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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….

Florida’s flora and fauna have become victims of the new deadzone.
We have frozen, and refrozen and will do it again for a few more nights.  Can the plants survive all this savage winter frost over and over? Even the wildlife is at risk, the manatees are taking over anywhere the water is warmer, they succumb to “cold stress syndrome”, (me too.)  They can’t take water below 68degrees or they can die because apparently their hormonal system is stressed.   Photo care of
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
And not only are the manatees at risk, the non native iguanas are just falling out of trees onto people in south Florida.  Apparently, being of a reptile nature, they just go into a cold induced stupor and fall over.  Plus, they are saving sea turtles from dying, and pelicans from starving and there’s 4 people in need of every one homeless shelter cot on these freezing nights. It is a winter that I have not encountered since living in Florida back in ’73’  (though we did move away for a few years in the 80’s)  This is not the Florida I love, give me back the heat, I would rather be hot than cold!
The backyard looks burnt out.  This is from Wednesday morning.  Here’s a few more of various plants around the yard:
That’s my passionflower vine all dying a slow death.   my hibiscus and young bird of paradise, kiss them goodbye – they are goners.
The view from my desk window, canna lilies are totally brown!
|    The cranes are fine and I am happy to report the Papa crane is walking much better, his limp is decreasing.  (stock footage from the summer.)  The birds are very active. 
Even the squirrels were trespassing  

around the yard knowing Ringo was inside playing.  
The fox was around,  he’s looking a bit better, and was off in a split second as soon as I opened the sliding glass door to get a photo of him. He sprints around here, then in a minute, he is off through the neighborhood.

The female heron sits around in her less than egg-worthy nest and waits for her lover to appear twice a day. I think he is disappointed in the nest and spends more time with the other female heron at her pad because it is a  better home environment.

Fishing you ask? I have not fished in over a week, the cold is way too cold for me, as I guess it would be for the fish, who are most likely hardly moving.  The lake looks great,  you can see beneath the water quite clearly.   I did see minnows, but nothing bigger.  I remember a few years ago watching bass swim around in specific areas, they seemed territorial. But fishing has not been that great in the past year and a half, when my neighbors moved, the big bass have decided not to be caught anymore.
And back to the weather, I never thought I would say a 50 degree day would be a heatwave!  There might be snow in the morning, how freaky would that be?
So now it is morning, 8:41am to be exact, it has rained, but it is not quite cold enough yet for snow. It looks once again boring and cold, brown and lifeless except for the fluttering of birds at my stump and feeders – DO NOT FORGET TO FEED THE BIRDS THIS WINTER! You will be greatly rewarded by having so much activity around on these days when you feel so sluggish under several layers of clothing and a full length robe. Here’s the latest view :  And I just came in from being outside and it has cooled down a lot! Temp is at 35, maybe in an hour you will see snow, I will be watching, it’s gonna happen!

I did write a story about “fish cubes” — we had a frost in 2008 and I had a dream that the fish were all frozen in the lake and I boated out and rescued them, it’s on my poetry blog –  Go to http://abberantverse.wordpress.com if you feel like reading my surreal view of poetry/prose, I have a strange take on things.
Will keep you posted “literally” when the snow comes – stay warm wherever you are, and gear up for making our utility companies rich via  monstrous electric and gas bills!  Now if America could only ‘green up’ and have a huge manufacturing industry of turbines and solar with the ability to sell our excess energy back!  Energy should be propelling a massive industry for us, where is it? I suppose all one can do to protest for now is to expel excessive energy and fart on the check to the electric & gas  companies before sealing the bill in the envelope, maybe they will get ‘wind’ of our need for change…

okay, the title is a lie, I can’t take night pics yet, even though I keep pressing buttons, moving settings, and get sucked dry by mosquitos, for all that, I am useless at night photography. The second lie, there was no visible moon tonight, that’s from the night before, whatever day it is now. We were supposed to get all this horrid weather and it passed on by with just a short period of rain and alot of tv hoopla.
I went to Gateway Photo group last night and got the names of good printing sites, and Danielle was kind and patient as she tried showing me how to work my camera settings, but I have to look at more tutorials and find the way to keep this shutter open, my cameras play tricks on me at night, I think they are actually tried of being molested and want the mosquitos to kill me off.
Today I did some holiday shopping and came home, and as I rounded the corner and got on Country Club, I noticed lots of waterfowl at the Mayfair CC, so I had my camera and parked the truck and walked over to the golf course hoping not to get whacked in the head – though maybe it would default my head settings and I could go to bed)
I saw woodstorks, 
A woodstork who thought he was a commorant.  
Lots of crows flying all over,  cranes of course. what would a golf course around here be with out cranes?  And then I went home before my luck ran out.  The heron has progressed a bit with the nest, though I did not see the male all day.   She sits and sits and waits, but I think he has been seeing someone else and twigging up her nest!
She looks quite forlorn.  My fat mockingbird was posing as always by the mailbox, she has such bright eyes.
No eggs in her nest though.  There was an elephant  on my mantle. 

