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 went back to the Vets today as I had a bill I needed to pay for the efforts they made to save my pet as they worked so hard to try to get Gizmo back to his very best health his funny and delightful self and it was no fault of theirs that Gizmo did not respond to their care as they tried everything that they could with skill and loving as they should.
It was a very difficult time as Cindy who was a good friend of mine was retiring after thirty one years and all of that time we had shared many pets of mine both cats and dogs some we saved and others we lost as I stopped by to say goodbye both to Cindy and my little guy as his surgery was for later that day and how it would end we could not say.
As it happened it did not end well although through the surgery my Vet could not tell how it would end even though he survived and was resting and very much alive but his heart gave out and he passed away and for all of us a very sad day sadder for me because of my grief but sad for the Vets whose one belief was that Gizmo maybe had a chance until his heart stopped with his death dance.
Over the years and for most of my life there have been pets of various kinds many dogs and cats of different breeds have shared my life and made me pleased that I could have such wonderful friends who ask for little and in the end give me so much more than I can say love and affection every day and in the end they all pass on as their lifespan is but a song.
In Memory of Gizmo and my thanks to the wonderful Veterinarians and Staff especially Dr Donop who worked so hard and was so kind and understanding in my grief.
This is a beautiful time of the year in Texas. All of the trees are filling out with the prettiest shade of green and the garden and ponds are just full of all kinds of wonderful flowers.
My garden is not one of the cultivated sort and I tend to let things just grow. Nearly everything is Native Texan so I can pretty much be sure that it will grow back after each winter. I have no idea what many of the flowers are called and about the only ones I recognize are the Roses, Arun Lilies, Cornflowers, Iris and a couple of others. They are all so welcome and a sure sign that Summer is not far away. We tend to have a short Spring and then all of a sudden, its a hundred degrees outside.
The Heron is a very wily adversary and relies a lot on keeping the pond owner guessing as to when he is likely to show up. I spent a week at home only leaving when I absolutely had no other choice, like running out of food or keeping a pre arranged Doctors visit. Normal stuff except when there is a hungry Heron wanting to catch and eat your Koi and Goldfish. He kept no regular patterns and it meant getting up at the crack of dawn because as soon as it was light enough for him to see, he would swoop down from the tree that he had perched in and land on the Goldfish pond wall. If the fishing wasn’t very good there, he quickly moved over to the L shaped pond which is the shallowest pond out of the four big ones. The Heron knew he could safely wade in this pond and as the video shows, spent time pursuing and if he was lucky, catching and eating fish. Other times he would fly in mid morning, other times mid or late afternoon and even late in the evening. There was no telling when he would show.
On a previous run in with a Heron several years ago, I put wire fences around each of the ponds and then attached a doggy shocker which worked pretty well as eventually, that particular Heron stopped coming. I was Heron free for maybe 3 years before the current one has shown up. I went to work on the shallow pond and installed a system of cross-wires that diagonally dissected the pond and were about a foot above the water essentially dividing the pond up into small sections. I tried to install the doggy shocker but the wires grounded out in several places so the system would not work. I left the wires as strung and turned my attention to a more physical presence in the form of a Jet Spray Scarecrow. I had purchased one several years ago but due to non use and probably neglect on my part, this one leaked and I could not find a way to prevent it. I had no choice but to go on line and see if I could find another on E-Bay or Amazon and managed to locate several that were available. They were by a different manufacturer, Hoont, but as they were a lot cheaper, I quickly tagged one for $29.99 and went through the checkout process. I deemed that this was an emergency and paid additional postage to get it to me in three days in which it duly arrived. This one is brand new in an unopened box and I quickly set about installing it on the shallow pond.
The very next day, the Heron showed up and my first inclination was to rush outside and scare it away but I decided to watch from my vantage point indoors to see what happens. After exploring the Goldfish pond without any luck that I could see, it flew up into a tree above the shallow pond and then sat there for what seemed an eternity. It kept looking down at the shallow pond as if it so see a way for it to safely fish but it stayed in the tree. Then all of a sudden it hopped around and flew off as fast as it could. I went out and checked and the Scarecrow had been activated and as it is pretty noisy, was enough to frighten it away.
I immediately went back on line and purchased another for $25.00 from the same company only this one was a slightly used one. When it arrived, it was missing a couple of screws which I was able to replace and I installed it on the Goldfish pond. I was able to adjust them both so that they limited the spray to the distance of the pond meaning that I am able to walk around the ponds without getting soaked. As far as I can tell, the Heron has not been back as the fish are beginning to lead a normal life and are starting to show themselves again.
I am not suggesting for one minute that I can declare victory over this wily opponent as I am sure that it will not give up that easily. If, by chance, he decides to turn his attention to either of the big ponds with the the very large Koi in them, then I will purchase a couple more of the Scarecrows and get them set up. Here’s hoping that it wont be necessary.
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.
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