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It’s a blue moon tonight with Ringo having disappeared last night and has not come home to eat all day.  That’s what you get with a rogue agent like Ringo. I miss his funny face and sparkling blues!
We fished last night,  and as always he waited patiently for his reward, but nothing came. Maybe he went to go live with a better ‘fisher’?  All I know is, there was no sign of him anywhere all day. Tonight I went to several of the neighbors whose homes he frequents and no one had seen him. The neighbors checked their garages and looked all over, but no Ringo. I am hoping I will look up and see his face at the back door, but so far, nothing. To those of you who say that’s what happens when you have outdoors cats just don’t understand the dynamics of a cat who was brought in by my neighbors as a stray and raised for years as part of the Loch Arbor scenery. I have inherited him, but Ringo does his own thing,  though he always comes home. Most people around here know Ringo and enjoy seeing his handsome face, they know he is a rascal.  Maybe he needs a tracking chip!
Let’s hope he is somewhere safe, and if someone catnapped him, they will learn he is not a cat you keep inside for more than a four hour stretch.   I have no reason to doubt he can fend for himself, he eats lizards and birds and would find his own food with no problem.  Just wish somehow  knew where he was. This is not like Ringo to be MIA like this. AT least everyone is on the lookout. I’ll put his face up by the stop sign tomorrow if he doesn’t show.
Around here it is hot hot hot and no rain in sight, I bet we will get dumped on all at once again. WOnder where this tropical depression will hit? Will it build to become a hurricane? Will have to watch. Thank goodness the well has stopped leaking oil, but there is still a lot of oil out there. What happens to the streams of oil once picked up and swirled in a hurricane?
The birds are very quiet lately, not as many as in early spring. I do see my beautiful jays come all together before 7pm. There are still five of them and they get quite snippy with each other.  Here are 4 of them, they are  hard to get at one time.   and of course, the cardinals are adorable to watch as they interact with the bold jays. The cardinals are much calmer.   Have not been getting grackles, though the crows come in the morning and early afternoon.   Monday and Tuesday I finally put a photo\art book together, it was a lot of fun and look forward to seeing the finished product when it gets here. I would like to do a few of them on different subject, but the cost seems high with the shipping being about $3 over what normal flat rate mailing should be. I even tried calling Printers, Book Binders and Graphics places this morning and was told for them to make the photo books would be expensive, I was hoping to be able to buy them in bulk fairly reasonably, but can’t find a way to sell below $25 to squeak buy with a tiny profit. Anyway, the first book is on Crows. Will give link when I see the book and it’s finished product.
My Kodak Easyshare P850 died, I put in the recharged battery and it acted like it was taking a picture and flashed like it, but there was nothing but black on the screen. I checked the settings, re did the battery, set back to default and nothing but black. Time to replace it.    Ran over to Best Buy to look at what they had, liked the Sony HX1 and the two young clerks, Byron and Kristen were wonderful and helped me do comparisons with the Nikon of the same specifications. Will consider my options, love the 18 months same as cash!
Saw a hummingbird tonight as I was putting weeds in the trash, it was drawn to the lush red buds on the fire bush. I hurried out with fresh hummingbird food, but the only thing attracted to that seems like the carpenter ants.
In the meantime, I keep looking up at the back door, then walking over the the front door and open it and call Ringo’s name, then  stare and stare and stare…       Where’s my boy?

a beautiful and quite humid night — but had a wonderful evening being treated to dinner with Andrea and Lee. Lee is quite the master of the grill and his two dogs are nearby to see what might be reclaimed if someone drops something.
Merle is giving the snake “scent the air” look as he hurries around the pool. Sweet Loretta is always bright eyed for squirrels and lizards.   The weekend has gone so fast again and here it is Monday. Sleep avoids me and my brain lacks because of it.
The heat is so great, I hardly a flicker of a wing today outside my window, it seems the heat tethered them somewhere shady, but nowhere in sight. Their crumbs and seed remained intact until almost 3:00 pm when the crane family came.
I walked around the yard around 4pm and there was really nothing to visually stimulate me, no bugs, no freshly bloomed flowers since we have been hammered with heat the past couple days and the heads of the roses and many other plants look as if they have succumbed to the torment.  The lilies wilt, the roses die, sunflowers dry up,   a good rain is always so replenishing and needed, but not today. I did take the hose and give a bit of relief to what I have planted by the bird feeder. The weeds pull up with ease, but found that the lack of energy to extract them from Hell wasn’t worth the try of being in the weedy garden garden for longer than ten minutes. It has become a haven for the grasshoppers who seem to take advantage of their numbers and breed.     Clinging to screens, on the ground,  they seem to hop around and enjoy their tandem-ness.
Part of the day I explored trying to look into doing a photography book on Blurb or LuLu, my Ovation friend Lana Gramlich did a beautiful job getting hers together.   http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1464395/?utm_source=badge&utm_medium=banner&utm_content=140×240#
Why can’t I make one? Tomorrow I will check it out. They are a bit pricey.  I love how my friends Lana and Robin Pedrero are always marketing their work, where is my ‘chip’ that can be inserted into my head so I can be as good at marketing as they are?
Here’s some photos from the past two days, not much exciting, but still,  the alternative of finding something to admire is always urging me on, and I am hoping that you find it fun also. Have an excellent week. And yes, I am still on baby watch.
The only winged thing flying around.   an immature grasshopper.  A crow from two days ago:     and that’s it, sleep is calling, must obey!  Enjoy the new week and may it bring exciting things for you!

