APS Meeting August 2017


DSC_0837The Austin Pond Society held it’s monthly meeting on Monday August 21, 2017 at the usual time, 6:30 pm and the usual place, Zilker Botanical Garden Center. For a while, the Board Members outnumbered the guests but as the evening wore on, there were around 30 people in the room. They were treated to a meal of Tacos and Salad plus desserts brought in by the membership.

The Speaker’s for the evening were Tom & Sherry Gringas and their subject was  “Enhancing your Pondscape with Metalwork and Sculpture”. Tom teaches welding and the art of metalwork at ACC and Sherry is the designer of his projects. She also put together the wonderful slide show of their work. The presentation is marred by the poor sound quality due to yours truly forgetting the camera mic. Apologies all around.

Following the presentation, Jeannie had a small amount of business to conduct followed by the drawing for the door prizes, which incidentally, she was the lucky winner of one.  She always tells us that she buys prizes that she would like and this time, her wish came true. Well done Jeannie.

The meeting closed around 8:30 pm. The next meeting is on Monday,  September 18 and the Speaker will be Jeff Price from Price Landscape .  He will be talking about  “Landscape ideas for your yard ”. For those of you looking to change or make your yard a bit different, I’m sure that Jeff will have some great ideas. Hope to see you there.

This video is of Tom & Sherry Gringas presentation. Again, apologies for the sound content.

Gingras Metalwork Aug 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

 
This video is of the Business part of the meeting. Same sound problem.

Business Aug 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

 

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St Edwards Park 8-10-2017


DSC_0660LPI was trying to find a different place to hike as I have just about worn out my welcome at my regular hiking places. I located a new park called St Edward’s Park in Northwest Austin. It is not that big in the way of trails but it does follow Bull Creek for most of the way. Bull Creek is spring fed so it has water all year round even with our super hot summers.

The park is located off Spicewood Springs Road in a beautiful area of Northwest Austin that I had never been before. It was a pleasant drive as the road twisted and turned. I almost missed the Trailhead but managed to stop in time to make the left turn without causing an accident. There were several cars in the small lot and others were pulling in or leaving at fairly frequent intervals. I wandered over to the kiosk to take a look at the map as I had not been able to find one on the website and it occurred to me that the map was not oriented to the way I was facing. The complete reversal in fact so I had to re-imagine it in my mind in order to get my bearings. There appears to be a cluster of trails at one end and then a long trail that actually follows Bull Creek for a couple of miles. There is also another Trailhead further up the road a mile or so.

The trails on the Trailhead side of the creek are all well worn mostly dirt tracks with a lot of shade and I followed the Creek all the way to the waterfall where I was able to cross over mostly to take some pictures of the falls. DSC_0622I discovered that on the opposite side there is also a trail that appeared to go in the direction of the furthermost Trailhead so I opted to follow this one to save backtracking which I hate to do. This trail presented much more of a challenge as it climbed upwards sometime by log steps, other time by scrambling up the rocks. It levelled out towards the top of the hill and then ran in a parallel direction to the Creek only way higher above it. I couldn’t even see the Creek from up there. In places, the trail was not very wide as it skirted around the side of the hill with a pretty steep drop off to my right. A woman and her dog passed me as I was taking a shot of the horizon but they were the only ones that I saw except for a couple of guys way down by the Creek just after I started the climb.

This trail turned out to be a real challenge especially when I got close to the other Trailhead when I was trying to find my way down to Bull Creek which included a lot of scrambling and almost rock climbing in some places. After several false trails which required both carefully picking my way down and then back up again, I eventually made it to the creek where I crossed over at one of the shallow areas and then followed the trail back passing several people on the way. The trail that I had just left, the one that scrambled upwards and then back down to the creek is not marked on the map but it was well walked so many others must know about it. I arrived back to the dam and then back up the trail to my car where I very gratefully sat for a while before changing out of my soaked clothes to something dryer and more comfortable. Cars and people were coming and going all the time I sat there. The Park gets a lot of use.

I took lots of pictures and it was truly great to find a Creek that had water in it. Altogether, I covered around 3.5 miles although the hike on the far side seemed much longer than that as the degree of difficulty was quite high. It was a real workout.

As usual, here is a video of some of the trails that I walked.

St Edwards Park Trails 8-10-2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Views of the Creek and the Horizons

Bull Creek at St Edwards Park 8-10-2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

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Town Lake in Austin 8-6-2017


DSC_0580I hadn’t been out for either a hike or a photographic trip in over a week and wanted desperately to get back out again. One reason was to fill my mind with other thoughts as I grieved over the loss of my little dog, Richie and I had to get my mind back onto regular things. I didn’t want to take a long hike as the weather is still so hot and very uncomfortable so a short walk on the Town Lake trails seemed like a very good idea.

