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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.

” Curiouser and curiouser”, Adam and I headed up to Deland to experience the Florida Museum for Women Artists. The exhibit is called “Almost Alice” by Artist, Maggie Taylor. So after all the water issues were solved, we headed up north for about 17 miles.  I made Adam man the Kodak as we drove along, he fired a few shots of things as I would point them out.
As we passed through Orange City, we saw the orange:   I loved this guys look, though I did enhance his hair in that is was orange spiked and I gave him an afro, but honestly, his hair was that color.
We passed so many photos we missed, I will have to go again and stop along the way.   So many cool looking antique shops. The drive is easy. We passed The Gateway Center For the Arts, then Stacey’s Buffet where the abundance of food is amazing and good, the owner is very kid to the members of Gateway. But we didn’t stop to pig-out, we headed straight on through. Didn’t stop to see if any manatees were up at Blue Springs Park, I imagine they have taken off as it has been so warm.
Deland pops up like Sanford, a main drag filled with blocks with lot of little individual shops including art museums, many restaurants and bars considering it is a college town to Stetson and what a beautiful school it is.  The Fish building is on the corner of  W.. New York and 100 N. Woodlands Blvd, or as we call Woodlands, 17/92.      Which of course morphed into an Alice kind of mindset for Abbe   
We parked and walked the side streets and I came across this bug that was HUGE, at least about 4 inches long   That thing was squashed like the bug it was!  

We bounded up the stairs at The Fish building to the second floor. I had been here once before this place was viable, it was in construction phase with no defining rooms, just framing wood to map out space.  The Florida Museum For Women Artists is all about promoting women’s art, simple as that. So simple I joined while I was there. Maybe sometime, I can submit and have something accepted to show, now that would be a real accomplishment.
The volunteer greeted us and gave us instruction about voting for very interesting planters    that were ‘planted’ in different corners in the galleries of which there are three, plus a cafe and a gift shop.  I asked about taking photos, but I was not allowed so the pictures I have included are off the web.    This Maggie Taylor Collection is part of a collection  at the Samuel P. Ham Museum of art at the University of Gainesville where she lives. Her technique involves scanning tin-type images and merges them with photos and then layer manipulation. Ah, I wish she would take me under her wing. The collection is stirring, wonderfully surreal and sort of made me think of the funky twins in ‘The Shining’. I loved it all. Adam and I walked around twice to take it in again and again. The photos each in their dreamy tone have so much depth and texture to them even though they are prints. The had the book for sale at the gift shop and I must say the gift shop has quality art pieces for sale.   We loved Michele Davdson’s jewelry.   And there were plenty of other items.

After we left, we walked up the main drag and since we were under time constraints, we went to eat lunch at The Main Street Grill then made our way home, past the Courthouse.  and looping around again onto 17/92 heading south.    Was it the effect of Maggie Taylor — because we swear, there was a wolf in the vehicle in front of us!
Finally home, I looked for my two books, Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
Illustrations by John Tenniel, colored by Fritz Kredel. These books accompanied me to college in 1968.  Must lovingly look over them again.  (And indulge in my new favorite flavor of Goldfish, SMORES!
The Florida Museum For Women Artists was wonderful, (they do charge admission) and it’s always fun spending time bonding with your kids! Could not have asked for a better day, weather almost 80 and sunny, but we didn’t notice the weather till we were almost home, it seems we were lost in the rabbit hole in Deland…    {Tenneil/Kredel}

