End of Another Year


What is at the other end of the bridge?

Another year has come to an end
and with its passing like losing a friend
with the New Year not far behind
bringing in things of a different kind
it’s not like we have a fresh start
and that our troubles all depart
everything that was there before
is still there knocking on our door
we are not really another year older
and definitely not any wiser
even though twelve months have passed
we hope that it is not the last
of these years that keep passing by
before we reach up to the sky
and give up our life here on this earth
hoping that we have proved our worth
enough of these melancholy thoughts
instead we are grateful what time has bought
another year spent on this planet
with family and friends and pets along with it
lots of things to look forward to
what they are we haven’t a clue
but it matters not whether good or bad
or whether they make us happy or sad
the future for us is already ordained
we cannot change what it is or keep it the same
our lives are governed by forces unknown
and the time that we have is really on loan
and is over in the blink of an eye
as time is as deep as the endless sky
and all we can do is enjoy what is there
with Nature to guide us we haven’t a care
on this Beautiful Planet that we call home
with others around us we are never alone.
Happy New Year.

Written 12/19/2019

More About Texas Weather, Again…


The cabin was taken from another picture and added to this one.

Living in Texas, one expects surprises from time to time and Texas weather is no exception. Less than 3 weeks after the last of our 100 degree weather, we are now experiencing ice rain and freezing temperatures at night with daytime highs in the low 40’s. We get a bit of a winter every year with at least one or two freezing nights and occasionally even a little snow that is generally gone by the next morning but never usually quite as early in the year as this. So, even for Texas, this cold snap is a bit of a phenomenon and I can only put it down to Global Warming which gets blamed for anything to do with abnormal weather.

I had been holding off getting into the ponds to cut back the vegetation which I normally do every winter hoping for it to correspond with cleaning out the leaves that have fallen and settled to the bottom. The frosts have completely knocked down the iris and taro plants but there are still a lot of leaves on the trees so it looks like I will need to hold off on my cleaning plans for a bit longer as I need to do both jobs at the same time. Not that I want to get outside at this time as the weather being as cold and wet as it is and there is no immediate hurry so these things can wait. Heck, I don’t even want to go hiking while it is like this. The fish have gone into semi dormancy but still show some signs of activity even if it is a bit sluggish so I have cut back on the feeding to once a day. The one good thing out of this cold weather is that most of the algae is gone as it does not like the cold water.

I have been spending some of my time working on the picture at the top of the page for a friend, taking a part of one picture and adding it to another one to combine the two. The program I used is called InPixio and it allowed me to make a lot of adjustments to reach the finished project. It took several iterations and changes of mind before we were both satisfied with the finished result. I took the cabin from one picture and added it to the main picture as you see it above even flipping it around so that it faced in the opposite direction. Oh yes, there were several different cabin pictures and lots of attempts before we arrived at the right one. Photographic software is pretty amazing.

With tongue in cheek, my friend suggested the following story about how she lived in that cabin and often sat on the porch shelling peas that she grew in the garden behind the cabin. The cow in the front is Bessie who she hand raised when her mother was killed by a mountain lion. After closer examination, she asked me to please explain that she also paid for the cow’s sex change operation.

My friend has a twisted sense of humor but then again, she is a Cajun from New Orleans…

I can’t remember what I would have been doing to keep myself occupied through an enforced indoor stay prior to 25 years ago, At that time and after computers came into general use, I worked a Home Business that was soccer related (what else) and utilized a lot of my free time working on it. That ended 15 or so years ago and then my interests changed and I started taking pictures and eventually, working on them to get a higher quality finished product. In 2011 I started this blog site and now I combine photography and writing a blog on days when the weather is too unpleasant to be outside. In the case of living in Texas that is either because it is way too hot at 100 degrees or like it is now at 41 degrees. I even discovered that I can write poetry although it has to be said, the quality is sometimes questionable.

If I really run out of ideas, I can complete Part 2 of the book I have been working on which is pretty much about my life story. The first part is of growing up in England during World War 2 through the move over to America and is already written and has been for some time. Part 2 entitled, My life in America, I have yet to start. In any case, it will be a story without an end unless someone else completes it after I am long gone from this earth. Maybe when I can no longer get out and about and have to lead a much more sedentary life, I will work on it assuming that I still have a functioning brain.

