Birthdays


Another birthday has come and gone
just as it did last year
I hope that I can carry on
and next years will also appear
for each birthday represents a date
of time that is passing away
never ever to be regained
time lost with each passing day
I suppose that lost is not the right word
as memories we have gained
in all of those years that are now gone
none have ever been the same
each giving us a glimpse of wonders good and bad
as we go through life some happy and others sad
I have been on this earth for eighty three years
with all of it’s ups and downs
and I would like to see so many more
before the end is found
how many more birthdays will I see
how many years to add
how much more of Nature to enjoy
and memories both good and bad
of one thing I am very sure no matter what the end
the life I have lived is mine alone and for this I would like it extend
if I could ever do it again many changes I would make
but only in the way I lived not the person to forsake
for that man turned out alright the best that he could be
just an ordinary working guy enjoying life’s mysteries.

Written 2/4/2019




The Brown Snake


If you have been following my blogs, you will be familiar with the Brown Snake, an addition to my garden last Spring. He has been living close to the ponds sometimes varying which pond that he hangs out. I guess that is something to do with his hunger as two of the ponds contain Koi which are all much larger than he can eat. The other three ponds contain Goldfish which are much smaller fish and one time, I watched him slither out of the middle pond with a six inch goldfish in his mouth. I don’t mind him helping to keep my Goldfish population within reasonable limits as there are way to many of them with new ones hatching what seems like, all of the time.

Anyway, the last blog that contained information about this snake was entitled Texas Winter when I was wandering the garden taking pictures of the few flowers still brave enough to flower and came across the snake sunning himself. Most unusual as I thought that snakes denned up for the winter and semi hibernated. They probably do in places that have much colder winters than my part of Texas does.

A couple of days ago, I discovered where this particular snake has chosen to hang out. Like many Pond Owners, I have aerators on my ponds more to provide oxygen in the summer than this time of the year. The units are housed in small plastic boxes that used to have attached doors to keep the the rain off the pumps but due to the nature of plastic, it deteriorates very quickly when left out in the open and the first thing to go are the doors. So, the snake has discovered a very nice resting place that will also keep him warm when the aerator motors are running which is probably one hour out of every four at this time of the year as I have them on timers. This is a four foot snake curled up inside of this box. Hard to imagine…

I wonder if he knows that his tail is outside of the box? He stayed in the box for a couple of days and now has moved on. I wonder where this time. I will probably come across him in the unlikeliest of places and jump out of my skin at his discovery. Ah, the wonders of Nature.

Written 1/28/2019

The New Year and Losing Weight.


Muscle Man

Sitting here with the rain outside limiting my action
is that a voice I hear that gives me satisfaction
and it’s not from someone else but I hear it from within
telling me it is time to write but where do I begin
I could write about the New Year but that’s already done
with blogs galore in the fore espousing words as one
or about the rain that falls harder than before
hard enough to stop me from going out my door
but the rain is old news and it’s time for something new
but so far my brain is dead and doesn’t have a clue
I could reminisce of the year gone by but that is somebody’s news
or of the things I want to try many of which are new
many though are very old and I have tried them all before
and all of my good intentions have floated out the door
I have some resolutions so I could talk about them
one of which is to use the gym which is just around the bend
not far at all from my house a short drive it will take
the exercise is what I need the pounds I then can slate
and to cut back on my eating to help towards that score
of one hundred and fifty pounds and not a kilo more
that’s only seventeen pounds to lose most of which is fat
to replace it with the muscle that is hidden under that
but I am a man obsessed with losing as much as I can
so hiking the trails as I like to do is all a part of that plan
now all I have to do is find the will to move
and put the plan in action and get into the groove
of exercising three times a week to build the muscles more
even though I know that it will make me very sore
no pain no gain is how the saying goes
so I just need to bite the bullet and get up on my toes
work out and sweat and grunt and groan to lose a little weight
although of course the bottom line the effort I just hate
to eat less and work out more sounds just like a plan
all it takes is that first step with everything at hand
the gym is there and the larder stocked with foods of the lighter kind
so the only thing I have to do is to get myself in line
now that I have worked out a plan to take off all of the weight
I think tomorrow I will start let’s make it a date
the sooner that tomorrow comes you can be sure
I will be heading back round the bend to the gymnasium door.