I just threw that in to see if you were paying attention.
I hope tomorrow we will get more rain. I must explore mpix.com for having photos printed, their prices and quality seem really worth it. Metallic paper is so cool if the photo is right. I am wondering if I should try a few for my crow photo exhibit in April.
Just threw that in as a tease.
Okay, I went back out and could not get anything with recognition. But as I was walking back toward the house, the moon popped out for a few seconds 
In between the thick clouds, there was an opening and the light gave me a quick shot with whatever setting I had on.  Hey, at 4:46am, I will take what I can get literally… Ah, if only I could photograph my dreams, they are amazing….

It was time for my daughter’s cats to get shaved again, I had to go over and wait as the mobile cat shaver did his clipping.
Now, I have three cats, one of them is a real cat, the other two are luxury items like my daughter has.
Ringo, RingoandRaccoon71209-1res epitomizes ‘Catdom’. He is the real cat, he hunts and eats his kill, he challenges raccoons, possums and even dogs much bigger than he is. Ringo’s personality is larger than life, he thinks he is a full blown lion and acts like one. 72709RingomeetshismatchB-1res

Ringo plays with snakes for entertainment, My daughters cats play with battery operated mice. My other two cats, Frank and Sealy, 000_0874res have been with us 17 years, they like being indoors, cuddling and finding a good place to sleep around the house. Not Ringo, he likes it outside and doesn’t even mind getting wet.

He is the boss of the neighborhood, has been for about 8 years. Everyone knows Ringo. He belonged to my neighbors next door. When I moved in with three cats, Ringo decided he fit right in and adopted my porch as his too. When Ringo’s folks moved away, Ringo ended up staying here. I have chronicled the details before.  Ringo for some reason terrorizes the cats next door, they call Ringo “psycho kitty”, but getting back to my story, neither Ringo nor my other two cats have ever needed grooming, (though I do brush them from time to time.) The luxury cats my daughter has are beautiful rescued Persians, they are her children and are treated as such, no, I would say they are treated like royalty. They might as well have their own silverware because they have everything else.  Cats like these are good for the economy, they have every cat toy there is and if you go back and read older posts, they have lots of cat condos too. They also require cat groomers, they keep people in business. I love it though after the cats are shaved, they feel wonderful, soft as anything, like Chinchilla!  This is sweet Coco before being shaved:  DSC01918re
and this is her after:  DSC02235re She doesn’t mind being shaved at all. Not Musa, he hates it, I think he was Sampson in another life –  Musa before:  DSC02119re DSC02239mus1re

Musa, is very mad when his hair is gone, and he is less of a bully to his two female companions. As for Lola, she is so adorable and loves loves loves being brushed,  DSC02114re, so as long as you brush little Miss Prissy, she is happy with or without hair, except when I tried to take a photo of her , she bolted upstairs under the bed, thinking I was going to make her get shaved again.  DSC02243re
You wonder why go through the trauma? Persians get so matted and throw up a lot of furballs and hair floats all over the place even when you vacuum a lot. These cats are luxurious, pussy cats. Not Ringo, he’s a cat, he  would probably fight someone tooth and nail if they tried shaving him!  71809ringoyawn-2re So where am I going? The cat-egories don’t really matter do they?  Anyway you look at it, they are all loved unconditionally and that’s the truth.
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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

100_3939res Today I drove downtown,

I had artwork to drop off –
I had to find the right building.
Downtown Orlando is not huge,
not New York or Los Angeles,
it’s pretty easy to manuver EXCEPT for the sarcastic one way streets
who snicker when they know they have you trapped in a city force field
and the streets hold the parking spaces hostage.

I circumvented blocks two and three times,
right street, wrong way –
braking behind gawkers, and half filled city buses.
circling and waiting for that “red sea parting” moment
in which a building would bust its’ seams
exposing the place where I needed to be
and my gray Sierra chariot would stop and
a valet would open my door and carry my art
with white cotton gloves to the waiting public.

A wish unfulfilled
as I parked 4 blocks from my venue
lugging ziplocked art up the avenue
trying to find store front numbers
on the tiny mapquest sheet that only depicted a star
on a flatlined street –
I officially had the downtown Orlando Monday Blues.

Passing rough, bushy characters who looked like they protected
Mick Jagger at Altamont.
Passing executives in their noose suits,
foreigners with cameras and smiles,
gapped teeth children,
Buddhists and Viet Nam vets,
but no nuns, or not in a habit anyway.

