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This morning was loaded with woodpeckers, pileated and red-bellied. they were in pairs and very busy looking at existing tree holes and even trying to make home improvements on other ones.

Of course there are always the regulars
The cats wonder if Godzilla crane will be setting foot onto the porch to trample them…
Ringo dreams about fishing…   
Grackles look out for Ringo, the squirrels find safety in numbers
This little “rocky” says, “Bring it on Ringo” 

And of course tonight the rain was coming in and the ibis looked beautiful in the tree.  They were so white against the dark blue sky, whereas on Saturday they just looked beautiful flying against the cloudy sky.

The grackles and blackbirds are always waiting for food.
At around 4-5pm, the heron comes down to fish with Ringo and me.     and all is fine until the jealous crane comes and chases the heron off.  Even Ringo steers clear of the mean crane.

On Sunday as Lee fished, the crane chased the heron off to the island, the crane thinks he’s the boss of everyone.  

The heron hurries away, but waits for the crane to fly off and comes back. Tonight a storm came in and I had to quit fishing,             

tomorrow the heron and crane will be back as will the woodpeckers, birds and squirrels and we will start all over again…(gladly)

Like a nut, I decided to fish. I put on two longsleeved shirts, (over a t-shirt) and then donned a sweatshirt and then an oversized bigger sweatshirt. After all, it is only in the 50’s here, low 50’s at fishing hour and ever minute as the sun wanes, a degree drops.  Okay, that might be laughable to someone in Minnesota who feels like 50 degrees is like 80, but to me, it feels like ice fishing minus the ice.
I spotted some vultures enjoying the wind currents.       Look, a harlequin vulture.
The fishing sucked, but I kept hearing a noise and looked up. I recognized the sound, a baby heron telling it’s Mom it was hungry.  I tried to see if I could catch any baby wings, but all I could see was the Mom bending over to feed it. Do you see anything?

I could not see anything, but it was one noisy baby. It only sounded like one.  Will have to wait till it gets a bit bigger before I see any physical evidence.
After about fifteen minutes I gave up fishing for nothing and explored my neighbor Kim’s camelias, there were tons of buds and a few blooms, the flowers were quite pretty,  here’s a sampling.


All afternoon I had grackles, blackbirds, cardinals and the steady crowd. Yesterday I had robins come by,  but they were tough to get a good photo of, they are really “flighty”!

I walked toward them and forget it, they flew away fast.   Here’s some of the regulars who are better at cooperating,

Gather your nuts carefully and have a great Friday….

Last night went over to our very quaint Lake Mary Historical Museum, it has a doll show.  All dolls were on loan. They had wax dolls and others over 100 years old.  When I grew up, we had dolls like ‘Pitiful Pearl’, Shirley Temple, then on to Barbies, which were the most fun because of all the accessories. I remember having handmade clothes for my Barbies, I don’t know where my Mom bought them, only wish I still had them, I kept all my Barbie dolls and clothes and my mother gave them away while I was in college – bummer, I had wanted to save them for my Andrea. Oh well, that’s so almost 40 years ago – Never mind that psychological trauma, haha.
Here’s some pics.

That last one kind of looked ‘corpsey’.

This shows the bulk of the one room museum, it holds all the documentation for incorporating Lake Mary, Florida.  It was used as a social hall for many years.
Ever hear of Golliwogs? They were black, male dolls and it became acceptable around the 1930’2  for boys to have dolls, but now they are called Gollys because golliwog has become an unacceptable racial term. I never knew these things.  All I know is, little boys have little killing machines like GI Joe and metro sexual Ken to balance GI Joe’s aggressive behavior.  Though I don’t remember my brother having a Ken at all.  I know my young boys liked Stretch Armstrong so they could pull his arms and legs and punch him.     My boys were more into video games and outdoor sports.
They had a lot of Barbies, I didn’t even know they beamed Barbie up to be with Captain Kirk and Spock.   The exhibit is fun, the museum interesting, so go have a look if you are near Country Club and Lake Mary Blvd.  Call them for their hours, they have odd opening times.   These are really old.  

