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First let me tell you that last night I was blogging when Ringo made a jump on my desk and a dive for the wall and looked like he was listening to something intense. So I listened too. What was it? I saw no crawling bugs and then worried, what if? What if  rats were back in the attic or garage? I walked out to the garage with Ringo who inspected the territory  and could find nothing to kill. I felt that was a good sign. He then went out for the night and I sat at my desk and tuned into to the house, keeping my ears open to every creaky, creepy noise that comes with a 50 year old house and when it is dark outside, the imagination is ripe!   (Ringo finds nest of newborn rats in garage last October)
I still have traps set up in the attic and change them every few weeks, only time will tell. So far I hear no foot steps. That cat is a prankster, maybe he was just trying to liven things up. Tonight Frankie has taken over, she just stares into space, she’s old and that’s what she does. If she does what Ringo did, then I will freak out and call an exterminator,
This morning woke to the same old Dante’s Hell outside. I am hoping that by next week my computer will be fixed and my Photoshop and CD/DVDs will be able to be reinstalled and I can work on my art again. Photoshop is like colorfully applied heroin, I am not doing well without my daily fix, (not of heroin, of Photoshop.) “Au natural” is not working well for me. But at least my Alpha is back and the lens working. Here’s a few morning shots:

Actually the squirrel and jay were the day before.
Tonight I drove over to Casselberry where I thought the Arthouse was having a reception.   There was no one inside that I could see, but the door was open so I went in. No one was in the main Gallery, but I did hear voices in the back to discover artists painting away. It was a class. I felt dumb when no one knew of a reception, but did take time to notice the Gallery filled with an Exhibit I think was called Magnificent 7. The colors and theme were pleasing. Here are a few of the works:
and there was photography too  – The building itself is wonderfully serene.  I enjoy the view of the lake from all the windows.  Inside the walls invite you to exhibit.   I walked outside and came across a huge hawk who only sat still for seconds when he noticed me.  he was a gorgeous speciman!  But he was quick. The views around the building are wonderful as I have stated in past blogs. Have a look:  
The lake and walkway are fun, the landscaping has become so lush! But the lightning was becoming plentiful overhead even with a mostly blue sky.
I finally found out through another lost soul that the reception was inside the City Hall building. There I found Linda Moore,  the Recreation Coordinator there talking to some of the artists.  The exhibit is called “Dance of Life” and the passion was very intense.  I met artist, Gary Paduch. His stirring paintings were absorbed as soon as you walked in. I learned he also writes and has a book and plans on writing another. All can be seen at  his website at  http://gf.paduch.com he has a gorgeous and intense body of work. Take a peek and enjoy!  Here is a view of some of the “Dance of Life” exhibit,  the artists on display are,  Betty and Jim Bay, Stephanie Kindle. Mactruque, Dale Metz, Monte olinger, Berto Ortega, Gary Pauch and Steve Piscitelli. I am only showing a few paintings, the rest are for you to discover.
http://www.casselberry.org/ I never knew Jim Bay was a painter, but he did this small jazz piece. Betty his talented wife must have rubbed off on him after all these years.  There were a few sculptures – go see it all yourself. 
When I left at about 7:45pm, the sky to the east and north were threatening. The sun was getting low when I reached Country Club but I veered off and tried to get a few pics   This is over Crystal Lake

The noisy bully of a storm was showing off overhead and thunder got louder.  The clouds over my own lake were very dark and menacing.  I did shoot a quick video as it was almost too dark. And as I shot, I noticed a heron in my pine, I have not seen a heron in about a month. I was excited by it’s presence and watched till it flew away, maybe tomorrow it will come back. Enjoy the storm that passed over,        have a great tomorrow and an even better one after that!

