My Ford Truck


Once again I find myself back at Covert Ford getting my truck serviced. This time for the 36000 mile service which is of course a big landmark in the lifetime of a Ford vehicle as this signifies the end of the factory warranty. So, unless the owner has purchased additional insurance that covers major repairs, then all repair costs become “out of pocket” to the owner.

Beautiful to look at…

It is hard to believe that I have put that many miles on the truck already. The truck is a 2017 model which I bought in 2018 brand new. Many of those miles are through just driving around listening to Audiobooks which is one of the things that I like to do. The truck is a very nice vehicle and really great to drive and very comfortable. The original intent way back then, was to buy a travel trailer and go camping but with four large Koi ponds that require almost daily supervision, it turned out to not be a very feasible idea. I could trade it in, I suppose, but have no idea what I would buy in its place as I like having the additional safety and protection of the larger vehicle especially with all of the idiot drivers who have very little concern for others on the road. I live in Austin in the great State of Texas and I swear there are some of the worst drivers in the world that live and drive here.

It is always an event to come here to Covert Ford. Firstly, it requires that I get up at some unearthly hour that I haven’t known existed since I retired. Then it takes a thirty to forty five minute drive, depending on the traffic, to get here as it is located way up North from my house. Of course, at that early hour, everyone else is driving like a madman or madwoman to get to their place of employment usually making for a very hazardous trip. The Service Center is always busy and by the time I get here around 7:00 o’clock, there is a long line of vehicles in front of me. Handing over my keys I then go to the very nice waiting room that Covert has provided and take the opportunity to grab a cup of free coffee and sit down with my computer and write a piece generally about this place when I am here.

The guy that checked me in told me it would be between three to four hours as there were a lot of people in front of me. I thought I was early at 7:00 am but apparently not early enough to beat the rush. I prepared myself for a long wait but in fact, they completed the work quicker than expected and I drove out of there at 10:00 am.

As a footnote, the fancy computer that regulates just about everything like Maps, Music and in my case Audiobooks is on the fritz, again. This is the second time this has happened and the only fix is to replace the unit in its entirety. They have to send away for the part so I set up an arrangement that when the part comes in, I will go back and do this all over again. Gotta get it fixed as I can’t listen to Audiobooks without rigging up a bluetooth speaker that I have as a temporary measure.

Here’s to the next trip…

Written 1/24/2020

Land of the Free.


Statue of Liberty seen from the Circle Line ferry, Manhattan, New York
The inscription reads:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me

I had another day today
when I could not think of a thing to say
that others might find interesting to read
and stay awhile their curiosity in need
of something stimulating and bright
or make them laugh with all of their might
alas no humor in me today
as I go about my way
with the world a somber place
and wildfires threatening the human race
animals in need of a helping hand
as the fires spread throughout their land
closer to home we have troubles of our own
as Congress sits the President to de-throne
turning this country to an upside down place
as the Politicians take sides whether to displace
and impeach the President of this land
if there are enough votes at hand
making the people to choose sides
awaiting for the Members to decide
even while waiting for these actions to start
the country is hurting being torn apart
with no hope at all to politely disagree
and friends and neighbors will be enemies
such is the way of the modern world
where news spreads fast the mind in a whirl
I too am an immigrant to this land
from England where it was originally planned
that America as it was known
would always belong to the English throne
but the subjects who were already here
had different ideas and with no fear
sent the English back to their land
causing them to disband
declaring the country the Land of the Free
and giving the Nation its liberty
but Americans being the mix that they are
no longer like strangers from countries afar
they are not welcome to inhabit this space
no more the land of the free a terrible disgrace
the people here have memories so short
that everyone was welcomed through New York’s port.
and erected a statue for everyone to see
that you are welcome here to the Land of the Free.

Written 01/14/2020

Pre Season Get Together


This happy group of pond enthusiasts

A small group of the Austin Pond Society Board met for a pre-season get together at the home of President Barbara Reinhardt. There are two new and two returning members to this group including Secretary Gwen Goulet, Treasurer Mike Peppers, Librarian Max Rice and Member At Large, Cat Bilberry of which, only Gwen and her husband Glen were able to attend. The group also included a long time Member, Julienne Smith, who has stepped down as Secretary, a position that she held for nine years. Her experience and expertise are not lost forever as she has volunteered to be the AAGC representative for the upcoming year. She was accompanied by her Husband, Phil.

Also included in the attendees were Nancy Hall who is the current Publicity person and BJ Jenkins in charge of the upcoming programs. BJ dragged her husband, Sam along with her although he is always a willing participant to her many interests. The same may not be said in the opposite direction as BJ has not yet taken up playing golf, Sam’s favorite pastime.