I was feeding the birds this morning and saw two wasps trying to make a nest about 14 feet up near the roof line and fireplace and noticed a hole through the plastic soffit, a hole that would easily accommodate rodents going into the roof again. 
That wasn’t there just last week, so something had to be making a place to nest in the attic. What is so weird was a couple nights ago it was about 2am as I sat at my desk and suddenly Ringo jumped up onto the outside window ledge looking up at the fireplace, it was like the dead had come alive, I jumped about a foot! I bet it was a mouse or rat scampering up.  Ringo is supposed to be part of the natural pest control around here.
But anyway, as I looked at the hole I got paranoid about critters going up into the attic and had to do something. So since neither of my ladders was the right size, I borrowed one from the neighbor, it was a perfect size. I cut a piece of Adam’s VCR video plastic box and got superglue and steel wool, I heard rodents hate bumping into steel wool. So I shoved it through the hole and superglued the plastic over the hole. For now it will do the trick… I think.  I filled in the area with more steel wool while Adam held me steady on the ladder. My neighbor who I borrowed the ladder from lives on the lake also and has put traps every fifteen feet around the perimeter of his house with rat dehydrating bait inside. I might have to try that too, though I am always hesitant with Ringo, what if he grabbed a poisoned rat, would he get poisoned too? That’s something that makes me weary.
As I sit here tonight, I only hope there were no rats in the roof that I have sealed, it’s so hot up there I don’t know why they would want to spend time melting. I do have four traps still up there that I re-bait and check every few weeks. After seeing a rat one in my bird feeder several months back,  I know they can enjoy the benefits of left over bird food just like the raccoons.   I don’t hear anything above me, yet and Ringo is behind me snoozing, I watch for his radar ears. When he looks concerned, I will too.   
Fishing was lousy, you  would think I’d give up trying already rather than complain, but it was so nice out tonight, great breeze despite the fact it was 96 this afternoon. I did catch one shiner which Ringo promptly ate. After that is was a turtle race as usual.  The fun part was watching the woodpecker come in to feed his yapping babies. They must be young as I see no faces looking out of the hole when the  male leave.  Here he is grabbing some cut up fries from Arby’s, he knows a good thing when he sees it. Here he is with the twins.  And leaving   and more in between!    I enjoy watching their black and white jackets fly by.   Have not seen any of the pileated, bigger woodpeckers lately.
just these red bellied cuties. And how about the hummingbird moth, they are so cooperative, I could easily hold it and stroke it’s little soft head.  

Over head were the usual plane routes, They fly right over my head, I always wonder if the Captain of one of the regular routes comes on and says, “see that lady down there fishing? She’s at it almost every night, that’s how I know I’m on the right path to the airport.”
Sometimes those planes are so very very low. 

How I wish I liked to get on them and could fly somewhere! But soon I will be making my way toward Tampa to see my Granddaughter’s birth, we are all so excited, she will be a tiny little birdie.
The afternoon heat has gotten to me, I have been able to mow most of the yard, but gave up feeling like a gallon of water was sweating off me.  It’s just too intense, the sky is clear and blue –
I keep thinking about The Gulf of Mexico, I keep waiting for the actual break in the news saying it has been capped. But what does capping mean? Look in the past, they say over 27,000 old drilled wells could also be leaking:http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/07/07/national/main6653016.shtml  (cut and paste)   My brother in Key West also sent me photos of his last fishing trip  

showing oil sheen, whether it is associated with the leak??? Will only be a matter of time before they get it. The gov is saying it will be capped by the 27th, but in the meantime, the pollution to our water is significant and sickening. Sickening that more was not done sooner. I can only guess once they hit this “Mother Lode” some 70 + days ago, all that mattered is trying to keep as much oil as they could  recapture. It didn’t matter. It doesn’t seem to matter to our president, BP seems to be in control, the bottom line is profit. It’s still a tragedy to me.  It seems to really be taking a toll on sea turtles. Nad some whacko had the gall to behead sea turtles… for what purpose?
http://www.wesh.com/video/24177933/index.html
What is with this world of ours? I guess the best thing is to try and make others aware of what is happening in the news and also to give balance to the beauty of nature and what you can easily bring to your backyard, that’s my aim, to keep nature safe and CLEAN!
And for you to enjoy some photos along the way –
Have a wonderful weekend…. The mockingbird blasts the crow.
Don’t mess with doves, this interaction just out my window…
and that was that! Jays were forced out, AGAIN! (But only for a matter of minutes) — Now go make sure your birds have  fresh water, they are thirsty

