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

52009-8am It stormed most of the night! So far we are up almost ten inches. The funny thing is, at a point where there was no rain this morning, I went out to garden a bit and pick up downed tree limbs because you get stir crazy after three days of incarceration. So I transplanted a few canna lilies and the ground about five inches down is dry as dry can be!  It’s just as sandy as if no rain has ever fallen. It is another day of rain and what can I say, same old same old, but at least it is helping with our drought!  The only visitors have been the ducks and regular birds.

52009woodpeckera-1 Okay — so how does one get through the days of liquid peril that assault us? Comfort food of course.  comfortfood1 comfortfood2
comfortfood3 The best is the new Haagen Dazs ice cream “Five”!!!! OMG it’s amazing and it has fruit in it so I am counting that as a fruit suppliment in my daily diet as I count the nuts in the Payday. The cookies count as needed carbs of course. And it does give comfort when the weather is blaring all day long with lightning, thunder and storms all around us and the repeated warnings. It’s all one can do to make it through the day besides petting cats… 52009Frankie2_edited-1

weatheredit The rain became wind driven once it hit about one am. Coming hard from the east mainly.  No lightening or thunder, but the rain is pelting the east side of the house as we speak and winds up to 20mph. All night as I slept off and on, I was aware of the sound. Got up at 5am to make sure garage floor didn’t have anything that could be wrecked by rain coming in. They say we could get up to 7 inches today and I believe it. That’s great news though I don’t understand why mother nature has to throw it down all at once, it’s almost like Fay last year.  These weather patterns are so odd anymore. I’m sure there will be a lot of flooding all around Florida. When it gets light and stops raining so hard, I’ll take a picture of the water meter. Yesterday this is what it looked like around 10am. monday8am The rain had just begun to really hit. When I took a photo last night after fishing, the water was up to the 130 number gaining about 2 inches. I fully expect it to be around 135 when I see it next this morning.  Frankie the cat had sense and came in last night. Old Church toughed it out on porch and came in this morning only to pee and eat and ran back outside to the wet porch again. I think I have the only cat that comes in to use the box and goes back out! I don’t see Ringo, but I know he is high and dry somewhere. Later…

guage519 8:am, the water gauge is up past 160, that’s 4 inches of rain! And if you notice, the small meter is back under the water once again.  The birds must be sleeping in the trees as there is not one that has come for breakfast. At least for now, wind and rain have slacked off which gives it time to absorb in Florida’s deep sand heap!
Now it’s 7:35. meter reading is at 1.80, that means we have had 6 1/2 inches so far! 51909meter-edited-1_edited-1 It clearly was a day for the ducks! 51909duckinrain-1_edited-1

and as for Ringo, he was asleep inside the whole time! ringoyawn-1 more cats at http://offshoot2.wordpress.com

WAIT, it is now 12:35am and we are having wrapping rainbands and winds just like we are in a hurricane! outside the trees are swaying hard and the wind is pushing things around out there. I can constantly hear my loose porch door. The rain is coming at a slant and very hard. We are back in a yellow band of full force water. I bet when I get up tomorrow and can go out, I bet we have 5 more inches. We are getting slammed. weatheredit There were a couple tornados not too far away.  It’s hard to sleep with all this noise of nature. There seems to be a low pressure area mixing with the cold front and it is in some twirly mood circling around the middle of the state. We had our electric go out once, but came right back. I do have our flashlights ready.  I am always happy I made the decision to take the trees out that hung over the house, too risky having those huge pines that close.  I can’t imagine that my toilets will flush, will be able to tell that later.  The winds are very very active, at one point I thought it might break through, in fact it is doing it again as I write. Maybe I better think about getting this out and looking for a safe place… will write later…

This is a peek at the start of the day — will add more later RAIN BEAUTIFUL RAIN –

51809waether_edited-1 518rainbarrel_edited-1I bet Beda is outside watching her rain barrel filled, mine is splashing out of the top – full to the brim, looks like night ouside right now at 10:26am, glad I have nowhere to go this morning…

