couple of days washing everything that looked like decking. I was able to pretty much strip off all of the old red stain to bring it down to bare wood in most places. Now, all I need is to decide what color for the barefoot paint and for the sun to shine for a few days to dry out the deck. It will be interesting keeping the dogs off the wet paint!

Abigail looking for attention

Abigail looking for attention

Talking of dogs, life is continuing on without Abigail and although we are all still grieving, it gets a little better everyday. I swear that the other three dogs know she is no longer with us as they have all acted a little strange and out of character(for them) at different times.The temptation to replace her with another rescue is pretty strong but we will wait awhile before making any of those decisions. If you are wondering what happened to Abigail, she fell into the unguarded septic tank and drowned when my back was turned. By the time I got to her, it was too late. There is a poem about her at http://pondblog2011.mlblogs.com/2015/05/22/ode-to-a-dog-abigail/

My next project is to remodel the master bathroom. When I say remodel, I am only talking of the bath itself. I want to take out the bath and install a shower base with sliding doors and of course, all of the miscellaneous stuff that goes along with it. I am waiting to get a quote on it and will see what the contractor wants to charge before I make up my mind whether to contract the entire project out or save a bunch of money and do it myself.

I just took a walk around the garden in between the showers. As you can imagine, with all of the septic/deck work going on, only the bare necessities like feeding the fish and cleaning the filters has happened in the past 5 weeks or so and with all of this rain, the garden is now almost completely overgrown. I have to quite literally, push my way through the growth just to walk down the pathways. I thought maybe that I would be able to get to cutting a few of them back today, but with the rain, that idea is out of the window. Maybe tomorrow…One thing I am very grateful for is that my ponds were not on the Tour this year. With all of the septic/deck upheaval, I would have had to cancel as the yard was in no position to accept visitors.

Talking of pond tour, The Austin Pond Society has just completed theirs on the weekend of June 6,7. It was an unqualified success and although the number of visitors was down, that is mostly due to Austin being such a busy place with so much going on that it is generally recognized that nearly all events are not as well attended as in the past. Even so, I took that weekend out of my busy schedule to visit all 19 ponds and have written about them on the http://www.austinpondsociety.org website. I took over 700 pictures over the 2 days. One of the ponds was on the night tour and I took some really interesting pictures from daylight through dark as the evening transitioned. Below are a few of those pictures.



Turtles in my pond

Turtles 3-24-2105-5I was checking the ponds the other day and managed to catch two turtles sunning themselves. These are new ones and I have no idea where they came from. The same day, I discovered the other big turtle that has been with me for several years, dead in the big pond. No idea why it died but put it down to a winter casualty

The two new ones are enormous. The boards on the deck are 2×6 so it gives you an idea of the new turles size. Wonder how long these will stay for? As with all things Nature, I will enjoy them while I can.

Another Grey Day

Another Bright and Sunny Day

            Another Bright and Sunny Day

It’s another grey and cloudy day
enough to make me want to stay
in bed with the covers over my head
and sleep till noon and hopefully then
the sun will shine through the gloom
and I will want to leave my bed.

The dogs will not let me stay there long
as their breakfast they want to eat
and they will start to make a fuss
and lick my face as I try to sleep
until whether I like it or not
they force me out to face the day.

I do not like it when it is grey
and wish the clouds would go away
and let the sun shine through on us
to feel the warmth and the shiny light
that the sun provides when it can be seen
shining down on us to make everything bright.


Grand old oak tree

Grand old oak tree

If I had my choice to be
anything else other than me
and not another human kind
but something different I had in mind

I could be a dog or maybe a cat
to sit upon my keepers lap
and make a fuss of them to see
just how much they might love me

I could be a bird and fly so high
way,way,way up in the sky
always searching far and near
and sing my song for all to hear.

I think that I would rather be
a grand old oak, a living tree
watching as the world goes by
for centuries, my arms to the sky.

Standing there for hundreds of years
tales to be told of all I have seen
spreading shade and shelter to one and all
and telling my stories before I fall.