Lots to do coordinating the exhibit for University Club and making sure it is a fine representation for the Gateway Photo Group – the work by the contributing photographers is beautiful, it will be a terrific show – so off to University Club on Tuesday to look around and chart wall space. But today, my daughter had off and she took me to lunch at Willowtree in Sanford, a very noted German restaurant.  We stopped by Andrea’s first where her cats were lounging, Musa and Cocobella looked like Romeo and Juliet,  Little Cocobella was looking so adoringly at that devil Musa.  Andrea had taken a picture with her and Musa, I loved it so must add it of course.    Then we headed to Hart Sister’s Tea Room on Park Avenue and thought we would grab a bite to eat there, but they were closed. It’s an adorable setting.   there was such a nice garden setting and plants around the place.   But since it was closed we ventured to First street and the gallery’s were closed so we headed to Willowtree and ate outside.   The place was still quite full and it was 1:30pm.  I had quiche which was good, but the honey mustard pecan dressing for the salad was excellent. Andrea had a sandwich, neither of our choices were German dishes, but if you like the schnitzel and knockwurst, liverwurst and bologna loaf, this is for you! The desserts looked wonderful, but neither of us really wanted any, we were full.   They do have great desserts!   My sweetest daughter and I strolled up the road, passed Maya’s and saw the Yoko John Poster:  and then saw something I didn’t expect – a rooster at Two Blondes and A Shrimp! He was a poser!    They say he comes around all the time, wonder if he came from Horstmeyers on Commercial Street, they have chicks for sale.
We stopped and bought a few things at Baileys Consignment store and then went over and looked at Miss Libby’s Antique Emporium.  They had moved their recently, but I believe Miss Libby said she and her husband had been at another location down the block for 14 years.  They had done a beautiful job of placing all their antiques. It was well organized. Had a lot of glassware and lots of Harmony Kingdom boxes which are so much fun to look at.
and Betty Boop!   There is furniture, original artwork, primitives, coins and a very cool monkey   Enjoyed our talk with Miss Libby who was happy to help us.
address is 204 E. First Street – 407-328-8298.
We had a nice chat and then headed home. It was a lot of fun, thanks Andrea for lunch!
Last night I was a stick in the mud, could see some of the Sanford fireworks from the backyard, also saw my pesky little raccoon who decided to eat the remaining cat food.   While Ringo decided he did not like the commotion at all and came in and even sat on my lap voluntarily, a first!   I had to watch to see who I let in — didn’t want a raccoon on my lap!  I watched Bye Bye Birdie and sang away with the movie..  
This morning the jay were at it again, in fact, I had forgotten there were so many fledgling birds. They were trying to be the boss of everyone and chased off the other birds and squirrel.   Though the doves are pretty feisty too.   There was a showdown between the squirrel and dove, but they called a draw and both stayed.
The jays then came in pairs:   and had a few words,  

the third brother joined in, then two more.   They were hard to get at one time!  Then it boiled down to two and they argued and both flew off — but they come back now again and again and it never gets old.   and to look at this last picture, it is my tribute to Independence day, the natural beauty of the red, white and blue!

The heat is Hell-a-cious, you go out for a few minutes and your burnt. Today no birds have even come to the feeder, the bread I put down this morning is still there and it’s 8:15pm. I guess the birds don’t have much of an appetite, I can’t believe I have not seen one grackle or crow or jay all day! So instead of birds, I took things around the yard and will have color and Black and White photos.

Finally it looks like we might get some rain,     the lake level is down by a couple inches. I stuck my hand in the lake and it was like bath water, maybe thats’ why fishing is so bad. The flowers on the plants are just drying out so fast after they bloom. We love our daily rains when they come, even if it’s inches at a time because the storms move quickly. So take a look and enjoy Sanford, Florida.

The ants love the ginger plant blooms. Usually there are a couple of them running back and forth, chasing each other around the bloom.   They are big ants too.   My “womenly tree”, a camphor,  (non native)  is draped now with a vine going up and it looks like it’s dressed like a Goddess.
The dying sunflower and in color,

Of course Ringo in color shows off his blues, but he is striking in black and white too.    a lily in

crazy color and in black & white.     butterflies are all over the place like the dragonflies   .

caught this bee grooming itself, running its’ legs across it’s face over and over as if slicking it’s hair back.   the bees were everywhere, almost got stung a few times. This one was more interested in the rose.
the dying flowers have beauty too.  
Last nights fishing companion.         And a big and beautiful full moon to top the night off, make sure to appreciate it where you are –    You might find it winking back….

Hold on, have been gone since last Thursday and have had things happen! First people things, went to Tampa for a baby shower and my son, Aaron proposed to his girlfriend, Leila.  That was a lot of fun. Lots of people and scenery and gifts and a great time.   Thanks as always to Mark and Lynette for the use of their home for these wonderful parties and to all the hard workers who set it all up and took it down. Came home Sunday after spending two nights with three hours of sleep while listening to the poor cat in heat. Don’t worry she is an indoor cat,    but what is really funny, there is a slab porch with no screen out the back door, and Sasha the cat will not go off the concrete, she hates hates hates the feel of the grass.
Before I got on I-4, I was cutting through a Home Depot to get gas and caught sight of two osprey in the trees, had to stop and take a couple pics.   Then off it was toward O- town. Finally I was ready with my camera to take the upside down RV’s I always forget about –  They were near Dover.  At one point the artist was told to remove them, luckily, that has changed —  http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/mar/14/owner-told-remove-vertical-rv-display-dover/ — I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy seeing that display!
And then the monotonous ride to Orlando and the rejoicing when downtown appears ;   .
At the house, the herons have left the nest, nothing is there anymore, though the neighbors still have their family in the trees. The wood ducks too, they have taken their family and gone – didn’t even say goodbye.  The grasshoppers are horrible,
They want to dine on way too much. Most of my neighbors kill them, I have been told to fish with them, but can’t bring myself to bait them.  So they eat.  The birds are still busy even though the heat is overwhelming.
The moorhens have six babies.  The jays and cardinals also have fledglings:   The cranes were yawning in the heat.
The grackles and crows and mockingbirds continue fighting.
I was going to go to an meeting for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission about banning the penning of fox and coyotes for hunters to let their dogs loose upon- what an unfair advantage! Apparently it was well attended and they will pass the ban. I actually slept through it this am, I woke and it was 10am and the meeting began at 8:30am, whoops… Glad there are so many dedicated animal protectors via animal rights activists. Orlando has a large share.
At 1pm, I went to Debary   to  see the Gateway Center for the Arts exhibit. On my way I stopped at the White Cup on 17/92 in Debary to see if Jon D. Miller’s  work was still up, and the artist was sitting there when I walked in!   
So here is a sampling of what is hanging:   A Horoscope theme of mixed media on wood and canvas and even prints of the originals.  Here’s a few close ups:  

Jon’s painted palm fronds are just as colorful and fun as he is:   Jon’s so enthusiastic,  and even though this show comes down this Friday,  I am sure he will be somewhere else – if you are interested in his art, contact via email:  Toyseum@aol.com.   Jon does murals, interior painting besides portraits and even body painting.
Don’t forget that the White Cup has a selection of coffee and tea and is now making their own yummy desserts.