In the meantime, back to writing until the weather warms up. What will be the next subject you ask? Who knows as I haven’t got that far…

Written 11/14/2019

Why do we blog…


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I was checking my emails this morning as I usually do before embarking on any major (or several minor) tasks that I had lined up for the day. Sometimes, it may be things that I have planned like a particular piece of work around the ponds and garden where I can get out under the very hot Texas sun and sweat a lot. It may even be a walk at one of the Parks although, lately it has been way too hot to enjoy that activity. More recently with the hundred degree heat, it has been to settle myself down in front of my computer and see if I can coax a story or a verse out of my old and feeble mind. Well maybe not so feeble but definitely getting old and forgetful.

Back to the emails which are now somewhat under control after I made the decision to take the “Like” button off of the blogs that I post. The number of blogging friends has dropped considerably as I guess, I am being removed from other people’s lists as I no longer receive the amount of mail that I did before or the number of blogs from other bloggers who before, had graciously pushed the “Like”button. This was something that I expected and I do miss having my ego stroked with all of those “Likes” . Still, can’t have it both ways and I do have a lot of other things on which to spend my time.

This brings me to my current thought of the moment and that is, “Why do we blog”? What compels us to sit down in front of our computers and pour out our heart and souls for others to read. What is it that prompts our particular brains to write about the things that interest us. Better yet, why do we think that other people are interested in reading the stuff that we type out with such regularity. Is it human nature to be that interested that we not only take the time to write about our given subjects but also to spend time reading the same or at least similar stuff from other bloggers?

We are such a diverse bunch and our interests range from the mundane to the ridiculous. Many of you are very articulate and write very interesting stuff that is a pleasure to read or you take wonderful pictures and share them for the world to see. Others try to heal the world of the ongoing bombardment that humanity is subjecting it to on a daily basis. Yet others, me included, share their daily routines and try to turn them into stories of interest. All of us have something to share but why do we want to share it? What drives us?

Years ago, before the advent of computers and modern technology, the only means of communication other than to speak was to write it down with the use of a pen and paper. Perfect writing was a skill and only practised amongst the Gentry of the land as not too many lay people knew how to read and write. People prided themselves on their calligraphy and even letters written between family members were works of art. More to the point, receiving such a letter was also treated as a special occasion and a thing of great personal value. Alas, those days are long gone and I for one can only remember one handwritten letter that I received from anyone in the last five years. Those that have found their way into my mailbox have all been typed and not on an old fashioned typewriter either but a modern day computer. Letter writing is a dying art and is going the way of the Dodo. Everything is email and text nowadays.

I, like almost everyone else in the world, use a computer for all of the writing that I do. I make so many mistakes and have so many do overs and corrections or even re-writes on some occasions that it would be inconceivable to me to write any other way. Consequently, when an idea or a thought strikes me that I want to share, I can sit down and even with my two fingered typing, quickly write up a piece that may not be grammatically correct but at least all of the words are spelt correctly. Than goodness for Spellchecker!

Even with all of this, it still does not answer the question of “Why do we like to write” and what is more to the point, why do we share it with others? It’s not like we are going to make any money off our blogs although I suppose that there may be some out there who claim they do. Me, I am not one of them so there has to be another reason. Maybe, I am a frustrated Author with a million dollar book inside of me just waiting to pop out although, somehow I don’t think so. I am more of a reporter than a writer. I need a subject matter to write about as my brain is not capable of the twists and turns that it takes to be a modern day writer/novelist. More to the point is the pleasure I get from writing a good piece or taking a great picture and sharing it with the rest of the world and blogging is a way for me to do just this.  It is the perfect platform to express ourselves in so many different ways with whatever it is that interests us.

That still doesn’t answer the question of why we do what we do. I have never done this before but it might be interesting for those of you who have taken the time to read this all the way through to go to the Comments section and write a short response as to what is your reason for blogging. It will make for very interesting reading.

Written 8/4/2018

End of Life Crisis…


End of life crisis just what is that
not what you would expect it to be
this one comes when someone is old
and still has dreams the truth be told.

We are born, we live and then we die
is the normal way of things
but in between are a lot of years
each a reflection of our fears.

When we are very, very young
our life is spent on an upward swing
as we wend our way through life
learning a part of everything.

All of a sudden we are middle aged
with responsibilities galore
kids to raise a mortgage to pay
and worst of all our hair turns grey.

Then the kids are gone and just the two
living in a house that’s much too big
shall we move into a smaller house
with all of this room what do we do.

Now we are old and no longer play
and go for long walks every day
just to keep the muscles free
in the hope to extend eternity.

Alas it is a losing game
as things can never stay the same
time marches on and there is no wait
to stand outside those Pearly Gates.

All of a sudden there comes the end
along with a multitude of friends
as we reach the age when we all die
and everyone knows the reason why.

Time Marches On…

Written 11/16/2017

Audiobooks and writing.


