Austin Pond Society March Meeting 2017


DSC_5001The Austin Pond Society held their monthly meeting on March 20th which was attended by about 45 members. They were treated to a meal of Chicken Spaghetti with the salads  and fixin’s provided by the members. We were a little short on deserts this time around much to my disappointment as this meeting is the only time I allow myself the luxury of desert.. Many Thanks to Steven Monfrini, our Hospitality person shown below in his kitchen.

Following the meal and just a little different from our normal procedure, John O’Sullivan announced that he was now involved in helping people to get their Voter Registration up to date and that he was now able to give assistance to any and all that might need help in this area. He mentioned that Texas is now the most stringent State in the Union regarding Voter Registration and he felt that it was very important that everyone that can vote is eligible to do so.

Following John’s discussion, Jeannie Ferrier, President, started the advertised part of meeting with the introduction of a couple of new members followed by a brief report of the members activities this past month with cleaning Mayfield Ponds and the fish rescues that we have done. With that out of the way, we moved into the presentation for the evening with this particular one offered by Jeannie and Steven. They spoke about the construction of their 10,000 gallon pond and all that was involved in it from digging the hole to installing the pond plants. Steven spoke about the lights he has installed both in and around the pond. They fielded a lot of questions during and after the presentation which was warmly received by all of the members. Below is a video of their presentation.

Jeannie and Steven, March 20, 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

After their presentation, there were reports from the various Board Members and a lengthy discussion from Ted Paone about the upcoming Pond Tour. He also discussed Zilkerfest which is being held  the weekend of March 25-26 for which he needed Volunteers to man the Austin Pond Societies booth which is used to promote both the Society and the upcoming Pond Tour on June 3-4. The new stream renovation in Zilker Gardens is also having their official opening dedication ceremony which the Pond Society had donated $5000 to help towards the cost of that project.

The Tour arrangements are moving along very nicely, according to Ted. So far, there are 11 ponds on the North side and 9 on the South with the possibility of at least one more.

The meeting came to a close with the drawing for the door prizes and this time around, all of the food had been consumed so there was no need to ask people t0 take some home. The next meeting will be held on April 17 and this meeting will be our Annual Plant Swap. Bring along your surplus plants or fish that are both pond and garden related and swap them for something useful to you. Hope to see you there.

Below is the Business Video of the meeting.

APS Business Mar 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

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An Easy Fish Rescue.


goldfish2 (002)This past week, I visited two different locations to rescue the fish and plants that the owners no longer wanted. That sounds a bit harsh and in both cases, they had very legitimate reasons for giving up their water hobbies. In the first case on Monday, the owner, Renee, was selling the property and she did not have the room to re-locate the fish. In the second instance, Sonja, the lady who contacted me stated that the pond was getting to be too much work for her.

I made arrangements with Renee to visit them in Georgetown on Monday. It was a bit of a problem finding her house as the GPS would not show her address. I even stopped to talk to the mailman but his directions were not that clear. I finally pulled into another guy’s driveway and he was able to point me in the right direction.

As it happens, Renee had been on the lookout for me and she was waiting at the top of her driveway. We chatted for a bit and she then redirected me around the back of her house to an 8 foot circular barn trough that had a couple of straggly looking plants growing out of it but was full of goldfish. They ranged in size from very small to about 6 inches.

It was a comparatively easy to catch them although not the cleanest of jobs as the tank had a lot of sediment in the bottom. I pumped it down as far as I could which left about 3 inches of water in the bottom and then went about netting the fish. Renee helped with her own net and between us we caught around 50-60 fish.

When that tank was emptied, she directed me to the side of the house where she had yet another small trough that held another 50 or so fish of which she had already caught 35  or so and had them in a 5 gallon bucket ready to transfer them to my tanks. Altogether, there must have been close to a 100 goldfish in my containers.