I watched an old woman feeding bits of bread to sparrows,
five little brown birds surrounded
her gnarled hands with arthritic fingers.
There was a man soliciting with a sign because he was “impeared” –
his impairment was spelling
I could have my own sign for that –

Police on bikes wrote tickets,
was that Brian Feldman trying to be a city bench?
One man (?) wore large spike heels and a flirty sun hat
with a flowered broach on his chartruse tank top,
(or maybe it was a woman in need of a shave?)

The laughing sun was held at bay in part
by the taller buildings – it was still early
so at least I was not under the complete solar microscope
while  heading up Church Street.
The funny thing was, home at my desk
if I had read my email thoroughly
I would have noticed yesterday they had changed the day
from Monday to Wednesday.

But this was Monday, Monday, a day for downtown blues.
Lugging and looking
lugging and looking.

The young ladies at the drop off point were sympathetic to
an old stressed out lady,
out of breath-
out of place-
out of patience with the city and herself-

But as I made my way back down the blocks
back toward my truck with the hour time limit on the meter
I was glad to briefly have been there,
among ‘city–fied worker bees’,
to absorb this bustling image of people and cars in a hurry,
of buildings humming with demands,
of hungry mouths being fed at the shelter,
of children giggling and wailing at a daycare playground,
of honking  and the wonderful aroma of garlic rolls
coming from that small Italian restaurant.
It’s good to be among culture and art,
expensive boutiques and lawyers and
banks and snobs and slobs and body odor.
I felt light, Ginsberg-esque as he took
his stroll through a Supermarket in California;
focused on images,
of “aisles of husbands”,
because I was shoulder to shoulder at times
with someone’s spouse or their secret lover.
I passed the abused wife, covering her bruise in long sleeves
on a summer morning,
the man in need of a root canal and
no means to pay for it.
I was holding Ginsberg’s hand,
as we both wanted to shout, ”

"Who killed the
pork chops?  What price bananas?  Are you my Angel?"

The morning was still new,
all the jackhammers and drills of city music
had a nice Dharma beat .
I swear we saw Walt Whitman on Magnoilia and Church,
he was asking for a ride to the “Y” at Thornton and Mills
to ponder the road less traveled.

I waved goodbye to Allen
who was thumbing a ride to College Park,
And I drove home knowing I was not alone,
happy to be headed back to Abbesworld;
a place of quiet,
of birds and wildlife,
of creativity.
A place to shake off the downtown Orlando Monday Blues
by threading it through the hook on my fishing pole
and letting the line go slack when a catfish swallowed it whole –
I reeled it in and the catfish jumped off and spit the blues out on the ground,
“worse thing I ever tasted – stick with bread”, he spat three more times,
kicked me in the shins and went diving back to the lake,
I knew then this was where I belonged…

ABbe

I saw the cranes out there looking to make trouble. cranes on porch

They came on the porch knocking over the cat’s water and food, then they went outside and were rooting around in my garden. Then I saw them playing with something, tossing it and then running off. I went outside to see this adorable freshly killed mole.  DSC06169res It was so cute and very very soft and very dead with ants starting to climb all over it for dinner on the go.  So I picked it up and tossed it back to the cranes and the father crane had a ball throwing it all over the place. He even retrieved it twice from tossing it into the water.  DSC06176res
DSC06183res DSC06186res

They had a lot of fun with mole toss. The male was so funny I made a little video and attached a link to it so you can see what I have to put up with all the time, and I love it…

DSC09975res Ummum, today at ‘the desk’ — move over Jared – does it get better than Subway’s chocolate chip cookies? (Yes, it gets better if they are warmed ever so slightly.) While my friend Beda in her 70’s, and looks 49 goes to her first pilates class after being so disciplined on her diet, I salute her steadfast  efforts! Today I saw a T-shirt that said,  reject-thumb That’s a great motto – I agonized with her as she denied herself carbs in order to lose weight and stay healthy and now she goes the extra mile to exercise – Yikes the E word scares me! I will exercise later by getting up from the computer to put the cookies back in the kitchen fifteen feet away, maybe I will walk back and forth five times just to lose a couple calories. Right now I am on the ‘feed the fever’ trend, because I have a slight cold, (and boring enough I think it’s starve the cold – or is it reversed?)  Whatever, I admire these efforts by people to trim up  and fly right, “I reject your reality and substitute my own“. Here’s one, eat colorful foods, so how about if the food comes in a the colorful bag? Look at that colorful title on the Subway cookies – hows that for rationale?
I was invited to go to pilates class, but no thanks, I remember those years of being chosen last for every team in gym class. I remember taking a Jazzercize class with my then, ten year old daughter who after seeing that I could not figure how hands and feet moved at the same time, requested I sit down or not stand next to her, I remember those days and respect that I am not an exerciser  or anything near athletic except for wearing tennis shoes for comfort! The only thing that might make me behave is the sin tax, if they tax sugar, I will become a hoarder and blackmarket sugar runner…I ACCEPT MY LIMITATIONS – Don’t worry be happy, that’s the other credo…
Back to nature – I love ibis, they have those beady eyes and long beaks and make the whackiest noises.  I had some vistors, (requiring me to get up and walk outside) and watched as three lovely ibis came to play in my yard.
Another tidbit I found on Wikipedia, “The ibis is the last sign of wildlife to take shelter before a hurricane hits and the first to reappear once the storm has passed.” They are noted for their bravery. I guess they aren’t that brave, they didn’t let me get too close before flying off.  Here is the photos of a descendant of birds long ago. One of my favorite favorite, top two favorite short stories is The Scarlet Ibis by James Hurst – go online and read it, and get a kleenex!

