Pond Society Splash Party 2013

Jeannie and Steve's Lotus in their new pond

Jeannie and Steve’s Lotus in their new pond

As is the case every year,  a week before the actual pond tour, the Austin Pond Society holds a Splash Party.  This year was no different and the Annual event was again held at the home of Jeannie Ferrier and Steven Monfrini who also hosted the event last year.

Jeannie and Steve have a beautifully landscaped garden with a large swimming pool that incorporates a small pond and waterfall in the surrounding landscaping. It blends in very nicely to the Party Shack they have built into the corner.

This year, they have an additional pond that they are just putting the finishing touches to but the basic work is complete. This pond is set right in the middle of their yard and is 28 feet by 31 feet in size with an average depth of about 36 inches. They dug a big hole in the middle about 6 feet in diameter that has a depth of 4 feet for the fish to hide. It holds about 10,00o gallons of water and while we were there, friends of Jeannie and Steve showed up with a large container with 17 Koi to add to the pond. They surrounded the pond with Arkansas Moss rock that is a beautiful brown color and included a small rock “island” for the frogs and turtles to sunbathe.

They have an interested concept for the bog as it is lined with old coke boxes and bagged lava rock. So far, it is working just fine and is helping to keep the water clear. Not sure of how it was built so maybe that is a subject for a future “show and tell” at the meeting.

For a pond this big, I would have thought they would have used a backhoe but due somewhat to the difficulties in getting one into their back yard, they opted to dig it by hand. It took about 18 man-hours to dig and they had some willing friends to help, all 4 1/2 of them. Not sure who the half person was…Apparently, they didn’t encounter too much rock which is very unusual for this part of Texas. With the size of the pond, they opted for a 10,000 gph pump inside a very large skimmer box. Jeannie estimates that it cost them about $5300 to build which is very reasonable for a pond that size. Incidentally, Steve has a large piece of liner left over that measures about 10 feet by 12 feet that he is willing to sell for the ridiculous price of $35.  Considering that the going price for rubber liner is about a dollar a square foot, that is a steal, less than half the normal price.

The pond attracted a lot of attention and received many accolades from the members. They have a lotus in it that bloomed the day before the party (shown in the lead in picture above). They also have lilies which look very pretty (but just wait until the Koi discover them).

Jeannie and Steve’s new pond from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

One of the purposes of the Party is to introduce the many pond owners who are showing their ponds on the tour as could make it plus many of the volunteers without whose help, the tour would not happen. The remaining visitors and guests were all members of the Pond Society who all get together to eat and drink and talk “pond-speak” which is the Pond Society’s language usually reserved for such special occasions. The language is always accompanied by the spacing of the arms to indicate the size of whatever is the subject as not all of the members are proficient in this “pond-speak”  and require the use of the arms as aids to make themselves understood or maybe to emphasize the point. It is noticeable that the arm spacing is never of a fixed distance and tends to expand as the story is being told. Dialect is also a problem as the true Texans with their very pronounced drawl speak the language different than myself with an English accent or members from other parts of the country. In truth, nobody really understands a word that the other is saying and what is more to the point, no one believes the stories anyway. These stories are always accompanied by lots of head nodding with an occasional  “uhuh” for a response. It makes for some very interesting conversations.

This year, the food had a Chinese theme and as usual was very good. Reading the fortunes from the fortune cookies proved to be an interesting pastime and got a lot of laughs. For the drinkers in the crowd, the punch bowl was always full. For the rest of us, water was sufficient.

I wandered around and took a lot of pictures of the new pond and met a lot of interesting people to include them in the slide show below. At 8:00 pm, Cathy Ragan called everyone together and she and Carl Tinsley who Chaired the Tour this year, explained to first the owners and then to the volunteers just what procedures had to be followed. Packages were handed out that contained a Pond Society Tee Shirt, wristband and a complete Pond Program and copies of the forms that would be used. Cathy also covered housekeeping things like filling out forms to mark off the number of visitors, those who had paid, those already with wristbands and what to do with it all at the end of their shift. I was very impressed that both Kathy and Carl not only remembering the names of everyone showing their pond but also in the correct order and location. I needed to follow along with the Program but they had no visual aids whatsoever but again, I sometimes can’t remember why I went into a different room and have to retrace my steps to jog my memory. Cathy and Carl, Very impressive.  Altogether, there were twenty-one ponds on the tour, thirteen on Saturday and eight on Sunday with two ponds that also had night showings. See below for more information and a video of the actual Tour.

With the official business out-of-the-way, people began to drift off and it wasn’t long before all that were left were a couple of die-hard to help clean up. Whether it’s because of our love of nature and the wish to not spoil it in any way, but I have noticed that in general, the membership are all very tidy and always very helpful at all of the events that we host.

All in all, a very successful party and many thanks to Jeannie and Steve for hosting it for one more year. Thanks guys. If you hold it next year, it will be hard to top the new pond as an attraction…

2013 Annual Splash Party Slide Show from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.