Austin Pond Society October Meeting, 2017


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The Austin Pond Society held it’s monthly meeting on Monday, October 16 at the usual place, the Zilker Botanical Gardens Clubhouse. The meeting was attended by around 35 members with a couple of new ones adding to the group. New members are always welcome. The meal provided by the very popular Stephen Monfrini, consisted of pulled pork rolls with salads and dessert’s provided by the members. As usual, a very welcome start to what was a very busy evening.

This meeting started with Jeannie, the President explaining to everyone the rules regarding the photo contest for next years calendars. The entries would be identified by a number only and the members would choose the first, second and third places in each category. There were four categories, fish, ponds, wildlife associated to a pond and water plants.

Following the time allowed to review and vote on the pictures,  the speaker for the evening, Paul Lawrence from “ Texas Land and Water Designs” talked to us for about an hour on the finer points of garden selection which emphasized included plants, where and what sort, contrasts, locations, statues and other solid objects and other ideas that may not occur to most of us. I had some technical difficulties with one of my cameras and it took me awhile to get it sorted out so I missed the first part of his discussion PLUS the camera was out of focus for a bit. My apologies for the poor performance on my part.

Paul Lawrence from “ Texas Land & Water Designs” Oct 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Following Paul, we moved right into the election of officers for this upcoming year, 2018. As chair of the nomination committee, Julienne Smith explained the format for electing the officers and smoothly switched into announcing those board members who were willing to hold a position and return for another year. These officers were all elected by acclamation.

Business Section October 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Below is a list of all of the newly elected Officers.
President – Jeannie Ferrier
Secretary – Keith Neuse
Treasurer – Jack Marshall
Parliamentarian – Nancy Reinart

Below is a list of all of the newly elected Directors.
Historian/Photographer – Glen Hubenthal
Hospitality – Stephen Monfrini
Programs/Special Events – Barbara Lenhardt
Librarian – Margaret Boeneke
Membership – Rodney Lewis
Publicity/Public Relations – Ellen Filtness
Webmaster – Francis Allcorn

All are returning officers with the exception of Keith Neuse as the Secretary. Keith is no stranger to the Board as he helped Rodney with the Membership this past year. Welcome Keith.

We would like to give our thanks to Julienne Smith who has been an active Board Member for seven years and has finally decided to step down. Thanks Julie for all of your hard work over all of those years.

The only position that was not filled was that of the Pond Tour Director without whom there will be no Pond Tour in the foreseeable future. This is probably one of the the most important and definitely the busiest position on the whole board for at least half of the year. Although there are many people that step up and work on the various Pond Tour Committees, the Director is the one that pulls it all together.

Please note that without a Pond Tour Director and therefore no pond tours, we will NOT be able to make the donations and charitable contributions that we normally make as this is our only substantive fund raiser.

Following the voting, Jeannie welcomed all of the members that have volunteered their pictures and then branched into a discussion regarding the actual Pond Tour. Notwithstanding that we need a Director to fill that position, she suggested that maybe we should consider holding the Tour every other year or cutting it back to a single day or both. Her reasons, apart from the obvious one of lack of leadership, is that it takes such a lot of organization and involves so many people. Another reason is that Austin has so much going on that other clubs in our organization, AAGC have also cut back on their tours and shows finding it difficult to compete. A further suggestion from another officer is to have two Directors, one North and one South to halve the organizational time and responsibilities and also to cut back on the mileage. All good talking points and something to think about.

At this point, Darren and Glen announced the winners of the Photo Contest for this upcoming 2018 Calendar. The pictures, in order, will also be posted on this website on a monthly basis starting January 2018. The final act of the evening as it usually is, was the drawing for the door prizes.

The next and final meeting for the year is scheduled for November 20th and it will also be our Holiday Party. Details to follow.

Austin Pond Society – January 2017


dsc_4783This evening, we held the first Austin Pond Society meeting of the new year at the usual place, Zilker Botanical Gardens Clubhouse. The meeting was attended by around 40 or so of its members who were treated to a light meal of Tacos and all of the trimmings followed by a very large assortment of desserts brought in by the members. Our thanks to Steven Monfrini for preparing the delicious spread. To be the most popular person in the entire organization is no mean feat and all you have to do is to feed us to attain that rank as Steven does every month.

Prior to the start of the main meeting, Ted Paone, Chairman of this year’s Pond Tour, held the first introductory meeting of the Pond Tour Committee off to one side, finishing up in time to join the rest of the group for the meal.

dsc_4788At 7:00 pm, the Speaker for the evening,  Jody from Bloomers Garden Center along with her husband Marcus, talked to us about Building a Faerie Garden. She accompanied her talk with slides from the Faerie Garden that she and her family have built at her Garden Center which is located at 507 N. Highway 95, Elgin. See the video below of her presentation.

