Austin Pond Society Swap and Sell Meeting 7-17-2017


DSC_0241The Austin Pond Society held it’s Annual Swap and Sell Meeting on Monday, July 17 at the usual place, the Zilker Botanical Gardens Meeting Room. The meeting was attended by about 40 of it’s members who were treated to the good old American standby, hot dogs with all of the fixin’s. Members supplied the deserts mostly of different types of cookies.

While the members were enjoying the meal, the four members who had brought items to swap or sell were setting up outside in the patio area. I would like to say that they were doing a roaring trade but alas, that was just not the case. A few people wandered out to see what was available  but it appeared that the majority stayed inside where it was cooler. There was some very interesting and useful stuff available. Everything from a push lawn mower, to pond decorations of various types, all kinds of garden tools, a birdhouse on a pole just to name a few. There were a few plants, mostly lilies which were a popular item probably because they were free which always helps. All four of the item donors made some sales but it was a little disappointing to say the least. BJ especially was pleased that she will not have to bring the lawnmower back next year. She had to give a demonstration and mowed half of the lawn out the front in doing so. Must have worked as someone bought it.

There were several of the Board that were missing including Jeannie, our President,  Nancy our Parliamentarian and Julienne our Secretary, all away on vacation.  There wasn’t anything in the way of urgent business that needed our attention and Barb Lenhardt  filled in for Jeannie  and took over the role at President complete with mic to go around the membership to get any questions, introduce any new members and generally try to convince people that there was probably something outside on one of the tables that they really needed and to go out and get it. Alas, not too many people got the message and we were all through by 8:10pm wrapped up and cleaned up.

Personally, I thought there was some pretty neat stuff out there and I am really surprised that more people didn’t take advantage of some of the deals. For myself, the only thing I can say is that the 5 gallon bucket of trimmed waterlilies that I brought in that were ready for planting, were all taken but then again, they too were free…

APS Swap Meeting 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Again, apologies for the quality of the video as I am still working out the kinks of using my DSLR camera as a movie camera. One thing for sure that if I have to film for any length of time, I need to use a tripod to stop the camera from losing focus. Below is the video of the Business Section of the meeting.

APS Business July 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The next meeting will be held on August 14, same place, same time. The Speaker will be Steve Lash from the Honeycomb Fish Farm. Steve is one of the new sponsors for this year and is located in Cedar Park.Come and learn about what to look for when you are choosing Koi & Goldfish.

Austin Pond Society After Party 2017


At the invitation of one of our sponsors, Texas Ponds and Water Features and its owner Matt Boring, the members of the Austin Pond Society and many of the pond owners, who had so graciously put their ponds on this year’s Tour, were entertained to Hamburgers with all of the fixin’s and a goodly supply of beer following everyone’s exertions of the day.

The event was held at a soon to be ‘Cosmic Coffee and Beer Garden’ that is still under construction. There are a couple of food trailers already on the site. The new place will be serving craft coffees and locally made beers and cocktails. The food trucks are Leroy and Lewis BBQ and Lotus Joint- ‘Tacos con Chutney’. Eventually, they will also feature live music. What is interesting about this location is that Matt built a fair sized pond and waterfall as an added attraction. It has a couple of large Koi in it and is surrounded by a whole variety of Cactus in pots. Just a little unusual. Another unique attraction is the main pole that holds up the canvas covers has a face carved out of the top. Someone said it was a replica of Willie Nelson or maybe they were just hoping…Click on any picture and then use the side arrows to move along.

There were probably around 50 people that showed up and braved the inclement weather spending their time talking about the Tour and the many things that happened along the way.

Below is a small collection of pictures shot at the event.


Finally, somebody had started a raised garden which contained vegetables. Very industrious especially if the added attraction of fresh veggies are included in the food trailer menus.
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Busy in the Garden and the Ponds.


DSC_5129I have spent the last couple of months working either in the garden or in and around the ponds and have not had the time to go on any hikes at all. In between, I fitted in a couple of fish rescues and consequently have added to the plants that are surplus to my requirements.