DSC_0888

For those of you that follow my blogs, you know that I am a big fan of Audiobooks reserved strictly for listening whilst out driving in the car. I do not listen at home with the single exception of when I am in the hot tub relaxing after a long hike and then sometimes, I will bring out the portable speaker as I soak and unwind.

Even though I write a blog and to date have posted over 700 articles, I do not consider myself a writer in the strict sense of the word. No, I am a reporter that can write an interesting (I hope) narrative of something that has occurred that usually, I have been involved in. Whether it be a hike or an Austin Pond Society Meeting or a poem, they are all things that I have been a part of or lucky enough to witness. Sometimes, I will get on my high horse and start ranting about something that I find disturbing that is happening in the rest of the World outside of my little part of it. I like to think I have an interesting style, enough for my readers to enjoy but as we are all different, I can only hope.

Which brings me to the reason for this blog. I have tried several times to write a novel and in a couple of cases have even written over 500 or more pages on a story but have never been very happy with the end result and have never pursued it further. As I listen to a story on Audiobooks, a part of my mind is trying to figure out where the story is going and what might be the next step the hero or heroine will take. Sometimes, I get it right but most of the time, my mind is just not devious enough to figure things out. Some of the twists and turns I would never have expected and when they go in a particular direction, my mind is in awe of the writer’s ingenuity. I guess that is what makes some writers truly great and some stories super interesting when nothing is as it seems.

What will I write about when I can no longer hike and have given up my interest in ponds as a hobby? Does that mean that I will also give up writing (reporting) as I will no longer have these things to write (report) on or will my mind grow more devious as I age? I suppose that in all probability, my mind will also deteriorate as I get older along with all of the other physical aspects of living. Maybe I will lose the ability to put one word after another to make an interesting story. This will pretty much solve the dilemma of writing or reporting if I will not be able to do either. I can probably fall back to writing bad poetry as a few disjointed and mangled or missing words here and there will not be noticed.

Who knows what the future may hold. With limited time left on this earth all I can hope for that other than getting more and more forgetful, the rest of the brain still knows how to act and will continue to function until I no longer care. At that point, goodbye world.

AND I can listen to Audiobooks on my way out….

Written 9/28/2017

A Few Thoughts…


Life-Love-Quotes-Time-Has-A-Wonderful

The temperature has dropped. We are probably through with the 100 degree plus days for this year. Now it is only 90 degrees but the humidity is high making it feel much warmer and very uncomfortable. I only have to walk around and I start to sweat. Heaven forbid that I do any actual work out in the garden other than the necessities to keep the ponds operating smoothly.

I planned on getting up early to go for a hike but instead, stayed in bed trying to sleep while the dogs were play wrestling all around and all over me. In the end, I gave up and got up. Maybe, I’ll hike tomorrow as it is forecast to be a bit cooler. Maybe…

I had a fish die and following my usual practice, tossed it over the fence into the woods behind my property for any of the carrion type predators to feed on. Natural re-cycling I call it. Needless to say, the buzzards moved in as they usually do, several of them at a time, perching in the trees awaiting their turn. This drove my little dogs nuts with those big black things perched up there and totally ignoring their frustrated barking from on the ground. The buzzards sense of smell and keen eyesight must be really phenomenal for them to locate a dead fish that is in a wood and hidden from their view a hundred feet below them. Plus, it’s not like they hover to locate anything. No, they are swooping around on the spirals and probably flying at a good rate of speed and yet they zoom in with unerring accuracy.

I spent some time reviewing the posts and bloggers that I follow on my own blog site,  http://pondblog2011.mlblogs.com/. There are nearly 500 of them and the list was becoming unmanageable as I could not read them all every day. So, I began to click the “reject” button on a few of them which included those that posted more than a couple of blogs a day or had subject matter that I was just not interested in. I had one blogger that posted 31 times today and have several that post anywhere from 4-6 times a day. Go figure…I felt a bit hypocritical “Liking” a post just in the hope they would “Like” mine especially when the subject matter was not something I was interested in, Religion for example.

Like all bloggers, I desperately need everyone to “Like” my site to increase the number of followers. We judge how good our writing is or how well our pictures have turned out by that magic number of “Likes”. We might even conclude that a particular post was successful because of the “Likes”. The problem is that it is sort of a self fulfilling prophesy as regardless of what the content of the others persons blog and whether we have a real interest in the subject, we automatically click the “Like” button in the hope that the blogger will reciprocate in kind. Most of our “Likes” are from other bloggers.

