Friendship…


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I am sitting here waiting for time
to pass and then I can get ready
ready for what I do not know
only that I need to change into something
better than I have on now
as shorts won’t cut it.

A dress shirt and a nice pair of dress pants
should do the trick so I don’t stand out
in a crowd who would all rather wear shorts
but all have come with the same purpose
to honor a lifelong friend
for his services to the cause.

We are all members of a group
who in our free time
kicked a ball around
the game played with the feet
and called football
to the rest of the world.

My friend who I have known
for forty one years
welcomed me on his team
with open arms
even though
he had never seen me play.

Tonight we honor our friend
for services to the football community
for his dedication to the sport
in helping to form the League
so that enthusiasts like me
had a place to play.

Now forty one years later
he gets the recognition he deserves
as a founder member
and as a true soccer enthusiast
and a real gentleman
in every sense of the word.

A Lawyer by trade
dealing with the misfortunes
of broken marriages
a more warm and caring man
you could not hope to meet
in any lifetime.

I consider myself very fortunate
to be a  part of his circle
and to have known him for so long
even as I played against him
on different teams
still a true friend.

Poem by Francis Allcorn
written on the occasion of
Phil Friday and his 45 years in the
Austin Soccer Community.

Written 8/12/2018

Violet Crown Trail Research – 9-9-2017


In my search for information about the Violet Crown Trail, I printed out the maps of the proposed route of the entire trail and noticed that it ran very close to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center with either a proposed Trail Head by the Veloway on La Crosse Ave or maybe one that was already in place. I decided to take a drive to the Veloway as it is only a few miles from my house and see if in fact, there was a Trailhead or whether it was still in the future. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate the aforementioned Trailhead and decided that it has not yet been built.

Not to be deterred, I drove to where the map said there was a Trailhead by Spec’s on 290 West. As it is a one way frontage road, I drove down it three different times having to make the complete loop each time in an effort to see the Trailhead from the car but to no avail. On the last run, I noticed a couple of people that looked like they were trail enthusiasts walking back towards the Spec’s parking lot and decided to pull in, park and take a walk back to where the people had come from which I proceeded to do. Lo and behold, I came across the Trailhead hidden between the trees with a small sign out front that said, “No Parking for the entrance to the Violet Crown Trail.” I had noticed the sign from the car but had not been able to read the small print that contained the magic words, Violet Crown Trail.

I had not planned to take a walk because the trail, a walk all the way to Zilker Park will be a ten mile round trip, something that I need to be ready for. There are a couple of Trailheads in between but that wouldn’t help me with my car parked here. I could always just turn around at anytime on the hike but I really want to hike the entire length so need an earlier start than I had daylight left and decided to walk it another day. More to come…

Written 9/17/2017

Zilker Botanical Gardens, September 2014


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Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin, TX

As I waited for the clock to move to 6:30 pm on Monday,DSC_0170
September 15, I decided to walk around the Zilker Botanical
Gardens. This is not my first time touring these wonderful and
well-kept gardens but it is the first time this year. I was not
disappointed as even this late in the summer, there were flowers
of every description still in bloom. It helped that the weather
had been reasonably kind to us and we had only a handful
of one hundred degree days.

I took well over a hundred pictures in my leisurely stroll around the grounds. That’s the beauty of the modern camera, you never run out of film. As long as the memory card is not full up and the batteries are charged, you can click away forever….

It never fails to amaze me how the Gardeners at the Botanical Gardens manage to get the plants to grow so big and tall. No matter how hard I try, I cannot get the English Fern to grow more than six inches high and yet I took pictures of the stuff standing two feet tall. I suspect that they use an unlimited supply of water out of Ladybird Lake to make their things grow so well.

It is not all well-kept gardens as there is a large area that is natural with the trees and underbrush growing as it normally does. There are wonderful gravel pathways built to explore this magic place and they make a nice contrast to the greenery surrounding them. There is yet another area that contains a Blacksmith shop, another for a one-roomed log school-house and yet another that contains an old single roomed log cabin. These are all reminders of the past and really make us realize just how tough it must have been way back then and comparatively speaking, how easy we have it.

Zilker Botanical Gardens September 2014 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

These are beautiful and well-maintained gardens and well worth the trip.

More Greenbelt Hiking


Green Thing

Green Thing

Along with my two friends, George and Gloria and of course, the two little dogs Nina and Bobby, we  went hiking the Greenbelt only this time, we chose the Loop 360 entrance. There were a lot of cars in the parking lot showing how popular these trails are with the people of Austin which is good as far too many people lead sedentary lives with very little exercise. This includes the kids who spend way too much time indoors.

Gloria had been here before so she led the way choosing the direction we should go which was towards Zilker Park although we weren’t planning on hiking the full distance to the Park. As usual, the trail was easy to follow and the first thing that we came to was the rock face that is so popular with the climbers. There were several dare devils that were in various stage of the climb. We watched for a while and left with the general agreement  that none of the three of us are foolhardy enough to ever want to try it.