Faery Garden Meeting Jan 16, 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Following the Speaker, President Jeannie Ferrier presented the new 2017 Board and asked each to introduce themselves. As Webmaster, I was asked to make a presentation about the website and I put together a 15 minute video on it which unfortunately was unable to show due to technical difficulties with the sound. While fussing with this problem, I missed out on filming some of Jeannie introducing the Board Members including the four new ones. Consequently, the video is mostly all audio with a picture of the back wall as the video. Apologies all around.

APS Business Jan 16, 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Hopefully, I will show the video of the website at the next meeting. The meeting closed following the drawing for the door prizes.

The next meeting will be held at the same place on Monday, February 20 starting at 6:30 pm. Hope to see you there.

Austin Pond Society May Meeting 5-16-2016


DSC_2123As usual, on the third Monday of the month at the Zilker Botanical Gardens, the Austin Pond Society held it’s May Meeting. This one was entitled Sponsor Night when many of our sponsors attend to introduce themselves and tell a little bit about their product. Many bring items for sale especially if they are in the retail business and are not pond builders and such.

Following our normal practice, we opened with a meal. This time we had chicken along with the many side dishes brought by the members and again was enjoyed by everyone. Jeannie, our President, brought the meeting to order and introduced a couple of new members. This was followed by the business section which was entirely made up of discussion about the upcoming Pond Tour. BJ made a plea for Volunteers to man the ponds as we are still at least 25 or so people short. Anyone that may be interested can check out the website at www.austinpondsociety.org and register on line or email Mary at volunteers@austinpondsociety.org. For a four hour shift, you get a free tee shirt and a ticket to visit the rest of the ponds on the tour plus all you can eat at the SPLASH party.

With the business out of the way, the mike was handed over to Barb to introduced the sponsors who each spoke about the business they own and the work they perform. Unfortunately, I developed camera problems as this part of the meeting was going on and do not have them on video. My apologies.

Following their spiel, the meeting was opened for the members and sponsors to get together during which, Jeannie announced the winners of the door prizes many of which had been donated by the sponsors.

The meeting came to a close around 8:30 pm.

Below is the video of the meeting and below that, a bunch of pictures. If you click on any picture, it will enlarge them and you can use the side arrows to move the pictures along. Use the “Escape” key to get back to normal.

APS May Meeting 5-16-2016 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

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.

Zilker GardenFest 2016


DSC_1766Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin, Texas held their annual GardenFest this past weekend on both Saturday and Sunday. I attended to get pictures and write a story but also as a volunteer to man the Austin Pond Society table.

My shift was not due to start until 3:30 pm and I arrived around 1:00 pm so that I could wander around and take pictures. The Parking lot was already pretty full when I got there but as it was reserved strictly for volunteers, was well controlled.

Note: If you click on any picture, it will become full size and then you can use the side arrows to move from one to the next. Use the “Escape” key to get back to normal size.

I walked in the back gate and up the hill and the first thing I saw was Steve Blackson working the controls of a large train system with several different trains and carriages running around them. I knew that this was another of his interests besides being a member of the Pond Association. I stayed and watched for ten minutes or so and then made my way up the hill taking picture of the different exhibits and stalls which were selling all kinds of different things. I recognized many of the vendors from last year and although the layout was a little different,there looked to be just as many.

The Food Court was doing a booming business and this year, the GardenFest sold beer brewed by local breweries which also seemed well supported. I ran into several people that I knew and stopped and chatted for a while. I even had one lady recognize me from my coaching days with the River City Rangers.

I ran into another Pond Society Member and chatted to her for a bit.  We were standing by the big waterfalls in the Prehistoric section and there was this family taking pictures and asked if either of us could take a family picture of them. I pointed at Mary and she pointed back to me muttering something about me being the photographer. I took the camera phone and was lost trying to make it work. The guy came over and told me I had it backwards and showed me what to do. There was me with a $1500 camera hanging around my neck and I couldn’t even work his smart phone. Go figure…I eventually took some pictures but have no idea what they looked like.

At the duly appointed time of 3:30 pm, I took over helping to man the Austin Pond Society table. Our main focus this year besides trying to get new members was to spread the word about the upcoming Pond Tour and most of the literature on the table was addressed towards this goal. I shared the time spot with Ted Paone who is also this year’s Pond Tour Director. It was very interesting watching him work. As soon as someone, anyone paused and showed some interest, Ted was on them making his sales pitch and he was very good with it. Me, I just sat there and listened and only chimed in if there were more than one group or if I thought he had forgotten something. This was the easiest hour and a half I have ever spent as  a volunteer. Thanks Ted.

I did not return on Sunday having performed my mandatory duty on Saturday and with very little in the way of changes as regards all of the pictures that I took. Instead, I went hiking not content with climbing the hills at Zilker Botanical Garden the day before.

Below are pictures showing the beauty of Zilker Botanical Gardens.

Below are more pictures of the GardenFest 2016.

