Fellow Bloggers

Ashampoo_Snap_2017.08.24_15h43m41s_001_I have been thinking about blogging and why we do it. When I open the page to read some of the couple of hundred blogs that I receive on a daily basis, it is quite obvious that the Authors have many different reasons why they write and the subjects they choose are so varied. That is what makes blogging so unique that so many of us are writing without duplicating what the rest of us are saying. In many cases, the subjects are the same but the words, pictures and presentation are different.

As I peruse the daily offering, it is very clear to me that many bloggers are driven by forces unknown to the rest of us that compels them to blog several times a day and every day of the week. They must be independently wealthy, retired, maybe a stay at home Mom (or Dad), maybe even a Handicapped person or have nothing better to do with their lives than to give them the sort of time that writing good and newsworthy blogs of any quality can take. The question then arises, “Who are they writing for” because if most bloggers or blog readers are like me, we don’t have time to read more than one blog from one individual a day. The rest are eliminated with an active push of the delete button. Maybe the blog I read is not the best one of the available selection for that day but I will never know. I often unsubscribe from a writer because he or she has posted five (or any multiple number) or more blogs one after the other.

As many of you know if you follow my blog, I write a lot about what I consider interesting things that happen in my life as do many of the rest of you. I write about the hikes that I take or the events that happen with the Austin Pond Society and occasionally, will write a poem or two. I am an avid Amateur Photographer and take lots of pictures which I like to share with my readers. In between the post production of the pictures and writing the actual blogs not counting going on the actual hikes or events i am writing about, many of the blogs take several days to prepare. I forgot to mention that I am retired and spend a great deal of my time working on each blog before I am satisfied that it is ready to post. Even then, I do NOT post on a daily basis and try to limit my posts to twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays with the very occasional third post if something important comes up. Currently, I am scheduled out ahead through the second week of October and I try to always have a bit of a cushion.

This is just the way I do it. WordPress tells me that I have 2312 followers and my readers know what and when to expect a blog. I try not to overburden them with too much of my content as not everyone is interested in what I have to say. It took me a while to realize that and came as a bit of a shock especially if I had just completed what I thought was a particularly good piece. “What do you mean, you aren’t interested in this great piece. You got to be as I just wrote it and it is GOOD” flashes through my mind. Many of you are just being polite and acknowledging the fact that I have written the blog by giving me a “Like”. Bloggers that apologise for not having been online for a few days should save their breath as probably no one has even noticed their absence. That is the way that it is. We are all replaceable and often are.

Really, that is what it comes down to. Getting a “Like” is very important even if only for our own self esteem and the only way to get them is to reciprocate with other Bloggers. You “Like” them and in turn, they will “Like” you. So, those of you that are writing several pieces a day or even blogging on a daily basis every day of the week should not be surprised and you should realize that probably only one (any one) of your blogs received a “Like”. The rest ended up in the Trash Bin not because they are bad blogs but because most of us do not have the time and or probably the interest to peruse all of yours and others blogs that we are being bombarded with.

For myself, I think that in the future, I will find a few more bloggers to add to the selective group of Bloggers that interest me and devote the little time that I want to spend, enjoying them. I already know who most of them are as we have been following one another for a long time. New ones will have to be exceptionally good and interesting to join my little group. I realize full well that the number of “Likes” on my own blog will go down but I am prepared to accept that in order to unclutter my inbox and get back more of my day to spend on other things. Anyway, I would rather have comments than “Likes”. I seem to have hit a plateau regarding “Likes” and I am not really prepared to spend any more time on them. I can come up with several subjects that I don’t care for. Food and Religion are two and an 81 year old man is hardly interested in Fashion, Clothes and Makeup. Blogs that are full of Self Pity or being dumped by another person are to me a Bloggers way to get the rest of us involved in their particular brand of misery. Life is too short for that. I don’t care for blogs where the author uses unnecessary swear words as that is not my style either. Not that I am a prude as I break out in swear words all of the time. It’s just that there is a time and a place. Some verse I just don’t understand so that doesn’t appeal to me. I could go on and on but you get my point. Blogging has to reach a person in their mind as a reader and most of us have very limited horizons.