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 bet you are wondering by that title what I did last night and maybe you’re conjuring up names possibly linking me to some guy I might be hooking up with, well you will have to read and find out won’t you? So let’s begin at the beginning, noontime Friday :
Lunch with my good friend and neighbor, Sonja Greenlee who is also a contributing monthly Culinary  Columnist for the Sanford Herald. We ate at Amura which is ALWAYS great! Their sushi is the best around – hands down, chopsticks up! Plus the conversation is fun as Sonja is a traveler and had just returned from New York where she got to hear Jill Biden and Caroline Kennedy Schlosberg  speak. We can chat away for hours. Afterwards when I was ready to drop her off, I requested a walk to see the garden as she has a wonderful green thumb and she uses that thumb to stir many a great meal she has created and garnished perfectly. Unlike me who feels mac and cheese made from the box and served on fine china qualifies as a gourmet meal, Sonja does not hesitate to cook from scratch using her variety of veggies and herbs. Everything she creates is ‘eat-a- licious!  Here’s a view,    and that’s just a portion of it. She has snow peas, squash, lettuces, chard, collard greens, tomatoes, cabbage, beans and herbs too, even corn this year,
and her flowers,  the  glorioso lily was a stunner.
Went shopping after that, wanted something new for Art Walk tonight, I needed some pants. But how is it, I went to Ross and ended up with dresses? Casual long kind of hippy dresses. I never wear them, but they felt so comfortable for summer and the price, $12.99 was so reasonable I got 3 of them and two pair of $9 sandals.   That cute cat bag I bought for Andrea.
All set I thought except I needed a short sweater, to cover up and I knew Andrea had a few. While my closet looks like a cluttered, flea market vendor, she has a designer closet and things are organized. So I ventured over there at 6pm as the art walk was beginning and she dragged out clothes and more clothes for me to try on. So by 7:30pm, I had a bag full of things and went back home fully prepared to wear a dress. Well, my bed bed became an abstract, fabric  artwall of color. Clothes splashed everywhere.  Yikes, my mind was as confused as my bed. while confusion is part of the alchemy of my gray matter, I ended up wearing clothes I already had in the closet – go figure?  Please don’t suggest clothes therapy, though I could use it as my normal look usually consists of T-shirts with peace symbols or funny sayings and jeans. As I stood in a spaghetti strapped long dress so completely comfortably, I felt kind of naked, like I had too much airspace. While liberating, it felt kind of like I was in a nightgown. Now here I was wearing, “Abbe-shabby-chic”, okay, forget the chic part, back to the comfort of old jeans and ‘t’s’. I will wear the dresses around the house. By then it was 8pm. later than I normally get there.
I drove upon a very crowded Art Walk in downtown Sanford. The night was perfect, a soft, nice breeze coming off Lake Monroe and the full moon were my escorts up and down First Street. I always run into people I know.  Here’s the view:
For $20 you can have a ride behind that huge Belgium horse.

The parking gets fuller and fuller at these venues! I stopped at The Gallery on First  http://galleryonfirst.com at the beginning of my artwalk. Painter, Stewart Jones  stewartjonesart.blogspot.com and I struck up a conversation and he gave me a post card proclaiming The Gallery On First was having their first annual summertime art show, it’s June 5th- June 27th. The reception is Saturday June 5, from 6pm to 9pm. Here’s some of Stewart’s work along with Cindy Sturla also a painter who shares the booth.
Also spoke to artists Lori Anne Harris and Sharon Rae Hyder, they are always so full of fun and family oriented in their booth, Lori’s son was there and told me his is working on his Anime art,  I told him I would stop by next month and check out his work, the talent pool continues to spread in their family, make more wall space!
Cherie Dacko was not there, but I did see her finished piece, the baby and it is very cool, but since she was not there, I didn’t want to take a photo without permission. It is facing the outside, so take a look a look if you are walking the downtown streets.
Mary K. Shaw is always a smiling face too, she is at the desk or helping people out, plus she too is a contributor Community Columnist for The Sanford Herald, does all the writing for the arts, so if you have a local exhibit coming up around Sanford, or are maybe you are a Local artist showing elsewhere, contact her via the Sanford Herald,  497-322-2611.  she will put it in the Herald.
Then I headed back to my home gallery, The Art Affair. (http://artaffairgallery.com)  – I say my home gallery because even though I don’t have work there,  Ronda never fails to make me feel like a ‘homie’!  I keep watching as that gallery under her watch expands and expands! It’s exciting to see the artists grow and the wheels turning in her head with ideas. Here’s some of the new work,
Marie DeCosta had brought this in and it was not hung yet, but loved the perspective. She and photographer Ken Elliott have been into ‘bikes’ lately.
Marie DeCosta     Ken Elliott