The afternoon slid by and now on the evening is still just a blur of hazy gray with soft rain, enough to add about 2 inches to the lake today.  shadowplane-1 The birds were quite busy, mostly blackbirds that looked nasty.  51809wetcrow-1_edited The woodpecker and bluejays all jockeyed in for positions too. The birds always seem active during moderate rains.  And yes, crazy Abbe did go out and try to dodge the rain and fish. The turtles were out in full speed mode, and an anhinga sat in the tree. Last night I had 3 anhinga on the pine where I fish.
3anhinga-1_editedTonight, there was one who is very distinct in her coloration.  51709anhingaA-1_edited

I finally gave up the water fight and came in and the anhinga came down, sat a few minutes and then took off.anhingaedited

51809anhingaflies-1_edited It was a wet one today and if it continues as it is supposed to, maybe we will have a half a foot added to the lake and my lawn will even green up. I don’t see any negative downside to this, except trying to keep my camera dry when chasing wildlife in the rain…

Went to visit my son’s good friend and his wife as they have a beautiful new baby.  Of course it is always a treat to see  their friends grow into adulthood and begin families of their own.  After that we went to my son’s friends’ brother’s ranch and go see the clydesdales.
We drove the short distance and walked through the wonderful stable to see chickens and goats.
51709goatandbaby-1_edited-1 The baby goats were adorable. We then came upon a very handsome and alert paint stud. He was very macho and quite an anxious horse. His eyes were amazing, blue on the left side, brown on the right.  He liked attention.  may172009 216edit_edited-1 As we doted on him, the friend went to the fence and yelled at the top of his lungs. Suddenly, from way out back of the field came a pack of 4 horses and a cow running hard, thundering
through to where we stood.

may172009 212size The young cow was out in front leading the way and believe me, with all that weight you could feel the earth vibrate beneath as they came closer.  They stopped before us and let us rub their faces, (well, not the cow, he stood way off to the side).  There were two clydesdales and they were huge. I don’t technically know how many hands they were for a measurement, but the one male was very tall.  edithorse My son is 6’2″ and look at the height of the head of that horse! The ankles of those horses are covered in long hair.  They are terrifically muscled and
may172009 246edit look how a real work horse should look. The male paint on the other side saw the female horse and got extremely excited and sounded like he might come over the fence to join her and the others.  may172009 224edit

Horses are so cool, their faces and reactions are interesting.  As there was a young colt in that pack, the mother would not let us near the baby and tried to bite my son’s friends hand!  The beauty and strength of their bodies was impressive.  We fed them all a bit of hay and I enjoyed petting those long noses and thick necks.
When we left, my son looked around and wished he had some acreage and a horse. When he was very young we lived in South Carolina in the small town of Camden which holds the yearly Camden Cup. He took riding lessons when he was four and I have movies of him with that tiny body on top of an adult horse as it jumped. He looks like a little doll in a helmet and riding pants and now I squirm when I see it!  I loved having property and when we lived in Davie, Florida when my children were toddlers, we had a house that was surrounded by ranches with horses on all sides of us. We always had horses at our fence and fed them carrots – the neighbors gave us use of one of their horses to ride and one of our neighbors collected Amish buggies and would give everyone rides around our neighborhood on Sundays. So we have fond memories of horses.
Later we got home and watched the Preakness Stakes and cheered the filly winner. But I’ll tell you one thing, that little     may172009 229edit cow might be able to give Rachel Alexandra a run for the money and my bet is on the cow!

http://offshoot2.wordpress.com for more pics

dsc02705 That’s him! The missing baby heron has grown a bit and now he   and his sibling have taken to regular flights back and forth to the nest. I am convinced that is the same one who was rejected. What’s fun is to watch the two babies fly awkwardly around the lake, they stop and eat at different spots then fly back to the nest to compare. They are always competing up there, YAK YAK YAK, their necks go up and down, their wings extend and it’s always competiton.