Written 1/2/2019







The New Year


Lets see a quick review
of the things that I want to do
now that the New Year has already begun
and we have started to have some fun
no resolutions did I set
knowing that I would soon forget
at keeping them I am not very good
as least not as good as I should
and generally it is a waste of time
and so I have drawn the line
and instead will outline this years plan
hiking of course of which I’m a big fan
and taking pictures while I am out on the trail
with words to fit I shall prevail
and post in my blog for all to see
how words and pictures make harmony
I plan on losing a little more weight
for that what I have is extra freight
to carry around an unnecessary risk
to eat less is the way to the fix
along with working out at the gym
to try to make the body more trim
and regain the muscle that I have lost
as old age creeps on and is really the boss
so really there is a very short list
one that I can easily fix
take pictures and hike as far as I can
write in my blog for all of my fans
cut back on my eating and lose some pounds
and work out at the gym myself to confound
with just how easy it really can be
to make 2019 my legacy.

Written 1/10/2019










Reimers Ranch 1-6-2019


A multi picture panoramic

The sun was shining and the temperature was almost at 70 degrees which made it a perfect day, weatherwise to take a hike. This, in the middle of a Texas winter. I decided that I would take a walk at Reimers Ranch this time taking the Hogge trails that I have walked several times before. The Hogge trails are the latest addition to the Reimers Ranch Park and is made up of donated land that adjoins the original Park.

I pulled into the Mountain Bike Parking Lot with a couple of other cars already parked and went through my usual preparation. Again, I opted for a single camera with the 18-400 lens which gives me tremendous flexibility in both long range and close up shots, besides being light to carry.

I set off taking the trail that leads to Johnny’s Homestead and almost immediately came across a crow that was busy finishing a meal as it was perched in the tree in front of me. I managed to get a decent shot of it but it is almost a black and white shot with no background to provide any contrast. As it turns out, this was the only bird or animal that I saw close enough to photograph. Moving on, a Park Ranger driving a Kubota All Terrain Vehicle stopped to see if everything was OK. I assured him that everything was fine as I was just getting started. We both went our separate ways as I continued my hike.

Reaching Johnny’s Homestead, I took the Multi Use Trail that veered off heading for Hogge Trails, a hike of well over a mile or so to reach them. This particular trail crosses the stream that at this time of the year is free flowing with plenty of water. I was following fresh horse prints of at least three horses but as it happened, I never met any of them. I had noticed on the way in as I passed the Horse Paddock, there were four trailers with horses and riders in different stages of cooling down their horses after their ride.

The Multi Use Trail that leads to the Hogge trails is a long uphill climb. On the way in, it is not steep but it seems to go on forever and climbing all of the time. Gave me the chance to take some great panoramic shots from the highest point in the Park. I eventually came to the gate that leads into the Hogge Ranch and trails and chose to take the Outer loop which was the longer of the two trails. In actuality, there is one big loop which is dissected by a single trail giving the option of the Inner or Outer Loop. The Park has its winter coat on with most everything brown except for a few Live Oaks and of course, the inevitable Cedars.

Uphill all of the way.

As I trudged along on the way towards the end of the loop, I could hear the Rangers Kubota as it made the loop on the other side and figured that he would eventually catch up to me as I walked back down the hill towards the stream. Sure enough, a few minutes later, he pulled up alongside and enquired if I was OK. I had a choice at that point whether to keep walking or to hitch a ride but as the object was to get some exercise and that I was feeling good, I assured him that I was fine. I thanked him for checking on me. He drove off and I continued on my way.

I reached the stream and after crossing it, I noticed there was a trail that ran parallel to it and I figured that it would dissect with the other main Multi Use Trail that encircles the entire park. I had never walked this trail before so decided to take it. I knew where it would come out which was also close to the Multi Use Shortcut that I wanted to take. Sure enough, things worked out as I had hoped and soon I was walking the Multi Use Shortcut which would link up with the Main Trail and back to the parking lot and my truck.

A view from the far end of the Hogge Trail

I was the only vehicle left in the parking lot when I arrived back. I changed out of my sweat soaked clothes into some dry ones so as to be comfortable on the drive home. I had roughly estimated that I had walked around 6 miles but when I checked my phone and a pedometer that I always carry, one said 9.2 miles and the other 9.5. No wonder I was tired. A good way to start the New Year. So, a long drive home with a stop at Starbucks in Dripping Springs as a reward on the way. A perfect end to a perfect day made even nicer in knowing that I could jump into my hot tub to ease the aching muscles.

On the way out of the Park, I was able to capture a glorious sunset.

Nature’s Beauty
A video of the walk.
This is of several panoramic shots

Written 1/10/2019

Austin Pond Society – January 2019 Meeting


Part of the Library available for our Members to check out. Our Librarian is Holly Hargraves and she can be reached at librarian@austinpondsociety.org

The Austin Pond Society held their first meeting of the year this past Monday Jan 21, 2019 at the usual place, Zilker Botanical Gardens here in Austin, Texas. This Society has been in existence since 1993 catering to the interests of many of the Pond enthusiasts in the Austin area..