Spring arrived early here in my part of Central Texas with only two days of freezing weather, which was enough to knock down almost every living plant in both the garden and the ponds. This required considerable effort to cut everything back and then move the cut material to the compost heap and took several days and much moaning and complaining on my part. Nothing new with that as I tend to moan and complain about everything especially if it is not going well. Luckily, I am the only one within earshot as usually, the dogs make a quick exit when I start cussing. Actually,I don’t rant and rave but generally just utter a quick “f” word and then go about my business figuring out how to get over whatever caused me to cuss in the first place.

I have already written a couple of blogs of some of my other escapades. Things like the Skippy Filters, part 1 and 2 and the Doggie Escape Fixes and the Ponds at Mayfield Park. I spent some time in reworking the plumbing inlet pipe to the pump on the Aquadyne system on the 6000 gallon pond and am much happier with the result. At least now, it sucks in water and does not keep blocking up although in fairness, this is a bad time of the year with the Live Oaks dropping all of their blooms most of which seem to go into the ponds. Thank goodness that this is nearly over as it is very messy, everywhere and not just in the water.

The pictures show the amount of new growth already in the ponds.

Altogether, I repotted a dozen or more lilies plus sundry other water plants and then, spent some time trimming the remaining lilies getting them ready for others to plant. I took a 5 gallon bucket full with about 30 or so plants to the Pond Meeting which happened to coincide with my planting efforts and they were all gone within minutes. I still have at least that number remaining in the tubs which I plan on taking to the next meeting which is our Annual Plant Swap. I also had a few other people stop bye to get some of the plants for their own ponds.

Potting lilies is not hard work although somewhat messy and the old potted material does not smell that great either.. First of all, it requires getting into all of the ponds and removing the pots to the side and then getting out of the pond to transport them to the table, upending the pot on its side to get the lily root (tuber) out of the pot, and then trimming it back to a more manageable size that has new growth that is already sprouting. These are then placed back into the pot on top of a layer of clay type dirt, adding fertilizer tablets and then covering it up with more dirt so that just the new growth is showing. I usually place pebbles on the top to try to discourage the big Koi from washing the lily out of the pot with their tails as they love to get at the roots. The whole pot is then submerged back into the water about a foot or more down.

Following all of the repotting efforts, it required that I get back into the ponds to place the pots which I did. This year, I am trying something different in an attempt to get some of the lilies to last long enough to flower and that is, to place anywhere from 6 to 10 lilies in each of the big ponds. Maybe, if there are so many, the Koi will leave them alone. In some cases, I had used the 18 inch tall pots which I just stood on the bottom of the pond and already, the ponds are covered with lily pads and I noticed that we already have a bloom. First lily bloom of the season.

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With everything growing so fast, it is hard to keep up with all of the trimming and raking but it is a labor of love and quite enjoyable. I need to get my riding mower repaired to cut the grass alongside of the road. Seems like every year, I have to have something done to that particular piece of machinery before it will start. I have other mowers so it not like I have to use the riding mower.

Darn, the pump on the stream has just stopped. I wonder what is wrong with it, Just blocked up or maybe worn out. Stay tuned for the next story…

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.

Another Fish Rescue…


DSC_3433On Tuesday, I stopped by two different places, one to give advice and the other to review rescuing the Koi and helping to shut down the pond. The first one the lady that called me had 5 butterfly Koi she wanted to find a home for as she was moving and was closing down her very small pond. She also had a couple of water lilies and a lotus that she was willing to give up. The only equipment was a small pump that she wanted to hang on to. I checked things out and made arrangements to come back the next day.

The next place that I visited had a very nice pond that really required a lot of work to clean up the water. It was really very dirty and the Koi that it contained were doing a good job of keeping it stirred up. What was surprising was that it had an Aquadyne Filtering system which he showed me and gave it a quick flush to show me what he did to keep it clean. He explained that he had larva rock inside and not the “Beads” that it really requires which probably accounts for it not working properly. I gave him the Aquadyne address so he could look them up.