Here’s some photos for you to enjoy and see how regal they are.
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72709twoibisD-1res

22797twoibisE-1res

22709twoibisF-2res

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001snake

71409abbeat2am-1res 2:37am, no rest here.
Earlier tonight I caught a softshell turtle and had to unhook it, they have quite interesting undersides,  100_2300_res but it looked more like some kind of weird alien than a turtle from that angle. The markings are quite unique really, could this be a girl and maybe the boys have blue rectangles? Don’t worry she or he was fine after they got de-hooked.  They scurried back to the water. I HATE catching turtles!
It was actually quite hot and stagnant and I was hoping to get a shot of the rocket launch, but they scrubbed it again.
In the morning I took a few flower pics, DSC06430res The crepe myrtles are gorgeous. And forgot what this plant is, but loved the red flowers on it also. DSC06421res

The moon was even still out at 8am: DSC06419res

The crow was in the tree singing a morning song
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And I had a nice lunch with friends. Came home and worked on more photos. Oh the days go so fast, summer half over – maybe El Nino will save us from the big storms this year! I don’t know, anymore around Florida all we hear about is people getting struck by lightning. I do have to watch more carefully when I am at the lake as the storms roll in,
100_2268res

The clouds roll in so fast and the lightning is really getting way too familiar with humans. But the storms are actually so wonderful to listen to, especially to hear the rain on the roof at night.  But not tonight, it is just a quiet one, so quiet, I might have to sneak off and go to bed, good…morning again…

Poor Michael Jackson, I can totally sympathize with his insomnia, last night I slept two hours, actually it was this morning from 8am to 10am. If I had to go onstage like he did, or held a regular job, I’d be screwed.
I was going to go with Dee-dee and listen to a bird lecture, but I had no attention span for sitting and listening, in fact I had invited her to go with me last week and she ended up going alone, some friend I am…
I could use some liquid coma too a few nights. 71209abbe-3res

I have no idea what 8 hours is, I guess for me it is 4 or 5. Don’t get me wrong, I do like sleeping because I like dreaming, dreaming is so damn cool, you can do anything.  But here I am after 2 hours sleep in a 24 hour cycle and I am still up and fooling around on the computer.  I did see a raccoon on the porch,
RingoandRaccoon71209-1res

I brought Ringo in as I was not sure if he would jump that coon or not, or maybe the raccoon would think it was another raccoon because they share the same tail.
I took a few pictures with me and Frankie:  71109Frank&AB2res
Frankie was outside too, so I brought her in also. It was hot and very damp outside. Then I took a self portrait and worked it a bit,
71209abbe-2res Hey, at least I’m smiling! And I took a few pics of furniture,  SilverLionchair-1res and even cheated and took Andrea’s cat painting she did and worked that too. mussa&fish-2res It should look like this:  mussa&fish-1res Isn’t Andrea talented? She makes the cutest paintings.
Maybe I will go into my bedroom and veg for a while, turn on the news and relax, maybe read. I do want to say a special shout out to Tabbie my blog buddy, get well ASAP!
Maybe tomorrow I will find more wildlife, these hot days the only things I see are birds quickly in the early morning, turtles when I fish, and cats on hot tin roofs and porches. Even the raccoons know better than to be outside in the afternoon. Good night, it’s almost one, cross your fingers for at least 5 hours of deep alphas and dream patterns…

Today the news said it would be 94 and feel like 104 degrees, that was no lie. It is hot and the sun seems like a deep fryer and it’s only June! The flowers are beautiful after a great thunderstorm last night. They were closed yesterday,
100_1700res but today they were full bloomed and smelled so wonderfully rosey! The roses had small bits of purple on them.  All around the yard, flowers looked happy. I do water them a bit in the morning and in the evening if there is no rain, otherwise they would fry under that hard light and heat. 61709rose-1_edited-1 DSC07969res