The same can be said about “Comments”which is another way of letting the Author know that you like (or dislike) the subject matter and that you have taken the time to comment. So, ideally, bloggers want lots of likes and lots of comments to make them feel good.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a few sites that I am interested in and really follow them but for the rest, it is a two hour daily exercise in futility clicking their”Like” buttons, in the hopes they will reciprocate just to push up my own magic number.

It’s interesting what people like to read. Stuff I write that I think is pretty good is often ignored by my readers and yet, other posts which to me are rather ordinary or run of the mill get good reviews (Likes). I think it’s a visual thing as the posts with lots of pictures gets good and are well liked while the poems and other writing about various and different subjects are only treated as so-so.

As I mentioned many times in the past, I like to listen to Audiobooks. I find it very relaxing to hear a good story especially if the storyteller is talented with many voices to change the characters. My main interest is in the writing of the story itself and how the different authors are able to take something and turn it into a story with plots and sub plots, life and death and drama beyond belief with his or her well thought out words. My mind is just not devious enough to put together anything more than a straightforward story or a reporting of something that I attended and/or filmed or took pictures of.

That doesn’t mean I should stop trying. Who knows, one of these days I might get it right and end up with hundreds of “Likes”.

Computers, Audio Books and Hamilton Pool.


It was a little chilly outside so I sat indoors this morning and worked on my computer trying to locate some audio books that I had downloaded but not yet installed onto my smartphone. I was concerned that they were on one of the audio programs that I have just cancelled due to the expense of that particular service. I listen to books from several different sources and the cost can be expensive, depending on your choices.

It took me a couple of hours of fiddling around and getting sidetracked here and there as I found things to read or others things that caught my eye but I finally located the books and am happy to say, they are not on the service that I have just discontinued.

It occurred to me just as I was about to shut down just how much times have changed. Fifteen or more years ago, a retired person like me would not be messing around with a computer spending time on trivialities. There may have not been such thing as Audiobooks and the only books available were those that required sitting still and reading and although I still do that when I need to, I much prefer to listen to someone else read me the story especially if I am in the car and even more so if the narrator happens to be good at imitating voices and dialects. I have a 2015 car that I bought January 1 this year and I have managed to put 26000 miles on the clock  a lot of which I spent on just driving around and listening to good stories. I’ll bet I have put several thousand of those additional miles by doing that.

I enjoy working out at the gym and do so pretty regularly every couple of days just so I can listen to whatever book I happen to be on at that particular time. The time flies by and I don’t notice it and in the meantime, I am either on the treadmill walking 3-4 miles or exercising my muscles. I use a set of Bluetooth earphones when I am in the gym.

The one thing I have not done and never will, is to listen when I am outside either working on the house or on the ponds and garden. I much prefer the solitude of nature or the sound of the running water. Neither do I listen if I am out hiking for the same reasons. In my mind, there is a time and a place and for me, it is mostly when I am driving although if I happen to be at a very interesting or exciting place in the story, I may listen while I am in the house where I use a Bluetooth speaker. I can often be seen sitting in my driveway after arriving home and not making any attempt to get out. If anyone happens to be watching and wondering, they are not to know that I have arrived at a very interesting part of a story and just have to know how it plays out.

Like I say, times have changed. Whether it is for the good or not is a very debatable subject. One thing is for sure, there is no stopping progress and what I did as a kid to keep me amused is nothing like what today’s younger generation has. For me, it was the great outdoors and sports.

Who knows what it is for today’s kids…For example, I visited Hamilton Pool in SouthWest Travis County yesterday and as is often the case, paused to let others by as the trail was narrow and difficult. A large family of several generations came down the rocky steps as I waited at the bottom. In the group was a young boy of about 12 or 14 who had brought an electronically controlled model car with him and was driving the thing over the rocks as he came down the steps. Maybe I am old fashioned, no change that, I am old fashioned but it seemed to me that there is a time and place to drive a model car and going out with the extended family to view one of the wonders of nature at Hamilton Pool was neither of them. Obviously, his interest had nothing to do with Nature or the beauty of what he was about to see. Such a shame  as he was missing out on a valuable learning experience of both the beauty of the place and the appreciation of the natural world around him. Oh Yeah, Don’t get me started on if he should have been allowed to bring it with him on the trip.

You could say that I have the best of both worlds. As a child, I grew up with a much simpler life with none of the modern day distractions (as long as you don’t count World War 11)  as compared to today’s kids whose very existence is governed by computers in both their personal lives and in everything that goes on around them. Today’s world is computerized and even old men like me have had to at least learn enough to get by.

The truth is, I like computers and what they are able to perform and I am lucky enough to have a good working knowledge of how to make them operate.

 

And I like to spend a couple of hours just checking things out that I randomly come across. Like I said, times have changed…