I took a lot of pictures including several of some interesting tree trunk shapes and as before on the last hike, Mother Nature is really coming into her own and is quite literally, “Busting out all over”. Everything is growing like crazy and the plants and vegetation seems to have recovered from the hard winter. At least, our version of a hard winter. This part of the Greenbelt has a lot of rocky cliffs which themselves created a lot of interesting formations with caves and hollows just waiting to be explored. Gloria did go up to one of the caves but didn’t get beyond the entrance.

The creek bed on this stretch is absolutely dry but there were many indications of how high and strong the flood waters must have been from the recent floods. Garbage in the form of leaves and branches was all piled up in a twisted mess in many places.

Part the way down the trail we came across this huge bright green “thing” hanging from the upper branches. It closely resembled something human but the arms were way too long and head too small. Whatever it was, it was very well made and it must have been quite a feat to hang it from the branch is was on. Someone with a taste for the bizarre but extremely well done.

We moved on until we were about a couple of miles down the trail and decided to turn back as it was still a mile or so to Zilker and we had already commented on how much harder the trails seemed to be to hike.

We made good time and Gloria commented on how the trail back is always quicker than on the way out. She spoke too soon completely putting a jinx on our return time as we came to a spot where the trail had been washed out and looked difficult to cross. Being the adventurous types that we are, we followed another trail off to the left which was going up the hill following the route of a dried up-stream. About a half mile up, that trail fizzled out and we had to make the decision of which way to go, onwards or retrace our footsteps. We chose onward and literally walked the stream bed which luckily for us was made of layers of smooth rock with only the occasional boulder to make life difficult. We figured that as long as we were going up, sooner or later, we would reach the top of the Greenbelt.

Eventually, we found ourselves in the far end of the Parking Lot and we were still a half a mile from the cars but at least the walking was easier on the blacktop. Altogether we hiked a little over five miles and we all commented on how much harder it had been to hike. Even the dogs were pooped.

I plan on going back and this time, I will hike all the way to Zilker and try to find the entrance that is located around there somewhere. All in all, another fun afternoon spent with my friends.

Austin Pond Society, October Meeting 10-21-2013


Austin Pond Society

Austin Pond Society

Talking Business

Talking Business

As is customary, the Austin Pond Society held their monthly meeting on the third Monday of the month at Zilker Gardens Clubhouse.  Altogether, about 40 people showed up and started off the evening by enjoying a delicious stew that Sonja, our official hospitality person had prepared followed by a cake that was absolutely covered in a thick creamy topping. I think Sonja called it her Goblin Stew in honor of Halloween. Whatever it was named, it was very good and was served along with a green salad.I should mention that our format regarding start times has changed a little. The meetings now start at 6:30 pm with 30 minutes allowed for meal enjoyment and conversation with the meeting itself starting at 7:00 pm. This gives the full two hours for the speakers and for the Society to get their business out-of-the-way as we have to clear the room by 9:00 pm. I took a video of the meeting while the meal session was ongoing but in the end, only include a couple of minutes as the noise from all of the conversation was quite unbelievable.

The Speaker for this meeting is one of our own members, Steve Blackson, who is also our representative on the Austin Area Garden Center (AAGC) of which is made up of 31 different gardening associations who between them assist with the management of the Zilker Botanical Gardens. This is a link to their website http://www.zilkergarden.org/aagc/clubs.html  His subject was an outline of what the different groups are working on especially in the area of fund-raising and the future design of the Botanical Gardens. Below is a video of his presentation.


AAGC Steve 10-21-2013 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Following Steve’s presentation, the business part of the meeting got underway. Members on the Board had long realized that our bye-laws were woefully out of date and needed to be brought into the 21st Century and spent considerable time in drafting a new set to be brought before the membership for general discussion and adoption. Copies had been made available on the website and via one of the missing items in the original set, e-mail, for members to review prior to the meeting.

John O’Sullivan acting in his official capacity as Parliamentarian chaired the meeting and I have to say, was extremely knowledgeable in Roberts Rules of Order and conducted the meeting in a very professional manner. The current Board had previously discussed the new bye laws prior to their publication and the current posting was the end result of their work. The membership quickly got into the swing of

Waiting to start the meeting

Waiting to start the meeting

things and began offering items for discussion and eventual adoption (or not). The item that had the most discussion referred to members of the Board serving a 2 year term instead of the current 1 year. This particular discussion went on for some time and eventually ended up with current 1 year of service remaining in place. No other item garnered as much interest as this one. The new bye laws were finally approved and written into the minutes. Below is a video of this part of the meeting.


APS Bye Laws Revisions Meeting 10-21-2013 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Following the bye laws came a nomination session for membership to the Board for the upcoming year starting January 1. John again took charge of the proceedings and moved things smoothly along. The rules that applied were pretty clear for the evening. If there was a single nomination, then the vote to approve could happen there and then. If there was more than a single nomination OR if there were no nominations, then the vote to elect would happen at the next meeting in November.

