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Amazing how fast the years go by – it’s already 8 years since 911. I watched the whole historical footage on the Today show with Katie Couric – it still evokes the same emotions, I got goose bumps and choked up watching that second plane hit. Published two old poems written years ago after 911, they are on http://abberantverse.wordpress.com
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It is also my late sister’s birthday, the whole family misses her dynamic personality, her warmth and love.  That’s me front in blue and her behind me in white, (and cousin to right). In the bottom shot, she is in the front, I’m behind. We were always close, she was the ultimate best friend and ‘confidente’!  So it is a day to remember I don’t have her here anymore and miss her bunches.
It was a good day to escape the confines of this ‘BOX’ I am enslaved to and go to the marina and enjoy the view.
I stopped by Veterans Memorial Park and saw someone had put red roses near the flagpole.
100_4468res It added color to the rather blue day.  I was the only one there. It was so very empty.  The wind driven water was really whipping up against the sea wall.
100_4478res As I drove up to the duck pond, I could see a number of birds standing in the shade of the trees. I pulled up and could tell right away, these birds are used to getting fed!   
I’m sure they were disappointed that I did not come armed with bread.
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I always enjoy seeing the different colors on the pigeons and cross breedings of the mallards.
Again, there was not one muscovy duck up there. Forgot to mention that Carbs has also been gone four days now. I assume he will show up again soon. The Band of Brothers has been coasting around the lake lately.
Back by The Palms, the birds and ducks were all quietly sitting in the shade. Did not see any crows, but did view a few grackles.  100_4438res 100_4446res
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I came home after watching the waves for about ten minutes.  It was very calming.
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I came away with a nice sense of peacefulness.
I stopped by my friend Sonja’s.  She told me that her chimney had been struck by lightning. I guess because trees cover part of her house when I fish, that I didn’t notice it. So I had to go take a few pictures.   100_4406res Her pergola too had wood missing from the porch where the chimney had collapsed on top of the beams. She has work to get done. It affected some of her electric too.  So I guess knowing that her house is just acres away, was struck by a bolt, I won’t sneak out during those random thunderstorms to film.
And back at home, what is the best remedy for the 911 blues? Brownies! Warm brownies packed with a cut up Snickers Bar! So long for today –

The clouds are schizophrenic today, 81809clouds2pmres dark, light, puffy, happy and sad.  I went up to the marina to see if anything was going on. Only saw limited birds and ducks. Took pictures of whatever looked interesting.  DSC00095-1res DSC00121-1res
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DSC00136-1res Went back home and it stormed hard with driving wind. 100_3288res

It settled down and have had lots of jays, cardinals, and doves by the feeder right out my window. I watched one titmouse take a sunflower seed and put it between it’s feet, then crack the seed and carefully eat it.  DSC00069-1res
DSC00068-1res These birds work so hard for their treats. Carbs of course is down at the lake. Adam and I went off to lunch at Imperial Dynasty on 434, we love the sesame tofu. They are even offering sushi classes over there if anyone in Longwood area is interested. Afterwards we took the long way home up Markham Woods road to look at some of the mansions they have built – I can’t even fathom what it costs to live in those massive homes. Did notice several homes that are in foreclosure, lawns uncared for, the abandoned look of emptiness.
We drove up through International Parkway and handed Adam the camera when we saw a woodstork.  000_0106res He did a good job!
After coming home and sitting here at the computer. I am just so spoiled by an eyeful all the time! Beautiful female red wing black birds are on the feeder this afternoon. they are brown, unlike the sleek males, but still very nicely marked birds.  100_3296res And that’s how it’s been today so far, dark, dreary, bright and light and so enjoying the birds in the tree outside my window.
Looking at the time, wondering where did the afternoon go? I have been lost in the world of wings, amused by blurring colors and captivated by flight… here’s photos for your enjoyment.
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How do I get anything done??? 100_3351res

The heat is bad – “how bad is it?” it seems the lizards are melting – or wearing protection. liz-res
DSC08794res2 The flowers are wilting under the mighty swell of

DSC08786res sun. I went over to the Lake Mary Farmers market which is very shady.  Not many people this morning. This was to be a debut for the artists who wanted to rent a table and I found one artist willing to pay.
There will be a new grocer on the corner of Lake MAry blvd and where the town hall is. It is the same man who has vegetables and fruits in a booth on Saturdays. The name of his place is Morris Market and he opens this coming Friday.
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Yesterday I ventured up toward the zoo and stopped by the marina. Drove back toward the Palms, maybe 1000 feet 100_1972re and to the right of the driveway a few hundred feet to the right is the marina building.