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

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

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

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

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

there’s zuccinizucciniand wonderful lumbering trees just as calm as Sonja.  She has sentimental plantings around yard and her home is  just as luminous as she is. She brings me “apples and cheeses”, we chat about life and writing, and she is one of the brightest people you’ll ever meet.  Even when she is away, (which was a lot last year)  and…. she is not like me who goes to Tampa and feels that was a huge feat! No, she ventures down the Amazon, has hot cocoa in Switzerland, and loves climbing the hills in Greece. And she is always considerate of others and always spoils me with little things she brings back. The best was the chocolate from Switzerland, hint hint.  I am so lucky to have such a friend who puts up with me, and I am smarter just by being around her and learning so many things. There is always something fun going on in Sonja’s sharing garden.
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Did you ever see the sun go down and you are convinced it was like no other night? Well last Thursday when I had to run an errand, it was 7:55pm and the sunset which I normally can’t see because of all the trees around the Loch Arbor area, was closing in over Interstate 4 and was one of the best sunsets I have ever seen! The peaches and dark pinks were astonishing, it had gift wrapped the sun in peach and was there to be photographed and I did not have my camera. I am lucky enough to have the sunrise right pop up right over the lake in my backyard, but I do miss the sun going down.
Last night as I was fishing, it was getting later and filtering through the trees I could see it might be another pink one. So I put down my rods and tackle box, said a rushed good night to my heron and the cats

catsandheron420-small who by now know I am wacky and accept it.  Though the heron does get a bit miffed when I leave early.  In fact, the cats stayed there sleeping while the heron escorted me in.heron420 But I had to see what was unveiling tonight. I grabbed my camera and truck keys and off I went toward I-4 heading west chasing the sunset. But I was just too late, it was after 8pm and the sun had about avoided me by pulling up most of her stakes and taking her light toward California. I pulled into Kohls parking lot and watched the absolutely stunning remnants of the sun pulling her light away and the clouds left by the cold front. The clouds seem to be folding their colors into the fabric of the night. And it was worth it, and though I didn’t have anyone to share it with, that’s the great thing about blogging, you can n see the totally unretouched pics I have. I do have to say, it is worth it to get a glimpse of something that takes your breath away. It is something that brings a lot of peace and a smile, but then again, I am afforded that each day with my wildlife too. So chase sunsets, it’s worth every minute!
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The baby crane was left alone today, but only for a few minutes. The folks had come to the stump to eat some seed.
dsc02483cranefamily-1resize the baby found some crevices that it could stick it’s head into and find seed for itself. They are now coming very regularly as before. I so love when I see them coming.
And as the heron and I fished, the papa crane came and ran toward the heron charging at her and sending the heron flying off for a while.  The male crane also threatened Ringo the cat too, but Ringo knows better and gets out of the way.
The crane parents must have had some nostalgia to visit their old nest in the little marsh just off my property. The water was lower last year, low enough that they hatched a baby there over a year ago.
The Papa crane flew over first and began looking  at his ‘old digs’, then the Mama followed him.    dsc02528-1parentsresize

The parents left the baby standing on the seawall crying out. It was so upset and ran back and forth shades of that sad heron baby, and this baby is way too small to be able to  jump off the steep seawall to the water below. It was distressing to watch. It’s big black eyes were frantic as it looked at me and its’ little high voice was peeping away a mile a minute.

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That seawall has seen it’s share of bird trauma, guess I might as well refer to it as the “wailing wall” instead. The folks finally flew back and the baby’s demeanor changed in an instant.  I was rather surprised that the parents would fly off and leave the baby crane so close to Ringo, but I kept an eye on the cat, and Ringo was preoccupied with his eye on the fishing pole. The fishing was great, lots of small fish and even a couple small bass. The heron, the Pekin ducks, the anhinga and even some osprey were keeping me distracted tonight.  The water was flat, no turtles and the air was a calm 80 degrees. It did look like clouds were coming in and the strong odor of smoke was thick about an hour later. Again like last year there are some wildfires close by  and the wind was blowing smoke in this direction.   As it got darker, the cranes went back to their nests, the Pekin twins went to sleep on shore possibly dsc02556resizedreaming that Carbs would come back and be with them again. Meanwhile the female heron waited for me to leave the water first, she’s polite that way.  When I walk back to the house clutching my camera bag, tackle box and 2 rods, the heron will follow me sometimes, she seems to be upset when I am going inside, but then she turns around and flies back to her nest where those two big heron brats are. Tomorrow I will address the heron and their overgrown babies who refuse to leave home. Certainly in these times, the kids ARE coming back home to live with the folks, but these big big baby herons seem to know a good thing when they see it and don’t seem to have ambitions to take off. Again, these birds are all very smart and calculating.
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I think we might get rain tomorrow, I sure hope so, the lake is way down again, the little water gauge is still covered by the water, but should be visible in a week or so if no water comes. My lawn is still mostly
dead weeds, but that’s fine, I don’t have to water dead weeds. As long as the lake is there, the wildlife will be abundant. One problem is that our county just a permit to pump 5.5million gallons of water a day from the St. Johns River. it sounds like a quick fix that might in the long run ruin the upper part of the river and bring more sea water intrusion down the road and not only that, but it sounds like the next thing you know, other Florida counties will demand their share of the water. Our fresh water is a a precious commodity and our commissioners are very easily swayed like many politicians, by things that benefit them and their pockets. The suits should hold it up for a while I assume. It is great we have strong environmentalists who go out and protect our resources. People should be made to pay a higher amount for water, especially the golf courses and big estates who have way too much grass that demands too much water usuage! At some point during the decades to come, one wonders what will happen to our water supply. We take for granted we have water at our disposal. One day there might be serious rationing, thats the way things work, they never have the foresight to figure things to conserver, only when it gets critical!
There are ways to have gorgeous landscaping without so much grass. Too bad in Florida we do not strive for making that mandatory now, that subdivisions and their developers should be required to put in responsible landscaping that does not require constant watering. Also instant hot water in every house so people don’t have to waste a gallon before it is warm!  There must be ways we can do much more to conserve!