Really enjoyed the look of Patrick Flannery’s circus art.  Oh my, I don’t know who did this to give them credit.   Gum wrapper purses – Melinda Dadelis, budding artist.    

Mindy Colton has intaglia horse prints.   These collage prints are from Jolie Spellman.  Ronda has plenty of work over there too.  

Toelle Hovan has colorful paintings, check last months archive for her chair picture. She will also be teaching Acrylic Painting for adults in July. I really enjoyed her small purse paintings. 

Toelle and her husband were celebrating their anniversary and could not have looked any happier! Congrats, keep going!!! Check with gallery for art classes being offered this summer.
Then it was time for the new venue Ronda is featuring along with the restaurant, Two Blondes & a Shrimp! Every 4th Friday beginning tonight, The Art Affair will be having a meet and greet and mingle with the artists at 9pm at the restaurant until whenever the last person stops chatting! She was so excited to show off this new art venture.    She shooed us all out as she locked up and off we went to the restaurant.  The Rand building which houses 2Blondes & a Shrimp, was built in 1887, named for Frederic H. Rand general manager and Attorney for the Florida Land and Colonization Company. The interesting thing is going to the courthouse and doing research on land records and seeing the vast amount of property and land dealings that company did. The building was also home to the Newspaper, The Sanford Journal.  The ceiling, floors and bar are all original features.

(whoops, lousy night photo of the bar– that’s why I will be taking the photo class offered by Photographer Ken Elliott so I have control over the dark – (go on website at artaffair.com for details)
The old brick walls came alive with a flurry of assorted work. Ronda and Marie has hung everything that morning and wow, Ronda knows how to hang, hey Ronda, new sideline, offer to hang shows on the side for a nice price!  This collection will stay up for 6 months if I am not mistaken.  Here’s a look:
Sherri the operating owner and Ronda stand united on the notion of supporting the arts! (And so should you!) Come over and eat at Two Blondes & a Shrimp noted for their Tomato Pie, Shrimp and Grips, linguine and clams and soooo much more. Sherri had a wonderful area with hor doerves for us! I ordered a mixed green salad as it was past 10pm, and had a wonderful dressing, I think it was coconut vinaigrette. I will have to go for lunch. They are closed Mondays, open 11am-3pm for lunch Tues-Sat. and then reopen 5pm – 10pm weekdays, except Friday and Saturday at night they stay open till 1am.  Chris the manager will be glad to help with anything you need. 

The artist table was outside near the band,  I must say I was walking around snapping a few shots talking to painter, Trish Vevera about going to Poland and to artist Tom Abbott   who does dimensional art that has to be seen in person. Peter Cerreta too was there   his work has to be admired for the amazing patterns and symbolism. I did not go over and tell Peter how I enjoy his pieces,  so here is a shout out to tell you Peter.
The Lake Mary food critic,  http://lakemaryfoodcritic.blogspot.com/ Leon and I chatted about our mutual love for food, he is quite an amazing cook and caters the food at Art Affair from time to time. I shared my secret of beating Kraft spinach and artichoke Philadelphia cream cheese into my mashed potatoes – yum! As I am sitting here, I’m getting hungry!
I enjoyed speaking to others around the table, upcoming artists Melinda Dadelis.  She is going in very cool directions for her future. Marie DeCosta’s husband and I spoke about music and touched on Greg Allman as her husband works at the Daytona Beach Harley dealership and Greg had just been there. Now here is how the story goes full circle -6 degrees of separation: Sonja, who I had lunch with was married to Bob Greenlee, who passed away a few years ago, he owned Kingsnake Recording studio and in high school, Bob was in a band with both Greg and Duane Allman – a weird Kevin Bacon moment for sure!
Finally I had to get going and left a few faces still talking into the night. I drove home, my date followed closely, hovering over me street after street, it was my moon of course and the clouds beautifully veiled that moon as if I should be holding wolfbane as protection to ward off the spirits that might be invoked under that moon of the ancients.   