61609bluebpyrose-1_edited-1 The sandhill cranes sat under the camphor tree for a long time taking in the shade. The father was really panting a lot as was my old cat Frankie. I actually think she might have been experiencing heat prostration as she looked way too lethargic on the porch  and I could see her heart beating rather wildly. I brought her in and put her on the cool counter and she drank a lot of water.  I was kind of worried her heart might give out, but after a while, she did perk up.   So remember to keep lots of fresh water out there. I keep it, but poor Frankie looked like she was almost too tired to drink so watch your older animals. DSC08163crop_edited-1

The cranes stayed a long time down by the lake. The baby was first to buckle and sit down.  then when the parents finally sat down, he got up and went over to give his father a hard time. He would jab his father in the rear and then touch beaks. 61709father&babyC2_res 61709babycranegroomsfather-1res

DSC05777res Finally they all relaxed and then finally flew off. The Moorhen is also a pretty smart, she built her nest up high on the side so as to shade her from the sun as she nested.

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Tonight I tried fishing, but only got greedy turtles trying to find bread. One is so bold as to come up and take it out of my tackle box, so I keep it up on a plastic chair now as not only the turtles, but the ants swarm inside the plastic bags once they sense food. DSC05435res Ringo looks at the turtle with amusement, but does not bother them. Fishing sucked, maybe it’s too hot. If there was no breeze off the lake tonight, I would not have thrown out a line. No use standing down there sweating profusely and ending up like Frankie prostrate on the ground, no one would notice me!
Finally Ringo and I gave up and walked back to the house. I picked some small rose buds to put in a shot glass.
DSC08162res Ringo and I were glad to come inside and absorb that nice cool air. No thunderstorms tonight. All is quiet around here. I came in to blog, Ringo passed out and then was treated to a massage from my son. We all have our ways of dealing with the heat, that’s for sure! DSC05688res DSC05693res

First of all, the lake is up another inch and 1/2, 5280910am and I suppose it will continue to rise little by little as we are now having afternoon thunderstorms daily, the way it used to be in summer. It is very humid – like a steam bath today. I went to check the lake and saw the baby woodpecker sticking his face out of his hole, and of course I didn’t have a camera at that point. But I hear babies inside and there is also a Great crested flycatcher that has new babies. great-crested flycatcher-2 I have never noticed the  Flycrested  before.
There are lots of  woodpeckers lately, they are all over! As soon as I put seed out in the morning, my male woodpecker is right there always first! He does not seem that scared of me taking his photo anymore. Wpresize
And it’s not just the small red bellied woodpeckers, it’s the pileated too. 2pileatedwp-1_edited-1
The woodpeckers are all over jackhammering trees. pileatedontree-1_edited-1 The pileated are here in pairs, maybe looking for some real estate.
Another thing I noticed was a bee that had fat orange ‘barrels’ around it’s back legs. I have not seen a bee like that before and it is not bags of pollen, 52809bee I don’t think anyway.
Yesterday put a humming bird feeder out, but have only seen one hummer the whole time I have lived here, so maybe, maybe not – I promise, you will be the first to know!!!
UT OH —
How fifteen minutes makes a difference, take a look – weather52809noon_edited-1 AND,
we have our first tropical depression forming in the gulf, YA WANNA KNOW TROPICAL DEPRESSION — YOU CAN”T FISH CAUSE IT”S LIGHTNING! Here we go again, will post a daily water meter reading…

Where is it? They keep promising rain and once again in the same pattern for the third year, it seems to rain all around us, but not here.
51409waterlevel-1_editedIf you look at the photo with the water gauge, you can see we have lost all the inches of water since Fay last August. The top of the other small meter is showing. The level is down about 30 inches and each day that sun sucks away about an inch more. The sky will cloud up and look like impending doom above us. 51409stormclouds-1_edited It looks mean and ready to strike, but moves along, just drifts away to storm on someone else. I love a great thunderstorm, all that juice built up in the atmosphere brewing away with lightning to heat it and thunder to give it drama. I was eating lunch with my friend Leslie today in Lake Mary at Toojays where there is no recession.  It’s about 4 miles from my house and as I left the restaurant, droplets began to fall and about 2 miles from the house, it was raining very steadily until I get about two blocks from home and the look was there, but no rain. I went inside and framed a couple pics for an art show and no rain still.  Finally we got a few drops about 4pm, but not enough to even cover the driveway completely.  That meant of course I could go fishing since there was no lightening threat. Too bad the fish were as scare as the rain. All I had were the two pesky turtles that have been bugging me for this past week.    51409turtle&Ringo-1_edited They are bold and chase my bait all over the lake wherever I stand.  Ringo the cat was not sure if he should go after it or not, but decided the slimy shelled red-eared slider wasn’t worth the bother.
The birds too seemed on edge today, they were busy going after each other at the stump. Chasing each other off.  51409blackbird&woodpecker-1_edited 51409trioofbirds-1_edited It was entertaining.
Later, around 7pm, a young raccoon came to the porch. The cats did not care for him, infact, Frankie, the female tried to fight with him, the raccoon did not want to fight thank goodness.