Article below just in case you would like to read:

Seminole gets OK to pump from St. Johns

PALATKA – Seminole County is ready to forge ahead with construction of a $90 million plant that will siphon 5.5 million gallons of water a day from the St. Johns River, having won the last permit needed Monday night.
The governing board of the St. Johns River Water Management District approved the controversial plant on a 5-4 vote over strong opposition from Jacksonville-area residents concerned that the withdrawal of water will harm the quality and quantity of water downstream. Hundreds of people packed a meeting in Palatka to oppose the project, and thousands more sent e-mails in opposition.  The Yankee Lake facility, to be built near Sanford, could be expanded to pump 50 million gallons of river water a day, potentially making it a major water source for Central Florida.
Joe Forte, Seminole’s deputy county manager, said several cities in Volusia and Seminole counties could take part in a future expansion. For now, the county will focus on getting the plant up and running. As early as Wednesday, the county will begin preparing the project for construction bids. Seminole’s plans for pumping from St. John’s:

“This is the big move, the big step,” Forte said of Monday’s approval. “And this now gives our partners more hope the project will be a reality and we can move forward.” Decision seen as difficult Susan Hughes, chairman of the St. Johns district board, said it was the most difficult decision she has had to make as a member of the nine-member board but said this won’t make it easier for other river projects to follow.  “I don’t think it’s a free-for-all or the river is open game. That is clearly not what the board said,” Hughes said. “Every project will have to be reviewed on its own merits.”
Water managers have long warned that the underground river known as the Floridan Aquifer cannot be the sole source of drinking water as Florida grows and that utilities must tap into other water supplies. Florida’s largest river, the slow, north-flowing St. Johns, is considered a key future source for Central Florida.
Seminole County now pumps 21.7 million gallons of water a day from the aquifer for 109,000 customers. The county requested a 20-year permit that includes the additional water to be pumped from the river, starting in 2013.

However, the St. Johns Riverkeeper, a nonprofit grass-roots organization, several environmental groups and Jacksonville and St. Johns County led a legal challenge to the water plant.  Reviewing the evidence and testimony from a long, trial-like hearing, an administrative-law judge earlier this year supported Seminole’s bid for the plant, finding that the county had given “reasonable assurances” that the quality of the river would not be harmed by the withdrawal.  At the point where Seminole County pipes into the river, the St. Johns flows at an average rate of 2 billion gallons a day.  Attorneys for Seminole County told district officials Monday that the board doesn’t have much leeway to veer from the administrative judge’s findings. Hundreds showed to oppose plan.  Still, hundreds of people packed Monday’s meeting, urging the board to reject the permit. Many opponents drove from Jacksonville and northeast Florida, complaining that if Seminole County can take water away, it will harm them downstream by reducing the river’s flow. Several people pointed out that the lower river flow allows more seawater to push through the mouth of the river at Jacksonville, harming the ecology of the river.
“The public interest of a large portion of this state is being trampled in order to provide water that is the easiest and cheapest for a small part of one county,” said Katherine Van Zant, whose husband, Charles Van Zant, is a Republican state legislator representing Palatka.  Many of the 100 people speaking out against the project also said approval of the plant will make it easier for future projects to tap into the river. However, the current permit would allow the withdrawal of only 5.5 million gallons a day.  The water district received thousands of e-mails, the vast majority of them in opposition. Because the project is tied up in litigation, district officials blocked the e-mails from voting board members but did announce during the meeting that more than 19,000 e-mails had been received.
Opponents may push the issue back into court with an appeal, said St. Johns Riverkeeper leader Neil Armingeon. His organization will be discussing legal options with its attorneys. “We have pledged to protect the river. We take our mission seriously,” he said.