Then hit the Gateway because my friend, Judith Segall and another new friend, Mary Segal were both showing with Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson and Joanna White.  Judith is an excellent paper maker and gives classes. She has worked on making mixed media art that can be touched for the enjoyment of sight impaired people. I remember her telling me she went to Gainesville and took a class years ago about applying art as therapy. Here she has applied her knowledge as a paper maker, painter and being that she is sensitive toward someone who might not have the visual ability to see the colors, but as in nature, they can touch and identify the shapes. Her pieces are always well thought out and very beautiful:

Always love the depth of Elizabeth’s collages. Her colors are just stimulating and fun!  I have seen her do collage and it’s magic! Mary Segal does striking, long panels of soothing colors with mixed media – she has quite an interesting approach to her art.
The hanging box art by Joanna White was of small boxes strung together to make long chains of color, that looks like a time consuming project!.   There were other boxes too of varied descriptions,
and some long shots   Just a few glimpses into the brains of artists. The show will be on for about 3 more weeks I think.
The front lobby had adorable individually made bird houses for auction:  
Here’s some info, click on photo for larger reading and contact the Gateway Center For the Arts for more info. emails for Mary Segal = marysegal@yahoo.com,  Judy Segall = http://www.judithsegall.com/
Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson  http://www.nelsoncreative.com/gallery/
On the way home I saw a anhinga relaxing at Mayfair   I went home to relax and even tried my hand at fishing, not one thing is biting but the turtles and don’t want them biting my hook! I Took a walk instead.  One day seems to mesh into the next, but at 3am, I guess that’s how it seems – good morning!

This looks like a polished piece of porcelain with hairs sticking wayward, but it is a close up of an Alaskan King crab claw. That was dinner last night, (not mine, I ate shrimp and they were ‘shrimpy’ in comparison with the width of that leg!) But, when I saw the cracked claws, I had to take some close ups, the hair was just too bizarre! The orange was such a pretty color.
Outside it is like a blast furnace and everywhere I go, I notice the mockingbirds chasing everything out of their way. I did happen to get a few of the crow sitting on one of my cut off trees getting ‘buzzed’ at by the mockingbird. Here’s the story in pics:
the crow retreats to tree stump, he looks out at the oncoming vengeance of two mockingbirds.

They swoop down and fake attack that stubborn crow,  The crow took off,   heading
right in my direction and then veering off.  The crows and mockingbirds can be seen all over as the ‘mockers’ love to dive bomb the crows. The crows just go about their business looking overhead all the time.  Here’s some crow pics: 

My cranes were here on and off all afternoon, I witnessed the tender moments between parent and child by the lake. The babies do love to chase off the other birds, they have been taught well.    Here’s Mom grooming.   Baby watches to see how close the ducks get.     ah, the love!  It was so sweet how tenderly the mother would tap the baby’s beak.   My mallard pair are hanging around too. The foot that looked broken is up and running again I am glad to report. Birds must injure themselves from time to time. I have noticed my grackle since last year who has the mis-shapen toe,     notice that wayward toe on the right.
He hops on it, gets along well and makes up for the impediment by being very much of a bully.  

That grackle is a great example of  ‘making do’!
The flowers are looking good, but the heat is getting to them as there has been no rain for over a week and 90+ degree temps that actually feel like over 100!     It’s so hot even the doves

have become feisty!    Blue jay and dove eye to eye.   The dove was

“unflappable”  Stood its’ ground.     Then it actually moved forward at the jay and they both flew off.    The heat is making our tempers short. Confrontation isn’t limited to humans – I see well executed sparring right in my own yard!
P/S, now I am in possession of a dove that got pounced on by the neighbors cat.    I saw it out of the window and ran out. The poor dove was stunned and not flying. Right now it is sitting quietly inside the cat cage with food and drink, in a dark bedroom and later or in the morning I will let it loose…(When Ringo is in the house)

Very simply, there is so beautiful detailed bits of nature around here when you take pics with macro lenses. I am going to put up photos that give natures little details. First let me tell you I saw the mallard couple    and the male was limping, but nothing at all like the other day when he didn’t use his leg and held it up – happy to say he is improving. 

So lets take a look at some details, first Kim’s Sago palm,  This ‘projection’ means it is a male plant, here’s a bit closer look at the cone,   and look closer:   and another

And lets look at some creepy little bugs that chew up my milkweed plant

They are really so tiny you hardly notice they are there.  This cutie was busy too, I think he was eating those yellow buggy goobers.
these are natures tendrils,  little vines, love the way they curl:   

These are all

from the red passion flower vines.   crepe myrtle.