I opted to park in the lot next to the Zachary Scott Theatre Center off Lamar Boulevard and wander along that part of the trail as far as the bridge over the creek on Barton Springs Road. As it was a weekend, the trail was very busy with runners, cyclists, people with dogs, people without dogs, lovers walking hand in hand and families pushing young kids in strollers, the obvious end result of lovers walking hand in hand.

You name it and every kind was out on the trail.

Turning my attention to the Lake, I saw that it was filled with people in canoes of various types and on surf boards all paddling around in different directions as they enjoyed the Texas summer day on the Lake. Many of the metal canoes had the name of a rental company printed on them. Others were probably owned by the people paddling them. There were dogs everywhere either swimming alongside or actually in the canoes or on the paddleboards. Many of the people, especially those of the female gender were dressed in the barest minimum of skimpy bikinis with lots of flesh showing.  Many of the guys had their shirts off to catch the sun on their bodies and although I didn’t see any ladies in bikinis who shouldn’t have worn them, I did see many of the gentlemen whose portly shapes indicated to much good living and not enough exercise. Paddling a canoe around in circles barely counts as exercise and the amount of visible flab is hardly the way to attract the ladies.

I wandered along taking pictures and wishing that I had brought the camera with the telescopic lens with me as well as the one that I carried to zoom in on some of those long range shots. I reached the bridge where the trail crosses Barton Creek and took several pictures of the view into the city and back up the creek in the reverse direction. This part of the Creek was very popular with lots of people in canoes of all shapes and sizes and the inevitable paddle boards. I even saw a pair of swans who, apart from keeping a wary eye out, totally ignored all of the activity going on around them. The people were good to as most gave the swans a wide berth. Interesting how Nature eventually blends together given the right circumstances.

I passed one very hot looking policeman and chatted to him for a bit. When I said that it was a bit warm, he remarked that it was overtime so was worth getting a little hot. I agreed and moved on. I wandered back along the same trail to where my car was parked taking a few more pictures here and there as I went. All in all, an interesting afternoon.

The total trail length is 10 miles and can be broken into smaller segments by crossing any of the bridges to complete the loop and there are several different places to park to gain access to the trail. On any given day, there are always people out on this trail.

The slideshow is of the different views of the Lake  especially of the people in the watercraft.

Town Lake 8-6-2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Austin Pond Society May 2017 Meeting


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As it usually does, the third Monday of the month rolled around and with it the Monthly Austin Pond Society Meeting. This one was held for the wonderful sponsors to set up a table and Meet and Greet the members. Those that had goodies for sale, brought them along and set them out to tempt the most stringent of buyers. Those that sold services greeted the many people that attended and engaged them in conversation about what they had to offer. There were about 45 members attending and they got to meet the following sponsors.

Cory Ferrier 
Bloomers – Marcos and Jody
PrivateLabel Realty – Barb Lenhardt
Water Garden Gems – Shane and Alona
Taylormade – Taylor Miller
Amber Prosceno LMT – Amber Prosceno
Hill Country Water gardens – Jeremy and Emily
Texas Land and Water Design – Paul Lawrence
Honeycomb Fish Farm – Steve and Yvonne
The Great Outdoors – Al
Environmental Survey Consulting – David and Amy 

Each, as they were introduced, gave a brief description of their business. Several brought and sold their wares while others  contributed door prizes and in the case of Hill Country Water Gardens, an entire Fairie Garden to be auctioned off for charity. It eventually went for $140.00 to one of the members who bought it as a gift for his wife’s upcoming birthday.

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The evening was a huge success as members got to meet the sponsors. Intermixed in all of the excitement were several raffles and door prizes which always garners interest.

This video is of the Sponsor Meeting.

Sponsor Night May 5-15-2016 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

This video is of the several auctions and door prizes.

Auction at Sponsor Night May 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The food for the evening was Pot Luck and the members didn’t disappoint as there were many hot dishes and lots of desert. most of which was consumed by the Members. The meeting ended around 8:30 pm and a quick clean and straightening up of the Meeting Room was the final act of the evening.

The next event will be the Splash Party which is a private party for the Owners and Volunteers  where they can pick up their materials that they will need on the day. This will be held on Saturday, May 20th at Zilker Botanical Gardens. Then comes the “BIG” weekend of the Pond Tour, June 3 for the North Tour and June 4 for the South. Make sure that you have purchased your wristbands. Use this link, if you haven’t.