100_1976mres The building looked pretty quiet and the little business building next to the Palms Resort had ‘ for rent’ signs. A sign of the time for sure. Ususally I see birds there, but nothing was there. I wanted to photograph crows and there wasn’t one in sight. I decided to go to the zoo.
waterfrontre The drive along Lake Monroe was quiet, even the water seemed too tired to wave, (that was a joke).
zoo-1 I turned into the zoo which is a few miles from the marina. Surely there would be some crows at the refreshment stand.
The zoo had a lot of small kids using the water park. The snake room was air conditioned and a refuge. They keep it colder so the reptiles will look perky.
snake1 But outside, the alligator was not anywhere to be found and the croc was hidden beneath his water hole. The cats looked like my Frankie, panting and hot. DSC08860leop After I made the rounds I stopped and got a pretzel and drink and sat down. I made small bits of the pretzel and tossed a few out and waited, nothing, no birds came at all. I stayed ten minutes enjoying the shade and drink, but not one bird took me up on my food offer. I walked back to my truck and came home. The birds are staying to themselves these days. The sun is singe-ing their feathers.
Back on Abbe’s lake things are quiet except for my moorhen, a couple of her eggs have hatched. Will save that story and pictures for tomorrows blog.
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For some reason I was drawn to the marina yesterday to see what action was going on. I parked the truck and walked around by the boats. The gators were gone, but I saw weird patterns in the water
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then I saw this dsc03297resiz

and I knew I had found buried treasure! Manatees! 4 of them swirling around.  But, trying to catch their faces was another story.
These ‘baked potatoes’ of the sea would rarely put their whole face out of the water. I did manage a few and you can go to
http://offshoot2.wordpress.com or just type in offshoot2 in the search bar to take you there.
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I saw plenty of mallard type ducks – but not one muscovy.
I even asked a few city workers I saw if they had seen any muscovy ducks and they thought about it and said not recently.
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There were baby ducks, ibis, small herons and turtles, but no muscovy. Have not even seen Carbs or Elvis in about 5 days.
Haven’t seen baby crane either in over a week.

But seeing the manatees was a treat. There was one with a tatoo of A-5. Lots of scarring on the backs of those bodies.. I stayed over 2 hours watching them frolic from point A to point B and everywhere in between.  I wondered if it was mating season as there was a lot of manatee kissing going on, big wet ones… As Paris Hilton would say, “that’s hot”! (well it was about 87 in the shade)
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41009gatorb-1_edited-1 This morning went to marina hoping to find those weird cat fish. There in the water was a huge gator just looking
placid. In no hurry, the gator basically sat still letting the waves wash against it.  I bet it was about 10 feet long, it seemed so long from a distance.  Glad to see how low the water level was as I would not want to see that gator near a shore line.

41009gatorinmarinaa-1_edited-1 This was the second gator swimming around. It also looked quite long just measure it in relation to the boat!
It must be gator mating season, or they know it is Easter weekend and they have a sweet tooth for marshmallow peeps?!
41009fishfaces_edited-1 The catfish or carp type fish were there with their snouts up and sucking the air. If anyone knows what they are, email. They are most interesting to watch as they come up and down. Sometimes there is a fin that will slash through the water. 41009gapingmouth-1

There were very few birds around at all, hardly any ducks, wonder if that is in relation to having gators raoming the waters? I did find one female mallard with her buddy and she kept  bobbing ‘bottoms up finding something of interest at the bottom.
Who knows what it was, but it must have been good. I suppose the best way to bring this to an end is to say
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check out more photos       http://offshoot2.wordpress.com

It actually rained! (A little bit.) There was water falling down and things getting wet!  The air smelled earthy and clean and smoky too from all the burning acres about 15 miles away. In fact, the smoke really blew in heavily for a while on Sunday. It’s  dry and so much timber available to burn and if no humans were around, some of this would be a natural cycle and the land would just be clearing itself out. But when people and their dwellings are in the way, it gets to be scary.
The day was very gray when I woke up, a nice surprise. The birds were all over and Carbs and the sandhill came by to eat seed. I checked the nest twice today and no baby sandhill crane yet, maybe tomorrow.
After running errands I went to the marina in Sanford and took some pics of the sky and the birds and boats. Nothing exciting and new, but it is always fun to look out over the water and to enjoy a dramatic sky.
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I saw a bunch of snouts breaking the water, some at the same time and looked through my lens and saw they were cat fish all standing vertically and bobbing to get whiffs of air into their lungs. The wide mouths open and receiving the breeze. There were a lot of them all together. I had never seen catfish doing this before. Earlier I asked one of the fishermen if he had caught anything and then we proceeded to have a nice conversation about the variety of fish he caught there. We talked of catfish and I told them when they were caught they complained a lot and wanted to be let go. The guy laughed and said he didn’t care about any complaints, he just wanted them for dinner. So later, even though that guy was still fishing on the other side of the pier as I looked up, I did not disclose this treasure trove of a meal just about fifty feet from him. (He had a bucket of enough fish he had caught for dinner.)
Another thing that is outstanding are the gorgeous colors on the mallard ducks. They have the must beautiful blue/purple on a spot of their wings. the pigeons are also quite beautifully colored with pinks and purple hues and the males are always on parade. dsc00269

the sky was beautifully moody, the Florida sky is like that, clear, then full of clouds that change from one minute to the next.  dsc00350How lucky to
be able to enjoy it!

Watching the people fishing, the birds flying and swimming, the catfish gulping air, the water chronicling the moods of the sky was a wonderful way to clear out the cobwebs in the old brain. It is always sad to see the many homeless who wander about with all their lives contained within their pockets and grocery carts. How spoiled I am to be able to take those same moments in which they are trying to find something to sustain themselves for the day, and take my photographs without worrying about finding food or having a home. Life is sure an odd lottery — so far the numbers have been right for me and I have been lucky. But luck can always change, or maybe I have just seen way too many blackbirds today…
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