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First thing that struck me on my way to Sanford Party-Gras were the robins!  One street over there were many robins in the road, funny how they can’t go one more block to my house so I can get some good photos.   I rolled down the window just to show my “northern peeps” that their birds came down here to stay warm, well, I suppose they can call 50 degrees warm, not me, I’m headed out with 2 pairs of socks and 2 shirts under a turtle neck and long coat.
I parked the truck and looked at the sky as it was supposed to rain.  
but it was a thick, wooly ceiling up there.  The first store I came across was G’ma Bobbie, on the corner or Magnolia and 3rd St.  It was always a fun store to get used frames in and the new owner, Barry was busy giving it fresh touches.  
They have a lot of furniture and knick/knacks. Barry also has an adorable cat that needs a home, she was a beauty, but as you know I have 3 myself.   Here’s that adorable face.    And she was so very soft.
Walked down Magnolia toward First street. Passed Wayne Densch Theatre, a new Yoga studio and Stones Throw Bistro, and a photography studio.   
Passing Maya’s Bookstore, and out into the street looking at the small, early crowd.    This couple was festive.
They had a band playing.  And people dancing.    
Wow, Mardi Gras is so colorful!
Stopped by Rhonda’s, Art Affair Gallery 303 East first and had to visit her exciting store and see what new looks were hanging around. She had a lot! And she will be moving to a larger place right on the same corner which means she’s digging her heels in and will be showcasing a lot more art and  local artists. Thanks Rhona Richley!  Here’s a glimpse of things at Art Affair Gallery.


Plus there is cool jewelry too.
In front of the Gallery was Gabrielle Shafer showing antique jewelry creations, called
Enchanted Antiquities.  Her set up was very creative,  her unique hand made jewelry is all specially selected from older pieces. She incorporates the old and new together and ‘viola’ beautiful jewelry, wish I had gone back to get a close up. Hope she did well.      

Next to Art Affair Gallery is Soap Sanctuary & Gift shop, a wonderful place full of body delights. Loved her business card.    
Went across the street to The Welcome Center, encountered a very festive woman who was a volunteer there. (What do the volunteers drink before volunteering? hahaha)    Up on the walls is the artwork from last time I was down here.  (one of mine is still there)   There were some costumes on the floor, but didn’t see any naked folks running around.
Back out on the streets and looked at many artists, ceramics, woodworkers, jewelry, jewelry and more jewelry.  

Always enjoy the worldwide imported selection of furniture and gifts at Washburns.   Bailey’s Upscale Resale had lots of great buys, big bargains there.

Always like to support fellow photographers, this was G. K Sharman  blog at http://gkspix.wordpress.com.  Also enjoyed the ‘chair art by Julia S. Owens, check her out at  http://juliaowens.net Below is LUNCHBOX by Craig Beverly.
Enjoyed Beverly’s t-shirts and the price was right!   http://myspace.com/lunchbox74 – Rhonda, if you read this, put some of Craig’s shirts in your shop, (Craig also had terrific art, hint hint…)
Maya’s is one of the best books stores around here!  And go upstairs and see Kim at her store,  Fringe,   she has a lot of vintage clothing and accessories.
Then moved on,  
As the sun set, the cold was waiting to pounce.  As I drove away, I could hear the music from the biker bar.
And that was a bit of a tour around Sanford’s Party Gras and I didn’t even mention that most people go there to eat really cheap and really good food. It’s all over the streets with vendors from local eateries participating. I didn’t eat or drink, but there is wine everywhere too. I did stop at Panera for soup to go. YUM!
And when I got home, Ringo was in the corner having a dream, I think it was all the vaccines he had impaled upon him at his yearly exam.  Can you believe that I could have had all kinds of ala carte services for his “wellness” today costing a total of $396! I opted for the basics at $112.
Maybe it was something spooky because as Ringo was dreaming, Quentin Tarantino appeared on tv looking directly at Ringo and shielding his eyes in his voyeuristic way.  What a strange way to end a party-gras blog, throw in a celebrity and a dreaming cat, hey, why not….

