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

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

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

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

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…
”                    

I  voided my own rule of only using straight photography on my site, but thought I would leave you with my Abb-Strax, and photos of things, some I hope to sell one day soon on a website.
Ringo  “in dreams”  

Frankie spent as much time watching birds from my desk as I spent watching the Haiti drama on tv.  Finally Frankie decided to go out and I did too. I took the camera and headed to my mailbox to see my mailbox mocking bird, that bird always gives me great face, “Strike a pose” and the little face turns profile and straight on looking at me. I so love it’s adorable bulk and wish I could cup it in my hands.  See if you agree.   

The ‘mbm’ tolerates me spending many minutes looking it over deciding when to snap.  I don’t take just bird shots, I must find something that expresses it’s personality, and yes, some birds have more personality than others.
The female heron is alone most of the day, ( about 23 hours and 40 minutes. The heron male comes in the morning for about ten minutes,   at night, it might be even shorter. the airplanes fly right over our heads.    ANd the late afternoon clouds had very nice hints of pastels.       A palette in the sky, thank you mother nature.   The grass is dead, as is much of the shrubbery, but it comes back.  

the passion flower is without passion.    The bird of paradise drained of it’s white bloom.  The banana looks like it’s over ripe.  Seeds are coming off the oleander.   The weather warmed up to about 70 which was wonderful, but I need 80 degrees to feel truly warm.
The fox came by after days of not seeing it. I am trying to figure if it is really old, or young and inexperienced.   He was passing close by the house trying to avoid the disdain of the cranes who constantly harass it when they see the fox.  The fox darted on my porch and said “yum, she feeds her cats out here!”  The fox enjoyed the food and ate like it was a starved cat,       Will have to put their food in bowl and take in and out.  The fox ran out when he saw me taking pics. Ringo was just on a chair about 3 feet away, I bet Ringo outweighs that svelte animal.   I just don’t want Ringo to tangle with him, though, I think Ringo would win.
The woodpecker was overlooking the stump, I have at least 3 of them around here, they chat to each other all the time. I hear the cardinals first in the morning, but the woodpeckers come for the birdseed first.
I tried fishing, but it didn’t take much brain power to see that I was not getting even a nibble in five minutes.
Today is Friday and my writing group comes in 12 hours, I have been very bad and have been taking too many photos and doing too many blogs and facebook entries to write something to give out for critiquing – I am in total writers block, so I better stop and try and will myself into a state of authorship.
I am back to where I begin except Frankie is now in her bed, the desk drawer,
and Ringo is in my bed,  and I am here staring,  looking at white space and trying to figure out how to devour it and spit out words…

Went to my camera group tonight in Debary at the Gateway and we keep gaining members and knowledge, benefiting from those who are more experienced and will share their smarts. Also they give links for different support of the photography craft and for storage.
We talked about monthly photography competitions and using simple guidelines for knowing what to do about things like taking photos of “correct” horizons, sunsets and basic rules of dividing photos into thirds for good composition.  I can listen, but then “Abbe-brain” kicks in and it is all about making pictures that satisfy my own taste. Larry, a member, said he is finding it hard to stop when working on a photo, there are so many options it’s over stimulating. All I can say, Larry is right, how do you know when to stop? And I only know limited photo manipulation – I don’t even work with layers.  So let me take one wilting red passion flower photo that I took this afternoon and show you what I have done:

there are many more.

And then ‘one’ moves on to next subject:    