Oh to be a dog (or a cat)…

BeBe looking Sleepy

Bebe looking Sleepy

I was sitting in front of my computer looking at a blank screen and thinking how quiet and peaceful it is. Outside, the weather is cold at a chilly 45 degrees and it is a dull grey and sombre day. It is one of those days when you know that it is not going to rain any amount, a much-needed blessing in my part of Texas, but just dull and cloudy. There is enough cloud that the sun is not peeping through, not even one little bit..

Because it is so quiet, my mind turned to the dogs and cats and what they are doing. Bebe, the oldest of the four dachshunds who is now probably at least 14 or 15 years old and getting a little deaf, is curled up in one of the new doggy baskets that I had recently bought them, fast asleep and seemingly, not a care in the world. Whenever she can, she will sit behind me in my office chair resulting in me having to make do with just half a seat. It’s a little uncomfortable for me but Bebe seems to like it just fine.  Bebe has one goal in life and that is food, any kind of food one of which is raw carrots  She had previously had some medical issues that required taking out her thyroid resulting on her having a special diet. As far as I know, carrots are not on the list of food she is not supposed to eat but again, it would truly be a dog’s life is she couldn’t have any treats. Bebe is a black and tan and the only one different in color. She is supposed to be a miniature of the breed and does have very short legs and the outlines of this small breed of dachshund. Unfortunately, with  her love of food and her medical problems, she does not have the sleek lines of Richie and Ginny.

Abigail looking for attention

Abigail looking for attention

Abigail, the next oldest, is a standard size dachshund weighing about twenty pounds and is the bully of the group. Not that she attacks or bites the other dogs but rather that she uses her size to push her way in and them out-of-the-way especially when we are all on the couch in the evening watching television. Well, maybe I am the one watching television and they are all asleep! She also likes to eat and can devour food at an amazing rate and is usually finished before the others have hardly started their food but she never tries to steal theirs away from them. She too likes carrots but I am not sure if she truly likes them or just does not want any of the other dogs to get them. She is sleeping on the living room couch which she calls her domain.

Ginny the new girl

Richie looking alert

Richie is the only male and is pretty laid back unless he feels that one of the others needs a lesson. Only then does he assert himself and puts them back in their place in the pecking order. He spends his days out in the yard searching for the rats and mice that are there. He is pretty good at catching them and generally either buries them or eats them. He does not just hunt rodents, he goes after the squirrels of which there are quite a few, especially when they come down to steal the birdseed out of the feeders or to get water. He loves to chase the buzzards even though they are circling and wheeling up in the sky. He madly dashes from one end of the garden to the other when one of them flies over. I saw a small feral kitten the other day in front of the house and being a good Samaritan put some food out for it. That was a mistake as the kitten found its way into the back yard and ran into Richie who promptly killed it and half buried it. He has this thing against cats and even though there are two in the house, I always have to put them in a separate room away from the dogs when I go out. He has managed to have a go at both of them resulting in one losing her tail and the other developing diabetes,. Not sure if that was a direct result or just discovered when he had to go to the vets to get sewn up. There was a previous third cat that didn’t make it through the night after Richie’s close attentions. He is a sweet little dog except as far as other animals are concerned although he makes no moves at the cats when I am home and even shows signs of affection for them. Probably knows he will get the crap beaten out of him if he so much as tries. Right now, because it is cold out, he is sleeping on the couch that is in the bedroom that he has taken over as his own personal spot.

Ginny looking for trouble

Ginny looking for trouble

Lastly, there is the latest of the bunch, a small breed little girl named Ginny who weighs a little over twelve pounds. She is without a doubt the funniest of them all, always in a hurry tearing around wherever she goes. Always at top speed. She has this thing for cat food and whenever I have to go into the office which is now the cats room, she tears in ahead of me and does her little prancing dance just to get the cat food. She is really sweet and affectionate and a great bed warmer as she sleeps under the covers against my back. All of them are rescue dogs coming from various and different circumstances. At the present moment, Ginny is practicing her imitation of a hot water bottle and is snuggled under the covers in the bed. With the exception of Bebe, all of the others are the regular orange brown color of the typical smooth coated dachshunds.