Now to wildlife, lots this morning, maybe because the storms are coming in later today. So many blackbirds, crows, cardinals. It sounds beautiful out there with the doors open.
Here’s a view:
The crow up on the branch was all alone until another joined it up there, they kissed   Then stood together looking south.   Then went to separate branches
then parted, hopefully on friendly terms.
The male heron was busy getting branches again, I enjoy watching his ability of manuvering them around the big branches up in the tree. He brings them to his wife and she shapes them in the nest.     He them moves upward again and again.   

He passes it off and she in true female genetic glue, makes the nest a home.   Look how large it has become.
So that’s it for the am, gotta go before it gets stormy. Kids are coming for weekend.
Here’s a few more pics.   
And this ballsy little grackle who walked right in the porch despite the cat and ate cat food as if to laugh right in Frankie’s face.
What a sense of humor these birds have!  That’s why I have to take their pictures…

The day started out with the grackling grackles all over dominating each other, each vying for a position at the stump, (umm, good exhibition name, will use for next art proposal – note to self.)  The grackles were so active and I love their color. Here’s a few pics:

A crow snuck in too.    The male crane came for a while, he saw his shadow, only 4 more weeks of winter.  
Then he flew away and I can see where he and Mama crane are nesting.

She’s secluded and definitely nesting, can’t wait for new arrival!  That means next month we will have baby cranes AND herons, that is always fun and a good photo op!
The same man fishing the other day in the rain was back today enjoying the lake, he didn’t seem to be catching anything, but the day was too beautiful to care anyway. I bet he is on vacation and visiting someone.
Then the winds did pick up from the east, it got a bit chilly with the whipping wind.  The sky was too gorgeous not to notice.
Went to a garage sale and bought a couple matching nice frames for $5.  Then on to Walmart and this is what was beneath my truck when I parked — SMOKERS CLEAN YOUR BUTTS — NO ONE APPRECIATES LOOKING AT YOUR OLD BUTTS!    Then on to marina for a while.   
Past the New Tribes Mission    And around to the water, and actually it was very boring up there,  just ducks, not much else.    

A lot of fisherman, so maybe fishing is good, in fact, I will go see for myself…
Okay fishing sucked, but did get good pics.  
Heron with an upsweep.
Heron was disappointed, we got nothing.   Packed up my gear,  I had my camera case to the left of  the nesting heron, the wind out of the east blew heron-poo down on my camera case, now I have a story to tell.
Went inside and cleaned up to run over to the Lake Mary Historical Museum, will show that tomorrow…. What a teaser…

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

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

First things first, before going to the reception I spent time out in the back watching ‘heron wars’.  Two males vying for the affection of the nesting female.   One had his way with her.

While the other waited in line for servicing.    But the male who had been first in line chased the other suitor off
– they went in circles till the other male went back to his own nest,  and the alpha male came back toward the nest and sat watching for the other male to hone in. I suppose we will have some eggs in that nest soon.  It’s fun living in between rookeries.
Then it was over to Sanford,   Taking pictures on the run. At the Welcome Center there was wonderful art.  I saw other artists I knew, met some I didn’t know, and talked to others who were there supporting the arts like Beda, Pam and Chuck and Bev who came to support the cause.  The Welcome Center was packed.
The Zoo had brought over animals, a possum  – (I see possums nightly – though they are not on a leash) And the coolest owl.  
I could have taken picture after picture of his gorgeous face and eyes!   After wandering the room, Adam and I went out to walk the street, (not in a soliciting kind of way,) and came to a newer art gallery store, Called Art AffairGallery.    They have amazing art and gifts. Julie Kessler is one of their featured artists known for her mosaics and metal work. She does not fail to amaze with the work she does.

