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

Is It Over?


beeWho would believe that to write about the weather other than any extremes, is blogworthy. Yet, here I am just picking away with my superfast two finger typing, what we in Texas decide is really newsworthy and that is that it has gotten a little cooler.

With any luck, we may be over our hot weather for the year. These past few days, the temperature has failed to reach the 100 degree mark albeit only by a couple of degrees but at least psychologically, it feels cooler. And, today, it is raining. Not a fully socked in real gully washer but at least an odd cloud here and there that is dumping rain on us in a steady drizzle. We’ll take it any way we can. What is more, the temperature has only reached 80 degrees and that’s at 2:00 pm in the afternoon. It is forecast to reach 97 degrees but it may not get anywhere near that high especially if it continues to rain.

As tough as we claim to be, eventually continuous 100 degree weather gets to even the most hardened of us. Even the native Texans, the ones who wear those big hats, get more than a little tired of the heat and are glad to see it cool down. I for one am especially glad as I have done very little outdoors over these past two months. My garden needs trimming and I have a couple of projects that I want to complete this fall. Nothing major but still needing my attention and not to mention that I haven’t been on a hike in two and a half months at least. If the Parks and the Trails have not missed me, I sure as heck have missed them.

I did get in the big pond the other day to join the fish in their habitat, not for their company but because I needed to work on a couple of the installations like a fish fountain and an in-pond filter system. I finished the fish fountain and it is working just fine but the filter system still needs some work. Still, I don’t mind that work as I am standing in the pond where it is pretty cool at least compared to the outside temperatures.

The only good thing that has come out of all of this heat and me staying indoors is that I have written enough blogs to take me through mid October at three a week and I know of at least two more that I will need to fit in with the Austin Pond Society meetings for October and November. Hopefully, I have not bored my few readers too much with my odd selection of subjects over these past couple of months.

Well, it has stopped raining, with any luck only temporarily, as we could sure use a lot more. As I have written in previous blogs, my garden is pretty much all native plants. I have not watered it at all this summer and although some of the plants are looking a bit heat weary, most of them are holding up well. When our one or two day winter arrives, the frost will knock down all of the remaining growth and I will have to spend a couple of days cleaning it up ready for the start of the new season. But that is next year…

Written 9/3/2018

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

Snow, Who Needs It…



We have just had two days of rain
nothing unusual in that just the same
then all of a sudden it started to snow
that is unusual you have to know
we don’t get enough rain in fact hardly at all
and snow is unheard of as it’s just not that cool
but we certainly got snow following the rain
enough to cover the trees and the grassy terrain
the temperature dropped and caught me off guard
as I quickly covered the pipes in my yard
to stop them from freezing and making a mess
requiring more time to repair them no less
I didn’t have time to bring in the plants
and they look very droopy as they slant
downwards bending hard with the frost
I hope that they are not all lost
and maybe recover with returning Spring
and once more share the beauty that they bring
I have to say that I dislike the snow
and the frost that accompanies this sort of show
If I never see a snowflake again
I would be a very happy old man.

Written 12/8/2017

Rain


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The sky grows very dark as the storm clouds roll in
it’s going to rain which is very welcome in Texas
as there are long spells without it
and sometimes it rains very hard
and floods the land and the streets
and fills the creeks.

At first the ground is very dry
and the rain soaks in
but as it continues to pour
the ground becomes saturated
no longer absorbing the rain
as it drains.

We can always use the rain
as it rolls over dirt and rocks
and disappears into the ground
into the aquifers of the world
sustaining the life above
supporting all life with love.

Written 9/28/2017

What to do on a Rainy Day


Today it is raining, the first wet day since Hurricane Harvey. This rain is of the normal kind and maybe signals the start of our Texas Fall. It is dark outside of my window as the clouds have socked in and the rain falls.

I welcome the rain as does my garden. The plants open their leaves to gather in the precious moisture to give them life and the roots drink as the water seeps into the ground.

I sit indoors and write away on my computer trying to express my thoughts and feelings into words that other may share. Rainy days are so few and far between here in my part of Texas that I welcome them.

I have a couple of projects outside that I need to finish but they will keep until the rain has moved on as I am only too glad to see it fall. So different than when I lived in England and it seemed like it rained every day, enough to drive me to this country after I was given the opportunity.

Tomorrow, the sun will shine and the clouds will blow away and we will be through with the rain for a couple of days but this is Fall in Texas and it will rain again. Between now and the Spring, the creeks will fill and the rivers will flow stronger. Until the Summer and they will be dry.

Written 9/26/2017

Harvey – Day 3


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I checked the computer and watched  the news before going to bed around 11:00 pm on Saturday evening. There were tales of doom and gloom on both of them with dire warnings of flooding and high winds. I figured that there was not much I could do unless the roof blew off the house in which case, I would be busy rescuing important stuff, like pets and electronic gadgets including my cameras before jumping in the car (hopefully) and heading out. Or if this was not possible, hunkering down in any room that was still dry if I couldn’t get the car out of the garage.

Hoping for the best, I went to bed and fell asleep in no time flat only waking when the call of nature prodded my brain to use the bathroom which sadly to say, happens all too often nowadays. I didn’t hear the storm as it continued through the night although my cell phone went off a couple of times with weather alerts telling me to be aware of “strong winds” and “lots of rain”. Sometimes it helps to wear hearing aids which I remove at night enabling me to sleep through anything but the loudest thunder.

I awoke the next morning and looked out of the french doors at the yard. As far as I could see, apart from things laying in different directions from the wind, I could not visibly see any damage. The stained glass window is still hanging in the trees although a little more lopsided than before. I still need to find it a new home when the weather gets better.

Choosing to get up even though it was before 8:00 am, I showered and dressed and went outside to see the extent of the damage up close. There are leaves off the trees everywhere. Many plants are laying lopsided as the wind has blown them over and apart from the water in the 5000 gallon pond being very dirty and of course the downed Cypress tree in the 6000 gallon pond, everything doesn’t look too bad at all. It looks like one of the pumps has stopped working or is blocked in the 5000 gallon pond. I will get to that later. All of the ponds are full to the brim with the overflows working nicely to let some of the water run off.

I wandered down to the bottom of the garden to the area know as Murmuring Creek which, as I have mentioned many times before, only murmurs when we get a real gully washer and although it was very obvious that it had flooded a little bit, it was nothing like I had expected.

All in all, it looks like my part of town has gotten off very lightly. The weather map shows the main part of the Hurricane to have moved off to the East and we should probably only be getting strong winds and rain for a couple more days. If there is anything to report tomorrow, I will follow up then.