John kept things moving along and we soon had a vote in place for all of the officers with the lone exception, the post of Librarian. As with most organizations like the Pond Society, some members remained in place, others changed places and a couple are no longer involved. We did have at least one new board member Nancy Reinhart who took over the position of Programs and yours truly is now the Editor. Many thanks to the retiring members for the work they have done this past year for the Pond Society. Without such volunteers, it would be very difficult to accomplish all of the things that we set out to do. Below is a video of the actual nomination and voting that went on.


APS Elections 10-21-2013 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The final act of a very busy evening was the fun drawing for the gifts provided and as usual was met with moans and groans, or cheers depending on who won.

The next meeting will be held on Monday, November 17, 2013 and will be the last of the year as we do not hold one in December. Same time and same place. Hope to see you there…

Below is a list of next years, 2014 Board Members and their positions.

President: Jeannie Ferrier — president@austinpondsociety.org
Treasurer: Rollie Sidla — treasurer@austinpondsociety.org
Secretary: Julienne Smith — secretary@austinpondsociety.org
Membership: Darren Bayhi —  membership@austinpondsociety.org
Special Events: Linda Tinsley —  specialevents@austinpondsociety.org
Pond Tour/Webmaster: Karl Tinsley — webmasteraustinpondsociety.org
Parliamentarian: John O’Sullivan — parliamentarian@austinpondsociety.org
Programs: Nancy Reinhart — programs@austinpondsociety.org
Newsletter Editor: Francis Allcorn — editor@austinpondsociety.org
Publicity: BJ Jenkins — bjenkinsus@yahoo.com
Hospitality: Sonja O’Sullivan— hospitality@austinpondsociety.org
Photographer: Glen Hubenthal — photographer@austinpondsociety.org
Historian: Glen Hubenthal— historian@austinpondsociety.org
Austin Area Garden Center Rep.:  SteveBlackson aagcrep@austinpondsociety.org
Librarian:  OPEN                      librarian@austinpondsociety.org

Current board members may perform the duties of any positions with no elected member.

Library

Library

Notice the last position as Librarian is OPEN just waiting for one of you to step up and fill it. Contact the current President, Linda Tinsley at president@austinpondsociety.org if you are interested.

Please Note: In order to see the video controls after the video has been started, RIGHT click on the picture and then on “video controls”.

Austin Pond Society – July Meeting 2013


Austin Pond Society Logo

Austin Pond Society Logo

The Austin Pond Society held it’s monthly meeting on the third Monday of the month at Zilker Gardens as is our usual custom. Attendance was down a little from the previous meeting which is hardly surprising, all things considered. It is hard to follow such a big event as the Pond Tour when the owners as well as the members all attend.

For those of us who were there, we were well fed by Sonja as is her usual custom. This week, we had Sloppy Joe’s and she whispered to me , very apologetically, that she had gone over her budget with last months meal and had to economise this month. Hence the Sloppy Joes. Even so, the dinner had that special taste that as is customary, Sonja brings to her  food. We had water melon for desert which for me, always hits the spot.

Check out the Gallery.

The first video is in two parts with the first part dealing with APS business and discussion of the upcoming trip to Tank Hollow Fisheries in Poteet, Texas. For you guys out there, it is important that you follow directions and not rely on your GPS system as apparently, GPS leads you to the wrong place. Ladies, if you are driving, you can ignore the above comment as we all know you will get it right or at the very least, will ask for directions…

The second part if this video is the closing out of the meeting and the check presentation to Down Home Ranch.

Down Home Ranch and APS Meeting Combined Final from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The second video is the introduction of Judy and Jerry Horton, the founders of the Down Home Ranch. They talk about the background behind the Ranch and why they founded it and have a very nice video for us to watch. Again, the quality is not very good as it was captured off an overhead projector screen.

Down Home Ranch-Introduction from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The third video is of the actual work performed by about fourteen of our membership that volunteered their time and effort to clean out and rebuild the two ponds already present on the Ranch. There was a large amount of work involved and I am very surprised that they were able to accomplish so much in the short time they were out there.. Looking at the video, the quality of which does not show off the ponds to their best for the same reasons as outlined above. Even so,  it is easy to see the difference in the ponds from the before and after shots. Maybe you can all get together and build the pond for the lady who will exchange your efforts for pearls…

Thank you guys for a job well done.

Down Home Ranch-Pond Repairs from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The next meeting will be held on August 19 at the same place, Zilker Gardens starting at 6:30 pm. The speaker will be Vance Schultze the owner of Tank  Hollow Fisheries in Poteet, Texas.

Hope to see you there. Oh yeah, bring a friend (or two). If anyone is interested, one of our members has a pond for sale that also comes with a house, in Manor…