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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…

Woke up this morning and realized I had not checked traps in a week. As soon as I opened the attic door, I could smell death! two rats were trapped and smelled to high heaven.  I threw them out and cleaned the plastic traps and rebaited. Damn! I was sure that maybe it was finished as I have really not heard feet.  I wonder how many more are up there and why the Hell are they finding shelter in the attic! And more important, How many are there? As I was sitting here, Ringo just jumped up on the window ledge and grabbed something and took off. I ran out with a flash light, but can’t find him anywhere…
Fishing sucked big time tonight, but the heron did come and watch about 15 feet away.  It’s the female.   The night was gorgeous, pink and blues on the lake, maybe that beauty in the sky distracts the fish? ha ha!
Earlier the space shuttle took off and headed with spare parts for the space station.  I watched
from my lake as the plume of smoke dashed over at 6000mph. Can’t imagine what it would be like  to see it so close. The night launches are the best. 
These two came off the live video of the launch of channel 13.
I will head to Tampa in a day or two leaving Adam to take charge. Tonight he has his movie buds over to watch True Romance.  He is thinking of renting out the Avalon theatre downtown to have a big screening for something. They would have so much fun!
Taking an artbreak, but not a photography break, always something to take around here. Go to
http://offshoot2.wordpress.com later on, I will add pics to that site .
Going to eat some dinner, have to say, dragged Adam to Smokey Bones for lunch and ate their nutty pecan, cranberry, goat cheese salad and it is great!  Now go be good to the local businesses and eat out somewhere!
screening

100_6630-1re The day was dull, every photo I put in todays blog is colorized. I cheated!  Hurricane Ida hit up at the panhandle and the weather is affecting us. We are supposed to finally get rain tomorrow – will it actually happen?  All day it looked so dull. As I drove up to Sanford and stopped to take some pics, I kept thinking the sky would unload any minute, but not a drop. I took a few dashboard cams of things and places, and they all looked so boring I had to jazz them up a bit.  100_6634-1re The Gateway condos actually look like this  100_6634re and the corner of First Street near the Welcome Center looked much more festive like this –  100_6632-1re and even the bales of hay in the hay trucks looked more delicious with some color to the grain.   100_6637-1re

An abandoned building looked a little more appealing by deepening the color
100_6635-1re At the marina, there was nothing new, same old birds, had to emphasize the ibis.  100_6624-1rea
And when I got home, I had to blame what I thought was an eagle as an excuse for fishing in early afternoon. I could see it flying all over, but could not get a close photo. Finally it landed three houses over so I threw out the pixels on  the telephoto to capture it  way up in a tree. That’s an osprey.
100_6644re I caught a shiner and threw it back, caught a couple bream and they went back. The cranes were there, Ringo was with me too.
100_6654-are Then the heron flew into the tree and watched me cast out over and over.   100_6649heron2 100_6650re Finally I caught a nice sized bream and threw it on the ground, the heron flew down and nabbed it.  He swallowed and happily flew off.  Ringo and I came in as it was almost completely dark by 5:30pm!
My HP “refurbished” printer came in today so I can resume getting photos ready for this weekend art show. HP tells you to send the defective printer  back within three days or get charged a chunk of change on your credit card, but the return address label I needed to do that was  not included, they forgot to send it! I had to call them and stay on the line forever getting a case number from someone in Bangladesh so they could send me a label. I suggested they email it and they refused.  I could have flown to India in the same time it took to stay on hold for their techs.
Rat update:  G & H Pest Control in Sanford came out Monday to give me my last estimate for how they would address my rodent issue. Gene, who owns the company came out and walked around and looked in the attic and did a thorough search of the house just like Massey. Gene looked at me and told me “he would be taking my money if I hired him” because he would be doing the same exact things I have been doing. They would set the traps as I have and that is all they can do. He suggested I keep fresh peanut butter in the trap every week and keep doing it. He said he could find no fresh droppings and I had no roach or bug problem. He didn’t even give me a price for a yearly spray, so if you live around this area and want a really honest pest control company, call G & H Pest Control Inc. 407-323-6681 website http://ghpestcontrol.com/ Actually, it has been rather quiet, but I will keep listening for signs of life above my head…
As I finish this I can hear a light rain outside,that is good news, hope we are in for a night of the wetstuff!  In fact, I walked outside and immediately smelled the earthy scent of wet grass. The drops were light, but anything is better than nothing!   100_6659re After the art show, I can get back to looking for photo ops. Be patient, and come to the Gateway this weekend to see what 40 artists have for you…(nothing like more self promotion)

