APS Meeting February 2018


The Austin Pond Society held it’s monthly meeting at the usual place, Zilker Botanical Gardens  in Austin. About thirty members showed up and were treated to a meal of Pulled Pork with Coleslaw. There were a lot of deserts including a strawberry pie that was absolutely delicious. Thanks to the Members for supplying these wonderful treats.

The original Speaker for the evening, Kieran Docker, is a Pond Builder who had an emergency with one of the ponds he had built and had to attend to it causing him to miss the meeting. That left an empty space in the proceedings but Barb Lenhardt who is our Programs Director came up with a very innovative idea to fill the time. She presented to the group an idea she had to rebuild her pond and asked the group for opinions.  It was like opening up a floodgate with some very interesting  ideas and comments plus a lot of good humor. In no time flat, the hour had passed.

I am not sure that Barb ever intends to put any of the suggestions into practice but if nothing else, the rest of us, who incidentally think we know it all, had the opportunity to put forth our thoughts and ideas. We also learned from the others giving us all something to take away from the meeting. Continue reading


Austin Pond Society Christmas Party November 2017

The Members at the Party 2017

The Austin Pond Society held their Annual Christmas Party at the November Meeting which is the last meeting of the year. Around 55 members showed up, many of whom were dressed in their Christmas finery and with several wearing strange looking hats decorated in a Christmas motif. All the members were really getting into the swing of things as on Sunday afternoon, several of them had come in to set up the tables and decorate the room in the Christmas Spirit and the setting was very conducive for a Christmas Party.

Christmas Party 2017 Slide Show from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The food comprised of Roast Beef and Ham provided by our very popular Steven Monfrini, with all of the fixings many of which were supplied by the members who also supplied the deserts and appetizers. There was a lot of food but by the end of the evening, it was all gone. There were several bowls of punch to drink, some with and some without so the members had a choice.

Christmas Party 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The guests of honor were Mr and Mrs Klause from the Austin Police Department who were here to pick up the many gifts that the members had each brought in for the kids in need so they would at least get a gift on that special day.

Among the several things available to the members were a Blackjack Table complete with a professional croupier the proceeds of which went towards the Mayfield Ponds Project. The players each donated $10:00 to the cause and played until they lost all of their money. There was another game in which the members had to do something with Candy Canes but I have no idea what that was.
There was also an area that was in the business of making funny hats complete with flashing lights for anyone brave enough to wear such a contraption and enter into the Funny Hat Contest to be held later in the evening.

Christmas Party 2017 food line from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The first part of the evening was devoted to the very important business of feeding our faces which we all proceeded to do with much gusto. Following that, Jeannie our President took charge as she went through the very small amount of business that needed to be conducted. The main and very important part was the appeal for someone, anyone to step up to fill the vacancy for the Pond Tour Chairman without whom, we will not have a Pond Tour as we know it, next year. She then introduced the new Board all of whom with the exception of Keith as Secretary, are all returning members. The New Board officially takes over January 1 of next year. Following the announcements, Jeannie called upon Ted Paone as this past two year’s Pond Tour Chairman and presented him with an Honorarium for all of his efforts.

Christmas Party 2017 Business from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

With the business out of the way came the very difficult task of choosing the Tallest Hat Winner along with other members who were sporting all kinds of flashing and blinking contraptions on their heads. Everyone really got into the spirit of things.
The winner of the Tall Hat was Catherine Bilbrey with Nancy Reinert as the runner up.

Christmas Party 2017 Crazy Hats from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Another member, Karl Tinsley brought in his latest work of interest which is a Sand Table that he had constructed along with all of the programing that it takes to make it work. Basically, it is comprised of a flat box about 2 inches high and about 2 feet square with a glass cover sitting on a small table. In this box is a covering of sand on the bottom and a single large ball bearing. Karl has written software that drives the ball bearing into marking grooves in the sand in a designated pattern including his favorite Alpacas, of which he and his wife Linda own several. It is fascinating to watch as the bearing moves up and down creating pictures in the sand.

Quote from Karl
The sand table uses a magnet mounted on a computer-controlled mechanism to move a steel ball through sand, creating stunning designs. The table and the designs it draws were created by Karl Tinsley. You can see some videos of the table on my youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLaaBO5pY1QpVtX9WOEYiw.

Here are some of the sand pictures that Karl has created

He has also put together a short movie showing the ball in action.

With the food and drink all gone and no more fun and games to play, the evening gradually wound down until the few remaining members stripped off the table cloths, straightened up the room and closed the doors on another fun and successful year for the Austin Pond Society. All that remains is to wish everyone out there, Happy Holidays and we hope to see you next year.

Our first meeting for 2018 will be on January 15 at the Zilker Gardens Botanical Center starting as 6:30 pm. Hope to see you there.

Don’t forget to keep checking the website especially in the MarketPlace section as the availability of used equipment and pond plants is always changing. If you have any of the aforementioned equipment or plants that you want to sell or give away, use this link to fill out the form.

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.

Austin Pond Society SPLASH! Party 2016

DSC_2278Today, the Austin Pond Society held the SPLASH! Party that always precedes the upcoming Pond Tour. This “Party” is really a way to get the Owners and the Volunteers together to pick up their packets of instructions and money boxes that they will each need on their respective day of the tour. In some cases, the owners get to meet the volunteers that will be working their ponds for the very first time.

As a part of the way to entice both parties to attend, the Pond Society puts on a brunch to any and all who show up. This year, it was breakfast tacos with fruit or donuts for dessert.

