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On Wednesday I noticed wood ducks on shore by the lake,   excuse the photo, I was trying to catch him as he waddled off fast as they are very shy.  Yesterday again, he and his mate came on shore. I stayed inside and watched from behind the sliding glass doors. The female flew up to the nesting box for ducks that my writing buddy, Richard Poole had put up last year.  He must be a wise man because the ducks liked the looks of it and stood on top  a while.    The female even looked in. I wondered if there might be some woodpeckers inside.      They are beautiful looking ducks. They looked about ten minutes, then flew down and swam off.     I did not see them Thursday, but might have been too busy to notice.   My son came into town Wednesday night and left on Thursday for a cruise to Mexico with friends from his old Lake Brantley high school days.  At least he’s on a cruise, I told him not to get off the boat!
We had watched “Gonzo” Wednesday night, “The life and works of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson” –  that guy was just too much, love Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.  Johnny Dep was amazing.   Ringo and Adam sprawled out on the floor to have a good view.    Aaron was busy at my desk.    Missed Andrea!
No baby cranes on Wednesday or Thursday.   Wednesday night I was fishing and the sky was quite overcast.     The clouds were moving on by from the north to the south.     The sky got dark and I had to capture in a photoshopped photo.  
I fished till it was almost dark. The ugly possum came around looking for some bread left over from the birds, that possum is scary looking,     
The herons had come down to fish with me. The big male was impressive.  Ut-oh. my Photoshop is not working – will have to address in morning, only did a four hour night, ready to hit the sack – fly to my nest. I always call my bed, my nest. So I will finish tomorrow….

The best pastels are natures.  I take the photos and try and do mather nature justice. Sometimes I leave them natural and sometimes give them a little ‘boost’.  Either way, I am so lucky to have this option of time and sight to take it all in and appreciate it and then pass it on to those who don’t get the time.  There is beauty in everything,  even chaos ask Ringo!
The fishing tonight was nothing, not even a nibble except for one turtle who came by looking for a hand out. You know what they say about elephants never forgetting? Well neither do the turtles.  They look at you with disdain that says they will go after your bait UNLESS you throw them some bread.  So, sucker that I am,  they do get a treat.
How do you resist these angry stares?  
The sky tonight was interesting, had twists and twirls and weird, ziggy lines from con trails.
Here’s what it looked like over the lake around 5pm and then as it progressed.  The temperature was in the upper 50’s – still needed all my layers of padding to stay warm, if I fell down I would bounce, (unless I fell in the lake and would surely drown, or more likely be totally humiliated as it is knee deep by the shore line.)

Ringo gave a nice profile shot for me, then sat down and watched the day undress.

Ringo came home last night with a bruise on his chin, I bet he was fighting with that black stray cat we see often.   Ringo rather looks like he has a goatee on his chin, kind of a “beat” and hip, Kerouac cat. In fact at night, I have to read him from chapters of archy and mehitabel before he goes to bed, he snickers as only cats can, silently.
Tonight as I pet his soft head, I asked him why he always has to get into scraps, why he must lie in the street, why he had to kill birds and play with snakes?  He told me to refer to page 107,  Of archy and mehitabel,
the lesson of the moth

i was talking to a moth
the other evening
he was trying to break into
an electric light bulb
and fry himself on the wires

why do you fellows
pull this stunt i asked him
because it is the conventional
things for moths or why
if that had been an uncovered
candle instead of an electric
light bulb you would
now be a small unsightly cinder
have you no sense

plenty of it he answered
but at times we get tired
of using it
we get bored with routine
and crave beauty
and excitement
fire is beautiful
and we know that if we get
too close it will kill us
but what does it matter
it is better to be happy
for the moment
and be burned up with beauty
then to live a long time
and be bored all the while…

I hate to admit it, but Ringo is such a ‘cat’-e-gorically feline progressive thinker…
”                    

BRRRR- I can’t help but feel guilt for homeless people, especially families who might be out trying to survive in this horrific cold. What can it be like to try to keep warm on these miserable chilled days? No home, no running water to bathe, no food, and more and more people are at that point of no return.
I hate thinking about stray animals too and how they cope. There is a cat that the owners do not permit to go inside over at the condos where my daughter lives. The owner did set up a pedestal outside the kitchen window, and the cat sits and looks inside – how can someone not allow their “pet” cat access to their home? Why have a “pet” you don’t really want to care for?  It always breaks my daughters heart and mine to see it alone wanting the company of human contact. Sometimes the cat will be standing up peeking into my daughters kitchen window watching as those “inside beasts” lounge in their ‘padded cat tree’.     My daughter’s cats are very spoiled.
Ringo and Frank, (my cats) won’t even consider staying outside for longer than about 15 minutes in this cold before they are at the back door begging to come in.
Well, I’m sitting with my coat and bathrobe trying to stay warm as the thermostat sits at 70degrees, I know this bill is going to be a big one!
Wroking on stuff to send over to juried show in Sanforw welcome center called Kingdom of Birds and Animals, I figure I have enough of both to be able to try and get one photo in the show,  here’s a few samples

So trying to narrow down field.

