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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!  

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.

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….

I love all this kinetic energy outside, the flashing electric, the thunder, the urgency of the rain. It has been like this for a few hours now.  There is something very soothing about it, even with the tremendous boom that is going on right now as the thunder proclaims the night for itself.  I did get a chance to fish as the sky was changing from the cold front.      My heron came down and I caught her one small shiner. Ringo sat under my plastic chair, when he does that, it means a hard rain is coming because there are many times we fish together in the rain, but he knows the difference between big storms and these soft showers that happen as I fish.  I know a storm is coming when he opts of being under the chair. And it has been a truly drenching rain. So far not too bad, the toilets still flush!
   There seems to be a new “Band of Brothers” lately – I have not seen the bully brothers of the lake in the past few weeks, instead, I am seeing a group of 4, 3 mallards, one is a mallard mix and the mis is the leader. They have been coming into the yard and relaxing.  Here’s the leader and the others, the lead duck has a limp, why do I get all these limping animals? Maybe my yard is just tilted?            it’s a bit smaller than the others, but if this is male or female, it is commanding the lead.              The iridescent color on the heads and small stripes on the bodys are beautiful. Wonder how long they will stick around?   
        Yesterday had beautiful tri-colored heron,       and the baby herons were yapping it up up in the tree, but no signs of them leaving the nest.
    The mother is the one on the left.  They really don’t even venture far out on the branch. 
I do see lots of dragonflies as it must be mating season for them.   
     Went to bed and woke up to clearing sky      and watched the crane family come for breakfast without the baby that is the bigger one. The smaller one came and ate and of course, sat down and lazily made attempts to dig for worms. What an adorable face. 
      and that is what I will leave you with to start your day – have a great week!

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…

Don’t be jealous, but this is the view from my window as I write this.
– Of course I had to run out and take a bizillion photos of the new arrivals.  I observed them for a long time.

The smaller one required a lot of down time. It seemed a bit weak. It sat a lot and pecked at the ground. The parents fed them a lot of worms and some bird seed, one tiny grain at a time.

So gently and loving the parents are AND protective. The father talks when I cross the line of demarcation. He gives me a warning and I back off. Luckily I have a good long telephoto on the Kodak and I like the quality of the Kodak on the photos better than the Sony, the Kodak takes a bit softer photo, because of that telephoto I suppose.  But I take both cameras out and shoot away anyway.   Both parents are attentive, but I do worry for that smaller baby as it must sit and rest almost every ten minutes, this is not anything I have seen with any of the other baby cranes, most are good with keeping the pace and only relax when they have walked a good distance, never as frequently as this little one.

Little Beta leans on Alpha.   Mama crane rests with babies. You probably ask, what about Ringo? Ringo has never gone after any of the baby cranes in the 6 years I have been here. But we do have a stray coming around, a black cat and I think it will learn a lesson about the wrath of the big birds should he get fresh.  If I can trap it, I will send it to the humane society.   
Here’s a few more photos:

We did have more visitors this morning, some ducks that were very beautifully marked
possibly a wood duck?

Yesterday I say a pinkie sized snail that required a macro lens view:   and a Great Egret came by and stopped for a meal:   grabbed that lizard quicker than quick.
As usual the bird bath was busy   Many grackles, cardinals, jays and blackbirds.  A mockingbird is busily building a nest:   The time change sucks and I am trying to learn how to change it and have only one time all year around. When I find out how this could be changed and we could become like Arizona, I will inform you so our fellow Floridians could all rally around a one time year round state – the changes are just stupid – leave it on daylight savings time!  I don’t sleep much, but now I am going to bed at 4 and 5am – it’s crazy!
Enjoy your day, I have miles to go and cranes to meet and a heron waiting for me to fish on the other side of the time zone – how do you tell a waiting heron to come back in an hour? I guess I just have to extend the fishing time by an hour – gotta run out and do my duty…

Busy working on my solo show at Maitland Library opening April 1st.  I got tired of making a mess   and decided to leave it and run up to Sanford for Fourth Fridays. Had to see how the exhibit at the Welcome Center was going.
The weather was rotten, threatening to rain and cold, but I shoved a few layers on me and a long coat and left.   There was a beautifully orange sunset which looks grand through my purple tinted shades.   The downtown area was once again busy making me wonder – what recession? The German restaurant always has a line on Friday night.  The Welcome Center was comfortably packed. The saxy saxophone player was indoors, I’m sure if he was outside, his instrument might get too cold.  
The hung work was placed wonderfully, Nancy Irish and Kathleen Chenet are a well oiled “placement” machine.  Here’s a few pics:   I love so many pictures, but those onions rock!