For those of you that choose to blog to the excess, if that is what it takes to satisfy your needs, then go for it. Just be aware that many readers are like me and will only read one blog a day from you so the bottom line is that whatever message you are trying to get out there is just not reaching the readers that you want it to.

Too much blogging or too many blogs especially on a daily basis is NOT necessarily a good thing.


McKinney Roughs 4-26-2017

DSC_5195Finally after a couple of months away from the trails due to suddenly getting very ambitious around the garden even to the extent of cleaning out the three sheds which haven’t been cleaned in 20 years, my friend BJ and I were able to hit the trails at McKinney Roughs for the first time since January of this year. We chose McKinney because we knew that the flowers would be out and everything would be so green and I am very happy to say, we were not a bit disappointed.

We arranged to meet around 1:00 pm and the trip to Bastrop usually takes me 45 minutes but for some reason, the traffic was very heavy even at this time of the day and it took me 30 minutes just to get out of Austin. The 45 minute trip this time took me a good hour to complete. Very frustrating. I needed the walk just to calm my frazzled nerves down after dealing with the usual frustrated and frustrating idiots on the road.

We chose the Yaupon trail which I knew from previous walks would give us a good challenge as it has many ups and downs. The map claims that it is only 2.7 miles long but both BJ’s phone App and my Pedometer showed it to be closer to 4 miles and we still had another 4 miles on the return trip. Yaupon was designed to hook up to with Roadrunner and then Coyote Road to make a complete loop but somewhere along the way, floods have washed out a part of the trail alongside of the river and the trails do not connect so there is no alternative other than to backtrack. Even though under normal circumstances, I do not like backtracking, being the first time out for a while, I was perfectly happy just to be walking and didn’t mind covering the same trail in reverse. You do get a different perspective in the reverse direction and the uphills are now downhills. Of course the downhills also get reversed so you don’t gain anything on Yaupon. On a couple of the other trails, you can choose the direction to walk and make sure to walk downhill wherever possible.

Trails at Yaupon, McKinney Roughs 4-26-2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

As you can imagine, everything is beautifully green, the sort of bright and fresh green that has not yet weathered in. Everywhere we looked there was fresh growth as Mother Nature performed her annual miracle of Spring. The flowers were out in abundance and we spent a lot of time just clicking away with our respective cameras, BJ with her Iphone and me with the fancy Nikon D7200 that I take all of my pictures with. Her pictures were equally as good as the ones I was taking as the cameras in the Iphones are really top notch plus the Iphone is a lot lighter than my camera. BJ tells me she even has a telephoto lens to fit her phone. Amazing…

Along the way, we came across an Oak tree that had very interesting bark to it that seemed to spiral around the tree although the pictures that I took do not really show it very well.  We also saw a couple of Buzzards perched on an electric pole. Other than keeping a close eye on us, they ignored us walking directly beneath them. Other birds were full of song and we could hear them all around us but as usual, hardly any were visible.

As we hadn’t seen each other for a while, we had a lot of catching up to do and I swear, we chatted the entire 8 mile hike about this and that and everything else although neither of us mentioned Trump  once. We arrived back at the parking lot at the main office and spent some time taking pictures of the flowers that are planted in the flower gardens that surround this beautiful place. There were not very many butterflies out, not like it will be later in the season but the flowers were a sight to behold.

Flowers at McKinney Roughs Spring 4-26-2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

After comparing our respective devices both of which had different numbers on just how far we had walked and how many calories we had burned, we agreed that we had covered 8 miles, not bad for a “first time in a while” hike.

Next up, Pedernales Falls, next week.

Time is Wearing Things Out…Part 3- New Printer

dsc_4354As I said in the last blog, these things always come in three’s. The third part of this story is related to my printer. I have had a Canon Pixma printer for about the last 8 years and it has always given me good service. It was a bit frustrating way back then as I tried to hook it up so that it could receive signals by Wireless. It involved using a cable first and then fiddling around a bit before removing the cable and hoping that the wireless signal would hook up.Things have changed a lot since then as I discovered with this new printer.

Apart from the initial setup, the old printer has always worked just fine until yesterday. I tried to print something and the printer displayed a message to the effect there was a problem and to contact the service center which I did but to no avail. They could not help me and suggested that I needed to return it to a repair facility.