I am going through all my files one by one deleting the lousy pics and trying to trim the phat photo excess,  ( I guess that was the same logic that the Beautiful People dating website used after the holidays to delet 5000 people who had gained wait on their site – can you believe?)   Thought I would share a few pics off the folder called “heron”

Just a few to keep your interest until I have something fun to write about. Okay, lets see, it’s 8am, I’ve been up since 4:30am, so think I’ll grab a couple Zzzz’z before I restart the day, maybe the temp will be up to 39degrees by 11am!

Those are turtle eggs, freshly laid.  They came by the way of their mother turtle this morning around 8am.  I had gone out to take some photos of the crappy day. We had a good rain and it was so dark.  The cranes came in for breakfast,
and I had walked to the lake to take some photos of the ‘band of brothers’ who were frolicking in the water.   It was truly a day to be a duck!  It was drizzling a bit after a hard rain.  I started walking back toward the house when I saw a turtle making her way from the house to the lake. She was quite slow in fact, probably because she is a reptile and it was cold and she was tired from laying those eggs.

She ignored the cranes attempt to peck her, and could not even get the energy to run past me to get to the lake, usually the  turtles will crank on the speed when they see humans near them. I’m sure she was exhausted and cold.  I walked back to where she had come from and could see where she had buried the eggs, I gently extracted five eggs that were not buried too deep.  The raccoons would have easily gotten to them or the cold coming tonight would have killed them.  I have raised successfully a number of snake eggs, and did have luck with one clutch of  turtle eggs a couple summers ago.    They were the size of quarters, but it was always summer when we incubated the eggs so the heat naturally kept them warm enough to grow into full term turtles and snakes that broke open their shells and were ready for the world.  The turtles looked just like the ones we kept as kids in those little clear plastic turtle bowls we had in the 50’s before they scared us all with the “salmonella” stories.
The eggs I took I have placed within a small plastic fish tank that has a night light incorporated into the top of the tank. I also placed a thermometer inside and the temp is almost 80 degrees with a tiny 7 watt bulb — that’s perfect, so maybe on February 19th, there could be 5 little baby turtles hatching.  I must keep them moist without being too wet, and heated without getting hardboiled.  This should work perfectly:
Will keep you posted. They say you can’t “candle” them like duck eggs. We never did get one fertilized duck egg.
It was just a dreadful morning, I ran to Michaels and as I looked for a frame, it began pouring. I had to wait for it to settle down a bit before going back to the car.  As I drove from the parking lot in the pouring rain, I noticed two vultures up on a light post waiting out the burst of water.  They looked rather stunned.  Notice that it was so dark, the lights were on at 11am.
Even driving through the neighborhood looked blurred  —        Now comes the cold, and tonight, you can feel the temperature drop!  Ringo is inside on my bed, he hates the cold too.
My little brother is here and we took Adam and got all bloated eating Chinese at Lee’s Palace then topped it off with ice box cake, Judd’s favorite made of pure whipping cream and Nabisco chocolate wafers.
I finished framing and should be ready to drop off work on Sunday, will let you know if there is a reception and what the dates are for the Gateway Members Exhibit.

Those are the pics, though I think they are only using two per person.  The next pics below are some I took this am.

And that’s it for tonight, stay warm, have a fun weekend….   

Ran by the zoo Thursday looking for crows. Did not see one, but here’s what I saw:

DSC03702-1re The leopard wasn’t panting today, just looked board as when I saw him last.  DSC03700-1re One of the elephants was still in her stall, the other one came out to greet me.
DSC03720-1re The tortoises were kept apart by a fence because he is a bit too amorous all the time. They look like they miss being together. Both are 50 years old and can live for 200 years!   DSC03726re The keeper came in with food and he scratched her back and she just loved it! I did too, she looked so happy.
DSC03730-1re The emus always look at you like they judge you.  The kangaroos always look so lazy, didn’t even take a picture. The cheetahs could not be seen, they were still in their den.  DSC03734-2re The porcupines were quill to quill in their dream state. Even the goat was sound asleep.  DSC03810-1re But some kids came with food and he perked up.  DSC03809re The Llama just peered over top of his barn window and decided I was not worthy of his presence.
The reptiles were more active, well not the alligator,  DSC03738re he slept in the sun with a hat of greenery.  The lizards were busy.  DSC03778-2re
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Then I went to get french fries because I love their fries, but they did not have any made up, so

had to settle for a pretzel instead. It attracted the grackles which were everywhere, but still no crows at all.   DSC03779-1re DSC03788-1re DSC03806-3res