I packed up my trailer and after bidding goodbye, set off for Mayfield Park where I planned to populate a couple of the ponds. The journey to the Park was uneventful and I pulled in and began to unload the containers that held the fish. The Park was really busy and I got a lot of questions especially from the younger generation as they watched me rehome the fish into their new surroundings in two different ponds accompanied by the raucous racket of the Peacocks.

After emptying the containers, I repacked the trailer and made my way back home. The traffic was light making for all in all, a good rescue day.

Austin Pond Society February 2017 Meeting.


dsc_4930The Austin Pond Society held its February 2017 meeting at the usual place, the Zilker Botanical Garden clubhouse this past Monday. It was well attended with close to 50 members and guests showing up.

The meal served was Pizza provided by Jet’s Pizza who has also opted to become a sponsor for the Society. Thank you Jet’s Pizza and incidentally, the pizza was pretty darn good. It was hard to not keep going back for more. Desert’s were provided by the members and we can always use more at any of the meetings.

After the delicious meal, the speaker for the evening, Linda Wall, was introduced by Barb Lenhardt, Program Director. Linda is from the Natural Gardener located at 8648 Old Bee Caves Road, Austin and her subject was New Ideas and Designs for your Bog.
Here is her introduction, “I’m expanding the talk to native Texas bog plants and marginals, many of which we sell. I’ll be bringing the ones we have in stock for a bit of “show and tell” along with some non-natives that we sell that do well in bogs, things like mint and gotu kola (one y’all may not have heard of! Fun!).”

Her talk was very interesting and she introduced us to a whole bunch of new plants that do well in our bog, some we have never even heard of and others that we did not realize we could use in and around out ponds and bogs. Hers was a show and tell as she had brought many plants with her to accompany her slide show. Below is a video of her presentation.

APS Meeting Feb 2017 Linda Wall from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Following Linda, Jeannie stepped up to the mic to conduct the small amount of business that we had to take care of. One by one, the Board Members gave their spiel on the given subjects. Jack Marshall, our new Treasurer presented the budget for the year, Margaret Boeneke, our new Librarian pointed out that there are several books out on loan, some of which for more than a couple of years and she asked for the members to get them turned back in, Barb Lenhardt, Publicity discussed the speakers for the upcoming meetings, I talked about the Marketplace on the website, xxxxx filling in for Rodney Lewis who is recovering from surgery, discussed the number of registered members, Ted Paone, Pond Tour Director talked about the upcoming Tour and the fact that he needs another 8 ponds to fill out this year’s Tour and last but not least, our most favorite and popular Board Member, Steven Monfrini, Hospitality pleaded for us to “Eat more Pizza”. We all wish Rodney our best wishes and to “Get Well Soon.”

The meeting closed following the drawing for the door prizes. The next meeting is on March 20 at the same place with the Speaker to be announced.

Below is a video of the Business part of the meeting.

APS Meeting Feb 2017 Business. from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Austin Pond Society – January 2017


dsc_4783This evening, we held the first Austin Pond Society meeting of the new year at the usual place, Zilker Botanical Gardens Clubhouse. The meeting was attended by around 40 or so of its members who were treated to a light meal of Tacos and all of the trimmings followed by a very large assortment of desserts brought in by the members. Our thanks to Steven Monfrini for preparing the delicious spread. To be the most popular person in the entire organization is no mean feat and all you have to do is to feed us to attain that rank as Steven does every month.

Prior to the start of the main meeting, Ted Paone, Chairman of this year’s Pond Tour, held the first introductory meeting of the Pond Tour Committee off to one side, finishing up in time to join the rest of the group for the meal.

dsc_4788At 7:00 pm, the Speaker for the evening,  Jody from Bloomers Garden Center along with her husband Marcus, talked to us about Building a Faerie Garden. She accompanied her talk with slides from the Faerie Garden that she and her family have built at her Garden Center which is located at 507 N. Highway 95, Elgin. See the video below of her presentation.