Now think about checking out ALL Sanford art and remember both the Art Affair Gallery and the 2 Blondes & a  Shrimp will be having the after Art walk meet the artists, next one June 24th – 9pm — You must take a good look at the local  talent and also enjoy a meal at 2 Blondes & a Shrimp in which you will be so busy looking at the art, you won’t remember who you are even eating with, a great place to take that someone who you really could care less about, but you owe them a meal – haha – But really, it has a great feel, like an eatery in a sophisticated big city scene. Go and let the walls and the food do all the talking…
SUPPORT THE ARTS AND ALL SANFORD BUSINESSES!

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.

As you know my water system was down – BUT, first thing this morning, Discount Water Supply was out and put in new pump tank and re-configured the pump motor and replaced my charcoal tank with a new one. Bill the owner said he would fix me up and I can say, he carries through! So if you have water needs call Bill or Bradley at 407-323-9010.
As that was going on, who should appear through my window? 
I have not seen the family in almost a month and so I was very happy when they appeared through the yard looking for bird seed.    I took a lot of photos, these babies are very leery of people, they are not comfortable as the last two that were exposed to humans at a young age.  But I tried to get some photos of their latest ‘stage’ – Here you go:
How fast they grow! Such long slender legs and bodies and I am happy to report, they looked close in size, but still the smaller one did sit down as the others
looked for more seeds and bugs   She didn’t sit for long.  As you can tell, I love these cranes, they have been a part of my life for 6 years now, the same parents, the colts, (kids) just change.  As for the herons, those babies should be testing those huge wings soon. 

Also, I still see the wood ducks, they come, look at that box and as soon as they notice a fragment of me, they are off.   And that was the morning before going to Deland…

I was good and took a walk this morning, I need to shake off a few pounds of Symphony candy bars. Got out about 7:30 and one of the things I first saw was a wonderful small armadillo   – he was digging and digging.  and saw me and hurried away. A hawk flew over head with branches, clearly making a nest, but flew too fast for the old Kodak to get.
Little Lake Amory looked like a flowing algae heap and that is pathetic because the lake owners got together and okay-ed the local government to come in and via a municipal bond (MSBU) and a tax increase, Seminole County was supposed to dredge and then keep it sprayed. It did dredge and it sprayed for a few years, but last year they began slacking off because of funds. The people should discontinue that MSBU – they are getting nothing for the additional taxes. If I am wrong, I will correct my words if someone tells me differently. This is a spring fed lake which seems clogged and with the warm weather just beginning, it will turn to a thick cotton fluff later this summer if left like this- YUK.
There are a few homes in foreclosure,   but this little neighborhood holds up pretty well.  The people are solid, salt of the earth types who mostly have been here for generations. The elderly man who owned my home had it for 40 years, was a fighter pilot in WWII and only moved for poor health.
I encountered flowers – 
The baby herons are as big as their mother .   The two are in the nest while 3 other adults sit on various branches.
FOX SIGHTING! I saw it over a week ago, but my neighbor sent me pictures of the little cutie on her property, she says he has been hanging around.
He looks better, his eyes are even a bit brighter.
WOodpeckers are busy  This squirrel looked like it had the never ending tale.
Gonna run for now,  have a beautiful day, it has been perfect here,  the birds are active. A short time ago, there was a young, tired mockingbird sitting on the ground, leaning way off to the left falling asleep.   I am feeling that mid morning decline myself, well, you know what they say, “it takes energy to make energy” – gotta run…  

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…

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….

