Retired from the University of Texas and too old to play soccer anymore. Now, in the twilight of his years, time is spent writing in this blog, hiking and exploring Texas Parks, photography, working out, gardening and tending to the five ponds he built .
I had a very interesting visitor to my ponds yesterday. This one was about 4 feet tall with a 5 feet wingspan and was a beautiful blue-grey color. He was not a welcome visitor but that didn’t seem to phase him one little bit.
I have put together a video of his/her time that was spent in my ponds yesterday morning. The video is not of the greatest quality as it is made up of 7 separate videos that I got from the surveillance cameras of which I have 4 scattered around the yard and pointing at the ponds. These cameras only record in 2 minute increments and are motion driven which quite literally means anything that moves be it wind, water, waterfalls, decorative fountains and the like and includes me, when I am out there and of course, the dogs. The very first set of pictures is from a camera that is going bad and needs changing out hence the black and white effect. The rest show the heron in all of its glorious color.
The black and white picture is of a pond that used to be joined together to the pond in the color pictures that follow before I rebuilt it making it 4 feet deep. Way too deep for the heron to jump in which is probably why he moved quickly to the adjoining pond where the water is only 2 feet or less deep making it easy for him to wade around at his leisure as you can see from the video.
It is not clear just how many fish it managed to eat but judging from the absence of goldfish in the pond, I would say that he got quite a few. They could be hiding out and may appear in one’s and two’s later on but I am not holding my breath. There are still 7-8 12 plus inch Koi which is about what were there before so I imagine that he left them because they present a more difficult eating/swallowing problem than do the much smaller goldfish. We will just have to wait and see if when he returns. I keep calling it a “He” but truthfully, I have no idea if it is male or female and I have not read of any differing characteristics.
Stay tuned as I’m quite sure he will be back. Where were the dogs, you might ask. Probably curled up with me in bed and even if they heard anything were way too comfortable to be bothered with it.
I do not know the reason why my thoughts should turn to a different place I only know I need to try to put on a braver face fate has once again been unkind and struck me a blow to give me pain as I have lost another friend another of the four legged kind.
Gizmo, my beautiful little dog stopped eating and cried when I picked him up and so to the Emergency room we spent Saturday evening till late they sent him home with little relief and Monday to our Vets we did go and he spent a week as they worked on him trying to figure what brought him low.
They scheduled him for surgery and told me that I should go back to the Vets to say goodbye just in case he did not pull through I cried and could not stop the tears as I spent time with my little mate not knowing if it would be the last that I would gaze upon his pretty face.
He looked at me with his beautiful eyes as if to say that he would try to get through this ordeal and we can be together again I said farewell and walked away crying so hard I could barely see and all of the people in the room turned away and let me be.
My little dog died that day after the surgery was complete his little heart just gave way as he went into an eternal sleep I shall always remember his little ways and how he would try to talk to me when he wanted something whatever it was he would whine and bark so I could see.
I brought him home and dug a hole in that special spot where the others lay so he does not sleep alone and in the next life has friends to play farewell Gizzie you will be missed our time together was way to short but I will always remember you for all of the pleasures you have brought.
Once again my heart does ache for another of my furry friends whose life in years is way to short and from our lives their time does end all I have left are memories of the time you spent with me but special are those beautiful thoughts and in my heart will ever be..
Gizzmo was a Yorkshire Terrier and I adopted him from the Georgetown Animal Shelter in January of 2018. We had a little over a year together, way, way too short. He was 13 years old.
The weather was a balmy 75 degrees so I decided that I would go for a walk at Reimers Ranch which is about 15 miles from my house. The drive alone is very pleasant and gives me more opportunities to listen to the current Audio-book that has me very much engrossed. Being a week day, I knew that there would not be very many people lucky enough to take the time to enjoy the wonderful weather and get in some exercise to boot.
I had no specific plans except to start walking from the very last Parking Lot known as River View Parking No 2. I headed of along the Multi-use Trail in the general direction of the Turkey Trail and then at the last minute decided to stay on the Multi-use Trail heading back to River View Parking No 1.
The Spring flowers are blossoming in all of their glory and I got some great pictures. As usual, I also took pictures of the trails and the surrounding views which are bright with new growth as Nature has painted things with her green brush. I spotted a couple of birds that looked like the same type in both pictures . I believe they were Cowbirds and of course, the sky was dotted with the ever circling Buzzards. If I don’t see any other birds, I can guarantee to see a Buzzard or two.