Faery Garden Meeting Jan 16, 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Following the Speaker, President Jeannie Ferrier presented the new 2017 Board and asked each to introduce themselves. As Webmaster, I was asked to make a presentation about the website and I put together a 15 minute video on it which unfortunately was unable to show due to technical difficulties with the sound. While fussing with this problem, I missed out on filming some of Jeannie introducing the Board Members including the four new ones. Consequently, the video is mostly all audio with a picture of the back wall as the video. Apologies all around.

APS Business Jan 16, 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Hopefully, I will show the video of the website at the next meeting. The meeting closed following the drawing for the door prizes.

The next meeting will be held at the same place on Monday, February 20 starting at 6:30 pm. Hope to see you there.

Austin Pond Society November Meeting 2016


dsc_4552The Austin Pond Society held their last meeting of the year this past Monday, November 21st at the usual location of the Zilker Botanical Gardens Meeting Room. Close to 50 people were in attendance to help celebrate this final meeting of the year.

The room was set up with round tables each seating 12 people and almost every table was taken. The tables had green tablecloths and in the center of each table was a Poinsettia plant that were later donated to different members. There was also a large scrap book on each table of events of years gone by about the Austin Pond Society from it’s inception in 1992. A very nice touch. Sparkling up on the ceiling and on any member who happened to walk through the beams, a thousand lights shone and twinkled.dsc_4529

The first 30 minutes was for mingling and visiting and eating hors d’oeuvres and consuming adult beverages. People were  checking out the scrapbooks. This being a pot luck, our members never let us down and the desert table was just full of scrumptious goodies, all I’m sure, loaded with calories. Who cares, they tasted great.

The main meat dishes were provided by the Pond Society and consisted of Beef and Ham. The members provided all of the fixin’s. There was not much food left at the end of the meal  as it was all delicious.

Following the meal, Barb Lenhardt introduced Mark Wester who is the representative for the Brown Santa Christmas Gifts for needy families. Brown Santa is the name of the Christmas program put on by the Travis County Sheriff’s Department and is this years cause for the Austin Pond Society members to donate unwrapped toys for the kids. There were two cart loads of donated toys, a wonderful response from the membership.Thanks to all of you for your efforts. You have helped to make it a great Christmas for some needy children.

The Brown Santa is a hard act to follow but the Pond Society was not done yet. Every year we donate a part of the proceeds from the Pond Tour to some needy cause. This year, the cause was closer to home as a check for $5000.00 was donated to Kat Newland who represents the Zilker Botanical Garden Conservancy (ZBGC)  to help pay for the renovation of the ponds and streams in the Zilker Botanical Garden Center. The existing system is leaking and long overdue for an overhaul.dsc_4545

Following the check and gift presentations the Membership got back to the serious business of having fun. Many of you may have noticed that some of the Members had lost any notion of dress sense that they may ever have had and were adorned in sweaters, ties hats and other garments that under normal circumstances would have belonged to a Fancy Dress Parade. These are, normally, just your average people and here they were dressed in the most outlandish of garments and what was worse, flaunting themselves in front of the entire room of people.

Turns out that they were all participating in the Ugly Sweater Contest which was not just limited to sweaters. Ties, hats, suspenders, skirts and all kinds of odd garments were on display as the membership proudly joined in with the fun.dsc_4547

This was the last event of the evening except for the group shot at the top of the page. This group reverted back to their teenage years and had me take a picture of them acting strange. I couldn’t resist and displayed this one in black and white. Anything to stop those ugly sweaters from blinding my vision.

dsc_4555

Following the frivolities, the group quickly pitched in to help with the clean up and to gather up any foodstuffs which may have been left over. I know there wasn’t much.

This meeting concludes the year for the Austin Pond Society as we do not meet next month, December. The next time we get together as a group will be January 16, 2017. We would like to wish all of our friends and members, a Happy Thanksgiving, A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you then.

There are four videos for you to watch.
The first is the wining and dining of the Members,\.

APS Thanksgiving-Christmas Party 2016 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The second is the Brown Santa Program.

Brown Santa from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The third is Presenting the check to Zilker Botanical Garden Conservancy (ZBGC).

ZBGC Check Presentation from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

and Finally, the last is the Ugly Sweater Contest.

