Austin Pond Society October Meeting 10-21-2019


Deena Spelman from Bastrop Botanical Gardens

This was the last of the instruction meetings that the Austin Pond Society held for this year 2019. There is one more meeting in November but it is devoted entirely to our end of year celebrations and Christmas Party.

There were around 35 members and guests that attended and they were welcomed to a dinner of Fried Chicken with the Members providing all of the fixins and deserts. This was held at the usual place, Austin Botanical Gardens Clubhouse.

The Speaker for the evening was Deena Spelman, owner of Bastrop Botanical Gardens which is located at 316 Old 71, Cedar Creek, Texas.. She gave a very interesting lecture on Culinary Herbs and plants and provided hands on or rather nose on as she passed around samples of the herbs and plants she was discussing. Hers was a very enjoyable presentation and was warmly applauded by the Members.

From listening to the Speaker, the Members then got down to the serious business of nominating and electing the Members of the Board that will operate next year. The final grouping is listed below with the position of Pond Tour Chairman still open. If anyone is interested in this position, please contact either the
President at president@austinpondsociety.org
Margaret at membership@austinpondsociety.org.
This is a very important position as without the Pond Tour Director, in all probability, the chances of there being a Pond Tour this year is greatly diminished.

The Officers for the upcoming year of 2020 are:
President – Barbara Lenhardt
Treasurer – Mike Peppers
Secretary – Gwenn Goulet

The Board of Directors are:
Programs and Special Events – BJ Jenkins
Publicity – Nancy Hall
Membership – Margaret Boeneke
Historian/Photographer – Glen Hubenthal
Member at Large – Cat Bilbrey
Pond Tour Chairman – Open

The Non Voting Members are:
Hospitality – Ted Paone
Librarian – Max Rice
Webmaster – Francis Allcorn
AAGC Rep – Jullienne Smith
AKCA Rep – Glen Hubenthal

Many thanks were given to the Officers that were stepping down including Julie who had been Secretary for 9 years although she is still involved as the AAGC Representative.

The rest of the meeting was taken up with items like a discussion on upcoming events followed by the drawing for the door prizes. The meeting was adjourned with Nancy offering some pond plants that she had brought in for the Members to share.

The next meeting is on November 17 and will be the final meeting of the year. It will be our Holiday Party. Members are encouraged to bring a gift for the needy kids in Austin that will be distributed by Blue Santa.

Mr and Mrs Blue Santa Klaus

The dinner will be supplied by APS. Members will not need to bring in any pot lucks or deserts. We thank all of you for being so generous this past year with your food contributions. Hope to see you there.

Written 10/23/2019

My Ford Truck-Another Service


Once again I find myself back at the Ford Dealership getting my truck serviced. I have routinely and I might add, faithfully brought my truck back here to get it serviced every 5000 or so miles. Now, there is 30,000 miles on the clock and we are at a major service with a lot of stuff having to get worked on.

The Dealership is Covert Ford which is also where I originally purchased the truck a couple of years back. They have always treated me with respect and the service has always been good but it is still a hassle every time I bring it here. They service on a first come first served basis for the normal type of services that most vehicles require. Consequently, it is a bit of a free for all when first arriving as it doesn’t matter what time I get here, there is always a long line of cars and trucks in front of me.

I attempted to bring the truck in the day before but a series of events prevented that from happening. Well, actually, that is not quite true. The first thing that happened is that I slept through the alarm not waking until an hour after I had set it at 7:00 am. I scurried around and got on the road only to run into the normal rush hour traffic as the commuters wended their way to their various jobs. The traffic was stop and start and when it did move, crawled along at a snail’s pace until coming to another stop. I feel really sorry for the people that have to face this every day. What a hassle and nightmare both to get to work and to get home. When I was a working man, I faced the same traffic problem but not anywhere near as bad as it is nowadays. We moved into the house that I currently live in 34 years ago and it used to take me 30 minutes to drive to the University of Texas where I was employed. By the time I retired 17 years later, the traffic had increased so much that it took me an hour to make the same trip. Goodness only knows what it would take today.

But I digress. I attempted to drive in although much later than I should have and got stuck in this traffic. I went a few miles at a stop and start and then decided that I was wasting my time and turned round and went back home with the idea of delaying the trip for an hour or so hoping that the rush would slow down to a somewhat more normal flow.

I tried again an hour later and made it to the Dealership in a more normal time only to be told that it would take all day to complete the work and that the best thing I could do would be to bring the truck back in the morning as early as possible. The next day, I set the alarm close to my head so that I would hear it and got up at some unearthly hour that I didn’t know even existed since retiring. I rushed around and got on the road by 6:30 am and even then, traffic was beginning to pile up in places. I made it to the Dealership by 7:00 o’clock and there was already a long line of vehicles in front of me.