The grackles and I ate the pretzel and I headed on back to the car. There was an adorable marmoset out on a leash, but all it was doing was sleeping, her name is Judy,
DSC03820-2re Oh well, I’m sure if I had gone to the Walmart parking lot, I would have found some crows, but there’s always another day to catch crows. I do enjoy the zoo, especially when I have it to myself like I did early Thursday morning, even if most of the animals were still sleeping.

Back to nature! Today was a slow day of wildlife. It was hot, sauna like 90’s, a quick burn if you go out for any length of time. Last night my neighbor Sonja and I went to go see the art walk in Sanford, they had terrific art at several locations, it was nice and crowded and made you feel that Sanford is pulling together the community for these great venues. I had nothing on display, but Sanford is having monthly Juried shows so when they have one that is related to nature, I’ll enter.
This morning outside there were very few birds, but a lot of dragon flies and butterflies. From my desk I saw a few and ran outside to take a few pics.  DSC02005re This zebra longwings was extremely beat up and shredded. It actually flew very slowly from all the rips and tears in it’s wings, but flew with a purpose.  DSC02010-1res It was actually interesting to watch as it seemed to be moving in slow motion.  I saw lots of different butterflies, but they were too quick. I did see a dragonfly that landed on a branch near the back door, but the Sony could not focus on it with the wind blowing the branch, so I went in and got the old Kodak. It is a sure bet with that camera.  100_5139-1re Though the quality of the Sony DSLR is better.
Flowers were wilting all over, I did get a canna lily,  DSC01995re and crepe myrtle is just beginning to bud and bloom, DSC01998re My lemons are huge and I am going to have a nice little harvest when they finally ripen.  DSC01999-3res DSC02000re
The blue jays came out later and this one was especially beautiful.
Of course later I came out to go fishing, the water was dead calm and of course, the damn turtles were everywhere I went from one end of the property to the other, they love that bread on the hook.  000_0350res 000_0359re at one point I looked down and it almost looked like a turtle was swimming through the clouds.  I counted six turtles, four softshells and two sliders.  I did catch one bream, threw it back. And looked up and noticed that the heron was on an island in the middle of lake,  000_0353-1 He was big. like the male that has been building the nests for the past 4 years, so I assumed it was him. And when I threw the bream back and the heron flew over to the yard next door, that signaled to me that this was the male who will eventually come over and stand beside me when I do catch fish. I didn’t catch anything else, but the sky was gorgeous, there was just one large cloud in the sky that changed colors and had such a beautiful shape to it.  000_0370re The planes flew too close over head,   000_0351re and there were many woodpeckers all over trying to contact each other.  000_0354re The weather will change and soon the herons will be back building their nests.  I am hoping this heron will be coming back each night now.  ringos blues-2re Ringo did not fish with me tonight, he stayed in the garage, I am wondering if he too thinks there is a squirrel or rat or mouse in the attic after hearing footsteps near my desk. I put the ladder down to the attic so Ringo could go on a hunt if he feels like it. I am confident if something is there, Ringo is my pet removal service.
Right now as I write this we are having a nice little thunderstorm which is much needed as my poor plants were wilting today.  DSC02011moonre Earlier the half moon was out and I marked on the calendar that October 3,4,5,6 should be all harvest moons, you know I will be taking photos and I so hope it will be over the lake when it rises next week.
I hope it will cool off enough that more wildlife will be coming out to capture on film. The marina is devoid of much diversity, and as for Carbs the muscovy duck, have not seen him in weeks. The BOBs were here earlier, but have not seen Pekin ducks in a while. And that’s Saturday around here, for now, I am enjoying the storm, hoping for more water in the lake as soon it will be our dryer season, so it’s good to have the lake up.
Have not heard any footsteps above my head, so maybe Ringo got whatever it was, might have to do a check tomorrow and if anything is dead in the attic, will let ya know… Sleep tight.
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It’s Sunday, the week flies by in nano-seconds anymore. The good thing is that hurricane season is coming closer to the end.
This morning had the cranes right outside mooching for the loose bird seed on the ground.
000_0305res They have gone and a soft rain is falling on the lake. The cardinals have taken the cranes place.  DSC01556res And as I write now, it is sunny again — that’s Florida!
Thank goodness we have had no pythons come crawling through here YET as yesterday they picked up an 18 foot Python about 20 miles away that was being kept in a risky enclosure. A snake like that when hungry could do some serious eating, like kids!  snakeres
The owner said the 300 plus pound, 18 foot snake gave his daughter rides – SAY WHAT? It was fed about 4 rabbits a day.  I noticed on Yahoo a story about a python that ate 11 guard dogs, that wasn’t in the US, but it could be the way pythons are showing up here in Florida these days. I’m sure people are letting them go because they can’t afford to feed them and they grow so large.
I can remember in the learly 90’s when we were involved in the Central Florida Herpetology Club, the people came to meetings with snakes around their necks and arms, (they had to be bagged and caged during the meeting.) There were lots of vendors selling ‘herps’ of all kinds; turtles, lizards and of course all types of non-poisonous snakes. We have had ball pythons, rat snakes, Texas longnose snakes, milk snakes and Brazilian Rainbow boas. We lost some of them in the house from time to time, (but never told any of our guests that when they visited.) And we let our boas swim in our pool once in a while, climb the banisters, but Aaron, the snake’s caretaker grew bored and we sold them.  Not once did we let any go, oh take that back, we did let our mean mean yellow rat snakes loose in the woods, (those were the snakes that bit me,) but they are native.
Today, we still have the same cats we did when we had the snakes, and the
prospect of seeing a 12 foot or longer snake in my yard would be a bit unsettling. So I will just focus and show some pictures of the more delicate flora and fauna.
The flowers are bright this morning, spider lilies were wet.  DSC01553res
The canna lilies bright red. DSC01554res DSC01552res The Meyers lemons are getting bigger and bigger, can’t wait till they ripen.  The water in the lake is still up nicely, though fishing is still bad. Last night I caught a turtle. The fish are not biting. The cranes were though, they did not realize Ringo the cat was so close and Papa crane almost got him.