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is wonderful waking up to go outside and hear all kinds of birdsong. Sometimes the cranes are in the yard and they scream in your ear, but most of the time, it’s always the cardinals who start things off first thing in the morning, then woodpeckers and other birds join in.
I used to have a chimney bird who sang haunting tunes down the chimney, and then there was a titmouse who would look into my desk window at me for months. As it is, I am just a lucky person to have an abundance of bird music and to be able to appreciate it.  here’s yesterdays mockingbird who was sitting on one my oleanders just singing away.
http://www.facebook.com/#!/video/video.php?v=1362550593784&ref=mf

Here’s the beauties that I have encountered the past few days – feel free to enjoy them as much as I do. I have not seen the baby cranes today, but Papa crane has been here several times being bossy as usual. Fishing was horrible, nothing for the heron, she had to catch her own…

(Does Avatar count?)

and of course, this last funny face thinks he can fly like a bird too, and I let him think it, but really, he eats like a bird — like a dozen birds. He needs to learn to dance at the end of a leash so he can make some money for all the birdseed he eats

This morning two otters were swimming quickly at the neighbors, I only caught them as they were almost gone into the canal for Lake Belaire. Sorry only able to give you glimpses. Here’s the tease.     I wish I could have caught them closer. But I was looking for the cranes as neither the male or female were on their nest. That meant there was at least one hatched egg. I did some gardening and then an hour later, I spotted the parents across the lake, they were away from the nest and when the parents are both away, that means the babies have hatched. I went to see  how many babies.
There were two, I bet they were born this morning. The adorable colts, (the technical name) were still rather wobbly, but the parents were very protective and feeding them well.  And here are some photos of the new family.
and here’s a little video   video.php?v=1362014540383&ref=mf hope that comes up.

I watched them for a half an hour and the babies were so adorable. The first one stayed very close to the parents and seemed to have a lot more energy. The second seemed more unsteady and would lag behind a bit. Finally after following and following the parents, the babies sat down and the smaller one just toppled over in exhaustion, oh I would have loved to hold it, but I know better, the parents are very protective.    Poor things little eyes closed and it fell asleep and woke a few minutes later to follow along again.  I left there with a huge smile to see young ones. That’s always a great sign.
Back at home I clipped all the dead passion flower off the fence and did a bit of pruning under a 70 degree sunshine and it felt wonderful.
Papa crane flew over for dinner, both herons came to fish and the night was a bit cloudy, but full of hungry heron baby sounds. I am able to see a bit of waving head up there.
But can’t get it on camera yet. Here’s my heron – tomorrow another adventure…

Today was a bit better than the last week, at least it got to 70.  The birds are busy, the yards look terrible and fishing was pretty good. I still hear the baby heron in the nest, but cannot see it up there.   The nest does have a rather large escape hatch on the side, hope the baby stays on the side it is on!
Before fishing, Andrea and I ran out to get a few things, I bought the new baby some baby fishing hats.   Yes, those will be essential.  At around 5pm I started fishing and while the sun was still up, it felt a bit chilly, but not too bad. By 6, I had to put on a hooded sweatshirt beneath the jacket as the wind was brisk and cold.
Both herons came down to watch and see what I would pull in.  
The one toward the bottom is the female.  They wade in the shallows and eat the minnows while I fish for the bigger stuff.  It gets rather crazy because the male wants to grab any fish I get right from the line so I have to hustle my catch in fast.
Tonight there were two other small boats and some young men were fishing not too far away.  They asked if they could cut through my yard with their kayak and I said sure. They asked if I wanted their bream and I said I didn’t but I bet the herons would. One of them emptied out 4 small bream and the female just hurried over and scarfed up all of them before the male had a chance. It was really humorous watching her eat them as fast as she could. The male was perturbed and told her so face to face. We all had a good laugh. Here’s a few heron pics from tonight.
the male

and across the lake I could see the cranes, but I was stretching it to even see them.  This is the best I could do   — That baby will show up one day.         Meanwhile the herons looked at each other and then ignored each other and it became too cold to fish as the water had a pretty crisp current going. Ringo and I went in and watched the Academy Awards, it was fairly boring.  And my program won’t let me open any more photos so will have to call it a night, or rather and early early morning….