My Service Agent, an older gentleman by the name of James, wrote out a long list of items that needed to be checked or replaced at the 30,000 mile service and rattled off a few numbers which represented the dollars it would end up costing me. I could tell from what he told me that this was going to be a lot of money. I handed over the keys and found my usual seat in the lobby, got out my computer and started writing…

A couple of hours and a couple of blogs later, another gentleman came in to tell me that my truck was ready and I could go home. I paid my bill which was not unreasonable considering the amount of work they had to do and hit the road. This journey was much quicker than the one coming in. My homecoming was noisy as 3 little dogs greeted me at the door with waggly tails and noisy barks as they jumped and cavorted looking for attention.

At least I have a truck that should be good for another 5000 miles before I have to do it all over again. The next service will be at the 36000 mile mark when it goes out of its factory warranty although I do have an extended warranty that I purchased which will cover me for any of the large items that might require attention in the future.

Written 9/26/2019

Texas Crazy Weather


Pedernales River at Reimers Ranch

Two weeks ago, we were still at 100 degrees, last week it dropped to 80 and overnight it dropped to 35 degrees with a high forecast for today of 45.

We did get about 2 inches of rain but that is far short of what we need. Creeks and ponds are totally dried up and it will take a lot of water to bring everything back up to normal levels. Even the Pedernales River at Reimers Ranch is just a trickle.

At least I haven’t come across any sun bleached bones of human or animal skeletons on the trails… yet.

Only in Texas…

Written 10/29/2019

Rambling Thoughts and My Latest Conundrum.


A simple question but no simple answers.

As many of you that follow my blog may know, I live in the grand old State of Texas and have done for these past 42 years. I moved here in 1977 from Upper New York State where I had resided for the previous 10 years after emigrating from England. Circumstances in the form of a divorce, a marriage and a job offer are what led me here. That plus the very cold, very snowy and very long winters.

On the whole, life has been good to me in this great State although there have been a few ups and downs, the one major one that came in the form of yet another divorce resulting in my living the life of a single man for these past 27 years. Actually, in retrospect, I was more upset at the fact that we sold our 5 acres out in the Hill Country just to move closer to town and our jobs than I was at yet again, being a single man after only 5 years at the new place. Don’t get me wrong as I really loved that woman but I also loved that place in the Hill Country where I had built a house and a horse barn and fenced it all in and would never have agreed to move if I had only known what was in the future. How many times have you heard that one before? On the other hand, a few years later, both the barn and half of the house were blown away in one of the relatively infrequent times when a tornado touched down in the Hill Country.

Being the adaptable sort of a fellow that I am, after my ex had gone, I readjusted and turned this place into my own little piece of paradise by building and maintaining five ponds complete with Koi and Goldfish. To date, four ponds remain after I took down the smallest one which was only 350 gallons, earlier this year. The other ponds ranging in size from 6000 gallons, 5000 gallons and two of about 2500 gallons each are still flourishing although, as the reader can imagine, require considerable work in both upkeep and maintenance. They tend to keep me close to home. That and the four little dogs that live with me and share my life and who are my best and I sometimes think, only friends.

Time is passing by at an alarming rate and I am fast approaching my 84 birthday. Naturally, I have slowed with age and am no longer able to play soccer which I had done for many, many years. I retired from that game when I was 72 mainly due to having a knee replaced so it has been a while. For those of you that follow my blog, you know that I have filled the gap left by not playing, “the beautiful game” by hiking the local parks and then writing about the hikes along with a multitude of pictures. Which brings me to my latest chain of thought.

Recently, my mind has turned to the future and what may be in it for me and my doggy friends. I love this house and the ponds and have wonderful and caring neighbors but both house and the ponds are increasingly making demands on my time and on my aging body to where I have been having serious thoughts about the future. My mind is on a constant merry go round as to what to do. For one thing, the house is way too big and I have rooms that are storage sheds rather than anything they were originally designed for. Amazing the amount of “stuff” one accumulates over a lifetime and that is not counting the contents of my workshop and the two real storage sheds that are outside. All are filled with hand tools of every description as over the years, I have made full use of my skills and dexterity in using these wonderful items. Then there are the bigger items like the mowers and other mechanical gadgets that I have in my posession. I love tools…

That coupled with the fact that these Texas summers are becoming brutal and I can’t stand the heat like I used to. This year has been the worst in that respect and I find that unless I have an emergency requiring my attention, I keep putting off the normal day to day projects choosing instead to stay indoors and the air conditioning. I have barely gone hiking for fear of collapsing in the heat. For those of you that are not used to hot weather and anything close to a 100 degree heat, let me remind you that our summertime overnight lows are usually around 80 degrees which for many of you is hot and sometimes even the same as your highs, depending on where you live. Without air conditioning in both our cars and our houses, life would be unbearable. On the other end of the scale, it is true that in Central Texas around Austin, our winters are mild with only the occasional frost and sometime a few snow flurries and on the whole are very easy to put up with. A few years back, I painted the outside of my house over the week of Christmas and New Years without any fear of the paint freezing or of it being too cold.

But I digress. What do I want to do for the future is the question uppermost in my mind. I have a few choices included in which and in no particular order, are as follows.