The storm left us with an extra inch of water in the lake, a beautiful blue skyand temperatures in the upper 70’s.  So what does one do? Go fishing of course. By 6:00pm my heron waits to escort me down to the lake. We caught a few bream, but the turtles kept getting in the way as I cast. They follow the bread and it becomes such a pain avoiding them. But tonight none got hooked.
While I fished, who should come swimming up but Carbs!  I thought at first it was Elvis, but it was Carbs.  41509carbs-1resize

He saw the Pekin twins and all was exciting, the Pekins were so happyand it looked like they had all missed each other. I looked around the lake and the Band of Brothers were nowhere in sight. I gave up fishing and took a few pictures and left Carbs grooming and chatting it up with the Pekin twins. I came inside to blog about having him back. Then I heard a commotion and I see Carbs near the stump completely pinned down on the ground by one of the band of brothers, with the other two taking cheap shots by biting poor Carbs on the neck. I rushed over and chased the BOBs into the water and that gave Carbs time to run the other way. I got good exercise chasing the BOBs to the left and right off the property as they kept trying to come back up. Carbs was bee-lining through the neighbors yard and avoided further confrontation.

Once again Carbs is bullied off by the mallard/mix.  41509carbsreturns-1 Poor thing, he just wants to come back here and be my duck and the BOBs keep ruining it.  What is so amazing is how the BOBs respect Elvis. It makes no sense?  Why do they hate Carbs and dominate him?
duckselvisresizeElvis walks around the mallard/BOBs and the brothers do not make one aggressive move toward him.  They seem to know not to mess with ‘The King”. It sure is a strange society these ducks have. (Elvis in photo with BOBs – the other photos are of Carbs)

So for now Carbs at least escaped more harassing by the BOBs, I wish the BOBs would fly away and find another lake.  Anyone want three mallard mix ducks? I will gladly ship them to China if anyone there is hungry – though I bet their meat is tough!

Bye sweet Carbs, for now.  carbsy-1

Waiting to get pounded – under tornado warnings. All around us are straight line winds and maybe some hail. Outside it is as dark as night almost.   resize41409meter

We are now getting pounded, lots of rain and wind battering down. No thunder, no lightning. The aluminum roof over the porch is singing with the rain. The heron was here earlier as I had mowed and I’m sure she thought I was going to fish also. She sat in a tree for a half hour grooming.

41409heronb-1resize The woodpecker too is snug in his tree hole. earlier he was watching the sky. I fully expect to lose electricity anytime before I am through. I am hoping there is no tornado coming out of this, but maybe I should unpack the linen closet just in case, it’s our only safe room here that has no window or sky light.
Now the lightning has started. Ripples of competing thunder trailing close. The television news blaring reports.  Sounding like the war of the Gods out there! Lots of thunder in all directions, but rain has slacked off a bit.   Feel really bad for anyone in a car stuck in the middle of one of the cells they show on television. Funnel clouds have been sighted west of here. Will publish for now and hope to be back a little later, cause I’m not going anywhere unless I am blown away, literally…
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P/S — It’s almost 11:am, the storm seems to be fizzling out, but can feel a slight coolness to the air. The bulk of storms are now headed east. Still have storms around us, but weather nothing like what is headed toward the east coast! The rain is falling at a  perfect rate for absorption and boy do we need it. Will do a comparison meter at very end of blog tonight!
I should take a cue from the cats and go take a nap, they are not the least concerned, and are still on the porch, don’t seem to care about coming in. Sometimes I think the wisdom of cats is a better predictor than the weatherman.
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And of course, the damn Band of brothers is skirt chasing the Pekins at the lake.

