A Short Drive in February, 2019


Onion Creek

I decided to go to Dripping Springs to the local Tractor Supply to buy more food for the ever hungry Koi and Goldfish. Even though we are in late February, they didn’t stay dormant for very long and I have been feeding them for all of this month. We have only had one frost and it has not been a very severe winter for us. We will make up for it in the Summer when the temperature will reach 100 degrees or more for days on end.

While feeding the fish this morning, I noticed that the Urn that sits in the middle of the 5000 gallon pond and has done ever since the pond was built 27 years ago, had stopped working. I suspected that the feeder hose had sprung a leak as prior to its stopping, it was bubbling out very slow. I will have to get in the pond to repair this but will wait a bit for the water to warm up.

After purchasing the bag of fish food and spending time wandering around the store looking at things that I wish I needed, I left the store intending to drive home. I decided at the last minute to take one of the side streets to explore the countryside for a bit. Dripping Springs proper as a city is not that big with around 5000 residents but its jurisdiction takes in a lot of the surrounding countryside which is inhabited by farms of all descriptions.

I had no idea where I was going and just kept following the road. It was a beautiful day and not much in the way of traffic but enough to keep me focused. I was listening to an Audiobook which is my most favorite pastime. This time, it was the first book of the Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. The narrator was a lady by the name of Davina Porter and she has the most delightful voice and is exceptionally good at telling a story.

I came across a stream which I thought was probably Onion Creek. It had a lot of water in it which is not surprising for this time of the year with it still technically the Winter Season. The road I was on followed the stream for several miles and I crossed it least on four or five different occasions stopping to take pictures wherever I could. Interestingly enough, several of the vehicles that passed me when I was parked, also stopped to enquire if everything was OK and did I need help. I quickly explained that I was taking pictures and they drove on. Only in the country does this sort of thing happen where other people are still concerned for your wellbeing.

Towards the end of the drive, I rounded a bend and spotted a Zebra in a yard. It was a bit skittish but I managed to get a decent picture of him. I decide that it was time to head home and turned to my GPS system for directions and discovered that I was miles out of my way and heading in the totally wrong direction. I was, in fact, almost into Wimberley which is 17 miles from Dripping Springs. I followed the GPS directions and had to backtrack for several miles before finding the right road back to Dripping Springs and made the most of it by stopping at the Starbucks located there to satisfy my insatiable thirst for coffee. I finally made it home after spending a very enjoyable couple of hours.

I have made a slide show of the pictures that I took.

Written 2/24/2019

A Walk Around the Garden. 2/5/2019


With the weather as mild as it is here in Texas, it is hard to believe that technically, it is still winter. The outside temperature is at 65 plus degrees and true to form, Mother Nature is hurrying all of her charges along in an attempt to put on a show. Luckily for me, I managed to get ahead of the game and cut down all of the dead and decaying material giving the new growth plenty of room to succeed.

The Knockout Rose is really excelling and has some beautiful blooms and lots of them. Years ago, I planted a bunch of bulbs and some of them, mainly Narcissus, are flowering like crazy. I also discovered several clumps of Violets except they are of the white variety. One plant is in the waterfall on one of the ponds.

I also spotted my resident garden snake that seems to have found a permanent home here. I have watched him (or her) grow from about two feet long to almost four feet long today. He has also increased his size around the girth and is now a very plump specimen. Probably due to his frog and the occasional fish diet. This time, he was sunning on one of the pond plants in the 6000 gallon pond and when he did eventually spot me, all he did was disappear back under the cover of that plant. Below are three more pictures of him.

Since taking these pictures, the weather has got a little cooler with chances of overnight frosts. Hopefully, we will get lucky and if there is a drop in temperature it will not go below freezing. We are almost halfway through February and winter officially ends on March 21 although for us, it will be much sooner than that. It is worthwhile putting up with the summer heat and 100 plus degrees just to not have winter. I hate being cold…

Written 2/8/2019

Everything Goes in Threes


I was talking to a neighbour as we had both come out to our mailboxes at the same time. We were just passing the day as neighbors sometimes do and he noticed that I was wearing what he thought were clip on shades to my glasses. I proudly showed him that they were actually held on by little magnets hardly visible to the naked eye. He seemed interested enough that he might consider getting a set for his own use.