The one position that is still vacant after the recent Board changes is that of Hospitality which is responsible for providing the group with the light meal at the start the meeting. In lieu of this, we settled for pizza from one of our Sponsors, Jet’s Pizza with the membership providing salads and deserts. As usual, the pizza was delicious and although I don’t eat pizza very often, I grabbed two large slices this time around.

I counted 28 members there which included the new Board, a little less than what we hoped for. Some of this was due to our scheduled Speaker, Katie Boyer from the US Fish and Wildlife Services  unable to show due to the Government shutdown. In her place, BJ Jenkins, our Programs and Special Events Coordinator put together a contest. This consisted of the logos from the different Pond Tours for the past 16 years each sub titled with the year which in turn had to be linked to specific statements. At the end of the contest, the winners were Glen Hubenthal and Mary Word who had paired up to work together as the contest was designed for pairs.

Thanks to BJ and all of the other people involved for all of their work on gathering together these 16 Logos. Many are from actual tee shirts, 2008 for example.

Having fun at the Logo Contest. The entry screen should read 2019….

Following the contest, there was a short Q&A from members who had a couple of pond questions. Many people had differing views on advice offered to resolve the questions which made for interesting listening. We heard the sad story of a member who left the hose running while topping up his pond resulting in the death of all of his fish due to the chlorine in the water. This sparked off a discussion regarding the varying amounts of chlorine that the City uses especially during times of drought. Unfortunately, almost everyone early in their ponding careers learns this lesson the hard way. I suggested that pond owners should attach a water timer between the faucet and the hose as they are reasonably cheap at Home Depot or Lowes generally costing less than $20.00.

Ted Paone and BJ Jenkins with Andy Filtness

Ted Paone is the Pond Tour Chairman for this years Tour. He graciously offered to perform this duty for a third time having had this role for both the 2016 and 2017 Tours. He outlined the need for additional volunteers on the Pond Tour Committee. The plan is to have 6-7 ponds each day, North and South and he is still looking for ponds to show.

There was no real business other than the urgent need for a Hospitality volunteer. There was a brief discussion of the upcoming meetings and then Madam President, Barb Lenhardt called the meeting to a close.

The Business section of the meeting.

Pictures of the meeting to music

The next meeting will be on Monday February 18 at the usual place and time, Zilker Botanical Gardens at 6:30. The scheduled Speaker is Cindy Cassidy from the Texas Night Sky Festival and her subject will be Night Skies and Light Pollution. Hope to see you there.

Feeling A Little Sad


My Sister at 18.

I have a sister and truth to tell
I do not know her very well
as she is ten years older than me
and growing up was a mystery
as I was too young to join in her games
and her friends to me were just names
she was the youngest of the older three
two brothers and her and then came me
as we were the family so urbane
Barbara Eileen was her given name
but we called her Peggy or Peg for short
how that name stuck I cannot report
she was a soldier during the war
in the ATS but who’s keeping score
the years pass and time moved on
married was she to a Scotsman name Ron
both happy to raise a family
two kids so proud for all to see
Jim and Sheila were their names
and babysitting for me was the game
as I lived with her for a short while
when my own life was in a turmoil
my share of life that I could do
as anything else I had no clue
time passed as it it always does
as we lived our lives without any fuss
then to America I did go
my sister and family also did show
along with my brother whose family and wife
had followed me there to make a good life
and as time passed some of them died
until the only ones left alive
of the adult members of the original clan
were my sister and I in all of the land
my sister now is ninety two
and until last year had every clue
and apart from being hard of hearing
was as just as sharp and just as endearing
and then this Christmas as we usually do
I called my sister which was long overdue
as in the space of the past few months
she had become confused her brain that once
was sharp and quick and was no dunce
had slipped into its senior mode
and nothing that was said would goad
her brain to react in a positive way
remaining firmly in the past
and conversation would not last
at least in anything that we could share
and even though I gave it a try
my sister did not know why
I had called or who I was
and conversation was at a loss
I spoke with Gary with whom she lives
who is married to Sheila one of the kids
and he sadly mentioned to me
that she needs to be in a Facility
that understands her very needs
and can give her the help to succeed
to live out what remains of her life
in comfort and without any strife
surrounded by caregivers trained in the ways
of those whose brain does not behave
in the way it used to do
like a poor soul that has no clue
I hung up the phone feeling very sad
for my sister whose mind has gone bad
and wondering if that is in store
any reason can I expect more
or will life be kind as I end my days
with my brain intact in so many ways
enough to know when it is time
for the life to run out of my body and mind.

Written 12/28/2018