All four of these dogs are employed by the Dachshund Watchdog Service Company that is supposed to patrol the yard and keep the Heron away from eating the fish. Unfortunately, they have recently been quite literally sleeping on the job resulting in the heron having some success in the goldfish pond.I have told them that this is the last chance they will have to do the job right and unless they shape up, I will have to get another watchdog service and have them replaced.I am waiting to see the results of this discussion…

The two cats, the tail less one named Ellie and the diabetic one, named Brown Cat (he is a Siamese), are sleeping in their usual spots, Ellie on the bed keeping Ginny company from a distance and Brown Cat in one of the closets. I envy them sometimes, two squares a day and all of the sleep they want in a nice warm house. What could be better (as long as they are not alone with Richie).

Brown Cat

Brown Cat

As I mentioned previously, we all sit on the couch in the evenings and generally Brown Cat will make his way up there as well. So if you can picture Richie to my right, Ginny on my lap, Bebe next to me on the left, Abigail next to Bebe and finally Brown Cat either between them or on the end. If I get up to get something, they open ranks and spread out and I have a devil of a time regaining my original spot. In the evenings when we all retire for the night, they all join me in the King sized bed with Abigail and Ginny always under the covers, Bebe on the top but usually covered by her own little blankie and Richie on his couch until he gets cold then he climbs under the covers with the rest of us. The two cats position themselves wherever they can find a spot and sometimes I will wake up to find that Ellie is sleeping next to my face. She seems to be doing this more and more just lately. I guess its her way of showing more affection as she grows old.

Ellie in her favorite place

Ellie in her favorite place.

My dogs and cats are great company for me and can always cheer me up if I happen to be down which is not often. They give me another angle to my life as I am responsible for them and take that very seriously. When I have to make decisions about their quality of life, I generally cry like a baby if I have to put them to sleep and every animal  I have lost has left a void in my heart which I generally fill by getting another rescue. Now though, I am seriously thinking of the future and what may be down the road. I want to outlive all of my pets if that is at all possible and even though I have no control over it, that is my wish. So, in all probability, these are the last pets I will have as we all grow old together. Currently, there are eleven dogs and sundry cats buried in different places in my yard, the end result of thirty years of friendship and love.

BTW, the hundred or so goldfish and Koi that are in the five ponds are not considered pets at least the same as the dogs and cats. They get sick and die with no warning and after all, its hard to get affectionate with a cold-blooded thing with scales that lives in (cold) water….

Me and the Cat

Ellie in her favorite place

Ellie in her favorite place

Early morning for me and the cat
as she sat on the floor just inches from me
as we got ready to face the day
the cat looked at me as if to say
what’s going on to pass the time
I looked at the cat so sublime
all sleepy and purring in quiet content
and said,”Don’t know yet, but we’ll figure it out.
First feed the fish and then check the ponds
feed you and the guys as we always do
breakfast for me and a latte or two
just to get going on this new day
from there who knows, yard work or write
do I want to work or play”.

The cat said in her quiet tone
“I think that you will do it alone
for me first a nap and then more food
and as eating is such a tiring thing
another nap to recover my strength
and that should take care of most of my day.
If you finish early as you sometimes do
I’ll come and sit with you just to be friends
and I’ll let you stroke me at the back of my neck
and I will purr and sing you a song
as you and I get along”.

Brown Cat

Brown Cat

Of course the cat doesn’t really talk to me
but I do to her when together are we
and I’m sure that if she could she would say
“Lets spend time together again today
for I’m just a cat but I am your friend
and in this family I am not alone
and I have to wait for my time
as with the dogs and the other cat I share
any time with you that you can spare”.

We’ve been together about fourteen years
and lots has happened in that time
pets have come and pets have gone
as age or illness has taken their toll
and Ellie is moving slower now
and sleeps more as she grows old
and likes to sit close to me
and lets me know that she is there
as she purrs or talks in her peculiar way
as we share the moments of the day.