It’s almost 2am, the night is cold and clear and the moon is bright with a big ring. I still cannot figure how the days and weeks and months slip away this fast.
I’m sitting in a circle of potential paperwork for taxes and this is when I put away all the 2009 paperwork and start a 2010 file – YUK!  The world becomes black and white.
There is a new photography mag coming out soon, requesting 300 word stories and photos.  I thought about doing one on how I launched my love of photography because of the sandhill crane photo I took a few years ago.   I was given a camera and went out to shoot the cranes and discovered I had shot a self portrait smack dab in the middle of it’s orange pupil, that was way before I had photoshop.  Maybe I will write it and submit the picture.  Have more to tell.
But enough of me, how about a day for bees. It finally reached 70 today and the bees were humming like crazy. I kept switching macro lenses and cameras and still did not get a shot I was was really satisfied with, but here’s what I got.
Their bee butts were sticking out of the blooms as their little hind legs packed on the yellow pollen.  I was amazed I did not get stung as I was almost touching them.   The camellias are both blooming and dying and the various stages in between.   

– Ah, too tired to continue, will do so in am and finish post….Sweet dreams!
Rise and shine on a dreary morning. The rain so far has not been the huge washout that they predicted. Where’s the lightening and thunder?  I got out and took photos trying so hard to see the herons baby, but no luck. Last night the mother heron did fish with me, but we caught nothing.  Even Ringo looked bored.  

The heron looked so beautiful I had to take a few close ups
Late last night we had the most disgusting looking possum I ever saw. Clearly it had been in many fights as the wounds were atrocious and you could see in one wound to his muscle. The infection was oozing from it, from the head wound, the eyes and the back, but it had an appetite and finished off the cats leftovers. I decided that I will try and keep the cat food in a bowl and bring it in and out after seeing that nasty, (and smelly) critter. Nature is so cruel. I had pity for the poor thing.
The reality for this creature looks grime, something tore it up.

This morning I caught a few pics of birds, here they are
the grackle didn’t stay there long!  I am trying so hard to see the baby in the nest and I still can’t.    So back to taxes, ugh – one day my living room floor will be neat again, a few days before April 15th…

Had to go help check in artists today that the Sanford Welcome Center. Some were picking up their work from last month, some were bringing their art for Fourth Friday this Friday. It will be a still life theme and I promise, the work I saw was beautifully done and very colorful.  One Artist, Mary Ann Erikson came back and brought homemade pine straw baskets that she had carefully crafted and wow,  her intricate work was astonishing. She also paints and does photography. The baskets will be for sale.  


The day started out overcast and dull.  
I didn’t realize it was national pancake day or I would have gone for a short stack at i-hop!  The artists came in and out and I took photos in between.
a guy on a motorcycle pointed at me

After I finished I took myself to the Colonial Room for a cheap lunch. It’s like being in a time warp where many of the locals know each other and chat between the tables and even the waitresses seem as if they are stereotyped out of “Alice”.  I heard one man describing his chemo experience and said he did not have to shave anymore. A waitress telling another she got her uni-brow waxed and it hurt like Hell.  A couple chatting about camping somewhere, you just hear it all. One man sitting with a friend said the adorable waitress was just too young for him, he was taken with her you could tell.
I am only eating light because yesterday I thought I had something wedged between my teeth and flossed and part of a filling fell out. You know what that means, big money going to a dentist- YUK! If only they could charge a bit less than a yacht payment for any work they do…
left the downtown area and swerved to the left to the  marina to see the birds, still not one muscovy duck, but did see a lot of sights, here they are.
The big white heron had a beautifully colored area around it’s eye.   

Then I went home and did some photo editing, popped off some emails and fished and now I am getting ready for SCC poetry open mic –

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