Austin Pond Society 25th Pond Tour for 2019.

Yellow Crowned Night Heron nest with three babies.

The Austin Pond Society held their annual pond tour over the weekend of June 1-2 returning after missing out on having a tour last year, 2018. The size of the tour was also cut back to a more manageable number easily covered on each day, Saturday for the South Side of the Colorado River and Sunday for the north side.

The tour had a few of the spectacular favorites plus several new ponds which have never been on the tour before. All, regardless of the size, had something to offer in the way of beauty and in some cases, originality. One of the highlights included a nest of Yellow Crowned Night Herons complete with three babies that appeared to almost be ready to fly the roost. Ironic that one of the pond owners natural enemies could hold so much fascination when babies are involved.The night pond that has been on the tour several times before was just as spectacular as it has always been.

If you click on a picture, it will enlarge and you can use the side arrows to move along. Use the “escape” key to return to normal size.

I have put together two slideshows which takes about twenty minutes to view but is well worth it as it shows the spectacular beauty of ponds of different sizes and types and all of the accompanying work that has gone into the landscaping and plants and flowers that make up the whole garden. One pond even had three live donkeys which attracted as much attention as the ponds for the younger members on the tour.

All in all, the tour was a resounding success and even though smaller than previous tours, has probably set a new standard in both number of ponds and quality.

Written 6/5/2019

APS November Meeting 2013

APS Christmas Slide Show 2013 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The last meeting of the year for the Austin Pond society was held on November 18 at the Zilker Gardens Clubhouse. Being the last and so close to Thanksgiving and Christmas, what better excuse was needed than to turn this into a party.

All attending members were asked to bring a pot luck of some kind and were assigned one of three categories based on the first letter of the last name. Being an A, I had to bring some sort of vegetable and as I am no Julia Childs, I opted for a quick stop at HEB and grabbed a pre-prepared item that fitted the occasion.

More than 50 people showed up almost doubling the normal attendance for regular meetings. Not sure if it was the food, the party or the spirit of the season or maybe all of them but it was really nice to see all of these members. There were several first time members in the group.

Sonja, the Austin Pond Society official chef really outdid herself with the main roast meat course which was all gone by the end of the evening. That along with the assorted dishes provided by the more competent cooks among the group gave us plenty to feast on. The deserts were very tempting coming in all shapes and varieties with something to please everyone.


Jeannie presenting Linda with flowers

Jeannie presenting Linda with flowers

Following the meal, there was some business with Jeanne Ferrier, the incoming President presenting Linda Tinsley, the outgoing President with a bouquet of flowers and some kind words which we as members. all heartily condone. Thank you Linda for the past years efforts. Nice to know that you will still be on the Board in your new role as Special Events Coordinator. .

B.J. Jenkins was next up as the head chief of entertainment. She had designed the Austin Pond Societies own form of Survivor adapted to defend against the intricacies of puzzles and jumbled words, building blocks formed like the Eiffel Tower and ending by assisting three poor and helpless Koi that needed to be returned to their ponds. The last three survivors would each receive a gift certificate for $25 from Emerald Gardens with the overall winner, receiving a check for a million dollars.

Survivor winners and the $1,000,000 check

Survivor winners and the $1,000,000 check

I can hear you now saying that can’t be true but I swear to you that it is and there is a picture of it above.

The members split into three groups of about 15 players each. The game was in three segments with the preliminary game consisting of assembling four picture puzzles followed by choices of jumbled words of things that you don’t want in your pond. The final game for the teams was to identify the different breeds of Japanese Koi.

The winning group proceeded to the next part of their ordeal which was to match the building blocks each containing one letter, with the name on their sheet and to stack them one on the other with the resulting tower having to stand for three seconds. Needless to say, this was not an easy task and resulted in a lot of laughter from all who were watching especially if the tower lasted two seconds before collapsing.

Finally, three members emerged each to play in the Survivor Finals, Joanna, Barb and Tom with Joanna ending as the eventual winner. The final game consisted of tossing three rubber Koi into a “pond” from a distance of about ten feet with various hazards along the way.