Art Affair gallery –  http://artaffairgallery.com
Fringe  407-320-8016
Baileys Upscale Resale  http://www.baileysresale.com
G’ma Bobbie’s  229 Magnolia Ave.
Soap Sanctuary & Gift Shop  http://thesoapsanctuary.com
Gabrielle Shafer Enchanted Antiquities   http://enchantedantiquities.blogspot.com
Julia S. Owens   http://laughingjulia.etsy.com
Washburns  www.washburnimports.com
Maya’s Books and Music   407) 321-6504

I  voided my own rule of only using straight photography on my site, but thought I would leave you with my Abb-Strax, and photos of things, some I hope to sell one day soon on a website.
Ringo  “in dreams”  

Back from a nice visit to Tampa where it was officially announced, I will be a grandmother.  This will be my first grandchild and it is exciting news, of course, Aaron wants me to move there, I am undecided as of yet.  I didn’t get time to really take many photos except for Leila’s party, which I left on their computer. The pelicans are all gone, hardly any birds, only a few woodstorks.   and smaller birds.
By now we all know about the earthquakes that rocked Haiti. And because of that, my little town of Sanford is on the map. The US Airforce transport planes are shuttling the sick, injured, orphaned and Haitian Americans over to Sanford International Airport 7 miles away. For a while those planes were coming in often during the day.  These heavy green military planes rock the house as they flew over.  While they were coming ever couple hours, I only heard two yesterday, in fact, they said they were going to stop because the state is having a hard time financially dealing with what to do with everyone.  Some have family, many don’t, many more require hospital care. They also announced that Miami and south Florida would not accept anymore injured Haitians at the hospitals and even moved many patients up to North Florida because of the Super Bowl and the potential of needing those beds.    This last pic is a transport heading back toward Haiti over a week ago. Poor Haitians, what is to become of them? I suppose more of the same.
Last night was a moon event, the moon was the closest to us for the year, unfortunately, the clouds were really thick too. But did get a few peeks in between.  
I am hoping that by the time the moon comes tonight, these rain clouds will be gone and I can get a really good photo. We are waiting and waiting for some front, it’s gloomy, but won’t hold my breath for rain. (Ah, as I write I hear the rain.)
Went over to see how Andrea’s cats look after being shaved. Musa was not happy
He looked like he had UGG’s on his feet. Lola was cleaning herself right away.  And Cocobella gawked at them because she did not have to get shaved, so she gets to be dominant! The cat with the most hair wins for being the boss.   My own Ringo was busy by the bird bath this morning just daring the birds to come near him, no one took him up on his offer.
Though there were a lot of birds earlier.   And there is one black bird who has a broken foot I keep noticing, it’s curled up, but he is still feisty and gets around well.
Andrea always gives me the cutest things, she gave me a camera charm, and had this funny pot scrubber  and adorable dessert plates  
And of course, Lee always sends her roses each week, this week’s were gorgeous as always, Lee is always so kind.  
After I left, I came home and noticed some vultures up the road eating a squirrel, I scared most of them off with the camera.     When I looked up, there were about a dozen flying into the trees and could not get a good shot with all their movement.
Yesterday met Pam for lunch at Mimi’s and we got our art submissions off for potential exhibits, I am hoping we get at least one of the two.  It was a crappy day yesterday too, but at least it was about 73 degrees. So I got to fish for the first time in a while and the fishing sucked, but my heron did come down to see if I hooked anything.    Ringo watched the bobber – that’s his job.
And I looked all around,

I love fishing in this smooth, parallel world, where the ghost moon rests
it’s big head on soft, wide cloud shoulders
and birds sing with full hearts and
there is nothing to burden the mind
except for winking bobbers and a cat licking it’s lips…

How do they do it? Communication that is —
I went down to the lake to cast a line and not a thing was biting, but that does not mean a loss of activity. The cranes were here, they were looking for their last birdseed meal before leaving. Both looked like they have been busy in the iron rich mud.   Earlier they had had a fun game of pine cone toss. The male is an amazing tosser.   The sky has been dark all day and the birds quite busy.  Saw an eagle over the lake this morning.   the smaller birds were all over too,  it must be due to a front going through with rain promised tonight. The rain gauge looked like this early in the day.   The blue jay came down to grab as much bread as it could hold in one beekful.     There were crows all over.     as were the cardinals and other smaller birds.
Ringo and I headed to the lake.   and watched many birds overhead, Ringo was ever so alert and hoping one might crash down for him.  But no such luck.  No fox sightings today.
The female heron was in her nest when the male came to greet her, and as soon as their beaks touched and they made their prehistoric chatter, the male was off.
He headed right for my cedar tree which always means he is looking for branches.  He landed,    and plucked a tiny branch and then ran it back to the female.