So that’s how Abbesworld is going today so far. How’s your day?  DSC01562res

It’s Friday,  this morning there was a fog over the lake 100_4139-res But that did not stop the cranes and Carbs the duck from looking for birdseed.  The other birds were busy too, lots and lots of cardinals today. 100_4155res I bet there were about 7 at one time!
When it was time to go fishing, the cranes were still here rooting around the yard. The sky was very dramatic.  100_4171-1res 100_4177res across the lake there was this wonderful rainbow patch just above the treeline.  The sky was full of storms to the east.
Most of the day I had been working on my garden. I think I am going to let more than half of it go back to being grass. The weeding is Hell.
That overgrown patch beyond the crane in the first photo is the garden and I have not weeded in a few months. I am really losing interest in keeping it up. The weeds grow the best, so essentially I have a garden of weeds. and maybe I should just let the whole lawn go to weeds and just mow one three foot area going down to the lake?
Anyway, it was time to fish so I chose a lightning rod,  100_4167res and ran to the lake because there was a great full moon last night. DSC01091res How can I ignore this magnetic call from the lake. I did catch two fish, bream,  100_4169res they are really very pretty fish with rainbow colors on parts of them.  The sky continued to turn blues and I could see the rain coming down a few miles away.  DSC01102-1res The cranes finally gathered on the hill and I grabbed my camera. Excuse how messy the image is as I had messy sticky, gooky fish hands and was trying to touch the camera without holding my hands on it too much. But when I saw the cranes all standing straight in a row waiting to take the cue from the father to leave, I wanted to try and get
a video of them flying practically over my head.
I did give up fishing as the turtles were once again making it impossible to throw the bait out without having a turtle charge right for it.
As I looked up, I noticed how beautiful the sky was, it had melded into pinks and blues, and orange my favorite look.  100_4194res 100_4190res It’s one of those moments you wish you had someone out there besides a duck and cat. The colors were spectacular. So, that’s about it. I came in and Frankie was hogging my desk and had knocked over all kinds of paperwork as she sprawled out.  100_4186res And that’s it for today – where does a day go? Where does the month go? Where does a year go? Can it all just slow down for a while, life is just passing by way too fast…. Tomorrow I will report on the garden

