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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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!  

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

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

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

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

I took photos of flowers,   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

how perfect is nature in it’s design!   

And here’s a face to say goodbye.    

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


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

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

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

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

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

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!

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

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

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

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

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

Yesterday I set up my solo exhibit at the Maitland Library which is a wonderful place. I am also working on an Etsy site to sell my work, but left the details to drive over to the beautiful Library.
The librarians I encountered could not have been nicer or more accommodating, Pat, thanks so much if you read this. My work will be up for the month.

Here’s a few pics of my show,  “Cat Dreams and Wings

Afterwards I walked around Lake Lily next door and took pictures then headed to the Maitland Art Center just a short hop away. A photo of mine did not sell at an auction last week and it was to be dropped off there by Jerry Bell whose wife, Gayle, a painter, had rounded up other artists to donate work for an auction to send to the group, Doctors Without Borders for continuing their work in Haiti. I was sad to hear my photo did not sell along with a few others. But they did raise $5000!
AT MAC they looked for my picture, but couldn’t find it. I figured maybe Jerry had not dropped it off yet. I lounged around a bit and enjoyed the surroundings, though the giftshop and gallery were not opened. I headed across the short street for the Chapel, a wonderfully serene and soothing place. The style of the chapel is called ‘Mayan Fantasy’. The buildings and grounds are all part of the National Register of Historic Places. The first photo is of the original home which is now the Gallery and Gift Center.

The Chapel in its’ Mayan theme is an intricate and captivating work of art, have a look.

The owner, Jules Andre Smith bought and designed this place in 1938– he was an architect besides being an artist and he set up an artist colony called The Research Center. He lived there until 1959 and during that time he saw the need for artists to come and find their own solace and inspiration – I can’t imagine how cool it would have been to have belonged to the ‘entourage’,  those lucky enough to be able to take advantage of the place back in the day.
Now the city of  Maitland owns the land and buildings and makes great use of it  for conferences, art classes and lots of Weddings which is a perfect place for them! I went to a writers conference there years ago, the atmosphere was electric. It’s the aura! Here’s the link  www.maitlandartcenter.org
Here is the view of the Formal Garden.  

I decided to head back to Sanford as it was getting to be about 4pm and traffic moves at a turtle pace.After arriving, I grabbed Adam and got some dinner at Applebees. His friend Ari was at the AAA building in Lake Mary where the Seminole County High Schools were showcasing the area AP Art students. There was to be a reception and awards. We went and the place was packed and the art was amazing and professional. These students have big futures! The style and individual work was so impressive. The show will remain up for 3 weeks, so you have time to head up there and take your time, there is so much to look at — it is definitely worth the time. Adam and I really enjoyed the quality of the art. Ari’s work shows she has a solid artistic soul!
Finally when I got home I sat down to email Gayle to ask where and when I should pick up my picture. There was an unread email from her, I opened it and she said my photo sold at the golf course that Jerry had been playing on that monring, he was showing a golfer the picture and the guy bought it! That made me really happy. being an artist and selling art is hard work, so it sure is nice when someone appreciates it enough to buy a piece. I always feel honored when that happens, especially with something kind of ‘off par’ – an ‘out of gallery experience’ for sure…

Yesterday morning I heard a lot of noise around 7:30am. Of course the baby herons were screaming for their breakfast, but it sounded like the adults were squabbling. I looked out and saw there were 4 other herons around the trees where the nest is. The sun was blinding as it is right behind the nest, but I tried to get some of the group in all one photo, that was a challenge. They stayed grouped for hours, it seems like they took off in the early hours of the afternoon. Here’s a look at the clan.
The first thing I noticed were the mass of blue clouds fortressed, almost denying the sun her entrance.  They said all night we would have big storms, only a slight rain came for about an hour, nothing with the magnitude they predicted. I looked above and noticed a heron flying in.   That’s normal, the male must fish in the early morning and comes back with the grub. But today there were 4 other adults up in various spots in the surrounding trees.   Click on photo to see larger version. They stuck around for a while, then one would fly off and come back and play musical branches, flying up and tagging of the other cranes which would scream and then fly off, circle and come back again.
They were quite active, lots of interaction.

This photo shows that one even stood on my roof for a while. He stood and watched the others, ruffled his feathers and took off .
I read a ‘dream’ explanation for herons and of course, they had several interpretations. One they are wading birds, so if you dreamt of them, you stood in doubt of your direction. The other said they brought prosperity. I’ll go with the last.    Where’s Waldo?

This one is quite distinctive as it’s mouth is always open like that, must have a beak defect. 

Threw in a small blue heron that happened to be hanging on neighbors boat.
Finally I could see the babies in the nest t get a photo, look hard, they are busy flapping their wings trying to figure out how they work. I did a blog last year about one that fell from the nest and it was so pathetic how it would cry and cry for it’s folks and once it was down, the parents could do nothing to get it back up that high. The baby would sleep in the lower branches of one of my norfolk pines at night. I am hoping that one of these herons is that baby. It was eating on it’s own.
Here’s the babies:   They now stand on the edge of the nest and look out.

And that was last night before the Sanford Art Walk, will have a few pics later today as the sun is rising, must go look towards the horizon… Good morning….

Thought I’d change it up for Monday, (almost Tuesday) and give my blog peeps some flowers. Actually it was my neighbor who inspired me by bringing home all kinds of flowers to plant in her yard. I had to take photos of the beauties she had put into planters and in the ground. And looking at them through a macro lens made them even more beautiful. I even caught a small fly lurking on one. So instead of chatting about my day, maybe this will color yours like it did mine…

have to add a bit of wildlife at the end, the hawk is just as beautiful as the flowers…

The female heron got a nice catch tonight and promptly set the fish in the correct position to eat it. I really didn’t know if she could handle it and neither did the male who flew over to see if he could help himself to the meal.

It took a little down time, but that fish did find it’s way down. I bet that added about 4-5 pounds of weight to her – talk about gluttony and she still stayed by my side until I gave up as nothing was eating my bait. Here’s the video
if that does not work, try this link
http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?ref=profile&id=1532181417
The day was gorgeous and getting warmer. The moon is a sliver and the fish really were not cooperating. Working on finishing up exhibit with few last photos. One of the heron with the bass will add conversation!  Found out today they have accepted a couple photos for an exhibit in June at the Museum of Seminole County History.
Enjoy the video, forgive the hand held shakiness, at some point I will get a camera with better quality video and maybe even bring a tripod out with me, as it is, when I walk down to fish, I look like I am in dress rehearsal to go to the beach!

Fished with no results except for photos, so here is the male heron who came down to dine on a small bass that a passing fisherman threw on shore.

Have to sneak in a couple other “blue steel” pics too…     Tomorrow it will hit 80 degrees – I can almost handle wearing a t-shirt if the sun is going to shine down on me , there’s nothing like our Florida sun,  I’ll take those beams beating down with heat any day rather than the cold! Come on sun and wrap those beams and the vernal equinox around me – gimme shelter….

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

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