I loaded the printer into my car and drove a couple of miles to the Best Buy store where they had repaired my computer when it crashed a couple of years ago. The gentleman behind the counter explained to me that if the printer was under a Best Buy extended warranty, they would replace it for a brand new one. I told him the age of the printer and we both knew it was not under any sort of warranty. He did mention that if I bought a new Epsom or HP, they would give me a further 15% off the price and they would re-cycle the old printer. Apparently, printers are so cheap, they are not worth repairing. I thanked him and returned the printer to my car and then decided that I should at least take a look at the new printers.

I wanted to get a new Canon as I print a lot of pictures and Canon does a good job on them. I saw plenty of Epsom’s and HP’s and had to ask the sales clerk where the Canon printers were. He directed me and they had several different ones all with the prices marked down by some considerable amount. They even had one that was as cheap as $54.00 but I was afraid that the print quality would not be very good. I settled for a Canon Pixma MG7720 for which I paid $120.00 down from $210.00 and added a two year warranty for good measure.

I drove home with my new printer after asking the sales clerk who had carried the new one to my car if he wouldn’t mind taking the old one back in to be re-cycled. He willingly obliged and I drove home with my goodies.

Setting up the new printer still took a couple of hours. Transferring the contents of the supplied disk took 20 minutes alone. I worked through the process following the supplied instructions and the first problem I ran into was not getting the ink tanks to light up after they were installed. I eventually managed it but it took a while even over something as simple as that. The rest of the work was plain sailing, after the disk installed the drivers. The WiFi hooked up quickly and we were in business. As with all new things, the panel is different and of course, the ink tank numbers are also different so the 4 brand new tanks I have for the old printer wont fit. Maybe I can find someone on my Neighborhood watch who will take them.

The trouble with a printer is that it only gets used very occasionally but you can’t not have one for those times when you do have something to print or scan.

That makes the 3 incidents. Wonder if there is a 4th?

Thoughts about bloggin’

dsc_4183I have been thinking about this for the past few days and decided to write something to share with the rest of you.

We all know that there is nothing nicer than to get a “Like” from one of the many bloggers that take the time to at least do a quick check of our blogs. Just as we all do with all of the blogs that arrive in our inbox every day. I recognize most of them but occasionally, a new name pops up requiring additional time in checking them out to see if they are of interest to me.

I have been blogging since 2011 and it took me a while to figure out the system, probably 3 years at least. I have posted over 600 blogs mostly about the great outdoors or things closely related. These are things I enjoy and like to share both my pictures and experiences with the rest of you. For a long time, I couldn’t understand how anybody could get 50, 100, 500 and even thousands of followers and “Likes” until I realized that other readers are only going to “Like” you as long as you “Like” them in return.

So, like many of you, I spend 2-3 hours every day going through my e-mails and checking out all of the blogs that many of you have put up. I do not have time to read them all so I list all of the “Unread” emails and then sort them using “From”and then I usually click on the “Like” button for each one. When the page opens, I do a quick scan to see if I really want to read the article. If at first glance it appears interesting then I spend the time in reading and commenting. If not, I quickly move on to the next one, all this after having pushed the “Like” button on the first one posted. Any other posts by the same person are ignored after opening them.

Now I am quite sure that many of you are doing the same thing, that is if you are having to check 200 plus e-mails every day and pushing the “Like” button more than 200 times in the vain hope that in return, others are doing the same thing. Sort of patting each other on the back.

The problem that I have is that many of you either have too much time on your hands or nothing better to do or, heaven forbid, think that your readers cannot do without hearing from you and are posting more than once a day, sometimes several times a day. Quite honestly, I do not read anything from anybody after the first posting of the day. After that, I just click to open the message without a “Like” and then quickly move on. I try to post 3 times a week but am satisfied if it is only 2 times. I realize that my blogs are usually after a hike or a pond event and occasionally a poem or words of wisdom (like this one) and therefore require time and physical effort before posting but for those of you out there, many of whom are my blogger “friends” I am appealing to you all to lower your output just a little and try to keep your blogs to one a day. I am quite sure that I am not alone in feeling this way and that many of you do exactly the same as I do on a daily basis.

The alternative for me is that I end up having to unsubscribe in order to control the amount of stuff coming into my mail box and in many cases, I don’t really want to do that because I find the blogs interesting and want to read them.