A special thanks goes to Gary and Cathy Ragan for hosting this fun event. The Ragan’s have hosted an Open House party a couple of years ago for members of the Austin Pond Society. They have this really pretty stream that flows alongside of a double deck ending in a small pond at the bottom. It is a considerable drop in about 25 ft in length.

As with all of these pictures, if you click on anyone of them, it will make the pictures full size and then you can move along using the side arrows. Tap on the “Escape” key to get back to normal.

They also have a cute collection of “Rubber Ducky’s”and a fish statue.

Gary has recently installed a Petanque court which is a bit like Boce.The purpose of the game is to lob a heavy ball with enough backspin to get it to stop close to the smaller ball. There is probably a lot more to it than that, Several visitors were trying out their luck in playing and there was enough interest that the court was in use for the entire two hours of the get together. Ed Priest and Thierry Amisse are the petanque players who were giving instructions. Refer anyone interested to Gary Ragan at kragan@austin.rr.com

Below are a few pictures of the players enjoying themselves.

The Pond Tour Committee were very well represented, all wearing the red Tee Shirts designed to represent this year’s tour. All had different jobs to do handing out packages of instructions for the volunteers, money boxes for the owners which also included their list of instructions, serving the brunch and generally busy wherever you looked. We have to thank this dedicated group as without them all performing the various aspects of what it takes to put an event like this together, it just would not happen. Way to much work for one individual.

The Ragans have a beautiful yard both front and back. Below are pictures of some of the highlights

The rest of the pictures are of the members, volunteers and owners enjoying the food and the company.

Finally, but not last is the attention given us by Mollie, the 12 year old puppy.

Austin Pond Society Annual Plant Swap 4-18-2016

DSC_1907For the second meeting in succession, the Austin Pond Society had to get out of it’s comfort zone and do things a little different than normal mainly due to the inclement weather we have had for the past few days. Texas experienced very heavy rain sometimes almost torrential resulting in flooding and the ensuing cancellations resulting from it. The monthly meeting that we had scheduled for this past Monday, April 18 is the one we know as our Annual Plant Swap at which our members bring and exchange pond and garden plants and anything pond related. Normally, as we are dealing mostly with pond plants we set up on the back lawn with our collapsible ponds that we have specifically for this occasion and our members are able to wander around and take their time in viewing what is on display with an eye to having first dibs on it if is there by the time we start the actual swap part of the meeting.

Due to the fact that it had rained all day, the lawn was off limits to us so we had to make do with the small overhang area outside of the back doors to the meeting room. We restricted the ponds to just one and all of the other plants were sort of distributed around the general area. Did I mention that it was still raining and we were glad to have the small amount of cover that we had. Three of the members even wore their waterproof rubber boots for the occasion.

The Board Members had been e-mailing each other throughout the day as we were making decisions on the fly whether to go forward or to cancel the event. The final decision was to go ahead and be damned with the consequences. As usual, we started off with a meal which this month was Pizza accompanied with salads and desserts brought in by the members. We tried to get a very rough count of the number of people we thought might attend to try to get the Pizza order somewhat in line the the number of attendees. Needless to say, we were way off and had enough Pizza left over to feed a whole herd of hungry teenagers. It was not wasted and found its way to several people’s homes some who were almost reluctant to take it home.

I should add that there were several Board Members who were not present having taken this opportunity to make trips to various parts of the country before the very busy upcoming time of the Pond Tour. Among them, Jeannie, our President, BJ or Publicist, Betty our Librarian,Nancy our Treasurer and last but not least, Juliette, out Secretary. Luckily, there was not a lot of business to discuss and Jeannie had left the proceedings in the very capable hands of Barb Lenhardt, our Programs and Special Events Coordinator. There were a few announcements and some discussion from the floor in a general question and answers session. The main piece of business came from Glen Hubenthal who announced that it was time to elect the Koi Person of the Year and asked for nominations from the floor.

Stephen Monfrini

Stephen Monfrini

There was only one name put forward and that was for Stephen Monfrini mainly for his work on performing along with Jeannie, very many Fish Rescues this past year. It didn’t hurt that Stephen is also the new Hospitality Chairman which almost always guarantees a lot of popularity. Personally, I thought it was a good choice as fish rescues are messy and are not a lot of fun especially in the big ponds so I was very happy to second his nomination. Well done Stephen.

Following the voting which was done by acclamation, it was time to get on with the business at hand, namely the Plant Swap. I was not interested in taking home any plants and neither did I bring any in although I have plenty at home that I would like to share. I made an announcement and passed out flyers showing what I had to give away just in case anyone was in interested. Then I busied myself taking pictures.
In a way, I’m glad that we had to do things differently as it did give me something to write about and different pictures to post. Anyone who happened to review the past three years of Plant Swap reporting would be hard pressed to tell the years apart. We got out of there early with very little cleanup to do as the members all left with brand new plants. Did I mention that they also had to take home any of those that were left over that they had brought in and were not taken.

Even though we managed to get it off, I would not call it a success. The inclement weather had a bearing on the number of attendees and I counted 35 members in all at an event that usually has more then 50 people. The area was too small and the plants were virtually on top of each other making it difficult to pick and choose and in the end, members just grabbed what they could without being as selective as they would have liked.
Maybe, we should think about holding a smaller Plant Swap in the Fall.

Below is the video of the Business Section of the meeting.

APS Plant Swap April 2016 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

If you click on any picture it will make it full size and you can advance by using the arrows. Use the “Escape” key to get back to normal size.