Austin Pond Society November Meeting 11-19-2018


The Austin Pond Society held their last meeting of the year in the form of a Christmas Party. The theme this year was Mexican and the food and decorations reflected that. Members came dressed in gay colors, some wearing hats and the main dish for the food was Tamales along with all of the fixins’. Members provided more Mexican dishes plus a myriad of deserts.

For the second meeting in a row, attendance was down. The weather had taken a turn for the worse with a cold front so maybe that kept some people away. Altogether, I counted twenty seven members present. Blue Santa and Mrs Klaus had to drop out at the very last minute due to being stuck in Chicago so a couple of other gentlemen, David and Scott filled in, making speeches and receiving all of the donated toys of which there were two very large sacks.

There was no business to conduct so the entire evening was focused on food and good company. This was Jeannie’s last meeting as El Presidente and I and the Membership would like to take this opportunity to thank her for her past five years of serving the Members of the Austin Pond Society.

The Members enjoying the Christmas Party 2018
The Christmas Trees that the AAGC Member Clubs decorated this year 2018
Video of Christmas Party

So the curtain drops on another fun year. I wonder what is in store for 2019?

Written 11/22/2018

APS October 2018 Meeting


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The outgoing President, Jeannie Ferrier on the left with the incoming President Barb Lenhardt

Another month, another meeting of the Austin Pond Society held at the usual place, the Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin, Texas. As usual, we were treated to a meal provided by our Hospitality person, Steven. He is one of those who is giving up his volunteer position at the end of the year and we thank him for his contributions to the cause. Tonight, his offerings were corn dogs with  deserts provided by the members. As I am not into corn dogs, I made do with several cookies to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Due to the bad weather, our numbers were down by quite a bit and I counted only 22 people in attendance. We started off with Barb introducing our speaker, Alex Rabadan, a local pond builder whose company is named Oasis Water Features and Landscaping. He held a question and answer session which kept everyone occupied for 30 minutes or so.

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Alex Rabadan, Oasis Water Features and Landscaping.

This was followed by Steven Monfrini, acting in the absence of the chairperson Nancy Reinert and as one of the committee members, to announce the new Board members for 2019. All the positions were filled and required a vote from the Membership to appoint them which passed without dissent. To review the new Board who will take office January 1st, 2019, use this link.

This was the only major piece of business for this evening and with a little more discussion about other minor items, the meeting came to a close.

APS Speaker October Meeting 2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

October 2018 meeting Business from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

 

The next meeting to be held on November 19 at the same location, will be our Christmas End of the Year Party. Blue Santa will again be in attendance so we are asking all of our members to bring a small gift preferably in the 12-14 year age bracket for the kids in Austin who do not receive much on Christmas morning. The theme this year will be Mexican and the food will also reflect the theme. Members can still bring along desserts or their contribution to the Mexican main meal. We are hoping for a Mariachi Band from one of the local high schools but that is not yet confirmed. Keep looking for more on this and we hope to see you there.

This will be the last meeting for the year as we do not meet in December.

Written 10/18/2018

Finally, Rain…


Rainy Day on the Coast

Rainy Day on the Coast

Finally, we got some rain here in my part of Texas. A little more than 2 inches of a steady downpour. Not enough to flood but a nice gentle rain that the hungry soil greedily soaked up with very little run off.

I walked around the garden the next day and was totally amazed at how quickly everything that a couple of days ago was really sorry looking and drooping like it was on its last legs, had recovered. Nature is so amazing and so resilient and it helps that I have all native plants in my garden. The reason for the rain was the most recent Tropical Storm named Gordon off the coast of Mississippi that managed to dump enough rain to make it a very welcome guest. Today the high temperature so far has only reached 92 with yesterday’s high the same. Maybe, just maybe we are all through with the 100 degree days of the past few weeks. So far this year, 2018, Austin has seen 49 days of 100 degree heat a long cry from 2011 when there were 90 days of it. Incidentally, this is the first year that I did not hook up the soaker hose system mainly to see what the end result would be without it. The only watering was to the plants in containers on the deck.

As you can imagine, not only is 100 degrees bloody hot, it is also very tiring and difficult to work outside especially for us older folks. Back in the day, when I was a lot younger, I worked Construction  when I first arrived in Texas and even though it was very hot, it didn’t bother me as much as it does now I am an old fart. I have spent these past few weeks indoors working on my blogs and a couple of other indoor projects and attending to the ponds early in the mornings. I have managed to put together a whole list of projects that I need to do and would normally have been done if not for the heat. These I will work on as soon as it cools to around 90 degrees and lower. Needless to say, I have not even thought about going hiking and as tough of an old bird that I am, even I would probably pass out in the heat.

These are the joys of living in the Lone Star State. At least we don’t get much of a winter which almost makes up for the heat.