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…

Well, so much for my Mothers Day!  I was thinking about this really nice flatware I wanted as I stood on the roof this afternoon over at Andrea’s townhouse and caulked around the upstairs bedroom window.   I sat up there overlooking Lake Bellaire which looked like it was getting algae too. People must be mindful of over fertilization of their grass. But to get back. I was on the verge of asking the kids for some Reed and Barton flatware I had admired, and knew that would be something fun for mothers day. I kept it in the back of my head all afternoon. I didn’t go to Sanford’s Alive After 5, instead I fished and then came in because the turtles, 5 of them were harassing me by going for the bait. I went to go look in the dryer when I noticed my water pump was running and running and there was no water on. When I opened the garage door I saw a problem… now I guess I will tell the kids I want a well tank instead of the flatware. See those mumbo-jumbo of contraptions?   That is my water system, the blue tank is the well pump tank, the middle is the chlorine tank, then the softener and then the charcoal tank. If you notice, you will see water all over beneath the pump tank, yep, the iron has eaten through the bottom of the tank and it gave way and has been leaking as I was fishing which of course is after business hours! Water was gushing when I came out to check on my wash after fishing. Now it feels like a hurricane has passed through as I have had to turn the water to the house off. BUT– I have a great water team, Bill and Bradley who own Discount Water Supply  on Airport Blvd in Sanford. Bill is good about calling me back and smoothing things over and assuring me I will live through the night and won’t flood out.  I will have water tomorrow. Bill really gives good lessons in water equipment and I write down his lessons on the wall above the tanks,   they read like Biblical verses of things to live by regarding water, like which spigot turns off water to the house, which is the by-pass for the salt tank, which is the testing spigot. Too much for a brain to absorb. So I wrote them in permanent marker on the walls and live by them.  Bill even provided me with my own little ‘plug’  so during hurricane season or if a bad storm would turn the electric off for hours, I can plug right into my generator so I have water. When you live with a well, it does make you appreciate water usage that much more. Tonight I even miss simple flipping on the spigot at the sink to have water, for now  I pour about a tablespoon of water in my hand and some soap, foam it up and then a small amount of water  for a short rinse. It makes one mindful of what a precious commodity water is.
But to get back to Mothers Day, I had so wanted this nice inexpensive flatware to replace all the cheap broken sets that are now occupying the drawer.  But think I will ask the kids for the new Pump tank, that makes more logical sense and I will certainly use it enough. These things aren’t cheap. Gosh, $200 for a tank which hopefully will last for years, and I also need a new charcoal refill, another $200 also, but once both are put into place, they should last for years. I have no monthly charges for water and sewer, but things must be maintained for up keep to have good water. Most of you have city water, my water is loaded with iron and goes through a chlorine tank that then washes out the chlorine via salt and then the charcoal, there is no flouride in my water. I have noticed that that now have chlorine free systems, there are options to maintaining clean water.
I guess flatware can wait for my birthday, well, that’s in August  – ummm, my front truck tires are wearing out, maybe the kids can buy me flatware next X-mas…

This young mockingbird was outside my window this afternoon   – it was eating seed and then seemed to get tired and it sat down. 
It almost toppled over, but straightened up and flew off.

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…

These are funny birds. They are boisterous and that’s what I love about them.
The neon feathers are gorgeous when reflecting the sun. And they entertain me while I fish as they look for food around the lily pads.   
Walking magisterially like they own them, or maybe tame them.  They lift up pad after pad using their beaks and claws to push them back to reveal what might be lurking beneath as they eat frogs and fish and even baby birds.   

They come in to eat with the blackbirds and crows, but dominate the blackbirds.   What I love is when they puff all up and show the other male how ready they are to find a female.
I watched two males take turn pumping up in competition, first one then the other about three times.  
I have seen others release their inner “Hulk”.  

In the sun they gleam!  
I will have several like the last photo in my exhibit at the Maitland Library after Wednesday.
I can’t take enough photos of their beautiful faces. 
They come and hog about every drop of food at the feeder, but it’s wonderful watching all their antics.
Take a walk – I bet if you live in many states, you will see the Grackle. Enjoy them, observe their interaction, and laugh at their “puffery”.     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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…

All day the weather service has thrown out the “C” word, “cyclonic activity”.  Apparently there were swirling weather dervishes all over central Florida.  Brighthouse channel 13 kept an atmosphere of fear and doom and impending present natural forces waiting to pounce: straightline winds, tornados, lightening, blinding rain, floods, etc etc.
My weather radio   kept going off over and over with tornado and thunderstorm warnings, it gets to a point where it’s like ‘calling wolf” via a robotic voice calm as Hal in 20o1 Space Odyssey that tells you you are about to die if you ignore this radio command.  I called in The Cat in the Hat to soften the blow and point out the irony of a robot’s voice controlling the sheer panic of real people.
As soon as that blatant noise goes off warning of warnings, I look around and if I don’t see or hear anything, I figure ‘Hal’ must have meant the tornado was headed somewhere else and I don’t have to unload the linen closet and step in while concrete block falls around me.
The birds had been active all morning.   The clouds low and growling from the warm southeast. Marching like they had a mission to accomplish by fighting  the north with it’s cold front.  As I said the birds were  busy,  (squirrels too).