Today started the same as always which is always a smile getter,   DSC04351re
The sandhills came flying over the lake for breakfast.  I then checked the rat traps and nothing – no bodies, where do they hide? I even did what the Massey guy mentioned, he said to throw away all rotten fruit under the citrus trees because he said a pheromone is emitted from rotting fruit that draws rats from all over — perfect I thought and brought a rotting grapefruit in and put some of the pulp in the traps. It was obvious today that not all rats are drawn to rotting fruit!
DSC04349-1re The butterflies were busy and this one had gorgeous silver inlay on those delicate wings! It really glimmered metallic when the sun hit the underside. I didn’t capture it in the photo, but it was a fine Gulf Fritillary example.  Ran errands and saw this egret running through the parking lot near Marshall’s  100_6472re He posed briefly but had places to go, so did I.
Back home the sky was gorgeous,   100_6451re full of lines and swirls.  The planes were on their way to destinations unknown, but I am going to call the airlines and request the pilots that pass over the lake at night while I fish, wave.
100_6455re They could drop off some peanuts on their way to Sanford.
I got dressed and ran over to the cutest little coffee spot in Debary, The White Cup coffeehouse at 17/92.  Two of the Gateway group members, Ed and his wife Nan were having a reception.  100_6473re They were given excellent wall space by the owner who also serves a mean cup of different coffees, cold and hot, also tea and smoothies and she has a menu with many goodies.   100_6475re
Ed and Nan  Cogle are world travelers and you could tell from both their art styles that they loved India.
What is also evident was their love of wildlife too.  Ed does photography, Nan had a mixed media approach.   100_6476re They had a nice reception packing the innards of The White Cup.  I even met a guy who was just there to get a great cup of coffee and the art was a big bonus. Art IS a big bonus. I tried to get my family physician to have an art wall in his brand new doctors office he just moved into, but he didn’t. I think it would be welcomed by the patients to have photos and art by local artists to stare at as they sit and wait and wait and wait. I would have even changed it out every couple months, that’s how it would work in Abbesworld, art would be much more employed and enjoyed by the public and as a means to inspire others. So if you are reading this and own a business, please give local artists a shot at displaying their work.
As I was about to leave, Ed was taking some photos,  100_6479re I took some also to show you that you need to SUPPORT THE ARTS!  Go out to a gallery, check out the Heathrow Arts Festival at Colonial Town Park this weekend, or pick up a brush, pen, camera and make something. Find the artist inside yourself and maybe even discover something you didn’t know you could do.  And if you happen to be on your way from Sanford to Debary, stop by the White Cup and enjoy the owner, the beverages and the art. Also — please remember that next weekend  The Gateway Center for The Arts in Debary is having a Holiday Boutique with lots and lots of artists selling their goods for the holidays. There will be table after table of artwork for all  to enjoy.  So through the week I will keep bugging you to go.  I will have a table too so stop and say hello!
Now put away part of that paycheck of yours to buy something out of the ordinary for someone this holiday season – Buy local art!    100_6504re

(pictured is a cup I will have for sale featuring my photograph, “lee’s alien dinner”)

Some of these place want $40bucks a rat trap and $40 to remove EACH trap, Damn varmints are expensive. Massey was over $400 bucks and that includes the year of pest service spraying for everything, destroying microcosms of worlds beyond the human eye. They will get rid of rats and come back and do more traps until they are gone which is a good thing, but somehow I don’t like all the spray everywhere outside. Ingesting a cloud of toxic crap around my perimeter does not thrill me and knowing my cats are sitting in out there surrounded by mini doses of agent orange and then I am holding them and loving on them excites me even less.  They say it’s hardly dangerous, (unless one reads the label),  a conundrum of sorts.  I rather like natural rat killers myself,   71109ringobluesB-1re but I’m keeping Ringo away from those traps.
Tonight went to Gateway Center for the Arts at 17/92 and Saxon for Photography Group meeting. So many talented photographers who are excellent at what they do. When we left, it was a beautiful moon nestled inside the clouds and again, I tried taking a few pics and they sucked, but here is the Abbe interpretation of the moon and its’    faces tonight:
DSC04269-1re DSC04270re