Canna lily, and canna lily photoshopped,    Look at the grasshopper –  he was splashing me with his juices.   That little golden bubble came out of it’s front left foot…   a sunflower and variations     periwinkle and

variation,    and this   and a soft shell turtle

—  The turtle was swimming around cursing me, telling the fish to hurry and go toward the middle of the lake where I couldn’t reach them. It worked too, I caught nothing tonight.   Ringo was mad and went back to the porch. What’s worse, a brooding feline or vindictive turtles?  While I stood there watching my bobber a long long time, a crow was helping myself to the bait, as much as he could shove in his mouth. What can you do, he’s part of nature’s details….

The rains have been coming off and on today. The heat is tremendous under the weight of all the humidity. The birds seemed to be panting.    They cooled off a lot in the bird baths.
The one baby and it’s mother were back.   I noticed that there were actually two fledgling babies begging for food, but she refused to feed the second one, (in the middle) though both seem fine because if they have to eat on their own, they do, they are just lazy.  The rejected baby at the bottom right of the photo finally got his own seed.
Have young jays coming in also,  Got nice photo of the handsome young male
They hear me clicking the camera from at my desk inside and jump!
I had a baby thrasher come in and eat, then get exhausted and sat down to relax.  I felt like that too, I had a hard time getting my camera to adjust to the heat outside, it took about ten minutes before I could defog my lens.|

The BOB’s, band of brothers stopped by for a drink, they ambled away into the steam of the afternoon. I walked down to the lake and saw the Mallard couple, the male is one of the BOM’s band of mallards from May, he was the weakest of them and they dominated him.   The two stronger ducks left. The weaker link stayed here and took a mate. His foot was injured back then he was limping. The female stays with him all the time, the pair stay on the edge of the lake as they are shy of people and head right out on the lake when I get too close.  He hobbles on the left leg. But today he got up and could hardly walk on it.  It was so pathetic watching him swim off not using that leg.  The leg looks broken poor guy. I hope the Band of Brothers don’t find him down there, they will take advantage of him for sure as they did with our sweet Carbs, the muscovy who was hanging out here last year until the BOB’s made him leave “their” lake, nature can be so very cruel.  (That’s Carbs)  What will happen? Oh, it is the secrets of the lake that keep us all guessing around here! Like, will I fish tonight? All I have to do is look at the lake to see the sky is telling me no!  

Well, it’s a bit dark at 3:22am, but do have nature pics to upload from yesterday:
Loved all the grackles coming for breakfast.  There’s usually a flock and they sing and boss each other around.

Here’s a few out melody-ing each other.   As you can see, they grab as much as they can before flying away.    The grackle in the foreground is a youngster and was not quite sure how to gather the food so it began making a big racket about wanting something to eat too.  It’s Mama complied.

Really giving a thorough inspection.   It was very funny.
Those are the common grackles, the fancier ones come too.   Today it felt like a steam bath, they said it was in the 90’s but actually it was 103degrees from the humidity and it was humid, my lens had to be wiped many times during my sweaty venture into the yard.  Bees and bugs thought nothing of going about business as usual.     and even two enemies decided it was not worth arguing over the same plant.    The roses are blooming all over. They love this weather.

Now, I’m going to bed and will add to this later – Abbe

A hot hot Saturday played out today. My friend, Sonja Greenlee was headed to Seminole State College for the annual reading by the winners of the Revelry poetry contest.   Each year they have submissions starting in February nationwide for this wonderful literary venue with a nice cash prize. Sonja was one of the top winners  I am proud to say, she is an excellent writer! Congrats to her and I wish I would have gone to hear the winners read their poems.  If you are interested in a copy, contact the SSC English Dept.
This morning the sky was killer bright at 7am –   It felt like almost a dozen suns had lit the sky showing no mercy!   The Weatherman said it would feel like over 100 degrees and they were right, WHOO, the humidity stuck to you as close as an oil slicked bird!
I was at the computer working on my art blog when I heard a banging on the porch, it was a grackle trying to get the heck out. I bought a butterfly net for $1.00 at the flea market and it has been one of the best purchases ever! The poor bird was tired as it ran into the screen over and over. I got it in the net and lifted it out, (camera close by of course.)   He was mad, but he was not as mad as he might have been if Ringo had been on the porch! So off he flew to join his flock as I went back in and tried to read up on a few things in my camera manual to bone up for the Camera class with Ken Elliott.
The class was nicely filled with people holding their DSLR Canons and Nikons, me always being the only one who shoots with a Sony Alpha.
Ken explained how aperture, shutter and ISO all worked in conjunction and had everyone working their f-stops and shutters, my camera does not have the same button positions and it is still a bit confusing to me, but I plan on getting out and try and use my Manual mode more often.  Ken gave an interesting history lesson on cameras and the inner workings and had good visuals. Afterwards he did a sidewalk shoot so the people could go experiment.   Whoops, I screwed up the settings on that!  Here’s Ken talking to one of the attendees.  He may do this again. His photography is hanging in the Art Affair gallery in Sanford, go take a look at his work. I’ll tell you a secret about him, he has a tripod fetish, loves his tripods and all the fittings.
I walked over to The Gallery On First for Hot Summer Nights. The artists were out meeting and greeting and eating. They had a nice reception going with new works upon the walls. That crazy baby mixed media of Cherie Dacko was on the wall, that just cracks me up! I saw Stewart Jones new work and of course, his pelican really got to me..
Another bird painting that was so beautiful was by Debra DePollo Ryan, beautiful white herons     mastered on canvas. Debra has a wonderful way with showing us her thoughts via calm water and peaceful settings.  She is delightful to talk to.
Sharon Hyder had wonderful sunrise and moon paintings and I admired a turtle painting which her artist daughter and booth mate, Lori Anne Harris had painted the frame  and of course Sharon’s husband had made the frame, again, they always have a solid family unit always going on.
Stan Surman had beautiful oil work. I liked his painting of a young child who had paint all over it. And then there was Aurore Brunet who does gorgeous crafting of collage and paint. Her colors and compositions are always so interesting.  
What I found most amazing were the artists’ visions – the depth of meaning to their personal work. Aurore gave me such insight into the painting next to her showing a sad letter covering the woman’s heart with the words of the French children’s song, Allouette written on the paper. Allouette is a bird, a skylark and the song is about plucking the feathers from it. The expression and detailed work can’t be seen to do it justice from this photo.  All I know is I was singing that song in my head as I came out of the gallery and looked out at the angry sky.  I hummed the tune all the way home thinking it such a haunting song really , telling a bird that it was going to have the feathers pulled from the head, wings, feet. I thought about holding that struggling grackle in my hands today before freeing it, the feel of the sturdy warm body, it’s heart beating furiously, — could I have pulled even one feather?