This grackle shook off the loose water.

The woodpeckers were tapping out their SOS to the other peckers to seek a deep hole and stay there.
Mama heron flew over for a visit.  

I looked across the lake and could see the father crane and grabbed Adam to go have a look, (yes, even tornadic activity can’t stop me from risking limb and life to see baby cranes .)  The mama had flown back over and we saw the babies,   one which had run under the wire fence and the other was soon to follow. When the parents noticed that they had a couple peewee escapees, they could not figure out how to get through that fence and kept banging into it.  Their bird brains did not compute metal as part of nature’s mesh.

Meanwhile the colts were bolting with their new found freedom and fear of the unknown.   So Adam chased the adult cranes out toward the water and they found they could get over to their offspring. We didn’t see the babies after that, they were on private property inside that fenced yard. I am hoping soon they will swim those babies over in a week or so so I can get close ups.
At 4:00pm was the ribbon cutting  by the Chamber of Commerce for Rhonda Richley’s new re-opening of Art Affair Gallery to a larger space at 301 East First Street in Sanford. I looked at the weather and decided to wait it out a bit. At 6pm I left and was glad I got to see the new space. Even with the weather alert many people were out attending Alive After 5 which had an Irish/ St. Patrick Day theme.
The gallery was packed with people, it was a wonderful turnout. I met artists and or photographers: Marie Decosta,  Mauricio Murillo, Ken Elliott and Gummy Bear
shown here with Mauricio who does wonderful satiric gummybear art.   Look at that, Mauricio and GB are the cover of In Progress urban arts Mag!  Mauricio’s work is quite humorous and he says he enjoys making people laugh. You can’t help enjoy his work.   
here’s a link  http://www.murilloarts.daportfolio.com/ Mauricio is also quite involved with the Icla Da Silva Foundation matching bone marrow donors to Leukemia patients.
Marie DeCosta had a room full of acrylic abstract paintings that were bold and full of imagery. She also had nature photography and her prices were very fair.

Ken Elliott a photographer from Ormond beach was gracious and gave me great tips on using the manual setting. His work was testament to his professional eye.  http://www.kenelliottphotography.com/ Ken does a lot of fine art and commercial work.  Thanks again Ken for all the tips and the stories. I enjoyed his sunset photo of a red sunset that he caught.  I had one of those nights a few weeks ago after a wonderful vertical rainbow and the sky rather tapered off into a rich sunset as I fished  – this was how it looked. And if you read my blog, you know I fish quite often!  Except not tonight.
There was a room that featured a student artist, Andrew Allen McCoy
The collage by Constance Payne was very telling. I was told she is a tattoo artist and takes in young artists and tries to help them focus on their lives and their art.    One piece is Payne’s and the others are students.  They learned well.  And on with the show, here is more of the Art Affair expanded Gallery. Rhonda does her own textured art and she is not shy with her colors and subjects.  There was artwork made out of soda cans, baskets out of paper, jewelry, very imaginative woodworking and much more, whatever the texture, whatever the medium, paper, rock, scissors, you will find something to suit you.  And it’s not a place where you can only look and can’t afford to buy.  Go take a look, you will enjoy what Rhonda has done for Sanford, she’s added a lot of class and fine art. Here’s more proof:

And here’s a few of my own “abb-strax” resulting from trying to take night photography of the surrounding events from outside. That included a group of Irish Bagpipe players.

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…

Oh it was a sad headline this morning about poor Mary. I did not renew my past Zoo membership when it expired in October, that was the last time I saw her.  I worry so much for Maude who is left all alone and mourning her companion’s death. The two were bonded and it must be excruciatingly painful for Maude who must be wondering where her buddy of many years is.