Another welcome attendee was Margaret Boeneke who is our Registrar and has done more to bring the Austin Pond Society into the 21st Century than any other member with her technical knowledge and computer ability. Also present was Glen Hubenthal who has been on the Board since time immemorial. No one except Glen knows how long that is. Glen is currently the Official Photographer and Historian for the Association and also the AKCA representative. His knowledge of things long past is invaluable in the current running of this group. Last but not least of those attending was Ted Paone who has volunteered for the most Popular Person in the Organization position, that of Hospitality. Looking forward to some of his concoctions for us to sample. Ted is better known as a previous Pond Tour Chairman. The final members in attendance were our host Barbara and myself, Frank Allcorn as the APS Webmaster and Blogger.

Barb’s Pond

Barb has a very nice pond, built by one of our Sponsors, Hill Country Water Gardens. It is around 1400 gallons and contains three large and about seven much smaller Koi and four Goldfish. Being the winter season, the fish were pretty dormant and on the bottom of the pond.

I was coerced into the picture and you can see why I don’t have my picture taken.

This was strictly a social gathering and forever changing groups of people could be seen mostly sitting around the pond. Between them, the group provided some interesting food most of which was gone by the end of the get together.

These are brother and sister and only a year and a half old.
The oldest Puppy who is about 12 years old.

The next door neighbor was out playing with her three pugs and being the dog person that I am, I just had to go over to meet them. They were the cutest things and played up a storm, that is after they came over to say hello to me. As I didn’t have any treats, they quickly went back to their fun and games.

After a couple of hours of socializing, the party broke up and we made our way to our respective homes. It was good to get together in a social atmosphere without the pressures of running the Austin Pond Society. Thanks Barb for hosting a great afternoon.

Written 1/9/2020

APS August Meeting 2019


Getting ready for the meeting.

The third Monday of the month saw us once again at Zilker Botanical Gardens Clubhouse for our usual Austin Pond Society Meeting. This was attended by exactly 40 members a couple of whom were brand new. Welcome to you from this friendly group of “Ponders”.

As usual, the first thing we did at 6:30 pm was to feed the inner man (or woman). Barb, our President had stopped by HEB to pick up ham sandwiches and the members brought in the side dishes and deserts. Someone, had brought in a bowl of curried rice with hard boiled eggs and it was delicious adding some spice to the otherwise dour and uninteresting taste of the ham sandwiches, at least in my mind. Of all of the things that we sample, those sandwiches are far back on my list of favorite foods. Just my 5 cents worth…

Click on a picture to enlarge it and then use the side arrows to move to the next.

The meeting started at 7:00 pm with Barb going round the room and the new members were given the opportunity to be introduced and say hello and a little bit about themselves. It is always fun to hear why they are interested in ponds and ponding.

There was quite a bit of business which included the upcoming elections of Officers. Barb mentioned that there are a few vacancies including Hospitality, Librarian and Pond Tour Director that need to be filled for next years Board plus the Board Selection Committee that is headed by Margaret Boeneke, (Membership) is needing two additional members. Officially, all positions are open but generally speaking, the members are content with the current Board Members and do not replace them if they plan on continuing in their positions. All of the positions are important but by far and away, one of the most important of all is the Pond Tour Director without whom, there is not a Tour. As with most organizations of this kind, we have trouble finding volunteers to act on the different committees and even on the Board itself.

On a separate note, Julienne Smith, our longtime Secretary of 8 years, announced that she is not going to run again and will join the members as one of them. We thank Julie for her long service and due diligence in keeping us all in order. She will be missed on the Board. Add that position to those that are open.

Ted Paone receiving his award as the Koi Person of the Year with Glen Hubenthal and Barb Lenhardt, President.

Other business included the presentation of the Koi Person of the Year Award to Ted Paone for his contributions as Director on the past two Pond Tours. Later in the evening, Ted gave a quick outline of drip watering which he has in his yard.

Video by Sam and BJ Jenkins

The highlight of the evening was a presentation by BJ and Sam Jenkins entitled Ponds 101. It was a video that Sam had put together of them building the two ponds and bog at their home in Bastrop. Sam narrated the video and it was set to music and was very nicely done lasting about 20 minutes or so, Following the video, BJ took over answering the questions put to them by the membership. All in all, a very successful presentation.

Business Section Video

The meeting ended with the usual drawing for the door prizes and announcements of upcoming events. including the Photo Contest which is scheduled for the next meeting, September 16 along with a scaled down version of the Swap and Sell Meet. There are also a couple of Members Only events on the Calendar. Check the website and the Stream for further details.

If you are interested in joining the Austin Pond Society, visit the website at https://austinpondsociety.org for more details. If you want to become a Board Member, contact Barb, the President at president@austinpondsociety.org

Hope to see you at any and all of these events.

Written 8/21/2019

Hot Weather


Summer Sun by Unknown Artist.

With the weather warming up so much
and everything is hot to the touch
and to walk outside to an immediate blast
of hot air which we know will last
until September or for half of that month
getting hotter and hotter as the thermometer jumps
until the temperature will stay
at close to a hundred degrees each day
and overnight is not much better
for in the eighties is the night weather
and when the day has first begun
is the only time to have outside fun
unless your work keeps you outdoors
then of course you have to ignore
how hot it is as the temperature drifts
time to cool at the end of the shift
I used to work out in the sun
and could not wait for the day to be done
relentless heat for eight hours a day
trying to keep the sun at bay
with sunblock and sunscreen placed on the skin
and a hat and dark glasses before you begin
lots of water to drink to try to hydrate
and keep an eye on your buddy for safety’s sake
if you work outside then you have no choice
not counting the thoughts that you may voice
if fate has dealt you a working man’s hand
with millions of others throughout this land
of the one thing you can be sure
Texas heat in the Summer is tough to endure.