We went our ways both back indoors and I decided that I needed to get out the riding mower to trim both the front and the very small back areas which are about the only areas that have any grass in or outside of my yard. The rest of the space is taken up with the five ponds. The sun was shining bright and the temperature was a very nice 85 degrees, would you believe. Pretty amazing for the time of year as after all, technically it is still wintertime here in Texas. Being the very attentive person that I am on listening to the advice of my Dermatologist, or more probably afraid of her lecture for not following her instructions, I went back indoors and slathered my face, neck, arms and legs (I wear shorts year round) with suntan lotion. I noticed that for some reason, the lotion, which was nearly empty anyway, had turned very runny and was more like oil than ointment. I continued to use it not giving much thought to the consequences.

I went back to work on the mowing and managed to finish the front area which, incidentally is the largest of the two areas. I have already mentioned that it was a rather hot day and consequently I started to sweat although I didn’t notice it too much. Then my eyes started to sting just a little and being so engrossed in what I was doing, thought that it was probably some pollen or dust that had got in.

By this time, I had driven the mower back inside the yard and to the back area which as I said before, is the only area that has any open space. The reason for the space is that the name of my street is called Murmuring Creek and the creek in question is created anytime we get a gully washing downpour, the kind that drops several inches of rain in a very short space of time and it runs out of the 24 inch drainage pipe which runs under the road, under my fence and then through the back yard. This is the lowest spot for several hundred yards around adding to the amount of water coming out of the pipe and then under my fence. I have a half acre lot and I have had it flood as far as halfway up the garden in years gone by but with some clever manipulation and strategic placement of several railroad ties, I have managed to keep the water to the very lowest point. It still floods my yard but only for about 20 odd feet or so.

By now, I was sweating profusely and my eyes were really beginning to sting. I kept stopping and wiping them and adding eye drops which I always carry. It was getting hard to see but I was determined that I was going to finish the damn mowing which I eventually did. I drove the mower back out of the backyard and into my garage which is where I keep it. By the way, this is the first year that I have not had to take the mower and get it overhauled like I have in the past forever Springtimes due mainly to the fact that I remembered to start it up every 3-4 weeks this year and so keeping it in running order.

Only when I walked back into the house did I realize that I no longer had the dark clip on shades on my glasses, the ones that my neighbor so admired. Fearing the worst and with my eyes still smarting from the mixture of sweat and sun lotion, I went back out into the yard to look for them. Sure enough, I found them at the spot that I inadvertently knocked off my glasses to wipe my streaming and very painful eyes. The problem was that I had mowed over them and I could only find one half, the other is probably miles away with the force of the mower blades.

That was that so sore eyes and minus sun shades, I decided that I really needed to go to the Supermarket to stock the larder. Here in Texas we are in the habit of carrying our own shopping bags into the store in an effort to cut back on the amount of plastic in the landfills and as is the case with plastic bags, on the fences and hedgerows along the side of the road. I grabbed two of my bags and placed them in my shopping cart only to discover when I eventually checked out, that I only had one bag still in the cart. Somewhere on my way around the store, the other bag had fallen out and I had not noticed. I finished checking out and made a quick walk around doubling back on my tracks but to no avail as there was no sight of the bag. I donate to a lot of charities and have shopping bags from them which I am proud to use and display and this particular bag was brand new having never been used. It was from Doctors Without Borders and was the first that I had from them. Oh well, as long as someone is putting it to good use and is advertising for them, it matters not who.

I got back into my truck and sat there for a moment thinking about the days events and how they come in threes in my case sun lotion in my eyes, running over my shades and then losing the bag. At least there was nothing wrong with my Grande Latte from the next door Starbucks.

Written 2/16/2019

A Silly Rhyme.


I’m running out of things to do
and running out of things to write
for the past few days I have spent indoors
the weather being the cause of my plight
it has been cold and wet during those days
with temperatures close to freezing at night
and not getting much warmer in any way
enough to keep me indoors out of sight
my poetical genius is sorely stressed
with trying to find things to write
and getting those words into a rhyme
is proving much harder more like a fight
I really should go and work out
as exercise could make things alright
give the muscles a stretch and blood to the brain
and tone up the body and make everything tight
my mind is not really in the mood
to push the body and so despite
the fact that I am gaining weight
my mind cannot act so forthright
instead I will think of other things
to try to keep the body tight
and I need to end this silly rhyme
much to everyone’s delight.