This is a little tribute to Mary and Maude and some of the other animals I always find fascinating at the intimate Sanford Zoo, though I am no fan of the size of the enclosures of the big cats nor Maude and Mary. While it is an educational tool, I always felt Maude and Mary should have been given to Animal Kingdom to live out their lives. Their area is miniscule and made me always feel sad when I saw them, I hope Maude will be given the large range she deserves now, while their trainers and caretakers obviously love them, the living conditions were way too confining.
I do applaud the efforts of the Sanford Zoological Park to expand, and only want what is best for Maude. I know a committee is making a decision on how much stress is involved in this process, stress from being without a companion, more stress from moving Maude from her familiar environment and introduced to new herds. Hard decisions to make, if only Maude could tell us…

I will add more when I find my files… Here’s a few of the others


Good night, sleep tight  

Had to go pick up the rest of my photos in downtown Orlando so I dragged Adam along and we stopped at various places along the way.
One of which was Static on 17/92, (240 Orlando Ave.) near the Winter Park Village.  We love this place, it’s like being Alice down the culture warp hole.
At one point it was a record store then was bought out 6 years ago. The manager was great about letting me take pics, hey how can anyone complain about free publicity!  So here’s a small visual tour into culture wonderland. I love being surrounded by the colors and you know me, I am a t-shirt kind of girl, (well girl might be stretching it a bit when you are almost 60), but what the Hell, I like t-shirts! and where was I going with this, oh, the colorful shirts and designs are plentiful. Here ya go:

hats hats hats        wear on the day your blood is running thick with anarchy.
Marilyn Monroe lunch boxes and purses –  and here’s more shirts … Need Jesus? He’s there too along with Beetlejuice

and coffin purses   

Need posters?    Paperdolls?   

warm face coverings?   And weird things strewn about 

It’s a place where they have clothes, but the mannequin prefers being nude.      and more posters,
Bacon Mints anyone?  
And of course there are the vintage albums, so many covers to look at.  So many years of music magically appear and take you back into some purple haze eclipse of memory when you recognize  Jethro Tull’s Aqualung and many others. SOme covers are just cool to look at
There was even an album with Archie Bunker
who knew? And that was the second album!
Finally after many many turns and twists to look at things, I came away with buttons for my hat,
and Adam got the Beetlejuice headknocker doll. Go see Static, it’s a place that will leave you talking about the old days, in my case to my son, who can never believe there was a time when I wasn’t a hippie.   

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 –

The best pastels are natures.  I take the photos and try and do mather nature justice. Sometimes I leave them natural and sometimes give them a little ‘boost’.  Either way, I am so lucky to have this option of time and sight to take it all in and appreciate it and then pass it on to those who don’t get the time.  There is beauty in everything,  even chaos ask Ringo!
The fishing tonight was nothing, not even a nibble except for one turtle who came by looking for a hand out. You know what they say about elephants never forgetting? Well neither do the turtles.  They look at you with disdain that says they will go after your bait UNLESS you throw them some bread.  So, sucker that I am,  they do get a treat.
How do you resist these angry stares?  
The sky tonight was interesting, had twists and twirls and weird, ziggy lines from con trails.
Here’s what it looked like over the lake around 5pm and then as it progressed.  The temperature was in the upper 50’s – still needed all my layers of padding to stay warm, if I fell down I would bounce, (unless I fell in the lake and would surely drown, or more likely be totally humiliated as it is knee deep by the shore line.)

Ringo gave a nice profile shot for me, then sat down and watched the day undress.

Ringo came home last night with a bruise on his chin, I bet he was fighting with that black stray cat we see often.   Ringo rather looks like he has a goatee on his chin, kind of a “beat” and hip, Kerouac cat. In fact at night, I have to read him from chapters of archy and mehitabel before he goes to bed, he snickers as only cats can, silently.
Tonight as I pet his soft head, I asked him why he always has to get into scraps, why he must lie in the street, why he had to kill birds and play with snakes?  He told me to refer to page 107,  Of archy and mehitabel,
the lesson of the moth

i was talking to a moth
the other evening
he was trying to break into
an electric light bulb
and fry himself on the wires

why do you fellows
pull this stunt i asked him
because it is the conventional
things for moths or why
if that had been an uncovered
candle instead of an electric
light bulb you would
now be a small unsightly cinder
have you no sense

plenty of it he answered
but at times we get tired
of using it
we get bored with routine
and crave beauty
and excitement
fire is beautiful
and we know that if we get
too close it will kill us
but what does it matter
it is better to be happy
for the moment
and be burned up with beauty
then to live a long time
and be bored all the while…

I hate to admit it, but Ringo is such a ‘cat’-e-gorically feline progressive thinker…
”                    