Sorry for the rant but I have been thinking about this for a while before deciding to blog about it. In no way am I trying to offend anybody, just making a point. And of course, you may not even read this if like me, you just push the “Like” button.

See you all tomorrow….

Pond Society Meeting – 7-16-2012

Red Rose Bud

Red Rose Bud

After all of the excitement with first the Plant Swap meeting followed by the Pond Tour meeting, it was hard to come up with something to keep the membership’s interest. After all, both of those are the highlights of the Pond  Societies year.

Consequently, last evenings numbers were down considerably from  the previous two meetings. It’s a shame really as those that were not there missed out on first a great spread of sandwiches and veggies and to finish it all up, a wonderful Angel cake all covered in thick creamy icing. I hate to think how many calories but whoever cut it up must have been thinking along those lines as the pieces were about 2 inches square. There was nothing to prevent a person from taking more or going back more than once but I think that the small pieces sent out their own message.

Even I could not resist and ended up with two very small pieces and it was absolutely delicious. I told myself that it would be rude and bad mannered not to at least try such a delicious looking (and tasting) cake so I forced myself to eat it. Yeah, right…So much for Weightwatchers at least for last evening.

Bill Brister opened the proceedings with general comments about the upcoming meeting and some of the thoughts and ideas he had for future meetings. One of the things he discussed was the new website and the section that allows members to upload pictures. The idea being that we could develop our own gallery of pictures for all to see and enjoy.

Darren Bayhi making his presentation

Darren Bayhi making his presentation

The first speaker of the evening was Darren Bayhi who’s topic could best be described as Plant Fertilization. I guess that is probably the wrong use of the word as it brings up pictures of plants in some sort of harmonic relationship. Not what I meant at all. No, Darren was talking about the types of fertilizer to use on water lily’s and pond plants in general. He was very knowledgeable and talked for about an hour on the subject. He was able to get a lot of questions and comments from the floor including many from a gentleman whose name I did not get, who in a previous life had a lot of experience in this particular field. Anyone who has additional questions should e-mail Darren direct at http://www.austinpondsociety.org/index.php?option=com_contact&Itemid=3 and click on Membership.

This short video is just the opening couple of minutes of Darren’s presentation.

Following Darren, Karl Tinsley stepped up to show a couple of interesting gadgets that he had purchased.  He gave a brief explanation of each one.

Karl Tinsley with his "show and tell"

Karl Tinsley with his “show and tell”

Long Handled Pruners full view

Long Handled Trimmers full view

Basically he talked about four different gadgets the first two almost

Pond Trimmers

Heads on the Trimmers

identical. They were pond trimmers real  name, Long Handled Pruners for reaching in and cutting water-lily leaves  and anything else that needed trimming without having to get in the pond.  Both have handles that can be extended  although one is longer than the other. These can be purchased from www.harborfreight.com item #66779 and cost about $25.00. There are also various other models on Amazon.com.

His next item was an interesting gadget called a Pond Shark. This consisted of an extending handle with an extra strong fish net that was held together

Pond Shark

Pond Shark for cleaning bottom of pond

by a much stronger yoke than on normal nets that had rake tines on one side and a heavy-duty scraper on the other. It is used to clean the bottom of the ponds with the scraper pulling the muck into the net. For those of you clean water idealists, this looks like a good buy. It can be purchased from www.amazon.com and cost a little over $40.00

Full View of Pond Shark

Full View of Pond Shark

The last item was very unusual. It consisted of a large sphere about 2 feet in diameter that sat with the opening just under the water and by some clever magic, gets filled with water. The idea is to get the fish to swim up into it and be seen inside this sphere. This can be purchased from www.addasphere.comand comes in two sizes 10 inch and 22 inch. The cost is $69.00 for the small one and $169.00 for the bigger one. If you log in to the website at http://www.austinpondsociety.comyou can see a larger picture of this sphere set up in Karl and Linda’s pond.

Glass Sphere

Glass Sphere

The evening ended with the usual ceremonial drawing to see who had won any of the small prizes that Bill and others bring every month. Our thanks to them for providing this gesture to add to the fun.

Next meeting is scheduled for August 20, 2012. If you have friends who are interested in “Ponding“, bring them along.