Austin Pond Society Meeting – April 2017


DSC_5179The Austin Pond Society held their monthly meeting this past Monday, April 17 at the usual place and time. This meeting was our Annual Plant Swap when members bring in pond or garden plants surplus to their requirements to swap out for those of a different kind that other members have brought in.

It is always a fun event and usually, there is always someone who brings in something different or exotic just as a change from the usual pond and garden plants. The meeting was well attended with around 55 members showing up. Not everyone brought in plants to swap out but as usual, there were so many that if they wanted to, everyone went home with something new and different.

Prior to the start of the swap, Steven Monfrini, our Hospitality person, treated us to hot dogs with all of the fixin’s with desserts of different kinds brought in by the members. As I am not a big hot dog fan, I made up for it with extra helpings of desserts especially those of the chocolate kind. While the members were enjoying the food, they were able to watch a video made by yours truly of the APS Website and some of the things available on it.

15 Minute Video from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Following the food and the video, Jeannie brought the meeting to order and went around the room for reports from the various Board Members. Nancy Hall talked about the upcoming Garden Tour and Ted Paone, Chairman of the Pond Tour, outlined the progress to date which he states, is is falling into place quite nicely.

At 7:15 pm, the swap started and although it didn’t appear so, there was some method to the madness with those that helped to set up going first to get the first dibs, followed by those others who had brought things into swap and finally by everyone else whether they had donated or not. It went pretty smoothly thanks to Barb and Darren who kind of kept an eye on everything. One of the rules of the swap is that if you bring it in and it doesn’t move, it goes back home with you. Not sure how much of that happened or whether everything found new homes.

Austin Pond Society Meeting April 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The meeting was over early around 8:00 pm as members lugged their new goodies out to their cars. The clean up crew tidied up the back porch and the Swap was over for another year.

Austin Pond Society April, 2017 Business from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The next meeting is on May 15 and this one is our Sponsor Night when many of our Sponsors will set up a table and share their wares with the members. This is always a popular event and is well attended. We are having a potluck dinner which is always fun as we taste other people’s cooking. Hope someone brings an apple pie…See you there.

The Ponds at Mayfield Park


DSC_4969-PanoMayfield Park is a nice little city park located off 35th street and is the home of several peacocks (and peahens), ponds, gardens and Nature trails. The gardens are maintained by volunteers several of whom were working this Saturday morning. Many more people were hiking the Nature Trails. It is a popular place for weddings and as it happened,  one of which was due later in the afternoon meaning that we had a deadline to finish our work.  This is the link to the Mayfield Park website.

There are five large ponds and one smaller one. The volunteers from the Pond Society chose one that was obviously in need of cleaning as the project for Saturday, March 11th. Altogether, there were nine people that volunteered their time and braved a cold and pretty wet day. It rained that fine misty stuff that gets you wet without you being aware of it.

I got there around 9:00 am and there were several people already working. Steven had a pump set up and had his waders on and was in the pond lifting out the  heavy lily and iris pots. The first thing I did was to set up the pump that I had brought with me to help lower the water level. Charlie was moving the old pots over to the garage where Jeannie, Julie and BJ were busy emptying them so they could trim the lilies before repotting them. Phillip, Mike and Cory made themselves useful  wheeling barrows full of the waste dirt cut off from the plants and coming back with barrows of repotting dirt. I joined Charlie in dragging the repotted plants back to the pond on a skid contraption that actually worked pretty well on the flagstone. Not quite so good on the grass.

Steven found two turtles and a snake while he was in the pond and he commented that accidentally grabbing the snake gave him a bit of a start. Snakes tend to do that to most people especially when it is unexpected. The pond we were working on holds around 17000 gallons of water so it is pretty big. Mike put on his waders and  jumped into the pond to help Steven place the repotted plants and clean up the debris from the bottom of the pond. After the completion of repotting the lilies and placing them back into the ponds, the two of them spent time netting out the leaves and other trash during which they found six Perch that had been placed in there by persons unknown. They put them in one of the other ponds as the city water that we were using to refill the pond has chlorine in it which is a death sentence to any fish or other aquatics. The turtles were released into the stream that flows at the bottom of the hill and the snake had already made his own way to safety.

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There were a lot of visitors that were in the Park while we were there. The older people use the Park for exercise and whole families came out to enjoy Nature. The younger generation oohed and aahed over the two turtles that were temporarily in a container and the Peacocks were strutting their stuff and kicking up a god awful racket with their calls. They are pretty to look at but can be very annoying with their extremely loud and very unmusical voices. If it wasn’t for the rainy weather, it would have been a real pleasant place to work. We still have one more pond to go so hopefully, the sun will be shining when we get to that one. That is a story for another day…

Below is a slideshow of the some of the views within the Park.

Mayfield Park March 11, 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

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.