COVNA Meeting


7:00 p.m. Monday, January 15th
Southwest Church of Christ
8900 Manchaca Rd. (Rear Entrance)

January Program Notes
Save Energy/Save Money

Austin Energy Conservation Manager, Jerrel Gustafson, will address our association about the energy conservation measures and programs under its supervision. In particular, our guest speaker will explain the various conservation rebates available to homeowners who take measures to increase their energy efficiency. If you are interested in learning more about the programs prior to our meeting, visit

1/8 - Elvis' Birthday

(Click for info)

1/16 - Religious Freedom Day

(Click for info)


Floyd Clark
Dominic Chavez
Vacant (please volunteer)
Hal Ferguson
Doug Tabony
Doug DuBois
Doug DuBois
President (282-8245)
Vice President (695-5457)
Treasurer (282-0601)
Newsletter (280-4080)
ANC Delegate (292-9323)
Past President (292-9323)


It is time to show your support for the Castlewood—Oak Valley Neighborhood Association. According to COVNA by-laws, dues are payable at or before the February meeting. This will allow distribution of the directory early in the year. Membership dues received by February will guarantee inclusion in the directory. You may join now by clicking here, filling out the form, and bringing or sending it to our Treasurer.


To join the COVNA Email List, click below and send an email
with your name(s) to Doug at
Now 80+ households strong!

Find out the latest neighborhood news and developments.
Receive recommendations for service providers.


Monthly meetings are held on the
third Monday of the month.
January 15th
February 19th
March 19th
April 16th
May 21st
June Picnic TBA
September 17th
October 15th
November 19th
Dec Party TBA

President's Message

Happy New Year - 2007

Last year the COVNA monthly meetings featured a series of presentations thought to be attractive to our members. Subjects were: City Bond Election Overview, Protecting Your Property by Senior Officer Kinley (our APD representative), Property Appraisal Process, Problems with Graffiti, Preparing for Possible Pandemic Flu, and Our Problem with Urban Coyotes.

Even though many of us have other commitments for Monday nights and cannot attend COVNA meetings, it was hoped that programs of interest, such as last years’, would attract more people but attendance has not appreciably increased. We are still looking for subjects that will entice more people to our meetings. If you think of something, please let us know.

At the meeting portion of our Christmas Party we elected new officers for this coming year.
They are:

Vice President - Dominic Chavez
Treasurer - Hal Ferguson
Delegate to the Austin Neighborhood Council - Doug DuBois

We still need someone to volunteer to be our Secretary. The job is only a few hours a month (including going to the monthly meeting). Please contact one of the board members if you are willing to serve.

During the holidays one of our neighbors had their home broken into. Some vandals kicked in their front door. As I understand it, the homeowners had an active alarm system. An alarm sounded and the police were notified and responded. When the alarm sounded the vandals left the home almost immediately. Again, the lesson is that you must take action to protect yourselves and your property. The police can only take notes after the crime.

Talk with your immediate neighbors and create a neighborhood watch program in your area. Be proactive.

Floyd Clark




Advertise in the COVNA Newsletter
Only $10.00/month. Reaches over 400 homes & Online at
Email Doug Tabony at:


We still need a volunteer to act as secretary.

The job only takes about two or three hours a month but is vital to the association.

Instant Landscaping
Container Gardening

By Helen Lightfoot

This is the time of year we all tend to do a little bit of “winter cropping”, as my Dad called the habit of gazing at seed catalogs in January with great intentions, ever believing that this year we will bite the bullet and create a really spectacular landscape. Alas, the truthful reality for me is I am great at starting things and lousy at finishing or maintaining them, especially when my gardening efforts are invaded by insects, Bermuda grass, Hackberry seedlings, and other weeds.

Last year I faced the fact that I needed a garden that was easy to create and maintain. To me that meant no serious digging, minimal weeding, easy maintenance and maximum enjoyment for the effort, so I decided to create a container flower and herb garden right outside my office windows. Off I went to Wal-Mart and bought a variety of cheap pots, mostly those plastic pots that look like terracotta, and added a few attractive thick stone pots. Then I went to Marbridge Garden Center and bought a couple of bags of their second-best potting soil (they were sold out of the best) and a bunch of seedlings, herbs and small plants. I also ordered assorted caladiums from Happiness Farms (, a source my mother used for many, many years. Actually, the Happiness Farms caladiums will make your yard look great all by themselves, and they do well in shallow planter boxes in mostly sunny locations, or at least until we get one of those long stretches of 100+ degree weather like we did last summer. The downside to the caladiums from Happiness Farms is they won’t arrive until April or so even if you order them early. If you get a big box you will have plenty to share with friends and neighbors who will love you for it, guaranteed.

To my amazement, my container flower garden flourished and looked really great until we hit that patch of relentless heat in late summer, and it gave me immense pleasure to gaze at it as I worked at my desk. I also got many compliments. Having my “garden” in constant view was a very handy reminder when it needed watering. I’m ashamed to say that it looks pretty tacky at the moment, but it will be easy to clean out and replant when the next attack of gardening fervor overtakes my natural inertia.

My approach to containerized flowers has really been pretty simplistic, but they could easily create very attractive landscape features when bunched around trees or mailboxes, or arranged along a hedge, perhaps with a decorative border.

A Few Basic Pointers:
• Use a variety of pots and planters of different shapes and sizes
• Plastic containers are best in our climate for retaining moisture
• Make sure the containers have drainage holes in the bottom
• Put something in the bottom to keep soil from draining out, such as leaves or rocks
• Use good quality potting soil
• Choose plants that can survive our hot summer weather for lasting blooms
• Move plants to a shadier location when the weather gets really hot

This year I also plan to try mixing in some vegetable plants with my flowers and herbs. Flowers and herbs generally require very little growing space, but some vegetables, especially tomatoes, are much more demanding. There are many websites with good information on container vegetable gardening, including this one from Ohio State University that gives some good basic pointers:



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