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He handed it to her and watched her take it and shape it into the nest and then he
took off again.   Back to the tree  
and got another and went back again.   They touch beaks and squawk  and then he left and flew to the ground.    He looked to the left and right and even up.  When I saw him next, he had a huge branch.   click on the numbers/letter below for video, you might have to also give a click when the preview box comes on, (click on the preview box and it should show the video, sorry for a bit of grainy-ness – there are two videos of herons, one further below)

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That branch was longer than he was.  It’s amazing how these birds know each other’s needs. The male has hardly even paid much attention to her lately, this is the most time I have seen him spend tending to her nesting needs.


He was gone a third time and brought one more branch and then it began to drizzle a bit and I had both cameras and decided I would like to be able to keep having two working cameras so I headed in while Ringo stayed at the shore watching more birds overhead dreamin for one to fall within range.  The
herons communicate their needs well, and even the other ‘lessor’ birds seem to know Ringo’s thoughts and aren’t going to fall for his innocuous pussycat act. Maybe birds are better communicators than I thought, maybe they’re psychic…

Frankie spent as much time watching birds from my desk as I spent watching the Haiti drama on tv.  Finally Frankie decided to go out and I did too. I took the camera and headed to my mailbox to see my mailbox mocking bird, that bird always gives me great face, “Strike a pose” and the little face turns profile and straight on looking at me. I so love it’s adorable bulk and wish I could cup it in my hands.  See if you agree.   

The ‘mbm’ tolerates me spending many minutes looking it over deciding when to snap.  I don’t take just bird shots, I must find something that expresses it’s personality, and yes, some birds have more personality than others.
The female heron is alone most of the day, ( about 23 hours and 40 minutes. The heron male comes in the morning for about ten minutes,   at night, it might be even shorter. the airplanes fly right over our heads.    ANd the late afternoon clouds had very nice hints of pastels.       A palette in the sky, thank you mother nature.   The grass is dead, as is much of the shrubbery, but it comes back.  

the passion flower is without passion.    The bird of paradise drained of it’s white bloom.  The banana looks like it’s over ripe.  Seeds are coming off the oleander.   The weather warmed up to about 70 which was wonderful, but I need 80 degrees to feel truly warm.
The fox came by after days of not seeing it. I am trying to figure if it is really old, or young and inexperienced.   He was passing close by the house trying to avoid the disdain of the cranes who constantly harass it when they see the fox.  The fox darted on my porch and said “yum, she feeds her cats out here!”  The fox enjoyed the food and ate like it was a starved cat,       Will have to put their food in bowl and take in and out.  The fox ran out when he saw me taking pics. Ringo was just on a chair about 3 feet away, I bet Ringo outweighs that svelte animal.   I just don’t want Ringo to tangle with him, though, I think Ringo would win.
The woodpecker was overlooking the stump, I have at least 3 of them around here, they chat to each other all the time. I hear the cardinals first in the morning, but the woodpeckers come for the birdseed first.
I tried fishing, but it didn’t take much brain power to see that I was not getting even a nibble in five minutes.
Today is Friday and my writing group comes in 12 hours, I have been very bad and have been taking too many photos and doing too many blogs and facebook entries to write something to give out for critiquing – I am in total writers block, so I better stop and try and will myself into a state of authorship.
I am back to where I begin except Frankie is now in her bed, the desk drawer,
and Ringo is in my bed,  and I am here staring,  looking at white space and trying to figure out how to devour it and spit out words…

After I saw the birds this morning trying desperately to get water from the bird bath, I took a hammer and broke up the ice and poured really warm water in the bird bath. It is still freezing, it was 26degrees earlier, now it is about 30. The birds liked that better and gave me some good poses. I had fun colorizing and making poster pics out of them, thought you’s enjoy seeing the bevy of beauties that I get to look at off and on all day. My “blind” is right here behind the window so I don’t have to go outside except to keep the feeders filled.
I hope my friend Pat forgives me for not holding to my own words of doing all cardinals, but the poses these birds take just demand a photo. Have fun bird and art watching-

one last picture of a sleeping Frankie who won’t be bothering any birds, but Ringo,     now that’s another matter…

Went to my camera group tonight in Debary at the Gateway and we keep gaining members and knowledge, benefiting from those who are more experienced and will share their smarts. Also they give links for different support of the photography craft and for storage.
We talked about monthly photography competitions and using simple guidelines for knowing what to do about things like taking photos of “correct” horizons, sunsets and basic rules of dividing photos into thirds for good composition.  I can listen, but then “Abbe-brain” kicks in and it is all about making pictures that satisfy my own taste. Larry, a member, said he is finding it hard to stop when working on a photo, there are so many options it’s over stimulating. All I can say, Larry is right, how do you know when to stop? And I only know limited photo manipulation – I don’t even work with layers.  So let me take one wilting red passion flower photo that I took this afternoon and show you what I have done:

there are many more.