Ann Holstein’s still life pictures look like the work of old masters.   Click on photos for larger view. The show will be there for a month. The next one will be about architecture.  You can submit your architecture work via photos until March 5th, call 407-302-2586 for further info.

Out on the street, people were briskly walking to the Gallery On First. I walked in and know I am not allowed to photograph, but if you get a chance, go take a look at Theresa Disney’s new bedspreads, they are a trip.   Inside an author was signing a book about Dragons.
Over at Rhonda Richley’s gallery, she greets me like an old friend and was excited about her Art Affair Gallery moving to a larger space almost next door to her gallery now, on the corner of Palmetto and First Street.  She expects to make the transition soon.  Her new space will give her a lot more wall space. 
Soon Rhonda’s gallery will be thriving like Jeannine Taylor.  Both will have different art that really doesn’t compete with each other. I am predicting good things for Rhonda.  We will watch her grow together.  AND, she needs work to fill her space, artists, contact her at 407-466-6365 . Check her out at http://www.artaffairgallery.com
Walked past the Wine Bar, it was hardly occupied.  But just a couple doors down, the Riverhouse Pottery was rockin’.

This is a business that teaches pottery classes, so call them if you want to throw some mean pots or cups or whatever, they can make it happen.  They had beautiful stained glass, pottery, jewelry and much more.
They teach kids and adults.   407-323-9272, call them for class schedule.  Sanford is trying hard to become an art center, bravo for them. AND I can’t forget Rae Marie at Framing 508 Gallery, she does so much work with Alive After 5 and all the promotions she helps with the Fourth Fridays, if you need something framed professionally, give her a call, she’s been framing and matting many years. Let her give you a price and show you what you can do with those prints laying around. Framing 508 Gallery, 407-324-1577, tell her Abbe made you call.
And that was it for me last night, went home and worked on photos and also worked on a few pictures that I took on Thursday at Lake Lily, there were plenty of muscovy ducks and ducklings all around the lake. I bet we saw a total of at least 75 babies with their mothers. It was just adorable. Here’s some nature pics to add to the conversation:

I love muscovies, so this is a small patch of land I like to look at the faces and document them

Threw in a seagull because of the color combo, loved the polka dot fringe.
Okay that’s it, have a good Saturday night. 

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

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

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

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

Forgot to shout out a Happy Hanukah to the other tribe members.
Made my way back from Tampa, weather was very gray and cold until today.  I had a great time though.  I miss Sasha,  and little Bella,
and the kids. We checked the market over there, wow, great home buying opportunities!  Maybe for me???
These are some of the photos I took.

Aaron’s 250 gallon tank only has 3 fish at this time, the big puffer, lion fish and small clown.  The salt water tank is hard to maintain, he might sell the fish and go fresh water, he loves oscar and pacu fish.
The weather as I mentioned was weird, a cold front came through and the winds coming from the northeast off the lake were intense and felt so cold.  The sky was mostly dull the whole time until today.   It was gray and dreary.  When I left this morning, it was sunny and warm again.   I only got off at 4 stops on the way back, traffic was not even that bad.   I stopped at lakeland to get some fries and found a little bookstore called Mary’s. It even had women’s hats.  On the way back, it’s always good to see the outline of downtown.  
I had to stop on Washington St. at RT Art and pick up my photos that were made.
you notice I made them bigger than the others, that’s marketing. As always, Roger and Trish do terrific work, and their dogs are adorable and posed for me too.   They were awesome subjects!
Finally I got home and the sky became totally overcast. I did fish with the heron female on the nest, she flew down and got a few treats. The cranes did a dance, they seemed glad to have me back.  I’m back in the cave, now to get working on my spring crow exhibition and also send a few pics over for the Gateway next month.
Of course I will let you know the dates.
And that’s it — oh wait, the other night, TCM, Turner Classic Movies had a wonderful “short” where dogs starred in all the actor rolls, it was very funny.