Ugly Sweater Contest from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Austin Pond Society October Meeting 2016


The Austin Pond Society held their October Meeting at the usual place, Zilker Botanical Gardens Clubhouse on the third Monday of the month starting at 6:30 pm. Following the usual custom, the members were treated to a meal of Baked Potato with all of the fixin’s followed by deserts brought in by the membership. The meal, courtesy of Stephen and Cory was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Following the meal around 7:00 pm, the Speaker for the evening, Taylor Miller of Taylormade Waterscapes, ably assisted by his wife, Sara Lynn, gave us a very interesting talk about building ponds. He also discussed a pond that he worked on for a wealthy Koi enthusiast that was a miracle of modern technology in its construction. For most of us, this was the extreme in pond building and something that we would only read about in books and magazines. Taylor spoke for an hour to an audience of around thirty five members who all appeared to enjoy his talk.

Following Taylor, Jeannie Ferrier, our President stepped up to the mike to conduct the business part of the meeting which consisted of a brief summary by the current Board Members, several of whom are stepping down at the end of the year. Not on the video due to technical problems is the announcement by Francis, the Webmaster of a new page that had just been installed on the website that enables members to post used pond and garden related equipment to sell, swap or just plain give away. This page is named “The Marketplace”. The page is up and running and requires that a form be filled out and submitted giving a description of the articles that need to be posted. Following this announcement, we arrived at the main business of the evening, the election of new Board Members and the re-election of those continuing to stay.

The following members have kindly volunteered their time as new Board Members or in the case of Nancy Reinert, a change of position. Publicity -Ellen Filtness , Membership – Rodney Lewis , Parliamentarian -Nancy Reinert (Switching from Treasurer), Treasurer – David Collier .
The remaining Board members who are continuing in their current roles,  are as follows,
Jeannie Ferrier – President, Glen Hubenthal – Historian, Julienne Smith – Secretary, Ted Paone – Pond Tour Chairman, Barb Lenhardt – Publicity/Special Events, Betty Blackson – Librarian,  Francis Allcorn – Webmaster.

The election of officers completed the business for the evening except for the all important drawing for the door prizes which as usual was closely followed with the appropriate boos and hisses when a board member won a prize. With everyone joining in, the place was quickly cleaned up and made shipshape for the next meeting of whoever that may be.

The  Austin Pond Society’s next meeting, which will also be the last for the year, will be on November 21st at the usual time. There will not be a speaker as the entire meeting will be our Thanksgiving/Christmas Party with lots of food, music and dancing. Don’t forget to wear your ugly Christmas sweater so that you can participate in the “UGLY SWEATER CONTEST”. This year, we are asked to bring an unwrapped toy for the Brown Santa Program  which in turn will be given to needy children at Christmas. Hope to see you there. Oh yes, don’t forget to bring your food offering to the meeting in the form of salads, cookies, pastries and my favorite, apple or mince pie.

The first video is of Taylor Miller.

APS November Speaker 2016 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The last video is the Business section of the meeting.

APS Monthly Business Meeting October 2016 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

And I Thought I was Old…


dsc_4175As the Webmaster for the Austin Pond Society, my name is listed as the contact person for anyone who needs to contact the site for whatever reason. Usually, it is to ask a pond related question or maybe to find out if we do fish rescues and such like. My normal procedure is to contact the sender and find out just what their question is all about before deciding who to send it to within the organization. Sometimes, I can provide them with an answer over the phone and other times, I need to make a trip and visit them at their location.

I received a call from a gentleman we shall call Jim who was inquiring if I knew of anyone who wanted to buy his Koi and pond equipment as he needed to shut his pond down. I made arrangements to meet with him at his house to take a look and pictures to post on the new website pages that I have just put up that we call “The Marketplace”. Jim’s equipment would have been the first ones up.