And then ‘one’ moves on to next subject:    

and soon life has drifted to the exosphere and time melts into the essence of  ossuary color and sits mesmerized and blank as the fingers jab the tool buttons, then quick fix, then un-do and re-do, black and white, polar, this filter, then another and another – then you wonder, what the hell is all this waste for? Would someone buy any of these?  Is  any one of the pictures a winner? And what is the definition of a winner? And how do you pick it?  Then the next dilemma, the thoughts about setting up a website and testing oneself to see if any of my “manipulations” could make me some extra cash, say enough to pay for some paper to print them on and some Symphony candy bars or even cat food — or is it all worth the time to even play with photos? That’s the stage you look at the clock and realize you were in the “Dada” zone and apterous for 3 hours and the house could have burned down around you and you would have never noticed until the cat with mule looking ears cleaning herself in the desk drawer next to you went up in flames but never burned as Emily Dickinson’s ghost keeps repeating, “much madness is divinest sense”  while John Lennon sings about “the holes being rather small, they had to count them all and now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall”,
and the computer was melting as you try to save the hard drive and keep all your photos in the ‘save-as’ file and then the computer freezes and you have not saved a thing and it is all in vain so you get up and look in the bathroom mirror and realize you are five years older than when you began, and and and, oh never mind, I think you get it, I actually think I get it,  I am over thinking again,  time to log off and try reading for a while. Guess I will join Ringo who is sound asleep on top of the electric blanket, he has not moved in 4 hours, I think the electricity has numbed him as he dreams of ungulates and daggers for nails and the taste of freshly caught bream, the young, tender ones.  That blanket is the catalyst for my best dreams,  it is a poetry book waiting to happen, “Tales From Beneath the Electric Blanket”.  Ringo has his own version,    
I am taking photos of him to use in the book, whenever I care to publish it, but that is another project,  one more thing to fixate on, to pause and think about doing… Jeeze, it’s Hell being an artist, or it’s just Hell being crazy…(but it’s fun)

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!

I can’t stand feeling so cold, but this am when I woke it was in mid thirties – I am a person who needs hibernation from the cold, (anything below 70 degrees) – but I guess that equates to wearing a short sleeved shirt under a turtle neck, under a sweater and my bathrobe, and panty hose under jeans and thick socks, and I am still cold with heat cranked to 74 degrees!  I should have on my gloves as my hands are cold too. Actually I need to move and make energy, but sometimes it’s easier to sit and bitch.
I was standing in the kitchen and saw many shadows falling across the driveway. I grabbed my jacket over my bathrobe, sweater, turtleneck and t-shirt  and ran out the back — crows were everywhere.  Big big numbers of crows were settling in trees and then something would spook them and they would move.  I enjoyed watching them and at one point they were over my head and I could hear splats of bird crap falling around me, my camera took a hit, but it was for a worthy cause, and yet, I really don’t think I got a photo  to use for my crow exhibition in April.
After a while, I went back in and crawled back under the electric blanket and went into dreamsville set on high. so here’s a flavor of crows-

The crows were around for several hours.  I would go out in short bursts taking in their huge numbers, snapping pics then retreating back to the heat inside. I enjoyed all the cawing coming from the sky and trees.
I did notice on the porch I had a bird, so I got my flea market net and tried to get it, but it was too bulky for what I needed to do.    My hand worked better.    
Soon it was on it’s way to find it’s friends and I am glad that Ringo missed it.
He was looking the wrong way!
When I went to get the mail, my mailbox mockingbird was there sunning.  It really is the best ‘poser’ — 

There were also lots of oleander caterpillers, so I am hoping we get lots of oleaner moths!

Did look up at the heron as she looked down at me   And there were a few vultures near the crows just soaring around the lake on the wind currents.   

The first one had beautiful white tipped wings  —  So I leave now with a photo of Ringo who was enjoying the dying sunlight of late afternoon.  As for me, the darkness has swallowed the light and the void is cold, damn cold.  I think I will make some soup and hot tea, and watch the telly –  tomorrow I will take pics at the Gateway.  P/S , the fox hurried on through today. The humane society gave me the number for animal control for a trap, BUT, they did not know what the Animal Control does with the animal once they trap it, must know that answer. I am hoping it could be treated, and released somewhere it would have a chance to thrive…

It’s 10:oopm, I’m sitting here after trying to take pictures of the “blue” moon through the fast moving gray web of clouds. So here’s an abbesworld look at the moon:
The full moon didn’t show up as the heron and I fished tonight.  It was gloomy all New Years Eve day.  I looked up at the herons nest this morning and wondered how it could hold eggs as it seems so lacking in good structure.   It really is not like the nest there several years ago, the last one was huge and really thick.  This one was built by a young, very inexperienced first nestor.  The male flew by me this morning to bring the female one stick.     He walked briskly to give it to her and then left for the day.   I have no idea if eggs are in that nest, but somehow I doubt it.