DSC04283-1re DSC04290re 006re

Another one bit the dust! Went up to check traps and one held a bounty – YES!  Tonight I will be listening for the pitter of little feet. I did call Massey for a free inspection, ‘guestimating’  how much do I estimate the service will be? Over $300 for the pest control and traps are ala carte — will let you know what the estimate is. Tomorrow I will put aluminum mesh over my plumbing stacks so things cannot get in and out. I don’t want to say I have won until I hear no running above me. Hopefully no weaned babies are up there.  So for now, I reset the Victor traps and let them sit in waiting. From my results, those traps are instant death!   100_6369re
Since the daylight savings time went into effect, it has affected my sleep, I wake earlier, but go to bed the same. I have become lethargic around 10am, and have had to nap an hour for the past two days. This is not how I operate.
This morning I was up by 5:15am and of course it was actually getting light. I opened the back door and heard the heron close by wailing. He was sitting in one of my pines.
022re It actually stayed until after 8:30am. The cranes flew over for an early birdseed breakfast.  DSC04207-1re While I went out and cleared my lakefront of weeds. The water is going down so I can pull in some of the stuff clogging the shore line.   100_6371re And maybe soon, that area can look like the part I was able to clear further along the lake.  The weeds are locked together like webbing and pull in in blocks.
100_6373re You can see from this picture where my neighbor’s property still has the weeds next door.
The cranes came along and thought my weed pile was a play pile and pulled weeds out and tossed them about, dancing and jumping, they had a great time and I enjoyed watching them.
The baby had an itch  034re – the heron stayed out of their way safely in the tree.
071-1re 083-1re
That’s it so far on the Rat Wars,  Victor can call me any time for an endorsement…

EEEEK! Last night the trap snapped as I was walking down the hallway to the bedroom. I screamed knowing above me was a rodent in a neckhold. But let me back up with some nice photos from the weekend.
First yesterday was rather dreary, thought we might get some rain finally, but nothing but a sprinkle. My lemons are looking good as they start to ripen. 100_6204re and the hibiscus are blooming nicely.  100_6197re and the lake was quiet with it’s graceful lilies.  100_6201re
I would rather be outside than inside with rodents over head. But my brother drove up from the Keys with his wife, sweet Penni, so we got to spend the afternoon together and went to Fuji for sushi dinner.  It’s always great to see my little bro. They left after 9pm and Adam was at home and I was walking down the hallway and heard a sound like something had snapped. I then realized it was the trap and got the ladder and peeked into the attic. I heard a rodent run and looked for the trap, it was kind of hidden by insulation, but could see something in it, didn’t want to stay with one rodent still running around.
After going to bed at 4am, I woke at 8am, that was after waking several times dreaming of rats swimming around the attic. I awoke twice really panicky. Finally I got up at 8am, but waited till Adam was up before I made noise going up to the attic. I pulled the fishing line and on the end was a dead rat in the trap, he died very quickly! Those big Victor traps do the job! So the good news is, one less rat to infest mankind, but the bad news is, there is still another, or possibly more. Tomorrow I will call a critter place and see if I can hire one to put the traps way in the back where I can’t reach.  I want to be rat free! What if they have a family – YIKES!!! I put up two traps today and am going to get glue strips.  Wonder if we will have two snaps up tonight, that would be delightful!
As for today – went outside to weed and heard the heron making a familiar call when it is in the tree where it normally nests.  100_6257re That is always a great sign, and maybe it means Fall is here, though the temps have been record hot all week in 90’s still.  The crows were out this morning too.   100_6245re, even saw two crows kissing.  100_6249-1re
Most of the day was warm and overcast, got two trash cans of weeds for Wednesday and didn’t even go fishing. Through a bit of bread out there and just minnows ate it.  The time change means things will be dark earlier, I don’t understand why we here in Florida even need to “Fall back”? What’s the point? We should get out there with enough petitions to stop this nonsense.
At just about 4:30pm, looked like it might rain, but again, clouds passed on by.
100_6277re Look at that view, my cranes, the little lake, my wonderful neighbors, these are all the pluses, but am feeling that itch for new scenery, maybe it is time for a change, a bigger lake or a lake community with a place to fish. Am thinking seriously of moving on somewhere…