And I have no idea what this has to do with anything, just thought I’d let ya go with a smile, (or a growl) …ARF ARF

      For you who don’t know me, I am a cave dweller, I like being at home, I am not good on the road as it makes me anxious. Very anxious, so anxious I get almost schizophrenic. The side of me raring to go says, get in your truck and put the pedal to the metal, and the the other id casts a ‘downer’  pall and says, ha ha, and raises my heart beat, ad declines the offer. Anxiety is lousy!        So finally, after suppressing the bad id and giving it concessions, (baby steps, I can get off I-4 at any exit and relax whenever I want.)  
    I left “O” town, a few days ago making it past downtown and all the way to Sandlake Road for the first stop.  I always stop for french fries and a coke, though I do travel with a fully stocked cooler full of cookies and apple juice, crackers, candy and even a banana for a fruit serving to balance the carbs.     
I am always glad to pass the mouse and get out of Kissimmee, which means I have ten minutes till I get to Haines City, where I stop at Burger King. This is why I travel alone, if Iwas rich, I would hire a RV and driver!      I  stop about fifteen minutes later and when I see lakeland, I know I am not too far and the anxiety goes away and it is pedal to the metal! I stop once more before hitting I-75.  So what takes most people an hour and a half, takes me 2 hours, but it works tricking my own brain.
     Then comes the reward, spending time wth the kids!  First thing I do is drive  to the Publix where my son’s office is and get goodies to surprise them with for dinner.
I don’t mind cooking when I am here because these two are so busy, they eat on the run.  Then in between, I get to take pictures of the wildlife here.      –the seagulls were in abundance on the pond out back.                
And of course the big tank inside is always great to enjoy.  
       In the afternoon the cows on Valhalla Pond were roaming the land and one cow was close by all by himself in the water.     
    It’s a wonderful condo area because of the lake and the agricultural zoning allowing the cattle. 
     So for now,I am here and enjoying chillin’ and working along side Aaron, we are always trying to figure out how to make our millions, it would be great leaving my kids a fortune!  Oh well, for now all I have to give them is all my love and a room full of frames and loose nature photographs  and hope they have futures bright and full of happiness and love just like I have had, it’s worked for me …

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…

Went out around 6:45am to feed birds, get a look at the day. The anhinga was drying it’s wings, flapping them like a sail in a brisk wind.   DSC04406res The BOBs, Band of brother mallard/mix, whom I am convinced are reincarnated vikings with their attitudes, were wandering through the yard and settled to groom by the water.   DSC04401bobA-1res I still wonder where Carbs the muscovy went to.
The cranes came flying over, you will notice the baby is keeping more of a distance from its’ folks as they are harassing him more often.  Poor guy gets picked on a lot.  DSC04411res DSC04413res baby still has a way to go before all his color fills out.
But the reason I am so excited is because the herons are building their nest!  The first thing I noticed when feeding the birds was the heron flying across the lake with a stick.
000_0506heronres I ran in for my other camera since the battery was running on empty.  And I saw it leave and waited.  And it came back again, another stick in beak.   DSC04393res It then circled the tree and positioned itself for flying into the branches.   DSC04397res
DSC04398re This means it is officially Fall and we will have some eggs, when the eggs come, it’s about 28 days later that they will hatch.
I am on my way to get set up for the art venue, but thought I’d share the start to my day – I hope yours is equally exciting….

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

The day began with the titmouse banging into my window again as I sat paying bills and looking for art opportunities around town as I write an art submission blog, http://art4submission.blogspot.com So feel free to take a look and see if there is an opportunity for you.  100_3696res
I did finally grab Adam and head for the Drivers License Bureau to change a title which will double in price after September 1st. We know they have to make money somehow. That was a two and 1/2 hour wait! Actually we took our number, and then ran a few errands and came back.
It was slammed!
Finally we headed downtown to pic up my enlargement from Roger McNichols of RT Art. He lives in a wonderful older neighborhood downtown and has artists traipsing in and out all day and night picking up their work. He and his wife Trish have massive equipment, he dry mounts, stretches canvas, giclees,  uses textured paper or whatever you want, he can probably do.
http://www.rt-art.com
Right on his street was a beautiful fountain, and I mean on the street literally.  DSC00725res It looked very European down Washington Ave.
Adam and I drove toward home and I told him we would stop and look around Lake Lily for some wildlife, usually I see turtles and birds. We had passed several lakes earlier and saw nothing.
We passed all the new condo/shops near Lee Rd.  100_3714-2res WOW, they really looked good, (and I improved them with color and filters as they would look in Abbesworld).
We parked near the lake and began to explore when suddenly Adam was surrounded by faces and beaks that were all works of art! (have a few larger views at   http://offshoot2.wordpress.com
100_3717res Adam looked like he was in the middle of a new Sy-fi  movie- Zombie Bloodsucking Ducks. They are used to getting food from people, and what happens if they don’t get their way? …They just waddle away
We actually smiled all the way around the lake at face after painted face, each with such unique markings – I love the Muscovys. But, I don’t need to tell you, like a good writer I need to “show and don’t tell”…
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DSC00739res DSC00803res DSC00769-1res DSC00751res
DSC00764 copy DSC00780-1 DSC00788res When we got back in the car, all we could think of was how happy Carbs would be if he lived here! No band of brothers, (BOBs), the mean mallards who always chase him off. We wondered if we could kidnap Carbs and throw a box over him and take him to this park??? Carbs is not like these ducks, he is still very shy of people. I am not able to get too close to him, even when I feed him some birdseed and bread, he waits till I am about ten feet away before he will come to eat. If only he knew we were doing it so he could be so happy and never again have to worry about being chased off.  We plotted ways in the car. I think we need a big net and a box – ummm, it’s something to think about, kidnapping a duck for his well being.  Just tonight I saw the BOBs chase him and peck him as he hurried away through the neighbors yard. It breaks your heart because Carbs is so happy until the mean mallards come and dominate him. We did not witness one incident of a duck bossing another one at Lake Lily. The egrets were bossy, but not any of the muscovys we saw.  Carb’s wings just don’t work or I’d map quest a direction and tape it to his wing and send him off. And, it is way too far for his flappy, yellow feet to carry him.  What shall we do? Stay tuned and don’t quack about this too loudly until we deducked the situation. I have a feeling I will dream of things like strapping him with a remote set of wings, or hitching him to a kite, or even dreaming of him with wings that hold the power of the wind. I can’t wait to go to bed and dream in deep Rem of muscovy art and Carbs being in the land where he can conduck his life with no fear of the BOBs!  41409BOB&ElvisC-1res The BOBs with Elvis in March. Elvis flew away and have not seen him since…
81609carbsA-1resCarbs

