Looking just Looking…


The wonder of nature.

I was looking hard for something to do
to pass the time on this day
it was way too hot to go outside
or take a hike in my usual way
I’m already blogged out for a month ahead
at two a week which is my goal
so what is it I can do instead
to keep me busy and fill the hole
I could clean house but that is a chore
not something that is my usual way
no interest in that sort of thing
guess I’m not the housework king
a typical batchelor you might say
I could go to the gym but that sounds like work
this time of a different kind
to push and shove and grunt and groan
I think I’ll leave that for a different time
I’m running out of ideas fast
can’t think of anything that will last
long enough to pass the day
until this evening when it is time
to turn on the Tele and watch a match
between the English football teams
to cheer on my favorites of which there are two
sometimes they win and sometimes they lose
and I really have to pick and choose
to see which game that I need to watch first
and at the end of the day
it makes no difference who beats who
I spent an hour this afternoon
listening to 2Cellos as they played
sometimes they play with a wonderful sound
easy to lose oneself in this way
and others they lose control on the stage
and the noise they produce stimulates the soul
and gets to the very depths of the mind
fast and furious of the rock and roll kind
for the purists definitely way overboard
for those of us with an itch in our pants
going crazy with them with hardly a glance
at anyone else watching them perform
knowing full well it is only an act
and the next time you see them they will be back
to playing straight in a beautiful way
and listening to them will make my day
well I managed to fill an hour
writing this poem so what to do next
I guess I’ll just have to jump in my truck
and go for a drive a very long way
listening to Audiobooks as I drive
in awe of the authors whose stories I buy
and wonder how they can write what they do
such talent and such wonderful minds
me I do not have a clue
as poetry is the best I can do
I do not have a devious mind
and can only think in the usual way
and so without a story of any kind
reporting the facts is how I pass my day.

Written 8/24/2019



Looking for Something To Do


Life is an uphill climb…

Looking for something to do
just what it is I haven’t a clue
as my eye has not yet perceived the task
and nothing springs to mind that lasts
the weather is too damn hot for work
with the temperatures at one hundred degrees
and everything outside working fine
with nothing pressing my time to assign
I feed the fish in the early morn
and check that everything works fine
and if it isn’t I add the task
to fix whatever is well-worn
the problem is there is too much heat
and has been like this for way too long
and all of the things that need repair
cannot keep as their need is strong
it seems to me I have little choice
but to go outside even though it is hot
to work as quickly as I can
and when I am finished I’m a happy man.

APS September Meeting 2019


The food line…

Once again, on the third Monday of the month, regular as clockwork, the Austin Pond Society held it’s monthly meeting at the usual place, Zilker Botanical Gardens Meeting room.

The meeting was attended by 40 members all of whom enjoyed Chinese from one of our Sponsors, Bamboo Bistro. The food was delicious made even more so for me that I am currently on a Chinese Food kick, eating it at home on a regular basis. Members brought in other foods including salads and deserts.

The evenings meeting comprised of two separate parts although they were intermingled together and happening at the same time. Indoors, there was the Annual Calendar Photo contest which always raises a lot of interest with the Members putting some pretty spectacular photos on display in the hope of having them placed in next years Calendar. Not only that, this year the winners were awarded cash prizes which by mutual agreement of the Board Members was not only reinstated but the actual prizes were increased with the winners in each bracket getting $50.00, second place $30.00 and third place $20.00. There are four separate brackets, fish, pond plants, pond creatures and ponds and/or water features.

There was also some time spent by the Nomination Committee on announcing the proposed upcoming Board Members at least to this point. The actual voting will occur at the next meeting in October but Margaret as head of this committee wanted to show the members what the line up currently looks like and to try to persuade the Members to volunteer for the remaining positions, the biggest of these in terms of importance being that of the Pond Tour Chairman. There is some discussion of splitting these duties and two people combining to fill this very important post without whom, there will be no Pond Tour. Cat Bilbrey has volunteered to be one of these people but we still need one more. We are still lacking a Hospitality person and Barb added that to her duties for this year but only out of necessity. Actually, it automatically makes whoever fills the role, the most popular person in the club.

The current proposed line up of current and new officers for 2020. Note that there are two positions, Tour Director (2) and Hospitality (1) that do not have names. The positions with the blue arrows are non voting positions on the Board and neither do they have to attend the Monthly Board Meeting.

The other part of the meeting was our Annual Swap and Sell where the Members bring in anything pond or garden related to swap or sell. This included plants and even a few fish although they usually have their own meeting earlier in the year entitled Plant Swap. There were not too many items on display although Darren had brought in a good supply of used pumps. BJ, as she usually does, brought in a whole bunch of different and unusual things which if nothing else, created some interest. The only large item equipment wise, was a Pond-O-Vac but it remained unsold at the end of the evening. This part of the meeting was not a qualified success and has not been for the past couple of years. I would not be a bit surprised if this is the last of the Annual Swap and Sell

The judging for the Picture contest took a bit longer than anticipated and because of the lack of interest in the Swap and Sell, resulted in the Members having to find items to talk about to fill in the time. It was a bit of a struggle but eventually, the winners were announced and received the applause and cash prizes to the delight of the Members.

The evening closed with the drawing of the door prizes with the usual catcalls and remarks of “fixed”, “draw again” as some popular member walked up to claim the prize.