 

100_6142re Taken at Horstmeyer’s in Sanford

Well…I put the boombox with Helter Skelter from Across the Universe on the house side attic opening and Adam had a Halloween tape with cats screaming and people screaming and we blasted, and…. nothing, frigging nothing. I walked around the perimeter of the roof, didn’t see a thing. So I took the leaf blower up in the attic, left it on it’s side for 5 minutes  —  and that’s the new mission, DISORIENT DISORIENT DISORIENT!  I figure that blower blasts at decibles much higher than the boom box, (don’t worry, I plugged my ears.) I’m wondering if I do this several times a day, will it disorient them and make those critters leave???  One of us is going to be disoriented by the time this is through and yes, I have traps up there and thank Julius for his genius idea of knotting fishing line on the traps so the animals can’t run somewhere with the trap attached, Thanks Julius. Now Bobbo on the other hand felt that since I like fishing, I should give up my regular fishing time and put bread and peanut butter on the end of a hook and cast out into the bowels of the attic and wait and see.  Naw, not happening Bobbo, not missing my outdoor fishing for indoor rodent wrestling.
Well, the traps are set, I will continue to blast off the blower at weird times and see what happens… Is this how we lost Osama to the mountains? What if the rodents headed for my walls, maybe the neo-con strategy is really a lose-lose situation,  Meanwhile…

Yesterday my buddy Dee-dee and I went to Horstmeyers in Sanford, I had never even heard of it, so we drove over and what a super nice weed and feed kind of store.
100_6152re They have a ton of horse tack and horse supplies, lots of seeds, hay, and even live chicks. The help was nice and the place is very clean and appealing.  Here’s some photos –  100_6147
100_6151re 100_6144re
100_6139-1re So if you need some pet supplies, tractor supplies, a saddle, chickens and even baby ducks and bunnies in season, fertilizer, local honey,  head on downtown to Sanford and enjoy the ambiance over there, it’s like being in the country somewhere up north!

We continued down toward the marina looking for wildlife and say the usual characters near the marina,  100_6167re 100_6157re The ducks came right toward the truck like they were getting roadside service. There was one yacht decorated for Halloween.
100_6184re ummm, wonder what made the water swirl to the left of the boat. I saw my favorite duck I will call “Blago” with his great hairline
100_6163re

We noticed a bus sitting along the river that said Stirfrytv.com on the side and the same dog on the bus was on a leash outside the bus, I looked it up at home and it is a goofy news spoof channel.  100_6155re

