The Sounds of Beauty


Fish Fountain Water feature

Fish Fountain Water feature

I stood on the deck and looked around
and listened to the gurgling sound
that the water made as its call
as it tumbled down the waterfalls
or from the urns and bubblers’ placed
around the ponds and within the space
all to make this a beautiful place

I alone enjoy this place
with its sounds and beauty graced
with luscious growth and wild life too
using the garden for their zoo
although no fences do they have
to keep them in this place alone
to raise their young until they are gone.

When the sun is shining strong
pretty patterns from the water play
reflections flash from tree to tree
shimmering in their eternity
to add to this beautiful place
that I and I alone do grace.

I have four dogs who all enjoy
sitting and listening as I do
at least I think that’s what goes through
their doggy brain as on the deck
next to me they sit with ears erect
hearing the sounds the water makes
one eye on me the other high
looking for squirrels in the sky
high in the trees above their heads

If one they see then off they go
running and chasing from below
barking and yapping with all their might
as if to give the squirrel a fright
but in truth there is no way
and so they give up on their prey
as not within their reach this day.

Back to the deck where I still sit
listening to the ever lasting sound
of water splashing on the rocks
and tumbling out and all around
this is our haven, our place of rest
and the place we love the best
what more can we ask with this beauty we see
maybe to live for eternity.

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Hill Country Water Gardens


The Hill Country Water Gardens located in Cedar Park has to be one of the top locations to anyone interested in water gardening or in fact, any sort of gardening.

The owner, Steve Kainer opened the business back in 2000. You can read about his very interesting background by clicking on the link. They have recently expanded and are now on five acres which is beautifully laid out and maintained and has a very large inventory of everything for the pond enthusiast including lilies and lotus of all varieties, many other water plants, statuary and fish and ideas. Lots and lots of ideas to really get you thinking.

Usually, every Saturday morning, they hold regular classes on how to build your own pond or install a disappearing fountain among other things, and then when you are through and ready to take the plunge, they have  all of the necessary materials including  pond liner, skimmers, filter material, disappearing fountains and other accessories required in the building of a water feature. They also carry an inventory of some of the hard to find items such as lily pots and plant containers.

There are two shops the oldest and smallest of which has a large assortment of pumps along with other mechanical gadgets that make a ponders life a little easier plus a large selection of wind chimes, fish food and all kinds of other goodies. The other shop has gifts ideas, smaller statuettes, vases and many other interesting things.

Even though as the name implies, they do not restrict themselves to just ponds and water features as they have a very large inventory of regular landscape items such as plants and materials for the regular gardener among us.

The staff is very helpful and knowledgeable and know when to leave a person alone if they don’t need the help. Some people have no intention of buying and are there for the sheer beauty of the grounds and to look around. Who knows, even those sort of customers will buy the next time they visit as they are sure to pick up some ideas.

I wandered around and took over a hundred pictures and could easily have taken another hundred more. Watch the video below and then go take a look for yourself. http://hillcountrywatergardens.com/index/

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B.J’s Ponds


B.J's Ponds

B.J’s Ponds

This past Saturday, The Austin Pond Society members were all invited to a private showing of B.J. Jenkins and her husband, Sam,  who recently completed two ponds they have built directly behind their house. The house is situated backing on to one of the fairways for the local golf course which for Sam is the reason they bought the house. He makes a point of playing every day. I’m not sure if they built the ponds to give B.J. an interest while Sam is away on the golf course or if in fact , it may be a mutual interest… The ponds are very unique in how they are built and are very impressive. They consist of an upper pond, a stream, a lower pond plus two bog areas both of a fairly decent size. What is unique about the layout is that both of the ponds are independent and are not joined in any way although they have a stream that flows between the two. I was very taken with their construction methods and spent some time talking to both B.J. and Sam about it. The stream, although it appears to flow from the upper pond, in fact starts under the small bridge and water is pumped from the lower pond to give the stream effect. Both upper and lower ponds have their own bogs with the upper pond having a very nice two-part waterfall. The pump for this fall and the filtering system is a big 6000 gph and it moves a lot of water. This pond is four and half feet deep, measures  20 x 12, holds about 4000 gallons. B.J. has named it, the Koi pond and it has a few Koi and Goldfish and beautifully clean water. The lower pond, aptly named the Lily Pond, also has a 6000 gph pump to feed the stream and the bog. It is about 23 x 14, three feet deep and holds about 4300 gallons of water. It has a water feature in the form of an old iron hand pump and several lilies that were in full bloom. B.J. claims that she did the design and landscaping and Sam the Engineering and plumbing. They rented a small backhoe which Sam operated and like most grown up kids, got to play with his “Tonker Toys” which is not really classified as work. The project took about 3 months except for the waterfall on the Koi pond which they recently finished. Between them, they moved 5 pallets worth, several tons of rock of the Autumn Blend variety,  along with 4 cubic yards of gravel and the only help they had was from a large muscular guy who hand dug the bog areas. All in all, a truly magnificent achievement and they have built something they can be very proud of. A very nice and pleasant place to sit and dream. B.J. has done a wonderful job of landscaping around the ponds and the rest of her yard. It’s hard to see where her property line ends and the neighbors continues with the open plan and with the fairway behind them and not a fence in sight. The knockout roses are growing in great abundance. When I stop to think about it, I am not a bit surprised that the ponds have turned out so well. In the past couple of years that I have known B.J. through the meetings and the Pond Tour, it is very obvious that she excels at organizing events and making sure they all come together as they should. Plus, actually doing the work herself along with Sam, really makes this a tremendous effort. I compared this effort with my own and the open plan certainly gave emphasis to the ponds which leads me to think that I really need to do something with the jungle that I have created. Next year, after the frosts… Many of the Society Members showed up for the food, drinks and conversation and there was plenty of both with the reasons for the party, the ponds, being in the forefront of most conversations.  The hot ham n’ cheese sandwiches were very tasty and it took all of my will power to stay at just one.  I stayed a couple of hours and on the way home, managed to catch a couple of pictures of a glorious sunset. Unfortunately, by the time a found a place to pull off the road, the best of sunlight had already faded. It’s all in the timing and the moment and I missed both. The slideshow has lots of pond and people pictures. Enjoy… ======================================================================