51409Frank&raccoon-1_edited Then Church gave him the staredown  51409Church&raccoonB-1_edited and he finally left.  The night sky changed 51409sunset-1_edited and it looked like a very calming end to the evening. Cross your fingers for tomorrow and for my buddy Beda who just got a new rain barrel who anxiously awaits it filling up. And one last thing, here’s a sight I came across walking a couple days ago,  51409armadillo-1_edited-1 it was a three legged armadillo, he was walking faster than me!

That was fun being among tanks of floating things. It constantly reminds one of how “grounded” humans really are.
The Tampa Aquarium was packed on Saturday and I got in free for being a mother,  that was a good deal! All around that place was glass with a vast world beyond it. Tanks and tanks of beautiful swimming life.  jellyresize Jelly fish, sharks, dragon fish, sea horses, alligators, otters and much more. Each floor is loaded with visual excitement.  I loved the large round tanks loaded with yellow trigger fish. Of course the salt water fish are so full of color and beauty and the freshwater seemed so dull in comparison.
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The shrimp were festive, the many sights prove to remind us there is much in this world to care about and try and preserve.  The world below sea level inspires one to think that we humans also started out in that gravity free, ‘floaty’, state moving about on an umbilical leash tethered inside the ‘womb tank’.  Then rudely enough, we are pushed out and dried off never to have that total aqua suspension again. Oh sure, we can swim and we can dive, but we visit the wet world as a foreigner. Nothing wrong with being a foreigner exploring new land, (or water or sky) — it sure gives us places to visit that normally we wouldn’t see, but then we must go home again.
An enormous aquarium like this gives us a view into the nooks and crannies of wet places many of us would not have an opportunity to experience.  We need places that educate us to what an extraordinary world we have.    My favorites were these big silver looking fish, 5909silverfish-1edit

they looked like they had been freshly plated, all shiny and sleek. Plus there were more than just fish, there were nesting birds up on the third level with the freshwater tanks and comedic turtles, both sea and fresh water.
Maybe the most interesting creature was the last one I saw as we were getting ready to leave,
the mermaid was wearing items I bet never touched anything but a dry cleaners…

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Ran around getting ready for art ventures today. Outside it has gone from feeling comfortable to feeling like the Sahara desert in a matter of 6 days, It was 96 degrees two days ago and today was 94. No rain in over a month and the lake continues to evaporate. My second meter is now rearing it’s ugly wooden head.  Everyday I am filling the bird bath only to have the thirsty sun drain it by nightfall!  There was not much wildlife around here today, it’s like the heat had made all the birds and critters stay somewhere else in the shade.  I did see one vulture standing around by the side of the road looking perplexed.  vulture51109-1_editedEverything around looks parched and confused as we all breathe in the smokey, hazy air hanging over us from all the wildfires burning around the state.  Even tonight before I was going to fish, I saw a funny sight.. 51109church&raccoon_editedChurch and a raccoon stood a couple feet apart and Church was giving it the “Pet Cemetery” stare down. The raccoon left. It has to be the weather. We are left once again ‘rainless’ with burnt lawns. You can tell the people around here who violate the ‘watering restrictions’, they are the ones with the green lawns, while the rest of us who adhere to the restrictions have no grass.
Tampa was much the same as Orlando. They have not had rain on over a month either.  The pond behind my son’s townhouse was a couple feet down since the last I had been there.
When I was visiting, we stopped at the Tampa Hard Rock Cafe.  The place was packed last Saturday and everyone around looked to be about my age. So you ask, what was everyone doing? Was it a concert? A speaker? Lecture? No! It was gambling! All the baby boomers and seniors are sitting around gambling away their social security. What can they lose when they hardly have anything in their stock portfolios? I was amazed at all the people sitting at the slot machines putting in quarters and dollar bills one right after the other losing losing losing.  DSC06873

Aaron and I walked around looking at the walls covered in rock icon photos, paintings and rock guitars. The place was room after room of slot machines, black jack, poker tables, expensive poker tables, and more and more. People were smoking and concentrating.  The smoke inside was as bad as it was outside!  And it is quite dark and cold. hardrockedit-1 But the beauty was the guitars and artwork all over the walls. DSC06860edit DSC06878edit DSC06863edit DSC06876edit
We had a nice stroll around, looking at the indian themed gift shop with faux coon skin caps, and real alligator stuffed heads with their mouths gapping.
We didn’t stay too long, didn’t even try a slot machine. I have never been to Vegas so I suppose it is more of the same only on a much grander scale out west.  In Orlando at the Hard Rock they have music venues all the time.  I can see the Tampa Hard Rock doesn’t need the music except for the “ca-ching” that the coins make hitting the slots and the noise of the screen as it tumbles with different fruit that does not seem to match up often.
Later we went home and watched big time wrestling,  bella&sashaA-1edit bella&sashaB1edit