I suggested that if he joined the Pond Society for $30.00, he could rent the pond vac and storage tank but he had to be a member in order to do so. I also gave him the name of a couple of our Sponsors that do this sort of work as he really needs to drain the pond, scrub it clean and then refill in order to get it back to where the filtering system could hold its own.

I showed him what he had to do on his computer and went on my way. Later that day, I had confirmation come through that he had joined the Society.

I went back to the first place the following day, this time with my trailer and all of the things i would require to rescue the fish and collect the lilies and lotus. The first thing I started when I arrived was to put my pump into the water to lower the level so that I could catch the fish. While that was going on, I carried two 5 gallon buckets of the pond water back out to my trailer and placed one in each of the two coolers I had brought with me. getting them ready for the fish. It was a pretty straight forward job to catch the fish although I was sure that Beth, the lady who was closing the pond, told me there were only 4 of the Koi and I found 5, the last one I spotted when I went back to pick up the plants which I had bagged up on plastic bags. Lucky for the fish. I rescued as much of the lilies as I could dig up from the bottom muck as they had grown out of their pots and were growing wild. The Lotus and yet another Lily were in pots in a separate tank which was easy to lift them out.

I carefully wrapped things up in a tarpaulin and lashed everything down for the drive home which was very uneventful. My timing was good as I didn’t hit any of the rush hour traffic. When I arrived home, I quickly wheeled the coolers to the 5000 gallon pond and one by one, introduced the new fish to the mess of fish that already calls that pond, home. The lilies were placed into containers and  added to the many plants that I am trying desperately hard to give away, preferably before any frost we may get, although if this winter is anything like the last one, we won’t have any frost.

So ended another successful fish rescue.

Austin Pond Society 22nd Annual Tour – N13, N14


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N13 Michele and Steve

In the shade of gorgeous oak trees, the 8-year-old pond is the highlight of this comfy backyard retreat, which has earned a designation of Certified Wildlife Habitat. The 5,500-gallon pond is home to koi, comets, a giant albino catfish, leopard frogs and the occasional water snake. The yard also has two mini ponds with happy purple, yellow and multicolor lilies. Walk around the pond and notice the attention to detail that has been taken to make it look natural—hard surfaces covered with weeping fig, meandering pathways and varied elevations. Also found here: a grill pavilion with an ingenious bottle wall, fairy gardens, whimsical yard art (can you find the Elvis gnome?), a fire pit and a beautiful large purple wisteria.


N14 Betty and Ralph – Leander

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The backyard is a wonderful outdoor living room, complete with ceiling fans hanging from the trees above the dining table and bar. Soothing sounds emanate from the tall waterfall as it tumbles into the 12 x 9 ft rubber-lined pond nestled in the rock patio. The huge old oak tree has been identified as an Indian Marker tree used by Native Americans to mark the way and is estimated to be between 125 and 200 years old. Plants throughout the yard attract birds and butterflies. On the left a curved white stone greenhouse/potting shed (affectionately called “The Alamo”) was carefully built around the oak tree as a place to store garden supplies and protect tender plants in the winter. Ask Betty how she got the materials for the greenhouse to her home. Landscape lighting front and back allow enjoyment of the area after dark. Lots to see here, so spend the time to take it all in.

As with all of these slides, if you click on any one of them it will enlarge and then use the side arrows to move the pictures along. Press  “Escape” to get back to normal.

Austin Pond Society 22nd Annual Tour – N12


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N12 Jody and David – Cedar Park

Enter this backyard and you’ll find yourself in an intimate relaxation spot—a charming pond, trickling water, tropical plants and colorful flower beds nestled under tall oak trees. A bathing mermaid surveys the pond from her perch at the waterfall while frogs, fairies and gnomes keep an eye on things from below. Red, yellow and peach hardy water lilies provide shade and hiding places for the goldfish. Ferns, pickerel and lizard tail give a lush, tropical feel to the area. The garden shed masquerades as a cottage, with a claw-foot bathtub on the front porch! If you’re looking for inspiration to start your own project, this is a good place to get ideas for a creative smaller, manageable oasis of your own.

As with all of these slides, if you click on any one of them it will enlarge and then use the side arrows to move the pictures along. Press  “Escape” to get back to normal.