Written 7/2/2019






My One Thousandth Blog


Nature’s beauty. The Yaupon trail at McKinney Roughs LCRA Park.

This is my one thousandth blog that I have written and posted on this site. I never thought when I started blogging all of those years ago and posted my first blog on July 12, 2011 that I would maintain the interest and continue on. But I have done and am still excited even today when I finish a particularly good piece or poem and have good quality pictures to go along with it.

Things are a little different now than it was eight years ago. Then, I thought that I would write short stories and post them for all to see until I figured out just how much work that was. I soon found out that I was not a writer as I don’t have a devious enough mind to come up with all of those plots and situations. Instead, I let Nature be the plot as she provides me with countless means of expression through her beauty. I added photography to my repertoire and have got to be pretty good at it. So, nowadays, I take pictures as I go on long hikes and then I write about what I have seen and show the photos that I took. Incidentally, I always do post camera work on all of my pictures to bring out the colors and shades that I did not capture with the original picture and in the last couple of years have got a lot of pleasure out of putting together videos of the pictures by turning them into slideshows, usually to music.

I discovered early on that I can write verse albeit a bit corny sometimes. If the words rhyme then that is good enough for me even if the words don’t make too much sense. I love writing poetry and I really feel my creative side coming out when I put down the words.

I write for myself and publish it for others to share if they are so inclined to read it. Early on, I wanted everyone to “like” what I wrote until I discovered that I had to “like” them back. I soon tired of that game and nowadays only add a “like” if in fact I really do. Otherwise, a quick glance to see if the other blog is interesting and then move on although I do have a few fellow bloggers that I follow and “like” on a consistent basis and it still takes me an hour or more going through the blogs every morning.

I did manage to write an entire autobiography about my life growing up in England all the way from being a little kid during the second World War to the trip from England to America and it sits on a thumbdrive gathering dust. There is a second part waiting to be written, My Life in America, but if I ever will actually write it, remains to be seen. Maybe when I can’t hike anymore. It’s a sure thing that I am not going to get rich from writing or photography.

So why do we do it? What compels us to spend time and effort writing about our interests and then publishing it so that others may read about it? Why are we so arrogant to believe that others may be in the slightest bit interested in any of our work. I have no answer for that and can only put it down to the folly of human nature which is why some people are writers and authors and other are carpenters and bricklayers, which incidentally I was for many years of my life.

When I can no longer hike or when the ponds get to be too much work, what will I write about then? If I don’t live it, I do not have a story. Like I said at the beginning, I am a reporter not a writer and probably by then, my brain will be defunct of any creative virtues.

Here’s hoping for another thousand blogs and all the years that go along with it…

Written 6/26/2019

Austin Pond Society June 2019 Meeting


Some of members that were present

This meeting was dedicated to a review of the recent Pond Tour held on June 1-2, 2019 where some of the owners that came to the meeting were presented with a plaque comprising of a picture of their pond that they had on display. Not all of the owners were available but those that were, graciously discussed their impressions that they had of the Tour with their ideas and recommendations for the future tours.

They and the other Members were treated to a quick meal of Chile and Chips plus the members brought in lots of desserts and salads to complement the meal. Following this brief repast, Barb Lenhardt, our President got the ball rolling as she had the Owners introduce themselves along with a new Member. She was followed by Ted Paone, this years Pond Tour Director who discussed the many aspects that it took to put on a tour of this size. He took the time to thank all of the many Volunteers and Committee Members without whom, none of this would have been possible and the Members gave him a big round of applause for all of his efforts. He did mention that in order to stay a happily married man, this was his very last time as Director and we thanked him for his efforts along with those of the many Committee Members and Volunteers that helped to make this a big success. So, if anyone out there wants to volunteer as next years Pond Tour Director, please contact our President at president@austinpondsociety.org

Barb’s Intro to the Pond Tour Meeting

He then led everyone through the slide show that Glen had put together with each owner that was present taking the opportunity to lead us through the various aspects of their particular set up whether it was a pond or a stream or a combination of both.

I started to film these interactions but quickly realized that I could not film the screen and the person who was talking both at the same time and gave up on the idea. Glen sent me a copy of his slideshow for me to post. I did a little work on editing and added music. Enjoy

The Austin Pond Society annual Pond Tour 2019. Pictures are by Glen Hubenthal with additional video work by Francis

With the end of the discussions, the evening came to a close.

The next meeting will be held on July 15th at the same place, Zilker Botanical Gardens and the subject matter will be “Building Your Own Pond”. Hope to see you there.

Written 6/18/2019