Written 2/10/2019




Winter ?


Snow in Austin in 2011

Sitting here looking out at the view
wondering what I can do
as the skies are grey and the temperature cold
as winter tries to keep its hold
from sixty five degrees two days ago
this morning we have had some snow
albeit just the faintest of traces
not like some of the other places
where it is measured by the foot
anything less and the point is moot
with the temperature around thirty six degrees
enough to freeze the skin off my knees
and make me put on longer pants
or maybe just to take a chance
the temperature inside of the house
is seventy five and as warm as a mouse
so I think that inside is where I will stay
as outside I do not need today.

Written 2/8/2019

APS February Meeting 2019


The Speaker for the evening, Cindy Cassidy

The third Monday of the month rolled around as it always does bringing with it the Austin Pond Society monthly meeting. Although we are still missing a Hospitality Person on the Board, Barb Lenhardt, our new President, stopped by her local HEB SuperMarket and ordered a bunch of sandwiches of different varieties and flavors. This coupled with the deserts brought by the members made for an adequate meal to start off the proceedings.

There were around 32 members in attendance to hear the speaker, Cindy Cassidy talk about Night Skies and Light Pollution, a subject that not too many of us ever think about. It was a very interesting presentation as she described the way that light from various sources is wasted by poor planning and the use of the proper shading. When you consider that wasted light is wasted money, then things take on a different perspective. She also spent some time talking about the effects that lighting has on wildlife especially birds that are known to crash into buildings by the hundreds. She also discussed how plant life is affected when the proper hours of darkness are not sufficient to stimulate growth. All in all, very much food for thought.

Following her talk, we had a discussion on String Algae hosted by BJ Jenkins which the Members joined in with their opinions and questions. This is an idea that BJ has come up with to hold at every meeting based on whatever subject is important at the time. If you have something that you would like discussed, contact BJ Jenkins at this link.

The last item of the meeting was the business section when several items were covered including the upcoming 25th Annual Pond Tour. Ted Paone, the Pond Tour Chairman, outlined the plans for this event including the fact that several more ponds are still needed. This year’s event will not be as big as previous Tours and will host anywhere from 6-8 ponds on either day, the idea being that guests can spend more time at each pond and have more time to travel between the ponds. Volunteers are still needed to welcome the guests and sell the tickets. If you are interested in helping out, contact Ted Paone at this email address.

The meeting ended with the Raffle, always a popular event as three lucky Members won a gift chosen by Barb, our President. The next meeting is on March 18th, same time, same place. The scheduled Speaker is Reeve Hobbie from Travis County Master Gardeners and he will be speaking about “If Plants Could Talk “ – unusual facts about native plants. Hope to see you there.
BTW, if you are interested in the Hospitality position on the Board, contact Barb at this link.

Below are the three videos of the evening. The first is the full coverage of the talk given by Cindy Cassidy.

Texas Night Skies

The second video is of the Business part of the meeting and is broken into two separate videos. The first video is of half of the business discussion. The second video is of very poor quality and sound due to not using a tripod and not hooking up the microphone. This was unfortunately brought about by no break between the Speaker and her presentation and the Business section as I had no time to replace the battery and had to switch cameras. My apologies for the very poor content of the second video.

Part 1
Part 2

Written 2/22/2019

Reimers Ranch 2-3-2019


Six picture pano showing the winter foliage.

I decide to drive over to Reamers Ranch just to take a few pictures and see what the winter foliage looked like. There were a few cars in the parking lots but as it was fairly late in the afternoon, I was not surprised at the small number.

I parked in the second parking lot that has road access to the river and took just my camera with me as I knew that I was not planning on walking very far on any of the trails.

There were a couple of families with kids exploring the river at the swimming area but being winter, no one was in the water. There was another group that were fishing but I didn’t get close enough to them to see if they had caught anything. Further down river was a motor boat with a couple of people on board just drifting in the current. Such was the nature of the day with the temperature in the lower 70’s. Not bad for wintertime in Texas.

Written 2/6/2019