And went through fishing gear while  Aaron cooked us lobster tails for dinner. I was still perplexed that all those people my age and older would sit for hours upon hours and throw away money into those machines. “All the lonely people, where do they all come from…” Paul McCartney was way ahead of his time. It seems all the lonely people come from the casinos, (then go home and return the next day to try and win their money back again.)  Not me, give me the camera and a branch with a bird, a cool sunset, or a lizard, and the wonders of things to take a photo of and one can never be lonely, I guess everyone has their own cure….

Hello all,
Have been visiting in Tampa since Wednesday and could not get access to working on photos so I am back home
and will be making up for lost time.  (Have a few pics on http://offshoot2.wordpress.com )

First, Happy Un-Mothers Day all you mothers – Hope yours was as great as mine. I got so many goodies like bouquet and of course what would the day be without eating and I mean pigging out on something I would not buy for myself like this, mothers day cake As you can see I made a small dent in it earlier, but about 1/3rd is gone by now. ”
Last night I dined with my son Aaron, the Broker Price Opinion “King” of Tampa, we laugh about that title his friends have given him, but he hustles doing  ‘BPO’s for banks.  I spent a lot of time driving around with him to look at all kinds of homes that banks are owning these days. There are many dwellings in all types of conditions.  It’s very sad really to see so many houses going into foreclosure.  Houses are just stagnating on the market over there.  Even his townhome has lost  about $40,000 in value since he bought it 5 years ago brand new. Many of the same units are now abandoned to foreclosure.  We bought a ‘flip’ house two years ago and were very lucky that our hard work paid off and we were able to sell it fast, had it just been a few months later, we might still be sitting on that house!  It is a sad time in the real estate business unless you have big bucks and can pay cash for a bargain — then this IS the time to buy something distressed. But it is creepy profitting on someone’s hardship.

Today I came home to more fun surprises, more wonderful flowers from my younger son and also from Leila. Tomorrow my son Adam and I will have dinner and a movie because he was at work on Mothers Day. My daughter  gives me fun things all the time. Today she took me to lunch when I got back home from Tampa and brought that cake and these great earrings, earrings She also made a donation to A New Beginnings Pet Rescue, a gift that keeps on giving.  I was also given a fun bag of goodies for fishing that I will have to try my luck on tonight! bait I am sure spoiled! I have a lot to be thankful for – I wouldn’t trade these kids for anything…and no, they are not for sale either! Also, as I was leaving to come back to Orlando, I heard a familiar sound and looked out the front door,  DSC04163_edited DSC04168edit A family of sandhill cranes took off just before I left. I think they followed me back to Orlando. In the coming days I should be showing off photos  from the sights in Tampa…

Here it is at 7 weeks and it is going to be the biggest crane I can think of – it is growing like a corn stalk in July!
So I will let the photos speak for themselves
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This morning began with a walk, if you call it that when one takes their camera. I decided I need to try and get some ‘legit’ exercise, (yawn). I used to walk at a good clip, but kept getting heal spurs and then of course, you don’t walk. But I thought today might be the day to start again so I put on the shoes and stopped about 200 feet away to take a photo of a tree hugging another tree 100_1113resizetree.  I stopped a few more times to take photos of wonderfully bucolic scenes.