It’s been another hot humid inferno. Loved seeing so many bees and dragonflys and flying things.
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The butterflies, like yesterday are all over the place.  So are the red ants, they have ant piles all over. Some people take gas and kill them. I use borax and sugar, but they still pop up somewhere else. I need some of that stuff that kills the queen. I did purchase some vinyl boots for $6.24 at Target  DSC00558res They have anchors all over them. I wore them tonight while fishing, I didn’t catch anything and didn’t get bitten once either! Then, as the turtles were chasing my fake frog toward the shore, they stopped to mock me.
100_3431res Carbs was close by, but the baby crane chased him in the lake. You could tell the baby was very proud of himself. he even walked down toward the lake to make sure that Carbs didn’t come back on shore.  He did after the cranes left.
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Then the clouds gathered overhead,  100_3437res they came up fast, and I figured I better head on in.  A few minutes after I came in, the lightning was crazy. It was all over the place.  I turned off the computer and unplugged it for a while. But almost 2 hours have passed with lots and lots of flashes. Here’s the thunderstorm at night, thunder and crickets and frogs and beautiful flashes of lightning near beginning and at the end –  you can pause it to look at the electric bolts! ANd you can even see how light it becomes during the flashes.

As of now, the storm has moved over toward Daytona and left probably at least an inch or more of water. We have to keep adding rain water now so when winter comes and rain is rare, the lake is still up and people don’t need to dig a new well like a few of the neighbors have had to do in the past when we had droughts.  But with more and more people leaving Florida as evidenced by articles in the paper yesterday, maybe we will have enough to sustain the rest of us without draining some of our rivers for wasteful lawn watering.
The fat possum stopped by for a minute to eat the rest of the left over catfood, then rambled back out in the storm.  100_3443res The mosquitos are absolutely horrible, when I was filming the storm, they were draining me.  And that’s it for tonight. One day I will figure out how to do night shots, and maybe it’s better for now I don’t, I might never go to bed…

72709babycraneA-1res Baby crane was here this morning with his family. They ate bird seed, groomed, wandered around yard poking the ground and then lined up and took off like paragliders sailing over the lake

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Yesterday it was storming off and on when they came. At around 11 am. it got really dark.  DSC06820res the sky blackened and let loose with a nice rain and lots of thunder. The cranes don’t like the noise, they were quite suspicious and kept looking around to see where the thunder was originating from.  It was raining hard for a while and I noticed even a softshell turtle came out of the lake and rested under my lemon tree.
DSC06832res The water was just dripping off the cranes.
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I enlarged to see the rain coming down. Even my waterbarrel was gushing from the excess.
Last week we had no real rain, it would cloud up and threaten and the lightning is getting to be way too lethal around here. A guy was gardening the other day and a bolt came from nowhere that hit near him and he said he passed out, and one of his legs didn’t work and he had to crawl back to his house and was hospitalized. That’s why I am paying more respect to the lightning gods lately as they get closer and seem to be picking out a lot of people to play their games with. I look at the sky and turn on local news before I fish to see what is moving where. But the sky is so amazing around Florida, that’s one of the assets is the constant movement of wind and clouds and rain. Sometimes it comes from the Atlantic, sometimes from the Gulf and when they collide – whammo, fireworks. Like I have said before, it will be sunshining in the front, and raining across the lake. Usually by the time it is almost dark, the sky makes peace and all is pink and quiet.
Today so far it is one of those voids where the sun is hiding, but the sky is gray/white! I need to go out and weed whack while the sun can’t fry me and the lightning is still asleep…
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cloudsbuildingres 000_0047res reflection of sun on water72609eveningcomesres

72509desk1This is my desk at 12:51am – maybe I need a blog that shows my desk at different times during the day just for effect! It looks a little messy, but there is a method to my madness. And breakfast at Tiffany it’s not- but that box of POPS was a great deal at the grocery today, 21.4 ounces for $2.50!  Can’t get get perfume per ounce for anywhere near that, not even stuff like nuts, makeup, or even other cereal!  It’s the biggest box of cereal I have ever seen – how could I turn it down? Right now it’s keeping me and my stomach company. I can see how insomniacs gain weight, this box weighs 1 and 1/2 pounds, I should weigh 5 more at the end of the week. Ha ha – just kidding, I don’t intend to eat it all, Adam is about ten feet away and he has been dipping his hand in the box pretty good himself.
Right now I am looking at the huge tree frog on my window, it showed up about an hour ago. 72409frogC-1res I will have photos later at
http://offshoot2.wordpress.com
Yesterday it seemed like I got a few visitors pictures of things around here. First of all Ringo, because he starts my day with a smile. I see his big face and hear him meow and see him flash those big blues and that is a good sign. 72409ringo-1res Out on the porch was a busy anole running around chasing off the other lizards.  72409anole-1res Went out in the yard and there were a lot of butterflies on and off. Two were flirting for a long time.
72409queenbutterflies-2 There even seemed to be a few monarchs trying to find some milkweed.  72409monarchA-1res Behind the large hibiscus bush I have a tree stump that had a fresh snake skin across it, so a nude snake is somewhere around. DSC09823hibres DSC09822snakeres And later on, just about the time I was getting ready to fish, the clouds came in for a visit and they did not look happy. lastnightcloudsres Even Papa Crane was keeping a close eye on “weather” or not I would be down at the lake. And I wasn’t, we had a lot of lightening, but no rain.  I took many photos of the changing sky and will probably post them tomorrow. But for now, I am finishing this and getting ready to post tree frog pics at the other blogsite –
Sweet dreams – don’t let the tree frogs bite…