I can stay here in this house until I am either to old and feeble to look after myself and then get shipped off to an Assisted Living Home. I don’t really care for that idea as I would probably have to give up my dogs. On the other hand, I could just stay here until someone missed seeing me around and upon closer inspection, discovered that I had died here in which case they can carry me out feet first as I won’t care. In these circumstances, I have already made provision for any remaining dogs to be taken care of. In any case, those are the two obvious options.

On the other side, I could close down the ponds (or not depending on the buyer) and sell the house which would give me the freedom to do any of several different things one of which is to move into the aforementioned Assisted Living, give up my dogs and become just another old fogy waiting to die. Not very appealing especially as I am still very active.

Another thing that I could do after or probably before selling the house would be to buy a Motorhome and fill it with whatever dogs are still alive and drive off into the wild blue yonder and follow the good weather where it is not too hot and definitely not too cold. I hate the cold more than the heat after spending 10 years in the Upper New York State winters. And, when I can no longer drive, find a place to park and live out the rest of my days as I wait for the inevitable.

If I get really desperate and or depressed, with a lot depending on next year’s Presidential Elections, I could just sell up everything and dump myself on my two sons in England. I am quite sure they would take me in with open arms. The problem with that idea is that the main reason for moving to America in the first place was to get away from the constant cold and rain and I don’t suppose that even Global Warming has done much to change that. Then of course, the dogs would have to be quarantined for 6 months which is almost half a lifetime for both them and me.

What to do, what to do? If I still had a wife, she would have made the decision for me whether I liked it or not. As it is, and as much as they try, the dogs can’t seem to communicate enough to give me their views and in all probability, they can’t agree either. So, as has happened over these past 27 years, I will worry and fret over it wondering just what is the best way to go and if I’m really lucky, may even find an answer or literally die trying.

The one obvious and constant fact of all of these thoughts is that I will eventually and certainly die, time and place and method yet unknown but definitely not yet. I still have a lot of living to do someplace and anyway, I need to work out an answer to all of these questions before I do….

Written 9/10/2019

Blessed Rain 10/24/2019


The previously blown over Cypress Tree

Well we finally got some very welcome rain last night. Actually a lot of rain, at least two inches at my house accompanied by high winds. Lucky for me, the Spruce tree that is in one of the ponds did not blow over as it has done in previous high winds. We have not had any significant rain in over three months prior to this and on my drives around the countryside, stock ponds, small creeks and such are bone dry. It is going to take significant rain to bring everything back to normal.

It has been so dry that I have recently cut down almost all of the greenery in my garden, something I normally do following any frost that we may get in the winter. This year, it will not matter how hard it freezes as the only thing that will be affected are the plants in and around the ponds, at least from my perspective.

I even had to turn on the heat inside the house as the temperature indoors had dropped to 65 degrees, a little too low for comfort. Obviously, we are through with the air conditioning for this year. This is typical Texas weather where we go from 100 degrees to 90 degrees and then to 65 degrees all in the space of a couple of weeks. At least it is now great trail hiking weather although I don’t like hiking immediately following heavy rains as the trails are usually pretty muddy and tend to build up on the boots. I have enough problems in just carrying my body weight around without the addition of several pounds of wet dirt.

Maybe I’ll take that walk tomorrow or the next day and give the ground time to dry out a bit…

Written 10/25/2019

Comment on Wives


My previous blog about my wives,
Seems to have troubled many lives,
Some of the comments I have received,
Are both good and bad and some aggrieved,

The truth of the matter is, I am not sad,
Just sharing my life both good and bad,
If fate decrees for the rest of my life,
I shall never have another wife,

Please, understand that because I’m not sad,
and thank the Good Lord for the pleasures I’ve had,
with the three wives that have been in my life,
and the fact. there was little strife.

More than half of my life with these women I spent,
most of it, I was very content,
But again, I was still in my prime
and could handle their wishes most of the time,
I could adapt and readily did,
made adjustments that were not exactly the fit,
but close enough on the day,
for the way they wanted to play.

Nowadays it’s a different story,
I’m set in my ways and no longer the glory,
of having a wife to cause me a worry,
as I can no longer adapt to the flurry,
of wishes and demands set by a wife,
and that is why they are not in my life.

I am not sad…
Life is good…
Thanks anyway…

Leading a Bachelor’s life


and all it can bring…

Sitting here too hot to roam
or go outside and hike in the sun
instead writing about my life
free of strife as I have no wife
although I do have to admit
that not having one with me is a fit
as I do not share my life very well
by not falling under their spell
a typical bachelor’s life for me
and has been for a quarter century
and I have enjoyed the single life
because it has not had the strife
that living with others does present
a selfish man but so content
please I beg of you don’t get me wrong
I like girls but where they belong
which is not living along with me
but in their own space happy and free
it can be said that I’m already too old
for the physical pleasures that girls behold
with their beauty and grace and looks so sublime
promises of having a wonderful time
alas their beauty is all I can see
as the passing of time has caught up with me
my flesh is weak is all I can say
but the spirit is willing for some other way
it’s hell growing old it has to be said
so many things that no longer can do
but at least I have memories of years gone by
things that I can no longer try
and even though the spirit is willing
the flesh has grown weak and the passions are chilling.

Written 8/30/2019