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I saw a hawk preening, squirrels everywhere, and heard plenty of birds. It is good to go out and really look around as you walk taking in all the sights. (I am not sure if it is effective exercise, but it’s good for the heart and peace of mind).
The trees around here are old and stately. I saw a staghorn fern growing on an oak, it was gorgeous, but my friend Dee has a wonderful huge staghorn fern she artistically hung in her own back yard that is quite beautifully displayed.  42609staghornfernb-1resizefernontree_editedresize
After coming home and finding that my Adobe photoshop was not working, I was in a panic. It really put me in a bad mood. Then the band of brother ducks were here mooching
at the stump so I chased them and came to a quick stop when I saw a really long yellow rat snake.  It was a mean one too, you could tell by his expression. I felt like I was trespassing on my own property, I got as close as I dared as he was in full striking position. I will have more pics on  http://offshoot2.wordpress.com (later) .
The baby heron also visited twice. He shows off his flight techniques which are improving. The baby comes to the area where I fish at least twice a day now. He still has the baby coloring, but is larger than his father! What is in the water in this lake?
Also today the newer cranes came to eat seed off the stump, they were wandering around the yard when out of the blue, the old rusty couple came to claim their stake. They left the baby at home I suppose. I have not seen the baby in a while. After they chased the young couple away, they flew off.  dsc02944heronresize
My son and I finally got the Photoshop working so later I will add some pics to Offshoot.
The wind has been tough for 4 days now, it blows like a ‘noreaster’ at times off the lake, no fishing and the Mama
heron hasn’t bothered to come and see if I was going to fish or not lately. I tried tonight, but I threw the line out and it comes wobbling right back in a matter of seconds.
The point of the blog today is get your mind working as you walk, take in the surroundings like a dirty voyeur, take pleasure in hugging trees, bad ducks, mean snakes, birds that fly over head and squirrels on the ground. You are not alone out there, so turn off that ipod and listen to the birds sing, the wind blow and even the snakes hiss, their music is a reminder to yourself that sometimes you must slow down and hear what others are saying – it’s the universal language of love and renewal.
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dsc02705 That’s him! The missing baby heron has grown a bit and now he   and his sibling have taken to regular flights back and forth to the nest. I am convinced that is the same one who was rejected. What’s fun is to watch the two babies fly awkwardly around the lake, they stop and eat at different spots then fly back to the nest to compare. They are always competing up there, YAK YAK YAK, their necks go up and down, their wings extend and it’s always competiton.

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I enjoy looking out and seeing their activity from my desk. Yesterday the one baby was here twice and that’s the one I think finally found his way back home.
It’s also quite evident the dragonflies are busy. At the lake they are all over. I also get them on the porch and have to take them outside. They do pinch too! dfAnd of course, the band of brothers and Pekins are here off and on as usual and even Carbs will show up during early evening then take off before the BOB’s pick on him.  carbsresize

Then last night I was flipping through the channels and came across the American network and another winged specimen  the  old Batman series with Adam West and he looked like a little kid!  bmresize

dsc06519dsc06531 The bat mobile looked so cheap, but it was fun watching the action scenes with POP, POW and cartoon effects when our imaginations were so much simpler. We had no bloodshed, only lame storylines and stupid acting that made it work in the 60’s.      I stuck around and saw The Hornet was next and watched about ten minutes and my son pointed out that Bruce Lee was the Hornets butler. How weird! The Hornet was really a great looking guy!

hornetreisix So it was a full day of wings and even Ringo the cat was exhausted and dreaming as his tail seemed to take flight. Was he dreaming of flying, or growing up to become a lion and catching all kinds of things? 42409ringolion

I would say if Sonja’s garden were to be a song, it would be written by Joni Mitchell.  We are Joni’s Ladies of the Canyon, I am Trina, she is Annie. First you go there and you are greeted by her sweet dogs. Oscar is my favorite and he hates having his photo taken, but I tricked him.
small-oscar She has cats here and there and lots and lots of citrus which she gives to you “for free”.  She has now grown her own garden with all sorts of “vine and leaf are filagree” ; peas, green beans, cukes, squash and it all looks lovely and orderly like someone who knows that they are doing. gardena-smallThe plants seem like soldiers standing at attention, guarding their terrain.  I wonder if Sonja goes out at night and sings them a lullaby? They are truly pampered plants like her animals. And because of it, they have so much to give back. She brought over wonderful snap peas and dip, ummm, they were fresh and organic and I, the not a bigtime vegetable eater, loved them!  Sonja is trying to practice what she preaches about buying local produce and being a “locavore”. She wrote a terrific article in the Sanford Herald about needing to get more local farms working and getting fresh fruits and vegetables to our own local markets. We went to the produce docks one day and  on the docks where pallets of food waiting to be loaded to be shipped off.  We saw nothing except peanuts from the USA! The pineapples were from Costa Rica as were the bananas, the green peppers — Hondurus and on and on. We were both disappointed that our Florida soil isn’t used much for other things besides citrus and developers.
The backyard at Sonja’s is so inspiring,  besides the luscious squash, squash

there’s zuccinizucciniand wonderful lumbering trees just as calm as Sonja.  She has sentimental plantings around yard and her home is  just as luminous as she is. She brings me “apples and cheeses”, we chat about life and writing, and she is one of the brightest people you’ll ever meet.  Even when she is away, (which was a lot last year)  and…. she is not like me who goes to Tampa and feels that was a huge feat! No, she ventures down the Amazon, has hot cocoa in Switzerland, and loves climbing the hills in Greece. And she is always considerate of others and always spoils me with little things she brings back. The best was the chocolate from Switzerland, hint hint.  I am so lucky to have such a friend who puts up with me, and I am smarter just by being around her and learning so many things. There is always something fun going on in Sonja’s sharing garden.
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