As for the fox, he didn’t show. I called a trapper who wanted a bunch of money as if I was asking him to send a fox to Alaska in the first class section of a plane.
The day as I said was cloudy and there was no recognition of it being the last day of 2009.    It started beautifully – this morning the sunrise was ostentatiously orange!    Then it went downhill and stayed cloudy.  
I was supposed to be framing art for the Gateway show that has to be turned in on Sunday.  But I decided to try some macro photos.


There is just too much beauty out there. I played around way too long.
The cranes were lounging around. What is fun about the cranes is how they recognize other cranes flying over. When they see a fellow crane winging it on by, they open their mouths and give that big noisy scream.  They don’t do it for any other birds, the woodstorks flew by and not a peep, but one crane can spark their loud hello.   I am finally now at 11pm getting the frames worked on with the help of Frankie and Ringo.   
I must say this past year has brought me so many riches, my family and so many people who are genuinely encouraging — so many people who have been my friends for decades and excuse my quirks as just belonging to Abbe.  It’s wonderful to have found some lost childhood friends this year, and new friends and other bloggers who read me as I read them.  And where would I be without the beauty of the surrounding bounty of life surrounding me.  I am so lucky to have so much. I can only hope that the new year brings you all the wonderful pleasures you desire. For me, I hope to continue taking that photo that someone will appreciate as much as I do, for it to be a source of something comical, something healing, something just to take the edge off , or something to inspire one by.
Happy New Years to my children and family, to my writing and blogging buddies, to my artist friends and political arguing friends, to those I know and those I don’t, all I can say is, make this your best year yet, find your passion and go for it! Enjoy the things around you, find a cause and put yourself into it, and most of all love love love –
Peace and happiness and love – Abbe
some fireworks…

City Hall at Lake Mary has always wrapped their trees and it is a wonderful look. Tonight I went up there and walked around. Kids with their parents were in awe and they really personified the holiday spirit.  I took a few pictures of course, here’s the Abbesworld view:

Happy Holidays from the Arenson/Eshack family!  From all our animals, (though my cats won’t stand still enough for a costumed photo.)

From Andrea’s cats, Musa, Lola, Coco

And from Sasha,  Happy Happy-Joy Joy!

The cranes had been sunning themselves right out my window. 
The seemed so happy and peaceful taking in the warmth on this 50+ degree afternoon.
The female sat and contentedly groomed,  and I forget that they have white eyelids, and they close going up, versus ours that close down.   When suddenly the cranes took off. and I looked and the fox was out there.  He took off after them and I didn’t see him. Then I looked out the back, and there he was standing on my stump eating bird seed.  He looked starved and mange-y.
He looked at me through slits and then jumped down and ran away. I called animal services, told them the situation, and they said if he was eating he was okay. I beg to differ, does this look okay?   He looks kind of creepy, hope it is not rabid.
I will have to watch when I take little Bella outside. Don’t want the fox to think she is a Taco Bell special.    Yesterday my neighbor called when she saw the fox, I went out and caught a photo of him crossing the street.  Poor thing looks so lost.
The ibis are out in pairs again,   the heron has left it’s nest, I’m sure it went fishing.  A cute moth was on the wild little daisies.  
Later I should have some photos on http://offshoot2.wordpress.com
Until then, I am going to take a nap and then do X-mas cards. Catch ya later….

PS – I will call animal services tomorrow, request a trap, and will send them a photo…

A cold front approaches. It’s another gray day, everything looks bland. 
The cranes came , did a rain dance. We are in need of moisture.  The heron was MIA in her nest for 4 hours, maybe she was fishing.   The nest is filling out slowly.
She did come back in early afternoon.  A pair of ibis came foraging for food.
and a pied-billed grebe came by and dove under the water when he saw me.   They are funny looking.