My son and I had gone to the model train exhibit at the Lake Mary Historic Museum and when I came home I was gearing up to fish. I opened the door on the porch and saw Ringo in one corner and heard a ‘bang’ of the aluminum being struck and thought Ringo had a bird cornered. Upon closer observation, I saw a cottonmouth striking at Ringo.  snake-1
I grabbed a hoe and had my son grab Ringo and I tried guiding the continually striking snake toward the porch door. He was a devil too. I finally got him headed out the door, but he might be hiding in the bushes next to the porch. Now I am rather paranoid to step out on the porch without giving a good look in all directions! If that snake comes back on the porch, he will be toast!  Ringo is way too bold, he’s like Ricky-tickki-tavi. But it just takes one poisonous bite to make him really sick or worse. Ringo is guarding the door.  DSC09609res Thank goodness Frankie was already inside. I worry more about her being bit than Ringo. She thinks she is as agile as Ringo and also as bold.
Meanwhile, the Historic museum in Lake Mary had a few tables set up with model trains. Old model trains. There were a few young children and their eyes were bright as they watched the trains round the tracks and whistle.
It is on display Saturday afternoon too. Here’s a few photos,
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They had old railroad lanterns,  DSC09594res and postcards. Some stamps and other memorabilia. So if you have a fetish for history and model trains,  there you go. The museum itself is a small yet interesting place of all history relating to the tiny city of Lake Mary.
When we left we noticed that in the tiny and I mean tiny downtown of Lake Mary which encompasses only a couple intersections with no traffic lights, there were 4 beauty salons, so apparently the people of Lake Mary like to stay looking good.  DSC09580res There is also an auto repair on that same side street as the Barber shop and there was a cool looking old truck /thing  sitting in front.  DSC09578res
The city hall and Events center are both beautiful new buildings, but downtown Lake Mary is still stuck in a time warp for now. There were also a few empty store fronts for rent   DSC09606res
on both sides of the street, a sign of the times for sure. None of these spaces looked like good places for an co-op art gallery, too small a space, not enough wall area on all places that are available. Traffic is also pretty non existent. The signs of hard times are all over. The biggest sign of a hard time will be the axe waiting for that snake if it thinks he’s coming back for a visit!

71409abbeat2am-1res 2:37am, no rest here.
Earlier tonight I caught a softshell turtle and had to unhook it, they have quite interesting undersides,  100_2300_res but it looked more like some kind of weird alien than a turtle from that angle. The markings are quite unique really, could this be a girl and maybe the boys have blue rectangles? Don’t worry she or he was fine after they got de-hooked.  They scurried back to the water. I HATE catching turtles!
It was actually quite hot and stagnant and I was hoping to get a shot of the rocket launch, but they scrubbed it again.
In the morning I took a few flower pics, DSC06430res The crepe myrtles are gorgeous. And forgot what this plant is, but loved the red flowers on it also. DSC06421res

The moon was even still out at 8am: DSC06419res

The crow was in the tree singing a morning song
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And I had a nice lunch with friends. Came home and worked on more photos. Oh the days go so fast, summer half over – maybe El Nino will save us from the big storms this year! I don’t know, anymore around Florida all we hear about is people getting struck by lightning. I do have to watch more carefully when I am at the lake as the storms roll in,
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The clouds roll in so fast and the lightning is really getting way too familiar with humans. But the storms are actually so wonderful to listen to, especially to hear the rain on the roof at night.  But not tonight, it is just a quiet one, so quiet, I might have to sneak off and go to bed, good…morning again…

Today the news said it would be 94 and feel like 104 degrees, that was no lie. It is hot and the sun seems like a deep fryer and it’s only June! The flowers are beautiful after a great thunderstorm last night. They were closed yesterday,
100_1700res but today they were full bloomed and smelled so wonderfully rosey! The roses had small bits of purple on them.  All around the yard, flowers looked happy. I do water them a bit in the morning and in the evening if there is no rain, otherwise they would fry under that hard light and heat. 61709rose-1_edited-1 DSC07969res