NO PLUCKING WAY!

and I mean that title literally! For some reason the birds were bossy today.  First, there were two blue jays coming to enjoy some seed and water.   A woodpecker came in and decided to partake.    and things got heated,    

The woodpecker bowed in a subservient  position.  He tried to calmly discuss his position But the jay chased him off.  Though they didn’t bother the doves. Nor the sandhill cranes,   Though the crow chased everyone off so he could stuff his mouth.

Sweet cardinals .  The mallard couple came too. Everyone was hungry for bird seed.

The cranes even decided to come and knock on my sliding glass doors.  When I answered they hurried outside the porch patiently waiting for rations.   
A storm threatened and a squealing osprey sat in the tree warning of lightning.  

I took photos of flowers,   

The common grackle took to bossing the other birds around. One jay came back   

challenging the grackle    face to face they each showed their attitudes.  

and then the jay flew off after a threatening jab of grackle beak.   The jay landed on the pot and looked down at the despicable grackle.
A back up grackle came in ,   as a squirrel ran up the tree and raided all the food in the birdfeeder,    peace at last…   Wonder where Ringo was? he slept through it all, silly boy.   

Ah, Tuesday has morphed into Wednesday – I am in a time warp again as another day squeaked by. Where oh where do these hours go?
Anyway, it was a hot one. Woke at 7am yesterday and the moon was still gleaming against the blue.  Aaron threw out the cast net and got a few shiners and he brought in a bass and a gar. 

Then he and Leila headed back to Tampa  with their Bella,     I  had so much fun being with all my kids this weekend, family is so important! Don’t forget to tell yours how you feel and often…

On Saturday I had run over to Sanford and was in Maya’s Bookstore and saw this,   an adorable baby sated in sleep. Yvette, the owner was keeping a very close eye on him as his mom, Wee Gauthier, an orchid vendor with “Orchids For All Occasions” put away her flowers as the Saturday Farmers Market was coming to a close. They were gorgeous orchids:  As you know, I have a black thumb.  But back to the sleeping baby, I am excited to have my own new grand baby this August! I hope I will be a big part of the babies life.  My daughter made sure to get a romper for the baby that expresses who I am,   The weekend with family was wonderful and went so fast, only wish Aaron and Leila lived here so we could all be together much more, what can I say, I’m selfish! But Tampa certainly is not California — get over it Abbe!
Andrea had come over with all kinds of baby madness shopping and had made an ADORABLE diaper cake, she’s such a talent:  
Back to Tuesday:  wildlife and the yard.
The cranes came this morning and Papa crane had quite a conversation with one of the babies:
I still have not heard any baby noises from the wood duck box, but she keeps an eye out for me and flies away as soon as she senses I am near. She is a very nervous duck.   I also bet the mallard couple have some eggs somewhere around here too, they are still hanging around.
The baby heron are so funny, one flew up in the tree after Papa crane chased him off, and he acted like he was going to kick some crane butt, but he was only making a spectacle of himself.  
The flowers too look beautiful:   the rains do make them bloom and die faster. The birds too have been busy and the cardinals are back again, it seems they were MIA for a while.   and of course the crows    common grackle.   and Mr. squirrel.
and of course my window view. Head on outside and enjoy something in nature.

The poor duck in the duck box,   almost every time I pass by the box going toward the lake, this duck flies out and cries all across the lake to where she plunks herself in the water and screams and screams. I feel bad that she is so paranoid and worried when she hears me. When she was gone, I made Adam look in her box, he saw three eggs, that was last week, bet they have hatched.   I try not to go in front of the box, but she knows even when I am out there walking way off behind the box. the good news, she always comes back.
So many lubber grasshoppers all over, they are eating my plants.   but so what? Hey, they are hungry and I’m sure the birds find them a nice meal.
Stopped by Museum of Seminole County History   on Bush Blvd. and 17/92 to drop off a couple photos for “Where The Wild Things Are”. The poster,   was designed by the The museum’s Coordinator, Kim Nelson’s talented husband, Robert E. Mier who is a wonderful wildlife painter.  http://www.artnatureflorida.com
He’s a busy guy, he does a lot of art shows around the state, seems to have mastered marketing skills, a rarity for many artists like myself. I need to gather him to speak to our Gateway group, he has a lot of knowledge he could share on the business end.
The exhibit will be shown in their back building,   it has a lot of items unique to our Florida history throughout both buildings.   Kim will be working her magic to coordinate her space   into a wonderful exhibit featuring many Seminole county artists. The show begins June 15th through August 14th, hours:  Tuesday through Friday from 1 to 5 PM and Saturday from 9 to 1 PM –
Kim is quite an effective Coordinator and just a great person to talk with. So please come out to the Museum and not only visit the exhibit, but to walk through a huge history lesson.
Other than that, tonight is Artwalk, so gearing camera batteries up for that. Have been trying to take photos of the full moon, will be glad for that photo walk with Ken Elliott so he can teach me how to do it right by next full moon cycle! Here’s some nature pics to leave you with:

I actually think a wood duck is nesting in the duck box.  Tonight as I was fishing just before the sun went down,  one duck came peeking out of the box and she and her partner flew around the lake several times. Then the fourth time they circled and the female flew into the box and the male went into the lake. It was dark almost and I could not see him for sure.
Each morning the mallard pair are still somewhere on the property.  They seem to wander from one end of the property to the other, even front to back. They are here all day.   Are they nesting somewhere? They seem to be looking for a place too. As I fished, the fulvous ducks came back once again, all three shared the herons tree and make quite a concerto up there.   
They are just adorable. They stayed a half hour and this time, then took off toward the east.   Then it was feeding time at the heron’s nest. First the babies flew home,
they waited as their parent came up with a mouthful of fish.       


It gets crazy up there with heads bobbing and necks intertwining. The babies look like they will knock the parent right off it’s feet and out of the nest. The wings are flapping and the pterodactyl  sounds permeate – it sounds like birds feeding on each other.  There is a lot going on all around me, a lot of bird/duck, wing stimulation for sure.
The moon is a beautiful half,    the evening quite windy, too much wind coming off the lake for fishing to be any good. I opted to mow the front yard after about an hour of catching nada!
Earlier I found a rodent  on the bird feeder.   When he saw me he looked below like it was the height of the Empire State building and opted not to jump, but escape via the tree branches.
Ran around Sanford to find an antique frame for Andrea’s unfinished self portrait, I kind of liked that frame in one of the antique stores.     But will look for a more ornate gold one. I love her art!  I am slacking on my website, must get that worked on, it’s actually about resizing photos, what a job, one day I will treat it as a job instead of a hobby….

Yes, finally caught a bass! It’s been a long time, he was a nice size too. I threw him back and continued fishing with Ringo and Adam joined us. We caught a few shiners and fed the heron and Ringo got one too. As we fished we noticed that three ducks flew in the heron’s pine tree. They were whistling ducks!
Here’s some pics.  

These are very interesting ducks and they were whistling away for about an hour, loved hearing their songs.  They flew away toward the north and left the herons in the tree.  The herons still wait for the parents to feed them.    The large male came down and waited as we fished. And then one of the babies came down and did a funny dance in front of the parent.
then flew away.  The mallard pair was hanging around too, and the female flew into the duck box as it has a few times. We wondered if it is either nesting of thinking of nesting inside as they have been here everyday for a couple weeks.   Also the woodpeckers have babies in their knot of the dead stump and I saw a crow stick his head in the hole and try and grab a baby out! (He missed.)
The rain helped bring more green and flowers. My yard is still all weeds, but that’s fine with me, this way I get to see the bees and bugs that would normally be absent without the flowering weeds, here’s some pics:

how perfect is nature in it’s design!   

And here’s a face to say goodbye.    

First the business of art:  Friday night the Casselberry ArtHouse held a reception for the exhibit,  “Celebration of life, Bohemians Redeaux” – saw a few of my old group members from  Womans Caucus for Art and their work. Here’s some of the art that will be on the walls for the next few weeks.


They had quite a nice reception and wish I could have stayed longer as I missed a lot of good people. And Rob, your quiche was delicious!   This was before it got crowded – it was a tribute to Sharon Pollard who talked 11 other artists to go with her to Paris a few years ago to spend time and together and to be themselves in a city known for great culture, the  10″ X 10″ paintings reflect their view . Sharon has since passed, but her legacy through art is very much alive and at the Arthouse, Enjoy!

The weekend flew away, the days melt like ice cream on a hot pavement.  I have enjoyed the squabbles of the crows versus the mockingbirds. Where ever you go you see familiar battles with the smaller mockingbird chasing the crows out of their domains. The mockers must be guarding nests.  

The crows love to aggravate and they are food hoarders, the load their mouths with as much as they can fly away with. This guy was hurrying to get everything!  The crows are sticking around lately.  Love their cocky demeanor.   So much fun to watch.
the heron babies are huge, fully grown, but they still come back at night to the nest to feed. I don’t think they know about landing on the land yet???   They are rigid young fliers.
As for the herons, spotted them yesterday out my window:   later I saw the mother enjoying a nice Sunday bath before rejoining the family for a stroll, here’s the sequence of pics:  
Her head fully submerged.  She was enjoying her time alone.   Sheddiing a feather.   laughing out loud at her own jokes.   refreshed!    
catching up with the family.   baby stretches his wings high in excitement.  Mother calms him down   more love  
They all groomed themselves.  the babies are great groomers.     And love their faces.
Then of course, must add some flowers and scene from the other night fishing, hope I have de-stressed you…

haha, this beauty is part of life here too.
and a visitor from Saturday    ….