Ronda Richley is the owner and has great taste for stocking her store, she was very enthusiastic about making her Gallery a staple in Sanford that people will be drawn to, go visit and have a look, at 303 East First Street next to Fawn, she really has the passion to make it grow.
We went up to Jeanine Taylors which is always filled with talent beyond talent.
Hollenbachs the German Restaurant was packed with people waiting in line. I like their desserts, but I’m not into their regular meals,  but who am I? They had plenty of people waiting to eat. Otherwise, the Stones Throw Bistro which is new has a nice menu and was busy.  Maya was closing her bookshop and came over to the Welcome Center.
There was a jazz singer by the door of the Welcome Center who was singing and playing with a lot of heart, it really lent itself to the artsy mood.
Talked to my friends again, listened to which artist won the first prize for being the voted  for piece of artwork, – (not mine) – but the winner,  Heather had sculpted two pieces, a dog and cat out of clay and she deserved the prize.
All in all it was fun, and I was so happy Pam came after working all day, and it made me happy that Beda and her adorable neighbor, and Bev, Chuck and Pam came out to share in all the festivities.  I wish I had gotten a photo with Pam and Bev, but did get one with Beda,   And had Chuck take a photo of Adam and I and I look like a mad, serial killer. So I plastered on a smile  with photoshop:  poorly I might add

Then it was back home so Adam could do his thing and I could do mine, (getting on the computer to give a blog report.)
So when you have a moment, get to downtown Sanford and have a look at the mentioned places, and also over at the vintage boutique, Fringe which has moved above Maya’s bookstore, Kim the owner is a lot of fun as are the clothes, you can even rent clothes from there.
Gotta pack and get over to Tampa tomorrow, ahhhhhh, the I-4 anxiety —

Not marriage, an art proposal. My talented friend Pam is a very recognized photographer, her specialty is infrared and emulsion lifts, way to technical sounding but beautiful to look at. Have a look at
http://www.pamelazdaum.com/

I am honored to say we are making a proposal for a show together and I am having a hard time with some photos I have screwed up the resolution on.  So am trying to find good ones, need  about 15 or so photos, so just wanted some opinions about if these would be good to look at for a show. I purposely make them small as sometimes people ‘lift’ them, here’s a few, please give me comments as I love feed back good AND bad, any critique is welcomed.

working on more, need to add my cranes, but if you feel like saying anything, please do.

Knew that would get your attention, but it’s not about me, it’s about coming out at 7:30am to find 4 male herons trying for a chance with the female heron in the nest. No wonder she has been lazy up there, she didn’t have any incentive to get going.  But not today!  There was heron pillow talk going on in that tree this am.   One was very persistant to win her affection and kept bringing branches.  

She gladly accepted and worked on filling out the bare spots.  It does seem to be filling out.  Remember to click for larger viewing.
Right now after 10am, the nest is empty and all suitors are gone. BUT the sexy talk continues.
The cranes also came in.   The first thing they did was chase off the heron looking for branches.  After being successful bullies they ate then went to the lake for a drink. Suddenly, the female spread her wings after making a low growling noise, more action…

I thinks she’s blushing beneath that expansive wing.  Oh my, the birds are busy today, and things happen in 3s they say, so stay tuned, the days still young!

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

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

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


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

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…

BRRRR- I can’t help but feel guilt for homeless people, especially families who might be out trying to survive in this horrific cold. What can it be like to try to keep warm on these miserable chilled days? No home, no running water to bathe, no food, and more and more people are at that point of no return.
I hate thinking about stray animals too and how they cope. There is a cat that the owners do not permit to go inside over at the condos where my daughter lives. The owner did set up a pedestal outside the kitchen window, and the cat sits and looks inside – how can someone not allow their “pet” cat access to their home? Why have a “pet” you don’t really want to care for?  It always breaks my daughters heart and mine to see it alone wanting the company of human contact. Sometimes the cat will be standing up peeking into my daughters kitchen window watching as those “inside beasts” lounge in their ‘padded cat tree’.     My daughter’s cats are very spoiled.
Ringo and Frank, (my cats) won’t even consider staying outside for longer than about 15 minutes in this cold before they are at the back door begging to come in.
Well, I’m sitting with my coat and bathrobe trying to stay warm as the thermostat sits at 70degrees, I know this bill is going to be a big one!
Wroking on stuff to send over to juried show in Sanforw welcome center called Kingdom of Birds and Animals, I figure I have enough of both to be able to try and get one photo in the show,  here’s a few samples

So trying to narrow down field.