61609bluebpyrose-1_edited-1 The sandhill cranes sat under the camphor tree for a long time taking in the shade. The father was really panting a lot as was my old cat Frankie. I actually think she might have been experiencing heat prostration as she looked way too lethargic on the porch  and I could see her heart beating rather wildly. I brought her in and put her on the cool counter and she drank a lot of water.  I was kind of worried her heart might give out, but after a while, she did perk up.   So remember to keep lots of fresh water out there. I keep it, but poor Frankie looked like she was almost too tired to drink so watch your older animals. DSC08163crop_edited-1

The cranes stayed a long time down by the lake. The baby was first to buckle and sit down.  then when the parents finally sat down, he got up and went over to give his father a hard time. He would jab his father in the rear and then touch beaks. 61709father&babyC2_res 61709babycranegroomsfather-1res

DSC05777res Finally they all relaxed and then finally flew off. The Moorhen is also a pretty smart, she built her nest up high on the side so as to shade her from the sun as she nested.

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Tonight I tried fishing, but only got greedy turtles trying to find bread. One is so bold as to come up and take it out of my tackle box, so I keep it up on a plastic chair now as not only the turtles, but the ants swarm inside the plastic bags once they sense food. DSC05435res Ringo looks at the turtle with amusement, but does not bother them. Fishing sucked, maybe it’s too hot. If there was no breeze off the lake tonight, I would not have thrown out a line. No use standing down there sweating profusely and ending up like Frankie prostrate on the ground, no one would notice me!
Finally Ringo and I gave up and walked back to the house. I picked some small rose buds to put in a shot glass.
DSC08162res Ringo and I were glad to come inside and absorb that nice cool air. No thunderstorms tonight. All is quiet around here. I came in to blog, Ringo passed out and then was treated to a massage from my son. We all have our ways of dealing with the heat, that’s for sure! DSC05688res DSC05693res

53009carbs-1 CARBS! Carbs the duck was by the stump this morning looking for seed. What a surprise! It was good to see him, he ate then waddled away not even waiting for the Pekins who were not far away. Hope he will come more often. I will have to go by the marina to see if there are more muscovy ducks up there now.
I had another surprise last night — a moorhen has built a nest in the cattails and tall grass about twenty feet from the bank. She used bent cat tail leaves as the base or kind of platform  and built it up with nesting material. 53009moorhennest-1 52908moorhenonnest_edited-1

It holds two ‘hen-size’ eggs that I can see, though they say usually there are 5 or more. I only see two. It takes about 27 days to hatch so I will keep an eye out.
Outside it is HOT and it is only morning. When I was out at 6:45am it was already humid and hot and when the sun breeched the homes across the lake, WHEW! That stare down was no competition, I got out of the suns way!
Today I might get the boat my neighbor does not want anymore. I am so hoping I get it, my son and I have big weeding projects for our area of lakefront.  And that’s today so far, got a long way to go yet and temperature is supposed to hit 93!!! I will be in most of the day!  And here’s a face that popped up last night while I was fishing – the mooch turtle face with feather – oh, that’s a duck feather stuck to its’ chin. then there is always Ringo and how he deals with the heat… ringotakessnooze

Where is it? They keep promising rain and once again in the same pattern for the third year, it seems to rain all around us, but not here.
51409waterlevel-1_editedIf you look at the photo with the water gauge, you can see we have lost all the inches of water since Fay last August. The top of the other small meter is showing. The level is down about 30 inches and each day that sun sucks away about an inch more. The sky will cloud up and look like impending doom above us. 51409stormclouds-1_edited It looks mean and ready to strike, but moves along, just drifts away to storm on someone else. I love a great thunderstorm, all that juice built up in the atmosphere brewing away with lightning to heat it and thunder to give it drama. I was eating lunch with my friend Leslie today in Lake Mary at Toojays where there is no recession.  It’s about 4 miles from my house and as I left the restaurant, droplets began to fall and about 2 miles from the house, it was raining very steadily until I get about two blocks from home and the look was there, but no rain. I went inside and framed a couple pics for an art show and no rain still.  Finally we got a few drops about 4pm, but not enough to even cover the driveway completely.  That meant of course I could go fishing since there was no lightening threat. Too bad the fish were as scare as the rain. All I had were the two pesky turtles that have been bugging me for this past week.    51409turtle&Ringo-1_edited They are bold and chase my bait all over the lake wherever I stand.  Ringo the cat was not sure if he should go after it or not, but decided the slimy shelled red-eared slider wasn’t worth the bother.
The birds too seemed on edge today, they were busy going after each other at the stump. Chasing each other off.  51409blackbird&woodpecker-1_edited 51409trioofbirds-1_edited It was entertaining.
Later, around 7pm, a young raccoon came to the porch. The cats did not care for him, infact, Frankie, the female tried to fight with him, the raccoon did not want to fight thank goodness.