I tried my hand at macro, but wind was blowing and the focus was almost impossible. But did get a few pics in to show.  So here’s a few…

Someone told me that those are some sort of beetles mating and not lady bugs.
Ringo the heron and I fished,    but the wind was whipping and the drizzling rain was getting cold and miserable, so I had to come in.  The heron was in her nest and it was waving in the wind.   Ringo came to the back door and decided to come in and dry off.
Right now Frankie is in my lap and my legs have lost all circulation,    ugh, I must get up and move.   Oh, I was looking at my match holder and realized I must get a chimney sweep to clean out  the fireplace.   For now, that’s it, and I’m sending a rose to Tabbie to let her know I am thinking about her and hope she is feeling better.
And here’s a video from Tampa, a bit shaky, but hope you enjoy anyway…     

This morning we had quite a fog. The night before we had a clear look at the meteor shower and I saw a good amount of gorgeous mini looking comets, it was beautiful to watch. Stayed up till 3am, then woke up and the fog swallowed the lake.  The herons, both male and female were clanking their beaks together.
They seemed real lovey-dovey.   I found it to be a good time to try my hand at some macro photography. I tried with 4 different lenses and had a hard time, but looking through my lens at spider webs was just over-whelming, the webs looked like crystal beads.  Here’s some pics.
There were webs everywhere, and I had 4 different magnifications, so I was all over using different settings. I need a mentor standing beside me. 

The plants and a few bugs were on the plants. I tried to get them, but have no tripod to keep me steady, it is tedious trying to stay still and focus on the details.

The cranes were in full mating mode – they have totally ditched the baby and now only have each other and are enjoying each other. 
They were goofy and looking for trouble. They tried Ringo,   and even Frankie.   I tried to get close to the males silly face.   
It was a good morning and took all day till the sun came shining through.   I did a few abb-strax.  And came out to see the heron take off.

And that was it for the morning, then I left to run errands, get some shopping done and come back in time to fish with the heron and Ringo. It turned out to be in the 80’s and we had sunshine.  Fishing was not great, but that’s okay with me.
Hope your day went well, you can see, there’s hardly a dull animal moment around here…

First, rat update: the traps remain unsnapped, and I do not hear any foot prints, I am sooo knocking on wood hoping the last of them were trapped.  So far, so good.
Heron update:
Wow, they are new at this. This young heron drops a lot of sticks, she has put this nest in a very wide “Y” of the branch. The building is going slowly, and the male stays away more than he is coming to bring branches.  This is how it looked early this morning.

It looks like a tangled mess.  AND — on Wednesday night they have said we will get a cold front with winds up to 50MPH!  Unless she sits there like “Horton Hears  A Who” on that nest, I am getting anxious it will all blow away.  As of now, all I see is her standing over it, looking for her mate who seems to ignore her more than help her.
I ran to the tax office to pay my property taxes and stopped by the marina to see what was exciting. Not a whole lot at all.  But here’s a few pictures.  

Now that I think about it, I saw a lot of  ‘white birds’  and no pigeons down by the one tiny pond across from the marina.  I drove by the buildings on the “island” and saw some of the same old same old ducks so I parked by the memorial eagle statue to look at the water. I did get rewarded by those carp or cat fish that suck air. 

They stand straight or lie on their backs and suck air.

The boats looked clean, air was fresh.

I say that as there was trash in the water and it looks dirty despite the blue reflected from the sky and the extra blue tint I added to the pictures.  Did not see any gators or other water birds like osprey.
I came back home   , the road was ‘less traveled’ at 11am.  I gave up my zoo membership this time around. So I drove home because I was going to pick up my new glasses at the mall. That 20/20 Superstore changed my RX so much, I will have to try them out a few days and see how the change works. So far, my left eye feels a bit cheated and might need a bit more power. I hate to think I have to go back to that damn store again to get the RX right!
On the way back home, there was a hawk sitting on a fence near the red light,
By the time I ran all over, when I got home it was almost time to fish. I gathered my goods and walked with Ringo to the lake. I discovered that my heron that fishes with me is not part of the duo building the nest. I think she is the original mother of one of them.  She was waiting for me. 

As was a beautiful pink and blue night with near full moon.  The moon seemed quite shy tonight and blushed a lot as the clouds passed by.

The water itself was reflective of the deepening shades of pink.
I caught two bream and the heron was well fed.
Left the lake as it grew dark and the mosquitoes came out.  No videos tonight,
just an artistic rendition of Ringo as we left the lake, now pray for rain, but no wind for Wednesday….