The Swap and Sell part of the meeting
The business section of the Meeting

The next meeting will be October 21. The Speaker will be from Bastrop Gardens which is an all Natives Nursery. It will be about culinary plants that can be grown as companions to Pond and bog plants. Some of these plants are edible and the discussion will include this. Hope to see you there

Written 9/20/2019

The Hot Weather


This pretty much says it all…

Here in Texas, we expect it to be hot. It is a part of who we are and has a lot to say for how tough Texans are. As with Nature, no two summers are alike and this one, for us so far, has been pretty good. It’s been hot but nothing that that we cannot put up with.

However and finally, the really hot weather is upon us as here in Austin, we have reached the 100 degree mark. It’s been close a few times over the past couple of months but has not quite reached that “magic” number. The day before yesterday was different as we breached that with the temperature at my house at 101 degrees. Add in the humidity and were looking at 104-105 degrees, hot enough to fry the proverbial egg on the sidewalk.

That has continued and is forecast to hang around even longer and to go as high as 104-105 which by anyone’s standards, even ours, is bloody hot. Even though we say we are used to it that is not really true as though the body may tolerate the heat, one is never really comfortable in it.

I had an incident a month or so ago hiking at McKinney Roughs when the heat gave me some pretty serious problems. That is all I can think of as the reason that I came light headed and a bit disoriented on a walk that I had done a couple of times before and had not been affected then.

When I first arrived in Texas in 1977, I came down from New York State where it was hot when it reached 85 degrees, with the explicit purpose of working construction as a Project Manager building new schools in the Round Rock School District in a time of real productivity for the area. The first summer nearly did me in but I stuck it out working alongside the men who had no options other than to brave the heat. We covered our skins, put on suntan lotion, wore hats and sunglasses and drank a lot of water and although I would not like to say we got used to it, we were able to tolerate it. One thing you learn to do in these hot conditions is to keep an eye on your workmates not to see if they were working hard but to see how the heat was affecting them. Those that showed signs of faintness or dizziness were immediately attended to and sent to rest until they could continue.

After nearly four years of that job and three schools later, I was hired on at the University of Texas as a Planner and eventually as the Planning and Scheduling Manager out of the sun for the rest of my working life. I retired from there twenty two years later.

That is not to say that I never went out in the sun again as I can remember playing soccer in Dallas at a Tournament with the temperature at 108 degrees and another time in Houston where it was equally as hot. Normally, players can’t wait to get in the game but in both of those tournaments, when anyone came off needing a sub, the chances were the team would be playing short as no one wanted to take their place. Those were the good old days.

Nowadays, I have the luxury of picking and choosing if and when I go out in the heat other than appointments and such. I try to get any outside work done early and then spend the rest of the time writing stories for my blog. Needless to say, hiking has been put on a back burner until it starts to cool down. I like to listen to Audiobooks and usually spend the afternoon driving around enthralled by some story or another written by Authors that really know how to write and keep me in suspense.

My truck stays very cool and comfortable although the miles are mounting up and I know every square inch of all of the local roads and lanes….

Written 3/10/2019

McKinney Roughs 7-24-2019


I called my friend BJ to see if she might be interested in taking a walk at our favorite place, McKinney Roughs and was pleased that she said she would walk with me. It’s not that I mind walking alone but it is nice to have company occasionally and someone to talk to. She only agreed to walk if we kept it down to a reasonable distance complaining of tiredness from cleaning out her bog on one of her ponds and I told her we could do that.

I arrived first and per my usual routine, changed into my hiking boots and geared up ready to go. We met at the main office and paid our two dollars and with a quick look at the map, set out along the along Woodland which is one of the interior trails. It, in turn, linked up to the Ridge completing a short loop. There was a lot of shade as the pictures show and it was very pleasant walking and of course, having company really helped. We chatted about everything, the world in general, life, the Pond Society and the upcoming seminar that both BJ and Sam will be presenting at the next meeting. We talked about everyday events, our neighbors, bog cleaning and of course Trump. We both have the same opinions of him and common courtesy prevents me from writing what they are for fear of offending the readers.

The base of the tree

Along one of the trails, we came across what looked like two trees that had grown together. What made it more interesting was that we could not see that the smaller tree had any foliage but it was definitely very much alive.

The top of the tree(s)

After walking the above mentioned trails, we wandered around a bit and found ourselves back at the Recreation Area and I was telling BJ about the kids that were here the previous summer and all of the fun they had. I had fun too just filming them and their antics as they climbed ropes and slid down the zip lines set up for them. Oh, to be young again although I would not want to be a kid in this modern day and age. Too much of a challenge with nothing simple anymore not a bit like when I was growing up, World War 2 notwithstanding. This area was quiet today with no activity going on. The Red Bird of Paradise were putting on quite a show. We passed one group of flowers named Skeletonleaf Goldeneye but most of them are finished for the year

We wanted to get onto Foxtail but for one reason and another, we kept picking the wrong trails so we eventually gave up and headed back to the Parking Lot. We actually did OK as far as the distance that we walked covering 4.3 miles. The trails were easy with not too many hills, the trees shaded us from the sun with the temperatures hovering around the 90 degree mark and the company was good. Who could ask for more?

Written 7/25/2019

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