Written 9/5/2018

The Search Goes On…


Ginny the new girl

Ginny, the last one remaining of the original dogs…

As I am still looking for a companion for my little Dachshund, Ginnie, the loner and only female in the group, I decided to head to the three different Dog Rescues that I tend to visit on a periodic basis.

The first and furthest away is in Bastrop, a distance of 38 miles from my house. That is the same place that I got Mikey although at the time, his name was Charlie. It doesn’t seem to matter what I call him as he only comes when he feels like it. Actually, that is not really true as when I am out in the yard and working around the ponds, he is usually no more than a couple of steps away. Only if Ginnie starts to bark at something which she is prone to do, will he tear off at top speed to help her investigate whatever she was barking at.

I walked around the kennels at the Bastrop Rescue, many of which are empty as they are not inundated with dogs at this time. I did not see one Great Pyrenees and that has to be a first as usually, there are 2-3 of them. In the small dogs, they had a few mixed breeds and Chihuahuas, several of which were either males and/or in pairs. I didn’t see a single female that I thought would be a good companion for Ginnie.

My next stop was at the Austin Animal Shelter on Levander Loop which is the biggest of all of the places I visit. They had a lot of little dogs of all breeds and shapes and sizes but many had adopted stickers or were males. None of them said to me, “Take me home”.

My final stop was  at Austin Pets Alive in Tarrytown which is a little different than most shelters. It has four different areas all one after the other where they house the dogs several to an area. As these areas are adjoining, it is always a noisy place to visit as one barking dog sets off the rest of them. Again, these are all small dogs of different mixed breeds and varieties with Chihuahuas being the predominant strain and again, very few were female. So, very reluctantly, I left and made my way home wishing that that I was filthy rich and could give all of the dogs that I had seen today, a permanent place to call home.

Next week, I will take a drive to Georgetown, the place where I got Gizzy, just in case another small female dog is there and looking for a home.

Written 8/26/2018

APS September Meeting 2018.


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True to form as September 17th rolled around so did the Austin Pond Society monthly meeting held at the usual place, Zilker Botanical Gardens Clubhouse. There were about 34 people in attendance plus several of the Sponsors as this meeting was dedicated to them to give everyone a chance to meet them in person.

DSC_3425 John from Jet’s Pizza with Steven Monfrini

The evening started with a light meal in the form of Pizza with all of the fixins delivered by the owner John. Member’s brought deserts as they usually do which I for one am very grateful. About the only time I eat deserts is once every month at the Austin Pond Society Meetings.

Following the meal, the Business section of the meeting started with the President Jeannie, going around the room and taking comments and questions. The high spot of the evening apart from the opportunity of meeting the Sponsors, was the announcement and presentation of a list of names compiled by the Nomination Committee ably led by Nancy Reinert for the 2019 Board of Directors. Much to everyone’s surprise, this Committee had managed to find willing people to serve in all of the vacant positions which included, President, Treasurer and Pond Tour Chairman, the three most difficult positions to fill. There was some shuffling around as  people switched positions but in the end, all of the Officers and Directors positions had nominees. These need to be ratified which will happen by the Membership at the next meeting in November. None of these nominees are cast in stone and if there are any other candidates willing to run at that meeting, then the positions will be decided by a vote of the membership. There are still two other outstanding positions that are classified as Volunteers meaning that they do not have to attend Board Meetings and neither do they get a vote if they do choose to attend. Those positions are Hospitality and Librarian. The Hospitality position is the most popular person in the Club as that person is the one that feeds us every month. The other vacant position is the Librarian who brings the books and maintains the records of those that are loaned out. If any of you are interested in either of these positions, contact Nancy Reinert at parliamentarian@austinpondsociety.org

Time was given to mix with the Sponsors to see what they had to offer and ask questions about their products. My favorite was Barb Lenhardt who is a Realtor as she had the best chocolates. Actually, the Sponsors who were in attendance or had representation at a table were as follows, the aforementioned Barb Lenhardt, Realtor, Water Garden Gems from Marion who brought several goodies that they offered for sale, Taylormade who builds ponds and Kirk Perry with Perry Aerial Photography.  Both Jet’s Pizza and Bamboo Bistro had tables but were not in attendance due to the calls of business.

The meeting finally came to a close with the business out of the way as it was time to turn attention to the other important part of the evening namely the judging of the pictures that will go into the Calendar. As Calendar sales have been dropping off with the advent of the internet and cell phones, this item will eventually go the way of the DoDo even though the Photo Contest will remain as an integral part of the organization with the pictures getting posted on the website, the modern way of showing off prints. There were a lot of pictures on display split into four different categories, fish, ponds and pond features, wildlife and pond plants. The participants were each given four stickies with a number that they affixed to each of their pictures. The voters wrote down their selection by number and the votes were tallied up and the winners announced. These winning pictures will all go into the Calendar and will be posted on the website usually as the heading picture for the month. This is always a very popular occurrence every year and regardless of the Calendar survival, will continue as an integral part of the Austin Pond Society.