It’s so exciting, last night the last vision I had outside was the herons in the tree.  I came in feeling bad I didn’t fish, but the weather was too cold. Ringo went to bed early and I monitored his dreams,  first it was Pinhead, then it was the ‘Saw’ figure.
You can see Ringo was having nightmares. I whispered to his subconscious that he must think lovely thoughts.  next thing I know, ‘Saw’ had melded into a sweet Casper  Then another being came in — ET gave him a cat massage and put him into sweet alpha sleep.   He slept all night until Payne woke him at 6:30am, if you know Payne, she is a cartoon political pundit who time travels using cat bladders, she needed Ringo’s.   He woke and left who knows where he went…
But back to reality, went outside and the heron pair were still in the tree, they are shaping twigs, building their nest it looks like, WOW do I feel like Chanukah Harry and Santa have left me a gift!!!!

The male snaps twigs off the tree and sometimes flies off and gets twigs and she shapes them. I have been watching and she drops a lot of twigs in the water below.  They must be new at this, wonder if these are kids of the parents in my neighbors yard last year?  The male gets kind of impatient and bangs her with his beak. She is working hard trying to make her home. I will keep you posted as to their progress. It’s so exciting I can hardly contain myself!

You can’t give this stuff away – everyone around me is bloated, gassy, and tired of leftovers. How lucky we are when we think of those around us so less fortunate. Tomorrow, on to new food!
The day before Thanksgiving was still a subtle gray, the front went through and all the rain promised was a farce. We got very little over here.   Thanksgiving morning looked like a black and white photograph, the color drained from the landscape and sky, the lake the mirror reflecting the void of color  
Finally the sun broke through and we went away to eat our dinner.
Came back late and went to bed with a belly full! Our host and hostess, my nephew and niece did an outstanding job of keeping us loaded. Plus we all enjoy seeing Irving the tortoise.
He’s so full of contrasting lines and testure. He also follows you like a dog and his favorite food is hibiscus flowers. He weighs about 175lbs now.  He has many birthdays to go. He’s still just passing puberty and is a horny little devil, he has a flower pot he loves to hump.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrW59oLXmY0&feature=player_embedded  (cut and paste to see yourself)    Irving is in love with this hardshell!
Black Friday came and went, I did not shop, nor did I go anywhere Saturday, it was relaxing not to be spending money. That will go by the wayside soon enough. My daughter said to wait for black Monday, great buys on the internet.
Nature itself goes on, and these are shots I took today. The weather is very cold, low 60’s today, in 40’s the past nights, that is so cold Ringo slept next to me! In fact, he usually will ring the bell attached to the inside front door handle around 4:30am to go out, when I opened the door to let him out, he felt the cold and turned and went back to bed.  Also, the herons, male and female have both been coming to the lake as I fish, tonight, they were touching beaks and making noises that seems like the mating rituals are taking place.  They are nesting nearby, I suppose maybe babies will be coming near New Years????
The band of brothers were the first thing I saw outside this morning, they are still actively patrolling the lake. But an hour later, a pair of mallards came to relax.  An anhinga was next door getting ready to fly off and when he saw me, that was exactly what he did.
the spider lily was blooming.  
A baby moorhen was running away from me too.
but not the wren, he was calm.
The lily pad looked interesting, like a non conformist among the conservatives.  The day flew by and it was too cold for me to fish, but I took a few pictures before the sun went down.  The moon was soft and muted.


Have a wonderful night…

It’s officially holiday season! The turkey was pardoned, and today is
“pre-thanksgiving- manic-rush-tostartcookcookcooking-wash-freshsheets-dusting-blowoff porch-and pretenditalwayslooksthisclean” day. Even though we are going to my nephews for turkey day, there will still be hungry hordes here looking for food all weekend.
Last night I fished as is usual, with the cast of usual suspects, both male and female herons flew over. The male left, the female stays with me and got rewarded with 2 fish. They have not made a nest in their usual tree, or I have not noticed any activity up there in days. instead they came from the north east, wonder where they are nesting?  (male)
female —  The turtles were obnoxious as usual.  There are three big soft shells and numerous small cooter types.  The night was cloudy – they said we would have a good rain today and we have had some nice showers. The water meter yesterday was
at  2.98 and falling fast, a foot below the summer peak of 4.17. Will read it tomorrow am to see if the rain gave it a boost. we have to have more before winter makes it fall much more.
The sky was full of clouds and crows flying off. The fishing was not great, but it’s always fun to absorb that quiet time.  The cranes had been by and were grooming as usual.  and I tried my hand at macro photography which takes a lot of patience, no wind, good light, a tripod and knowledge of aperture which I am learning
I tried frankie and Ringo  Ringo did not cooperate.  Then I tried flowers and tiny spiders  