But the cutest thing that made us both laugh was a man wheeling around his four terriers in the back of a homemade cart attached to his bike as he rode them around and they seemed to love it, so I leave you with better creatures than I began with…
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100_6131re THIS IS SPARTA! 158e2a0ab585e2c0
Frankie inspects the bounty, we are on a mission! Somewhere in my attic is a mouse, or worse, a rat or even worse, plural—EEK!
I hear the foot prints over my computer desk. I thought it was a squirrel for a while and figured it would leave, but then noticed that there was mouse crap in the garage. I took everything out of the garage Tuesday and uncovered a nest of some lose, torn plastic and inside was birdseed and nuts from the bird seed, a nice stash for a mouse wanting to eat at home. Then I pulled an old antique mirror away from the wall and saw a big field mouse or a young rat and she ran. I had the doors, both the door to the outside and the double garage door open, but it hid behind a desk. I found Ringo and brought him out with me, he sniffed around and stopped at that nest and sniffed and sat . I pulled it open and 8 baby pinkies were in the nest. Ringo baby sat  100_6092ringore and the mouse must have snuck out.  I pulled everything out and looked in all nook and cranies. Next strategy, put the squealing babies in a box and put them up in the attic with Ringo, I was hoping their distress would bring out a sympathetic rodent.  Ringo bounded up the ladder to the attic and I sat up there and watched him disappear, but it was hot up there, I came down after five minutes, Ringo stayed about fifteen minutes, he didn’t bring anything with him, but went inside and plopped down on the kitchen floor to cool off. It has to be 100 degrees up in the attic because it is mid nineties on the ground. I brought the babies down and left their box outside figuring maybe the mom would come back or maybe there was some nice snake who would be quick. Sorry, I do not want 8 more rodents around here.
I had my son put expanding caulk in the place where the air conditioner wiring goes through between garage and outside.  100_6132re And sealed up everything, EXCEPT, the roof long vents, that is where they had to have gotten in,  100_6134re – they are open and have plenty of room to welcome the weary animals who get tired from climbing the roof. I bought wiring to try and rig inside the vents, but not just yet!
What’s next? Strategy planning, first I called the critter removal places, it’s either a free inspection and $250 with no guarantees or even more depending on what they find and the services they deliver. I have found they clean up and repair damage. It’s $89 for some to come set the traps and then a few days later another $89 to retrieve and remove the dead animals. Everything is ala carte, one place says they have a 5 and 10 year guarantee, but who knows if they will be in business when you call them in a week to pick up the traps? That makes those mice worth their weight in gold. What I need is three hungry feral cats to go out and have a field day! But since that isn’t feasible and I don’t want Ringo up there around all that insulation anymore, THIS IS WAR!
I have employed neo-con thinking, screw the Geneva Comvention stance on these rodent terrorists, forget it PETA, unless they want to come save the animals. I am going to employ Abu Ghraib tactics — loud loud torturous music supplied by two boom boxes simultaneously blasting music at full blast from the two attic access doors.I am looking at music choices now and will load a DVD later with our special rodent removal songs. Right now I am researching the music our military used on terror suspects. AC/DC, Britney Speirs, Metallica, I am scrutinizing, but at this point, I am considering Hendrix, Judas priest and even a bit of William Hung, remember that guy, Keith Olberman was obsessed by him.  794a297b8143fa02 We will experiment a bit, and when we come up with the right mix, we will blast from the boom boxes and I will be standing by with my camera to see if there is any exodus. If it works, I will sell my rodent revenge mix for $19.99! That will save people a lot of dirty work, and a lot of financial pain!
If that does not work, we will switch to plan B — dehydrating/bloodthinner D-con biscuits and big traps. Plan C- is the default pet removal –   Stay tuned….
71c3916b4c9ab0c0 This rodent image caught my eye, what the Hell???

 

Do you come across these bad boys? Southern lubber grasshopper, Romalea guttata 72309grasshopper-1b copy

They are mean and spit at you and eat your yard from top to bottom. They are the kind of beings that you dream about and in the dream you are an inch tall and they are big as Godzilla and running after you and spitting out globs of tobacco, (where did that rumor come from anyway – though I can see this guy sitting on a naked plant after eating the whole thing and having a smoke.)
Most people around here don’t like them because they are pests and love to snack on ornamental bushes, but I love the crisp colors.  72109grasshopperinyrface-2res The Grasshoppers come in a few  sizes around here, this guy is the King of grasshoppers.  712109grasshopperontunk-1res 72109grasshopperfacesright-2res Someone told me to put it on my fishing hook and a big bass will be waiting for me. But somehow I look at this funny face and I can’t bring myself to do it.  Why? I don’t know – they are locusts in disquise, and if there were an abundance of them, I could probably attempt to, but picking that funny critter up and feeling it’s strong body just pushing to get loose, I have to let him go. And don’t you think that is so generous of me? Me too, though, don’t tell the neighbors because that’s where my kindness put that hungry critter…

When all the birds are faint with the hot sun, And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead; That is the grasshopper’s–he takes the lead

In summer luxury–he has never done With his delights, for when tired out with fun, He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
John Keats


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