Austin Pond Society October Meeting 2015


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The Austin Pond Society held its October meeting on Monday, October 19 at the usual meeting place, Zilker Botanical Gardens Meeting Room. It was attended by about 30 members who enjoyed a meal of Chines Food provided by Bamboo Bistro, one of our sponsors.  Members brought desserts to complete the meal. We are still looking for a Hospitality person to provide us with these meals. Not that there was anything wrong with the food from Bamboo Bistro. In fact, it was delicious but there is nothing like a home cooked meal.Bamboo

The meal was served at 6:30 pm and as usual, the first 30 minutes were dedicated to meeting, eating and drinking. At 7:00 pm, Jeannie Ferrier, APS President opened the business part of the meeting by referring to the fact that we had a lot to get through with nomination of Board Members for the upcoming year plus judging the pictures for the APS 2016 Calendar and the presentation that was going to be made by Matt Boring of Texas Ponds and Water Features.

The first order of business as outlined by Darren Bayhi, was the voting process to select winners and runners up in the Photography Contest. All of the entries were at the back of the room and laid out in the four different categories, Fish, Ponds, Plants and Wildlife. All of the pictures must be associated with ponds or taken in or around a pond. Each voting member was issued four different tickets that reflected the different categories on which the member had to write his or her number of choice.

The next order of business was nominations for members to the 2016 Board. Our bylaws require that we have a nominating committee that this year, comprised of Steven Monfrini, Barbara Lenhardt and David Slimp. Even though several of the current Board are willing to continue in their position this upcoming year, our by-laws require that they be nominated and be voted in at the next meeting.

Of the current Board, Jeannie Ferrier, the President was nominated to continue as were Julienne Smith as Secretary, Glen Hubenthal as Historian/Photographer, Cynthia Bennett as Parliamentarian, Barbara Lenhardt as Programs/Special Events, Betty Blackson as Librarian and yours truly, Francis Allcorn as Webmaster. The following positions are still open and we are looking for responsible volunteers to step up and fill the gaps, Treasurer, Publicity, Membership and Hospitality.

We had one self-nomination by Tad Paone to fill the role of Pond Tour Director. All of the nominated positions will hopefully be confirmed at the November Meeting along with volunteers to fill the remaining vacancies.

Following the nominations for the 2016 Board, the winners and runners up of the Photo Contest were announced plus the overall winner (the one with the most votes) as the Calendar Cover. The pictures are also used as the lead in picture on the Welcome Page of the website and Facebook page, to coincide with each month.

With the business out of the way, it was time for our speaker, Matt Boring of Texas Pond and Waterscapes to make his presentation. His topic was “Pond Preparation for the Winter”. He outlined all of the usual steps to take and fielded a few questions from the floor. He then made a presentation on some of the larger ponds he helped to build.  Finally he showed all of the steps it took to build a pond for one of our members who was on this year’s Pond Tour, Dan Mackay.  This was a very difficult project and it took much longer than he had anticipated but it turned out to be an absolutely beautiful pond. I was very impressed when I photographed it during the Tour and am even more impressed after I heard how difficult it was to build.

After Matt had completed his presentation, there was the usual drawing for the floor prizes and then Jeannie adjourned the meeting at 8:20 pm.

Below is a video of the Business Section of the meeting:

October Business Meeting Revised 2015 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Below is a video of Matt Boring’s presentation:

Presentation Matt Boring October 2015 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The next meeting will be the final one for the year. It’s hard to believe that the year has already slipped by and got away from us yet again. Mark the date on your Calendars, November 16. We will have a meal which I believe (hopefully, will be a roast of some sort with all of the fixin’s and lots of deserts supplied by the members. Following the meal, which will take up a lot of the evening, there will be socializing and dancing. Yes, you read that correctly, DANCING. So put on your best bib and tucker and your dancing shoes, bring along a desert and a very big appetite and come and enjoy yourself. We encourage all of you to dress up for the occasion. Heck, even I am scratching around trying to find something other than shorts to wear. Let me see, I think I got a Tux somewhere. Where the heck is it? Now I remember, I loaned that to a friend but darned if I can remember which one. How about a suit and tie? No, I gave all of my suits to Goodwill the minute I retired but I did keep one tie to be buried in. Guess I’ll stick with the shorts and an ugly sweater.

Oh yes, just a reminder that IF you are interested in filling any of the four vacancies on the Board, you can nominate yourself or have another member nominate you at the November Meeting when we vote on the nominations. Please, please think about volunteering as we do need new blood.

We have two items of scheduled business on the docket. One will be to see if we have any more nominations and then to vote in the new Board for 2016. The other will be to make a presentation to Blue Santa a check for $1500 from the Pond Tour proceeds.  Please remember to bring along a small gift to give to a needy kid in Austin as a part of the Blue Santa Program.

Hope to see you there.

We do not meet in December as it comes way too close to Christmas. The next meeting in the New Year will be January 18, 2016