.
This morning is totally gray and rainy, had to make pancakes for Adam, I have found that Hungry Jack wholewheat blueberry complete is AMAZING, you only need water, but I cheated and added Sugar cookie eggnog, (mybad!)   and of course, top it off with light whipping cream to counter act the egg nog.  I had to top off the whipping cream after eating my pancake –  YUM!
So better get cooking, have things to get done…now go, get outta here, quit reading, that’s it….
Ringo dreams he is a B. Kliban cat   http://www.eatmousies.com/

Woke up this morning and realized I had not checked traps in a week. As soon as I opened the attic door, I could smell death! two rats were trapped and smelled to high heaven.  I threw them out and cleaned the plastic traps and rebaited. Damn! I was sure that maybe it was finished as I have really not heard feet.  I wonder how many more are up there and why the Hell are they finding shelter in the attic! And more important, How many are there? As I was sitting here, Ringo just jumped up on the window ledge and grabbed something and took off. I ran out with a flash light, but can’t find him anywhere…
Fishing sucked big time tonight, but the heron did come and watch about 15 feet away.  It’s the female.   The night was gorgeous, pink and blues on the lake, maybe that beauty in the sky distracts the fish? ha ha!
Earlier the space shuttle took off and headed with spare parts for the space station.  I watched
from my lake as the plume of smoke dashed over at 6000mph. Can’t imagine what it would be like  to see it so close. The night launches are the best. 
These two came off the live video of the launch of channel 13.
I will head to Tampa in a day or two leaving Adam to take charge. Tonight he has his movie buds over to watch True Romance.  He is thinking of renting out the Avalon theatre downtown to have a big screening for something. They would have so much fun!
Taking an artbreak, but not a photography break, always something to take around here. Go to
http://offshoot2.wordpress.com later on, I will add pics to that site .
Going to eat some dinner, have to say, dragged Adam to Smokey Bones for lunch and ate their nutty pecan, cranberry, goat cheese salad and it is great!  Now go be good to the local businesses and eat out somewhere!
screening

EEEEK! Last night the trap snapped as I was walking down the hallway to the bedroom. I screamed knowing above me was a rodent in a neckhold. But let me back up with some nice photos from the weekend.
First yesterday was rather dreary, thought we might get some rain finally, but nothing but a sprinkle. My lemons are looking good as they start to ripen. 100_6204re and the hibiscus are blooming nicely.  100_6197re and the lake was quiet with it’s graceful lilies.  100_6201re
I would rather be outside than inside with rodents over head. But my brother drove up from the Keys with his wife, sweet Penni, so we got to spend the afternoon together and went to Fuji for sushi dinner.  It’s always great to see my little bro. They left after 9pm and Adam was at home and I was walking down the hallway and heard a sound like something had snapped. I then realized it was the trap and got the ladder and peeked into the attic. I heard a rodent run and looked for the trap, it was kind of hidden by insulation, but could see something in it, didn’t want to stay with one rodent still running around.
After going to bed at 4am, I woke at 8am, that was after waking several times dreaming of rats swimming around the attic. I awoke twice really panicky. Finally I got up at 8am, but waited till Adam was up before I made noise going up to the attic. I pulled the fishing line and on the end was a dead rat in the trap, he died very quickly! Those big Victor traps do the job! So the good news is, one less rat to infest mankind, but the bad news is, there is still another, or possibly more. Tomorrow I will call a critter place and see if I can hire one to put the traps way in the back where I can’t reach.  I want to be rat free! What if they have a family – YIKES!!! I put up two traps today and am going to get glue strips.  Wonder if we will have two snaps up tonight, that would be delightful!
As for today – went outside to weed and heard the heron making a familiar call when it is in the tree where it normally nests.  100_6257re That is always a great sign, and maybe it means Fall is here, though the temps have been record hot all week in 90’s still.  The crows were out this morning too.   100_6245re, even saw two crows kissing.  100_6249-1re
Most of the day was warm and overcast, got two trash cans of weeds for Wednesday and didn’t even go fishing. Through a bit of bread out there and just minnows ate it.  The time change means things will be dark earlier, I don’t understand why we here in Florida even need to “Fall back”? What’s the point? We should get out there with enough petitions to stop this nonsense.
At just about 4:30pm, looked like it might rain, but again, clouds passed on by.
100_6277re Look at that view, my cranes, the little lake, my wonderful neighbors, these are all the pluses, but am feeling that itch for new scenery, maybe it is time for a change, a bigger lake or a lake community with a place to fish. Am thinking seriously of moving on somewhere…

 

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