Carbs has been so happy the past days.  DSC07636res He sits near the shore and primps and when he gets hot, he sleeps under the lemon tree. Life was good, but last night the ‘ BOBs’
DSC00270res showed up with the Pekins.  Carbs had already taken to the lake and was peddling those webbed feet as fast as he could to get away from them. I didn’t think I would see him this morning, but there he was.  There were no more sightings of the BOBS all day. Only lots of the regular birds and lots of butterflies.
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and there was so much activity down near the lake. lots of bees pollinating the yellow blooms off something that has grown where my old downed tree fell. All kinds of bees, big and little and the little ones were not shy about harassing the big ones.  81909-2bees-1res Every time I go out in the back, I have my camera ready, and usually I am not disappointed.
Adam and I cleaned out the garage a bit this afternoon. Man oh man, he could have a video store in our garage. Little by little he is getting rid of his old videos.
I got up and cleaned out the gutters in the front. I found it was clogged and had to unhook part of the gutter and find where the clog was. Glad I did that before we do have a hurricane or tropical storm that really soaks us. At least Bill is not coming here, can’t say we even miss him. No one even seems in hurricane mode, it is always an inconvenience. I do keep two of my hurricane plywood pieces up, one on the side of the house at the garage and the other in Adam’s window because it has been painted to look like a horse in a barn looking out and the neighbors like it.
Cross your fingers that the rest of the season is flatlined.
After dinner I went to fish and the BOBS showed up again as I was fishing. Carbs saw them and went for the water, because if they get him on land with his defective wings, Carbs is not fast enough and the BOBS over take Carbs and bite and harass him. In the water Carbs is fast.
The Bobs came swimming over when they spotted Carbs, but Carbs swam away and they didn’t even go after him. They let Carbs go. I was glad. The Pekin ducks had changed a bit since becoming BOB members, they have yellowed on their undersides. But they look very happy with their mean mallards.  They like those bad boy ducks.
100_3415res 100_3413-1res Fishing sucked, too many begging turtles, and the fish are not biting. The trees sound like alarms after 8pm, the crickets are very vocal and highly orchestrated!
Tomorrow, another hotter than Hell day – but, I’m not complaining – any day without a hurricane aiming at you is a good day.

Went to a luncheon put on by the Gateway Center For the Arts, and The National Museum of Women in the Arts. They wanted to thank Victor Thomas, the manager of Stacey’s for his generous support of food during the art receptions. I had never been to Staceys which is about a mile north of Saxon Blvd on 17/92. It’s been there many years under different names: Homers and Duffs. Stacey is Homer the owners daughter.  They also have them in Ohio and other Florida locations.
There was a good line waiting to get in at 1pm when Pam and I went to the meeting. They charge $5.99 for all you can eat and WHAT A DEAL! The food was DELISH!!!! I ate and ate and looked at the dozens of different desserts and my eyeballs almost went into a diabetic shock! They do have the option of sugar-free pies).   003res They had it all, food food food in all descriptions. I ate fried fish and hush puppies, steamed carrots and mac and cheese, broccoli and soup. They had turkey, tacos, meatloaf, fried chicken and much more. Everything was great. I had a lot of fun and so wanted to really take close ups of the food which was beautifully displayed, but knew that was rather tacky.  So just got a few to show.  004res