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41009gatorb-1_edited-1 This morning went to marina hoping to find those weird cat fish. There in the water was a huge gator just looking
placid. In no hurry, the gator basically sat still letting the waves wash against it.  I bet it was about 10 feet long, it seemed so long from a distance.  Glad to see how low the water level was as I would not want to see that gator near a shore line.

41009gatorinmarinaa-1_edited-1 This was the second gator swimming around. It also looked quite long just measure it in relation to the boat!
It must be gator mating season, or they know it is Easter weekend and they have a sweet tooth for marshmallow peeps?!
41009fishfaces_edited-1 The catfish or carp type fish were there with their snouts up and sucking the air. If anyone knows what they are, email. They are most interesting to watch as they come up and down. Sometimes there is a fin that will slash through the water. 41009gapingmouth-1

There were very few birds around at all, hardly any ducks, wonder if that is in relation to having gators raoming the waters? I did find one female mallard with her buddy and she kept  bobbing ‘bottoms up finding something of interest at the bottom.
Who knows what it was, but it must have been good. I suppose the best way to bring this to an end is to say
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check out more photos       http://offshoot2.wordpress.com

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The female Pekin ducks have been hanging around
the males too long. Now they are emulating the same
behavior. This morning after the male mafia had been
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they all consorted with Elvis and followed the Pekin twins around, (no eggs so far this morning).
And after the males left, the girls were swimming and one  jumped on top of the other and
waterboarded her repeatedly for about a minute and then both came on shore and were BFF,
(best friends forever). This domination ‘game’ is crossing genders and I guess the females are
prone to acting out for showing who is boss of who just as the males do. I don’t know if Lily was
the boss or Daisy, but they have been corrupted by those mean mallard-mixes who use waterboarding
as normal domination we are discovering.
The baby heron was out this morning sitting on the trunk of my dead tree, I tried fishing a bit,
but he wandered off.
The day looks gloomy, supposed to make it to 90 degrees possibly. The humidity is already making my hair
frizz like the bride of Frankenstein, next thing I know there will be birds nesting in my hair as I fish!

Gotta go get ready to start the day….. Here’s a happy photo, a bee doing the right thing… not stinging me!
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I found two more abandoned duck eggs in the lake this morning.  I figure they were just  more unfertilized eggs and put them by the stump for the blackbirds to enjoy.
The baby crane was on the island walking with her parents, but could not get a clear photo. The baby heron actually came across my lake front and perched next door on a downed limb overlooking the lake. I figured I would fish a while and maybe his mother would fly down and notice her missing baby. That didn’t happen. But I did catch a small bream and threw it within ten feet of him. The heron did not notice until the fish began struggling and the heron’s  whole body language changed; his neck elongated, he stood straight and rushed for the fish which tumbled forward back into the lake, he lost the fish, but did show a big interest. Maybe later when I fish I will but a bucket of fish under his norfolk pine so he can have a midnight snack!
The ducks were swimming around the water near the shore line when suddenly Crabs jumped on one of the twins.
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He totally dominated her holding her lily-white neck with his beak and submerging her little Peking face over and over underwater. At one point it looked like he would drown her.

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Poor little girl was so very distressed looking. Ducks are such
hardcore lovers! It did not last long, but the Peking duck left aside was so concerned, she quacked and was noticeably cognizant that something weird was going on and stayed as close to the pair as she could. It looked like a waterboarding technique as the poor Peking’s
face kept disappearing under the water. Finally he turned sideways and dismounted.
Daisy and Lily were then side by side and Carbs swam on shore and slept, (typical male). The girls swam around for awhile and did come on shore and walked around. I have those two other eggs I put on the porch yesterday and will see if they show signs of life in a couple days.
Once we had a poor female muscovy come visit a few years ago, she came on the property and at that time we had the ‘band of brothers’, three mixed mallard looking ducks that stayed together all the time. When they came ashore and saw the female, all three of them were trying to gang rape the poor duck. She was panicing and went into the corner of where my porch and house form and L and the males tried ravaging her. I took a broom and shooed them away and got her on the porch for a while until the males finally left, (the next day). The muscovy seemed fine away from the males and when I left the door back open, she looked hesitant upon leaving. Ducks “do it” with anger, the attitude of the male duck in mating mode is downright cruel. I am happy to say the girls seem no worse for the wear.
I suppose if Elvis visits tomorrow, Carbs can dish out his mating details. Dee, my neighbor might be right about inviting one muscovy and you get them all. I guess I could set up a duck egg stand every morning for fresh duck eggs- and a free duck to go with it…