First thing that struck me on my way to Sanford Party-Gras were the robins!  One street over there were many robins in the road, funny how they can’t go one more block to my house so I can get some good photos.   I rolled down the window just to show my “northern peeps” that their birds came down here to stay warm, well, I suppose they can call 50 degrees warm, not me, I’m headed out with 2 pairs of socks and 2 shirts under a turtle neck and long coat.
I parked the truck and looked at the sky as it was supposed to rain.  
but it was a thick, wooly ceiling up there.  The first store I came across was G’ma Bobbie, on the corner or Magnolia and 3rd St.  It was always a fun store to get used frames in and the new owner, Barry was busy giving it fresh touches.  
They have a lot of furniture and knick/knacks. Barry also has an adorable cat that needs a home, she was a beauty, but as you know I have 3 myself.   Here’s that adorable face.    And she was so very soft.
Walked down Magnolia toward First street. Passed Wayne Densch Theatre, a new Yoga studio and Stones Throw Bistro, and a photography studio.   
Passing Maya’s Bookstore, and out into the street looking at the small, early crowd.    This couple was festive.
They had a band playing.  And people dancing.    
Wow, Mardi Gras is so colorful!
Stopped by Rhonda’s, Art Affair Gallery 303 East first and had to visit her exciting store and see what new looks were hanging around. She had a lot! And she will be moving to a larger place right on the same corner which means she’s digging her heels in and will be showcasing a lot more art and  local artists. Thanks Rhona Richley!  Here’s a glimpse of things at Art Affair Gallery.


Plus there is cool jewelry too.
In front of the Gallery was Gabrielle Shafer showing antique jewelry creations, called
Enchanted Antiquities.  Her set up was very creative,  her unique hand made jewelry is all specially selected from older pieces. She incorporates the old and new together and ‘viola’ beautiful jewelry, wish I had gone back to get a close up. Hope she did well.      

Next to Art Affair Gallery is Soap Sanctuary & Gift shop, a wonderful place full of body delights. Loved her business card.    
Went across the street to The Welcome Center, encountered a very festive woman who was a volunteer there. (What do the volunteers drink before volunteering? hahaha)    Up on the walls is the artwork from last time I was down here.  (one of mine is still there)   There were some costumes on the floor, but didn’t see any naked folks running around.
Back out on the streets and looked at many artists, ceramics, woodworkers, jewelry, jewelry and more jewelry.  

Always enjoy the worldwide imported selection of furniture and gifts at Washburns.   Bailey’s Upscale Resale had lots of great buys, big bargains there.

Always like to support fellow photographers, this was G. K Sharman  blog at http://gkspix.wordpress.com.  Also enjoyed the ‘chair art by Julia S. Owens, check her out at  http://juliaowens.net Below is LUNCHBOX by Craig Beverly.
Enjoyed Beverly’s t-shirts and the price was right!   http://myspace.com/lunchbox74 – Rhonda, if you read this, put some of Craig’s shirts in your shop, (Craig also had terrific art, hint hint…)
Maya’s is one of the best books stores around here!  And go upstairs and see Kim at her store,  Fringe,   she has a lot of vintage clothing and accessories.
Then moved on,  
As the sun set, the cold was waiting to pounce.  As I drove away, I could hear the music from the biker bar.
And that was a bit of a tour around Sanford’s Party Gras and I didn’t even mention that most people go there to eat really cheap and really good food. It’s all over the streets with vendors from local eateries participating. I didn’t eat or drink, but there is wine everywhere too. I did stop at Panera for soup to go. YUM!
And when I got home, Ringo was in the corner having a dream, I think it was all the vaccines he had impaled upon him at his yearly exam.  Can you believe that I could have had all kinds of ala carte services for his “wellness” today costing a total of $396! I opted for the basics at $112.
Maybe it was something spooky because as Ringo was dreaming, Quentin Tarantino appeared on tv looking directly at Ringo and shielding his eyes in his voyeuristic way.  What a strange way to end a party-gras blog, throw in a celebrity and a dreaming cat, hey, why not….

Art Affair gallery –  http://artaffairgallery.com
Fringe  407-320-8016
Baileys Upscale Resale  http://www.baileysresale.com
G’ma Bobbie’s  229 Magnolia Ave.
Soap Sanctuary & Gift Shop  http://thesoapsanctuary.com
Gabrielle Shafer Enchanted Antiquities   http://enchantedantiquities.blogspot.com
Julia S. Owens   http://laughingjulia.etsy.com
Washburns  www.washburnimports.com
Maya’s Books and Music   407) 321-6504

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