006res Victor’s wife, Veronica works there also and could not have been more attentive to our needs.  The NMWA & Gateway gave Victor and Veronica a beautiful signed and numbered print from one of the members.
So here’s the thumbs up for a fun afternoon with very nice artists and art supporters and of course, great home cooking, (I never cook anything like this at home,) thanks to Pam for hauling me up there and paying for my lunch, I ate my fill and then some! My turn to get lunch next time!
Back at home, Carbs is still here. 81709carbsmouth-1res Look at duck’s teeth, how uniform, see if you can enlarge to see them. As long as the Band Of Brother mallards stay away, I guess Carbs will stick around. I fished a little while, no bites, but a wonderful breeze blew over the lake. I decided to mow the back instead. Carbs just moved from one side of the yard to the other as I mowed, it didn’t really bother him.
The hurricane is supposed to stay to the east of us, lets hope so. The state of Florida seems to love to gouge us with spiking gas prices as a hurricane approaches, they know we will be gassing our cars and gas cans and any thing that has a gas cap to have the extra gas for generators. It will be reaching about $3.00 a gallon in a week I bet, and maybe sooner if that hurricane comes closer to home. I did fill up a couple gas cans and they are out in the garage, and I can even smell faint fumes in the house – how I hate hate hate everything gasoline. One day they will find an alternative like electric instead! I hate having to gas the lawn mower and blower and having that awful smell on your hands or a few drops on your shoes – YUK!!! But I hate having extra long cords and fooling with electric by the lake!!! One day we should be able to harness the sun with a sensor chip on our lawn equipment!  If I don’t write tomorrow. I have been overcome with gas…

Had a great time in Tampa. Did see my nutria, DSC07535res,  81409nutriaB-1re also there was tilapia in the condo pond – how they got there — who knows — they are certainly not native.
81309carpA-1res Also on the condo pond were many female mallards with beautiful faces, and all had different markings. mallardres

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Other than some long distance birds that I get over here. the wildlife was quiet.  I didn’t go anywhere interesting to take pics this time. Just quiet family time. My Bella and Sasha were there to be my bed mates.
81309sashares Then it was back home to reality, two tropical storms about to turn into hurricanes with one as a fairly substantial one. Both could impact us.  tsana The first is tropical storm Ana due to possibly hit Florida between Miami and Port Canaveral so far. It will be a rain maker they say, winds around 70mph, that’s not too bad. The other one is worse, will be a Category 2 hurricane. That one is following behind the other one. So far it is TD #3. I went this am to stock up on food and water just in case.
100_3088res Will be watching closely. Don’t plan on leaving home, will be here to monitor and blog. I can’t imagine leaving my ‘box’ unless it is possibly Katrina big.  Meanwhile, it’s always good to be home. Today went to the flea market and got Orangeblossom-oak flavor honey, ummmm, delicious! I also bought a suet feeder and something is eating the whole block of suet in one gulp over night. I will have to remove it nightly. I do have a lot of cardinals and jays lately.  81409cardinalB-1 91409cardinalA-1
jayres One last thing, I was at a garage sale that had dept. store dummies, a few male torso and legs, if you need any, call Katy 407-690-2929
torso legs

Looked out at a dark sky crawling in from the west, then went about getting desk cleared off while trying to get bills in order when I glanced out and saw some weird ‘birds’ flying up on cut off tree tops.  BBwd1res Ran out to take a few pictures and luckily they did not fly off as my camera lens immediately fogged up when going from air conditioning to the really humid heat.
DSC06111res Came in and Googled ‘Florida ducks’ and found them to be black bellied whistling ducks, I had never heard of them or seen them.  They were so cute with their long, baggy pink legs and soft gray colored heads.  They looked like book ends on my cut off pine tops.
Then they just flew off, they stayed long enough for their publicity shots, then turned toward the east, away from the storm and headed over the lake and were gone. Oh they made it look so easy to just decide to fly away and go visit another lake,  There was no traffic, (unless you are flying high enough to tangle with airplanes,)  and on a dull day like this, not many flying birds going places.
DSC06114res The wings moved like the mallards as wobbly propellers.
So even though it is dark and rainy, it is always another fun day bird watching while paying the bills in between noticing the ‘bills’. I did see those black bellies, but maybe next time they will stay long enough so I can hear them whistle…

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