I passed a couple of young ladies on the upper gravel trail on my way back to the Parking Lot where I had first set out. We greeted each other as is the ways of trail hikers and exchanged a few pleasantries. I headed back to my truck and altogether, managed to cover 5.2 miles which also included walking around the grocery store. A very successful afternoon.
The third Monday of the month around 6:30 pm and it’s time for another Austin Pond Society Meeting held at the usual place, Zilker Botanical Gardens. There were around 35 members who showed up to be treated to a meal of Chinese food from one of our sponsors, Bamboo Bistro.
They were really here to listen to Reeve Hobbie from Travis County Master Gardeners and his topic was “If Plants Could Talk “ – unusual facts about native plants. His was a very interesting presentation and was well received by his audience. Lets face it, who doesn’t like flowers and the fact they were all to be found in Texas., really helped.
Following the presentation, BJ Jenkins, who was filling in for the President away on Business, opened a discussion on “My Favorite Tool”. She had brought along a couple of her own to demonstrate their uses. Ronnie Hubenthal brought along a very useful and very long handled cutter used to trim lily pads and other plants way out in the pond. This was followed by a general business meeting with updates from the Board Members and a quick run down of the current status of the Pond Tour by Ted Paone, Pond Tour Chairman.
The meeting ended with the drawing of the door prizes which is everybody’s favorite as we all waited with baited breath to see who’s number was selected next. Needless to say, mine was not one of those drawn but it was all in good fun.
The next meeting will be held April 15th and this one is our Annual Plant Swap. Members are encouraged to bring along any plants both of the pond and garden varieties that they wish to swap or give away. The one stipulation is that anything you bring that is not taken, must go home with you. Darren Bayhi will also be demonstrating “How to Replant Waterlilies” so if you have never attempted this, Darren will show you just how easy it really is.
Isn’t it ironic that on the day I post a poem heralding the return of Spring to my part of Texas, that same night we get temperatures below freezing that lasted for three days. It was mostly overnight temperatures that were freezing as during the daytime, the thermometer went up to around 40 degrees which by itself is way too cool for us warm blooded Texans. Just like our women, we like the weather to also be hot although to be fair, you will hear us grumble about continuous 100 degree days in the Summer. Given the choice, most of us will take the heat anytime.
For someone who moved down from New York State 42 years ago, these cold days are nothing compared with some of the horrendous winters that I endured in my 10 years in that State, resulting in my fleeing as fast as I could and as far south as I could in double quick time. When I very occasionally go back for a visit, I make sure it is in the Summertime.
That being said, the frost damage to the new vegetation was not as bad as I thought it might be but will still require some clean up work on my part, darn it. Dare I hope that this is the last of the freezing weather for us. I really want it to be as I can’t remember having frosts this late in the season. Normally, ours is over by the end of January. The forecast is for it to be back up in the 70’s by Thursday with overnights in the 50’s. Makes me wonder if the weather patterns are really changing or is it just some freak act of Nature. I’m waiting to see if the Brown Snake made it through OK as I have kinda got used to having him make me jump out of my skin when I come across him unexpectedly. Good job he is harmless. I wonder what it is about snakes that makes man fear them so much. BTW, I say he but it could be a female. I wonder how you tell the difference?
Talking of ponds, the frost has done a job on the some of the pond vegetation which means that I will need to get into the ponds in order to clean it up. I will put that off as long as I can as the water is freezing cold. Not literally of course but figuratively speaking.
I wonder what this year will bring now that it is nearly Spring trees all bursting out with leaves and flowers of every color achieved everything new and fresh and green Natures wonders to be seen a new birth for her every year to make everything fresh and clear what about the rest of life will it bring to me another wife of one thing I am very sure no more as wives for me I deplore three of them I have tried and none of them could decide that I was meant to be their mate which we found out almost too late that was many years ago I have lived alone and like it so with no one telling me what to do and living my life as they haven’t a clue of what it is that make me tick come to that I am not so slick as often I don’t know which way is up but I have no wives so I am in luck I wonder how hot it is going to be when Summer arrives we shall see but this is Texas and we all know that hot it will be as the temperature shows at least one hundred degrees and more in the middle of summer the temperature soars we slap on the cream and put on our hats and venture out for no bravery we lack it is a part of everyday life the heat of the Summer is a part of the strife that we face from day to day and on this we can have no say as Mother Nature is who decides on the weather and how we live our lives and she has decided that it is Spring that we can enjoy as the birds all sing.
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.
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