Jeannie thanked everyone for attending including the Sponsors and for making the evening a huge success and called the meeting to a close. The next meeting is October 15 at the same place and the Speaker will be Alex Rabadan, Owner of Oasis Water Features & Landscaping (512-630-6786). Alex offers services such as Pond Installations & Monthly or Yearly pond & water garden maintenance.
This will be the last real meeting of the year as the November Meeting is dedicated to having fun and partying.

APS September Meeting 2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

APS September 2018 Meeting Video from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

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Sponsor Night from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo


APS September Photo Contest 2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo
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Hope to see everyone at the October Meeting.

Written 9/21/2018

Friendship…


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I am sitting here waiting for time
to pass and then I can get ready
ready for what I do not know
only that I need to change into something
better than I have on now
as shorts won’t cut it.

A dress shirt and a nice pair of dress pants
should do the trick so I don’t stand out
in a crowd who would all rather wear shorts
but all have come with the same purpose
to honor a lifelong friend
for his services to the cause.

We are all members of a group
who in our free time
kicked a ball around
the game played with the feet
and called football
to the rest of the world.

My friend who I have known
for forty one years
welcomed me on his team
with open arms
even though
he had never seen me play.

Tonight we honor our friend
for services to the football community
for his dedication to the sport
in helping to form the League
so that enthusiasts like me
had a place to play.

Now forty one years later
he gets the recognition he deserves
as a founder member
and as a true soccer enthusiast
and a real gentleman
in every sense of the word.

A Lawyer by trade
dealing with the misfortunes
of broken marriages
a more warm and caring man
you could not hope to meet
in any lifetime.

I consider myself very fortunate
to be a  part of his circle
and to have known him for so long
even as I played against him
on different teams
still a true friend.

Poem by Francis Allcorn
written on the occasion of
Phil Friday and his 45 years in the
Austin Soccer Community.

Written 8/12/2018

Austin Pond Society August 2018 Meeting


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After being away from our home location for the past two meetings, the Austin Pond Society was very happy to return to what we consider to be our home base, Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin, Texas. The first things I noticed upon our return was the Photographic Art that adorned the walls, showings from one our local Photographic Artists,

This was our monthly meeting for August. We had originally lined up a Speaker but he had to cancel at not quite the last minute as we had time to line up a different event. This time, we held our Swap, Buy and Sell meeting where the owners brought in their used equipment in the hope of moving it along to others who may have the need. There were also many plants both for sale and free and one Member brought in a bunch of baby Koi that he was giving away.

For the first time, there was quite a bit of duplicate pond equipment such as skimmer boxes, filter boxes and such with no less than three owners having similar items on their tables. Some of the equipment was brand new and still in the box as in the case of Member Mike Peppar who purchased the items with a view of DIY pond and then ended up contracting it out to one of the many reputable pond builders in the area.

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I counted thirty four members at the meeting all who appeared to enjoy themselves. The meal was the good old American standby, namely hot dogs with all of the fixins and there was plenty to go round including deserts brought in by the members.

The Business section of the meeting comprised of two major items. Ellen Filtness has come up with the idea that has been named Pondsitters. Basically what it is is a service provided by the current members to help one another out on a volunteer basis either in Emergencies or when the owner want or needs to go away for a few days and the volunteer would act as the Pond sitter in the time the owner is gone. She explained the idea to everyone and it is currently posted in a lot more detail on the APS Website. Great idea for those of us that do not have anyone to look after our ponds and need to take that trip. If you are interested either as a volunteer to Pondsitters or have the need for such a service down the road use this link for more information.

The second item was the presentation of the revised bylaws after a couple of months of hard work by Margaret, Jeannie, Julie and Frank working on the Revisions with Nancy Reinhardt as Chair of this project. Nancy presented it to the floor for it to be voted on as the new APS Bylaws. There was some discussion over one item to do with the number of Directors but Julie suggested a simple change of verbiage which was accepted by the Members who then proceeded to pass both measures. We should be good for at least 4-5 years without having to make further revisions. That was the last of the major business and the Swap and Sell opened to the floor. I would like to say it was a roaring success but I don’t believe it was. I sold some small items and made the grand total of $27 but there did not seem to be anyone with a pond building project in their futures so none of the major equipment that was offered by three of us, sold.

The plants and fish went well and their seemed to be a steady stream of buyers for the plants which were located outside because many of them are water plants and we did not want to mess up the floors.

The evening finally wound down and by 8:00 pm. nearly everybody had left. The next meeting is on September 17th and will be our Sponsors Night when we dedicate the entire evening to our wonderful Sponsors. Hope to see you there.

APS August Meeting 2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Written 8/20/2018