I am going through all my files one by one deleting the lousy pics and trying to trim the phat photo excess,  ( I guess that was the same logic that the Beautiful People dating website used after the holidays to delet 5000 people who had gained wait on their site – can you believe?)   Thought I would share a few pics off the folder called “heron”

Just a few to keep your interest until I have something fun to write about. Okay, lets see, it’s 8am, I’ve been up since 4:30am, so think I’ll grab a couple Zzzz’z before I restart the day, maybe the temp will be up to 39degrees by 11am!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have been in and out most of the day. When I came home at 3pm, the Mama and Papa crane were lounging  on my yard. Mama was yawning as she sat, the male stood on one leg nearby,   nothing unusual about that — the baby was not with them.   BUT,  I noticed that when the male walked, he was noticeable limping, his right leg has been hurt. That has me worried. Wonder what happened?

In the video, the male was not doing his dance to full capacity, no jumping in the air, his is clearly hobbling on his right leg.
Have not seen the fox today, but did see my adorable mailbox mocking bird.

The weather is miserable cold for Florida, only 50’s today, that sucks!  But did manage to suffer through it by going to lunch with Leslie, my friend who is a film writer.  She’s always in the midst of publishing something.  We ate at Toojays – That’s me taking a pic – I like Toojay’s desserts, give me Napoleans or a black and white cookies – yum!
The herons were both on the tree when I went out to fish.   And my heron was down waiting for me at the lake.  There was nothing biting, too cold!  I stayed out there a half hour, but it grew too cold as the sun drifted away.  I have already seen raccoons out there tonight.  I am sitting in my house with 73 degree heat on and a t-shirt beneath my long sleeve sweater and my jacket draped over my shoulders, what a softie!
Will be wondering about my Papa heron, hope it is something that will heal itself quickly, stay posted. HEY, have you seen this?    

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t get it, normally the nest should be finished by now. This heron has not progressed much at all. The male flies in for a bit in the morning, then flies off, have not seen him return when I leave my fishing post.  Yesterday they were both in the nest at 7:30am having a nice meeting, the nest looks a bit fuller, but I would have thought it would really be a thick tangle by now.
then the male left.
and was gone.  The cranes came minus their baby, I think they might have finally gotten rid of him.   That means in a few months, maybe Feb, or March, a new one or two will arrive.
The anhingas came in pairs yesterday, two males were hanging around drying off their wings.   The male on the metal was very bold and let me get quite close.   The wings are a gunmetal gray, very cool contrast.  

This morning while taking out the trash, I saw the male heron fly to the nest.
They did not get close, just stood and looked around. He did not even bring any branches.   When suddenly a third heron flew over and landed on a branch above the male .  
They all looked at each other and the one on the lower branch took off.
And off it went into the nest two yards over. So what is going on? Is the male serving two females?  Was the heron that took off the other female going back to her nest — was she just checking out the competition?  Maybe the male is trying to establish a heronry, of having a few nests that he can service?   The other nest is the one normally used each year by the herons. Having the one in my yard is a dream come true to have them so close, but looking at how flimsy it still is, the male needs to bring more branches.  This nest is looking amateur compared with what my herons built a few years ago.  The tree in the neighbors yard is higher up and much more secluded.   I will keep an eye on this. Did not fish last night, it’s too cold for me, only in the 60’s yesterday for a high and that is like being in the 30’s for my blood.
Last night I did stop by my daughters as she was working on a Pabst Blue Ribbon cake for her sweet boyfriend.  It was so cute. Her cats were so cute and their fur is growing back.  They were sleeping on their cat tree, but perked up to say hello.   I love their little flat faces and soft bodies. They will be getting a fourth cat as their cousin Sasha is coming to visit them near X-mas.  Oh Baa Humbug, time to get a move on for the day,
take care until tomorrow….
P/S, rat traps still empty, but waiting just in case…

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….

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