Routine Maintenance or just Busy Work…


Fish Fountain Water Feature

I was in one of the ponds the other day fixing a pipe that had gone astray
the pipe to the Fish Fountain Statue led but was  spraying water in the pond instead.

I do not mind getting in the ponds when the water is warm and the temperature high
for it is like a swimming pool, but not as clean and a little green with algae
and dirt floating around and with fish for company tho they cannot be found
except when against my leg they do swim not knowing who this is and why
I am around but they really don’t care as I move slowly so as not to step
on any of them and I cannot  forget that at least two turtles live in the pond
so warily as I move along  just in case  one under my foot should be found.

With so many ponds it’s hard to say which one the turtles are in today
as on the  move they can often be found going on walkabout
without much design as the course they are taking to them seems fine
Richie, the dachshund kicks up a fuss  as he barks frantically to make me aware
at least, I like to think it is so but probably he is more interested to go
to see to the turtle what he can do although with the big one he has met his match
and the big turtle retreats into his shell at the noise
and is too heavy for Richie to surprise by flipping on his back
as this seems to be his favorite thing.
The small one is more of a match as on his shell Richie chews
in a frantic attempt to eat him as he does with the rats in the shed.

I fixed the pipe,it didn’t take much and while I was there the pond I did clean.
Keep in mind the ponds do reside under the trees which means
that leaves are always inside the ponds
so now and then, with my hands as a shovel I scoop out the muck
and onto the bank it goes and then in go the hands for another big load
and so it goes on until satisfied me that the pond is as clean
as it’s going to be as leaves fall in it all of the time
and cleaner than clean is not my line besides the muck in the bottom I find
is a place where the Koi can nuzzle around to find tidbits and larvae and small little bugs
that add to their diet instead of the stuff that I feed.

Turtles in Stream Pond

Red Eared Sliders

In go my hands just one more time, whats this round and hard with sharp little claws
its one of the turtles the middle-sized one who struggles and scratches
as I lift him out just to quickly examine him and to see
if any leeches have attached to his body as they will kill him given the time
as is the way Nature decrees as we all fall in line in the food chain
and in the grand  scheme of things.

The pipe is fixed and the pond is clean
at least cleaner than before I started the task.
While I was at it a pump I did change as the old one was stopped more than it pumped
which is a sure sign that it’s on it’s way out. It will soon be history and will be added to the pile of used pumps that I have out of view.

I check its number and make a note to see if under warranty
Darn, it’s not so there goes that hope of exchange for a new one mainly
to put on the shelf as it’s a pretty safe bet that given the time
one of the pumps will go off-line
and the new one that’s sitting on the shelf will be placed into action
it’s work to begin and the old one back on the pile will be thrown.

I clean up the mess of the leaves from the pond and put water lilies back in the tank
to recover from damage the Koi they did make
as they chewed and buffeted them all along
I replaced the lilies with strong growing ones and in a safety net did place
to protect them from the damaging Koi  as in the ponds they do grace.

Water Lily in net

Routine stuff all  in a day but not if the Koi had their way
as damage they do to anything new that is green and tender
as on them they chew.

I walk the yard, what else do I see that needs attention immediately.
Ah yes, the filters need to be changed and then cleaned to be used again
simple work it is true but the difference is great what the filters can do
to keep water clean, after the dirt I kicked up
as I was cleaning out the muck.

I change the filters and hose them down knowing that the next time I’m out
checking things in the yard to see the things to be done will always include
feeding fish which is fun to watch as they splash and turn
disturbing the water in their mad dash to eat as much of the food as they can.

If nothing is found then inside I’ll go, give the dogs cookies
as they hang around,  check for messages, oh good nothing for me,
this gives me a chance to work on this blog as in the back of my mind this idea I have
of writing about my dip in the pond.

Filling the Time


Old Man Water Feature

It used to be six months ago when I was sitting around and things were slow trying to find something to do, something useful, something new.

Generally, I would find something of the physical kind as that is what I have always done when I am of the mind that something I need to do today in the yard that I can say, “Look at this, look what I have done, different from I did before” as I view my work and feel so fine that I was not wasting my time.

Now, I am much older and know that physical things no longer show as top of the list when things are slow as they used to years ago.

My thoughts turn to the writing thing, a story or poem anything is better to fill my time instead of things of the physical kind.

It’s not that I am a lazy man, far be it for I have found that I enjoy working hard and things I take
to put together, something to make or a garden to shape so that things will grow, flowers will bloom and people will know that it did not happen all by itself, it took a little work from me and Nature and God and between we three we have turned what we have for all to see into this thing of lasting beauty.