This morning Elvis and Carbs were yakking it up and then the Pekin twins swam over . They get so excited one or both of them layed an egg as there was one on shore and one in the water. dsc00681 I brought them both up to see what happens in 3 days, the candle test to see if they are fertile.
dsc00691 I doubt they are. Somehow, Carbs and Elvis seem to like each other more than they like the girls.
On my way to check out the crane progress, I noted one of the baby heron’s folks way up in the nest. (I had binoculars with me). I wondered if they had found the baby.  So I hurried to look at the crane, and Mama crane was sitting on the nest and indulged me as she stood and rolled the egg and sat back down.
resizenestingcrane Back home I went and walked into the backyard and who did I see peering over the seawall at the neighbors but the baby heron. He looks well, but still confused.
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Tonight I hope he is still there as his mother will come down and I hope she will spot him. You can see he wants to get down to the water, but there is a 4 foot drop to the shoreline. If only he would walk over to my yard it has a natural slope down to the waters edge.  The baby could catch minnows then like this small gray heron. resizesmallheron

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I just finished listing an art submission on my other blog, ( http://florida4art.blogspot.com )  and decided to read my emails. Of course Andrea sends an email about cats talking. She is always sending email attachments featuring ‘You Tube’ animals, especially cats. But I have 4 cats so I get talked to plenty and really don’t find many of these videos that funny.  I mean really, either people are torturing their cat by rubbing them hard on the hotspot next to their tail and their cat heads spin like the exorcist or someone is egging them on over and over and it’s usually boring. So I left the You tube playing with the white cat on the screen meowing and went to the kitchen for some lunch.  When I came back, there was Frankie, staring lovingly at the screen mesmerized by the beautiful white cat. I played the video for her a couple times and she watched him go through his meowing routine, I played a few more videos listening to cats saying things like “hi” or Mama, or “bigdongjohnson’, whatever the human ear perceives it as. Frank then looked at me and I told her if she was wanting her fifteen minutes of fame, I could tape her too as she is a big talker, but instead she hopped across the key board and plopped herself right in front of the screen, placing her body as close to that white cat on the monitor as she could get. I suppose that cat had said something very intriguing and enticing in ‘feline-ese’ that made Frankie want to snuggle against the cool, flat screen, one dimensional cat. Then we struggled as she was blocking the monitor and I finally moved her around enough so she was happy and I could continue blogging, about a cat watching cats, having cat-fatuations’ and then dreaming about sailing off with some white cat as they cuddle in a gondola in Venice as the oarsman croons “oh sole-a MEOW”.
In the meantime, I have no hope of the keyboard lasting long with all the cat hair that gets inside, but now Frankie has her fifteen minutes…or more…

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There is some serious pupation going on here. Went out this morning to take photos of some cardinals, and as I looked up there was an odd shape dangling from almost the middle of my screen door frame. Upon inspection I found a monarch cocoon. This  small, exquisitely decorated ornament dangled proudly for the sun to catch the light on the tiny gold dots making it sparkle. How lucky to be able to watch it’s progress in plain view.
I have repeatedly told my friend Beda, ( http://anhinga.wordpress.com ) that she was so lucky to have monarch pupas. She gets a lot of them. I see the larval stage, but never the chrysalis. So now I get to watch firsthand, the progression of the pupa that should take two weeks.
good source for info: http://www.kidzone.ws/animals/monarch_butterfly.htm

So I am feeling a bit excited watching my proud dangler. And of course, the updates will be here… Oh, and here is my handsome cardinal!

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They say you can tell alot about the quality of a lake from the dragonflies. My lake must be very healthy despite all the excessive hydrilla. Dragonflies are all over, buzzing about,  some in pairs, some solo, and some riding piggyback! I see eggs clustered on lake plants to assure the future of these beautiful and intricate creatures. They zip from point A to point B, then quicky decide on another location. Somehow they never seem satisfied with their choices. I usually find a few stuck on the porch screen, I cup them in my hands and sometimes they bite, which is really a cute little pinch of hello, and sometimes they sit for a minute as if to say thank you. So I in turn will thank them for their lovely interludes.

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