51409Frank&raccoon-1_edited Then Church gave him the staredown  51409Church&raccoonB-1_edited and he finally left.  The night sky changed 51409sunset-1_edited and it looked like a very calming end to the evening. Cross your fingers for tomorrow and for my buddy Beda who just got a new rain barrel who anxiously awaits it filling up. And one last thing, here’s a sight I came across walking a couple days ago,  51409armadillo-1_edited-1 it was a three legged armadillo, he was walking faster than me!

Of course I feel quite honored as the folks brought the baby by, hard to believe it is almost a month old. I don’t have to add much, will just show the photos:  But look to my nature photography blog to have many more today, link below

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For a much more in depth look, come to my photo blog:
http://offshoot2.wordpress.com

Waiting to get pounded – under tornado warnings. All around us are straight line winds and maybe some hail. Outside it is as dark as night almost.   resize41409meter

We are now getting pounded, lots of rain and wind battering down. No thunder, no lightning. The aluminum roof over the porch is singing with the rain. The heron was here earlier as I had mowed and I’m sure she thought I was going to fish also. She sat in a tree for a half hour grooming.

41409heronb-1resize The woodpecker too is snug in his tree hole. earlier he was watching the sky. I fully expect to lose electricity anytime before I am through. I am hoping there is no tornado coming out of this, but maybe I should unpack the linen closet just in case, it’s our only safe room here that has no window or sky light.
Now the lightning has started. Ripples of competing thunder trailing close. The television news blaring reports.  Sounding like the war of the Gods out there! Lots of thunder in all directions, but rain has slacked off a bit.   Feel really bad for anyone in a car stuck in the middle of one of the cells they show on television. Funnel clouds have been sighted west of here. Will publish for now and hope to be back a little later, cause I’m not going anywhere unless I am blown away, literally…
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P/S — It’s almost 11:am, the storm seems to be fizzling out, but can feel a slight coolness to the air. The bulk of storms are now headed east. Still have storms around us, but weather nothing like what is headed toward the east coast! The rain is falling at a  perfect rate for absorption and boy do we need it. Will do a comparison meter at very end of blog tonight!
I should take a cue from the cats and go take a nap, they are not the least concerned, and are still on the porch, don’t seem to care about coming in. Sometimes I think the wisdom of cats is a better predictor than the weatherman.
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And of course, the damn Band of brothers is skirt chasing the Pekins at the lake.

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I got all excited late this morning as I was ready to run out, I noticed sandhill cranes walking up to the stump, walking as if they knew that bird seed was always there. I was so excited thinking finally the new baby is coming by for its first official visit. But upon looking at the pair, there was no baby and their color was not rusty and the male had a distinct shape to his head and a very crisp red top that was different from Papa crane.
4209newcranemale1a This males red head was ‘humpier’ than papa crane. Trust me on this, there is a difference.
The pair stayed here all afternoon, taking time to sit in the shade
of the camphor tree and then at around 5pm, they got up and began to play and toss weeds about as they did their silly dancing.

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They played for about fifteen minutes and then started their trumpeting. Loud and clear they trumpeted across the lake. I went inside and shortly after that my son told me we had 4 cranes in the yard. All the shouting had brought in the Mama and papa crane, without their baby. The new cranes looked unsure of what to do and the male moved away and left the female to deal with the locals.
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My rusty cranes then chased off the new couple and when they knew the cranes were gone, they trumpeted their victory and took off and flew back to their nest where I suppose they left the baby.
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Maybe they did not like the idea that another couple would try and move in during their absence. It
amazes me how territorial these birds become and yet, they still have not brought the new baby by. In fact
they did not even touch any of the bird seed on the stump, they came, kicked ass and left, all in a matter of about
ten minutes.  It makes me wonder if they think that since they have lived here so long, they can claim the whole
neighborhood as their own? Nothing bird brained about that!

FINALLY – I tracked them down and got a few photos. The baby has been very well taught by the parents to be skeptical of all noise and older people with cameras. The baby darted out of view into the bushes and I would have to wait for it to feel safe enough to come out. I bet I was at least 75 feet from them, but the parents were fine, it was the baby who wanted my credentials before posing. I tried to hide behind a tree so it would come out, this was all I could get, but gives a sense of size of this 5 day old and he’s bigger than I remembered. The single child seems to thrive faster and grow bigger!
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P/S, so long to Carbs. Have not seen him since the band of brothers took over ruling the lake
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Elvis and Carbs March 2009

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