The entire game from start to finish was a lot of fun and the members all joined in very enthusiastically to come up with the winner. Thinking about it as I worked on this blog, there was an awful lot of work and preparation that went in to physically making the different parts of the game not once but three times. I can only assume that B.J. was the responsible party and I personally want to thank and recognize the effort that she put into it.

Thank you B.J.

With the Koi safely in their ponds and the winner declared, it was time for the last two actions of the evening. The first would be the prize drawing which every member present’s name would be drawn out of the hat and they could come up and select any one of the myriad of prizes, that is unless you were on the tail end and then the pickins got a little slim.

The final act of the evening was the drawing for the Pond-o-Vac  that Gail O’Connor had given to the Society. With much fanfare and drum roles from the members in the audience, Linda drew the name out of the hat and came up with John O’Sullivan.  John respectfully “declined the nomination” a reference to his role as the APS Parliamentarian and asked that it be drawn again stating that his pond was so small, he could not do it justice. The next name out of the hat belonged to Glen Hubenthal who does have a large pond. Glen gratefully accepted as most of us would have done. Thank you Gail for your wonderful gift to the Pond Society that we were able to pass along to a very grateful (and lucky) member.

This brought the proceedings to a close and also ended the year as far as the Austin Pond Society meetings go as we don’t hold one in December due to our meeting date only a week before Christmas. Next up for APS will be the first meeting in 2014 due to be held at Zilker Gardens Clubhouse on January 19, 2014 starting at 6:30. All are welcome whether  you have a pond or not.

More to follow on that.

APS Meeting 3-18-2013 and Certify Wildlife Habitat

Austin Pond Society Logo

Austin Pond Society Logo

The APS held its March meeting at the usual time and place, 7:00 pm at Zilker Gardens Meeting Room. The usual contingent of members showed up along with a few new members who are always welcome. Some had ponds, others were looking for ideas before they went through the process of building their new pond.

As this meeting was held the day after St Patrick’s Day, Sonja opted for the Irish touch to the food with Baked Potatoes and all of the fixin’s, and a full table of complementary dishes and salads. To top it of, she made Irish Soda Bread and Irish Pistachio Cake. As usual, everything was quite delicious and oh so tempting.

Madame President a.k.a. Linda Tinsley opened the meeting by asking the new members to stand up and introduce themselves. All obliged and we  extend them a hearty welcome to our little group. This was followed by the usual run of announcements and pleas from different Chairs of various committees for help with upcoming projects.

APS is attempting to expand our membership and is setting up tables with volunteers to hand out literature and answer questions at various locations and times around Austin and the neighboring cities. One such event is this coming weekend, April 6 & 7, at the  Zilker Garden Festival. Please contact Jeannie Ferrier if you would like to volunteer to hand out pond info at the APS booth. 512-288-0039.

Another very big one is the following weekend when APS is undertaking to build a pond at the Down Home Ranch from 9 am to 4 pm. The Ranch is located at 20250 FM 619, Elgin, Texas and is a working farm and ranch for people with intellectual disabilities. This will be a work day with lunch provided and is scheduled for Saturday April 13th. Contact person is Karl Tinsley at 512-358-1342.

With business out-of-the-way, Linda introduced our guest speaker from the City of Austin, Erin Cord who went on to give a very interesting discussion on the merits of getting our backyards Wildlife Certified. Many of us  have already certified our yards and gardens and every little bit helps to promote keeping Austin green in more ways than one. With the increased growth of the City, many wildlife habitats have disappeared and every little space that is set up to nurture all forms of wildlife is much appreciated especially by the animals and birds.

The meeting ended with the usual drawing and again, several lucky members went home with a very nice gift.

The next APS meeting is on Monday, April 15, tax deadline day at Zilker Gardens starting at 7:00 pm. This is our annual plant swap which are always lots of fun. Although there are certain protocols that have to be followed like volunteers having first dibs at the plants, by the end of the meeting, there are usually more plants left over and everyone goes home with whole bunches of new goodies. One rule that is observed that if you bring plants and they don’t all get taken, you are responsible for taking them back home with you.

OK, enough already. I wonder if Sonja has an Income Tax flavored dish in mind. Something exotic like the Shirt Off Your Back Roast or something more down to earth like Congress Agree to Disagree Soup. The last to be taken with alka-seltzer.

See you on April 15.