When I pulled up outside of his house, I saw this sprightly looking older gentleman kneeling down in the middle of his front yard preparing a bed for the plants he was going to put there. We shook hands and he took me back to the pond which was at the back of the house. Turns out, Jim liked to chatter and before we reached the pond, I had already found out that he had just celebrated his 86th  birthday. I gotta say that he looked re-markedly fit and healthy for an 86 year old. He told me that he spends most of his time working, out in the yard and he did have a beautiful place. Unlike my lazy approach to building sidewalks of steel edging and reconstituted gravel, he opted to build forms and pour concrete curbing and then finish with brick pavers. He showed me all he had done so far and told me of his future plans for his yard. Quite obviously , he had no plans to retire from his yard work and being 86 was not going to slow him down.

We walked to the pond which was a very nice 1500 gallon pond with a huge stone waterfall and stone edges. The waterfall was not running due to a leak that he thought he knew the general location of but did not fancy moving tons of rocks to get to it. This was another reason that he was shutting down the pond. The pond contained eight lilies, two very large Koi and eight equally large goldfish. The circulation equipment consisted of a 4000 gph exterior pump with an attached UV light system that took the water from the pond and emptied it into a large waterfall box through an Aquadyne filtering system. He also had an Aerator which he was using to keep the water oxygenated. The whole set up was exactly what I was looking for to add to my largest pond. I made Jim an offer and wrote him a check and told him that I would return on the following Monday to remove the fish and equipment.

As I promised, I drove back to Round Rock on the following Monday which was a 50 mile trip one way for me. I didn’t mind the drive as my Ford Escape and Trailer hook up, runs very smoothly together on the road and it gave me ample opportunity to listen to my latest Audiobook, an intriguing story of the end of civilization as we know it. Jim was at the back of the house and left me a note on his front door telling me his location. He had already disassembled all of the equipment  with the exception of the Aerator which he had left running for the fish which would be the last thing to be loaded. We moved the disassembled equipment out to where I had backed in the trailer without any trouble followed by the eight waterlilies. Jim had a separate pump that he used to pump down the water so that he could get into the pond to hand out the lilies which were in tall pots. We placed each of the lilies inside a 40 gallon plastic bag to protect them on the trip home. Each time I tried to push the wheelbarrow containing the lilies, Jim kept taking the thing out of my hands so that he could do it. I don’t know if he was afraid that I would hurt myself or that unknowingly, we were in an old mans competition to see who could wheel the most. Actually, I didn’t mind one bit to let him be King of the Hill.

The last thing that we took to the trailer were the fish. Again, Jim jumped into the pond and using my fish net, caught the fish and I carried them out and placed them into an eighty gallon tank I had brought along. This tank has a cover and the entire thing is placed inside a tarpaulin. We had previously filled the tank with water from the pond so as the fish at least were in water they were used to. Again, Jim coupled up hoses and attached them to his extra pump to fill the eighty gallon tank. Talk about being a useful man to have around. He sure was that and more and he was not finished yet.

We finished loading out the trailer and by the time we were through, it was full. I happened to glance at the tires and noticed they were low on air. Jim noticed it too and the next thing, he came out with a tire gauge and an air pump and proceeded to air up both tires AND the spare. I thanked him profusely for everything especially for all of his help as usually on these sort of assignments, I am the one doing all of the work.

The drive home was trouble free and when I arrived at my house and checked the fish tank, everything was just fine and all of the fish had made it safely. It wasn’t long before I had them in their new home where they immediately headed for the bottom of the pond. It must have been quite an experience for them.

Actually, it was for me too. I got to meet a very nice gentleman who liked to talk. I learned about his past life as we worked and he told a good story. He was a man very much like myself in his ability to work hard and his usefulness knew no bounds as we worked on dismantling his pond. It was a real pleasure to do business with him.

The only downside to the entire operation that with me purchasing all of the equipment, there was nothing to post on the new webpage known as “The Marketplace”. Oh well, at least it is ready for the next person that wants to close down their pond or that just has surplus equipment for sale and I promise that next time, as long as they don’t have another exterior electric motor and wet end with a 4000 gph or more capacity, I will not buy it before others have a chance.