Somehow these days have liquified and spilled away – I went to Tampa to paint the new house for the new baby. Painted bedrooms and the nursery which was a joy and every stroke was painted with love for the new life about to come our way. When I left, the chair rail was all cut, but not up yet, nor the border, but Aaron will get it all done and send me a photo of the end result.
The day I left Sanford, the baby herons had taken to flight and what fun it was watching their clumsy sailing from pine tree to pine tree where they would spend perched hours trying to determine when to fly back to the nest.   The first day they learned their wings worked was on the 28th of April. One of the babies took off and stayed away about 3 doors down in a tree top for 6 hours. The other was too afraid yet and stayed in the nest waiting one extra day to test it’s wings. Since then they come and go, always back at the nest for bed time.  They are very excited about flying, but as much as they go tree top to tree top, I have not seen them down in the water getting their food.
we enjoy our night time visitors and the flowers that have been blooming to make gorgeous photos:
Over in Riverview I really was too busy to take photos. I did stop and look closely at the blooms on the magnolias over there as there were so full and buzzing with bees.  I had never noticed how fuzzy the buds were. They looked like they were coated in hair.
— The house was in a subdivision 6 miles from Aaron’s current townhouse. As is the norm here in Florida, many acres of cleared land have farm animals upon them to get the owner a tax deduction. In the meantime, they don’t have to provide an ounce of shade at all for these animals. You know those cows and goats in the heat of a 90+ degree afternoon oppressive sun can’t feel too good. It’s wrong that animals are treated so cruelly and the owner benefits financially, use the money for some shade!
In their natural state on land that has not been denuded for developers, the cows and goats will be found under the trees taking in the shade on these brutal afternoons. It is quite sad that the owners of agricultural animals are not required to supply an area of shading via structures on this vacant land areas, anything to give them some shelter. Am I wrong in my thinking? PETA, where are you?
I stopped by one morning around 8am, the cows were close by the fence.  The first thing I saw was this bird who was intent on telling me this was its’ property.  Not sure what it is.  Here’s the cows:
So many look alikes.  
I got to pet one cows head and love the feel of the strong hide and the smell of these wonderful animals.
Back at the townhouse, the birds were scarce really, not much variety. The pond behind the townhomes had all these bed where the fish tilipia were nesting, they were huge, but, NO FISHING!  Here’s a look at the birds:  That limpkin was so chatty.
Then yesterday, I took off back for Orlando.  Always keep my camera handy as I approach downtown.
And after that, it was a day of getting back into order, tossing junk mail, paying bills, hugging my other two kids and cleaning and loving on the cats. It was a great time in Riverview and it’s always good to get back into the groove!

Sunday morning and the light was vague and so is the mindset.  

I saw only three cranes out my desk window and the father was calling because one of the babies was missing. He looked in ever direction after he would call, listening to the chirps to hear if he could tell where the missing link was.   It took about a half hour and the baby showed up.

The babies are losing their ‘fluff’ and they look a bit messy – judge for yourself.  

The water is flat, perfect for fishing. A very light rain might fall for ten minutes and then nothing. Yesterday both my sons came out and fished. Aaron came from Tampa and even Adam joined in.  Ringo came out and was in a feisty mood, he was ready to ‘tangle’ with anyone petting him one time too many.   He will latch on like a wildcat and not let go. We all respect his wildside, (Ringo’s not Aaron’s)!
Adam left for work, but Aaron and I caught bass and I brought in a mudfish who was much like Ringo.   They too have nasty looking teeth and tempers.

Andrea bought me an adorable fishing Santa from the garage sale she was helping with. She is going to be a wonderful aunt in August, this new baby will be have a full closet with such a loving aunt and Andrea will be helping to work on her framed artwork for the nursery, she is such a talented artist.   We are all excited for August to come!
My garden is getting fuller and found that one red passion flower vine did not freeze as did my hibiscus, the vine is now just beginning to flower so should have a fence full in another couple months.  I watched a bee this morning taking his fill of pollen from flower to flower.
Made an “abb-strax” from it    And finally my sunflower opened after waiting for days to see it’s intricate face.  The lake is loaded with lilys too and the pads are thickening .  At least there has not been much algae yet.   That’s the wood duck, he was here with his mate this morning too.
The herons are making quite a racket in the trees, they are very big, but have not taken to try their wings.  
And being Sunday with the rain falling, it’s just a feeling of thankfulness – and it’s not even fishing time yet….
P/S – oh my, I just heard the cranes screaming like crazy – had to look outside    The fox came through and kept going, the babies were in hiding – so think he just moved on, and he was limping on right back leg.

As you know my water system was down – BUT, first thing this morning, Discount Water Supply was out and put in new pump tank and re-configured the pump motor and replaced my charcoal tank with a new one. Bill the owner said he would fix me up and I can say, he carries through! So if you have water needs call Bill or Bradley at 407-323-9010.
As that was going on, who should appear through my window? 
I have not seen the family in almost a month and so I was very happy when they appeared through the yard looking for bird seed.    I took a lot of photos, these babies are very leery of people, they are not comfortable as the last two that were exposed to humans at a young age.  But I tried to get some photos of their latest ‘stage’ – Here you go:
How fast they grow! Such long slender legs and bodies and I am happy to report, they looked close in size, but still the smaller one did sit down as the others
looked for more seeds and bugs   She didn’t sit for long.  As you can tell, I love these cranes, they have been a part of my life for 6 years now, the same parents, the colts, (kids) just change.  As for the herons, those babies should be testing those huge wings soon. 

Also, I still see the wood ducks, they come, look at that box and as soon as they notice a fragment of me, they are off.   And that was the morning before going to Deland…

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