and soon life has drifted to the exosphere and time melts into the essence of  ossuary color and sits mesmerized and blank as the fingers jab the tool buttons, then quick fix, then un-do and re-do, black and white, polar, this filter, then another and another – then you wonder, what the hell is all this waste for? Would someone buy any of these?  Is  any one of the pictures a winner? And what is the definition of a winner? And how do you pick it?  Then the next dilemma, the thoughts about setting up a website and testing oneself to see if any of my “manipulations” could make me some extra cash, say enough to pay for some paper to print them on and some Symphony candy bars or even cat food — or is it all worth the time to even play with photos? That’s the stage you look at the clock and realize you were in the “Dada” zone and apterous for 3 hours and the house could have burned down around you and you would have never noticed until the cat with mule looking ears cleaning herself in the desk drawer next to you went up in flames but never burned as Emily Dickinson’s ghost keeps repeating, “much madness is divinest sense”  while John Lennon sings about “the holes being rather small, they had to count them all and now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall”,
and the computer was melting as you try to save the hard drive and keep all your photos in the ‘save-as’ file and then the computer freezes and you have not saved a thing and it is all in vain so you get up and look in the bathroom mirror and realize you are five years older than when you began, and and and, oh never mind, I think you get it, I actually think I get it,  I am over thinking again,  time to log off and try reading for a while. Guess I will join Ringo who is sound asleep on top of the electric blanket, he has not moved in 4 hours, I think the electricity has numbed him as he dreams of ungulates and daggers for nails and the taste of freshly caught bream, the young, tender ones.  That blanket is the catalyst for my best dreams,  it is a poetry book waiting to happen, “Tales From Beneath the Electric Blanket”.  Ringo has his own version,    
I am taking photos of him to use in the book, whenever I care to publish it, but that is another project,  one more thing to fixate on, to pause and think about doing… Jeeze, it’s Hell being an artist, or it’s just Hell being crazy…(but it’s fun)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s so exciting, last night the last vision I had outside was the herons in the tree.  I came in feeling bad I didn’t fish, but the weather was too cold. Ringo went to bed early and I monitored his dreams,  first it was Pinhead, then it was the ‘Saw’ figure.
You can see Ringo was having nightmares. I whispered to his subconscious that he must think lovely thoughts.  next thing I know, ‘Saw’ had melded into a sweet Casper  Then another being came in — ET gave him a cat massage and put him into sweet alpha sleep.   He slept all night until Payne woke him at 6:30am, if you know Payne, she is a cartoon political pundit who time travels using cat bladders, she needed Ringo’s.   He woke and left who knows where he went…
But back to reality, went outside and the heron pair were still in the tree, they are shaping twigs, building their nest it looks like, WOW do I feel like Chanukah Harry and Santa have left me a gift!!!!

The male snaps twigs off the tree and sometimes flies off and gets twigs and she shapes them. I have been watching and she drops a lot of twigs in the water below.  They must be new at this, wonder if these are kids of the parents in my neighbors yard last year?  The male gets kind of impatient and bangs her with his beak. She is working hard trying to make her home. I will keep you posted as to their progress. It’s so exciting I can hardly contain myself!

It’s officially holiday season! The turkey was pardoned, and today is
“pre-thanksgiving- manic-rush-tostartcookcookcooking-wash-freshsheets-dusting-blowoff porch-and pretenditalwayslooksthisclean” day. Even though we are going to my nephews for turkey day, there will still be hungry hordes here looking for food all weekend.
Last night I fished as is usual, with the cast of usual suspects, both male and female herons flew over. The male left, the female stays with me and got rewarded with 2 fish. They have not made a nest in their usual tree, or I have not noticed any activity up there in days. instead they came from the north east, wonder where they are nesting?  (male)
female —  The turtles were obnoxious as usual.  There are three big soft shells and numerous small cooter types.  The night was cloudy – they said we would have a good rain today and we have had some nice showers. The water meter yesterday was
at  2.98 and falling fast, a foot below the summer peak of 4.17. Will read it tomorrow am to see if the rain gave it a boost. we have to have more before winter makes it fall much more.
The sky was full of clouds and crows flying off. The fishing was not great, but it’s always fun to absorb that quiet time.  The cranes had been by and were grooming as usual.  and I tried my hand at macro photography which takes a lot of patience, no wind, good light, a tripod and knowledge of aperture which I am learning
I tried frankie and Ringo  Ringo did not cooperate.  Then I tried flowers and tiny spiders  

.
This morning is totally gray and rainy, had to make pancakes for Adam, I have found that Hungry Jack wholewheat blueberry complete is AMAZING, you only need water, but I cheated and added Sugar cookie eggnog, (mybad!)   and of course, top it off with light whipping cream to counter act the egg nog.  I had to top off the whipping cream after eating my pancake –  YUM!
So better get cooking, have things to get done…now go, get outta here, quit reading, that’s it….
Ringo dreams he is a B. Kliban cat   http://www.eatmousies.com/

It was time for my daughter’s cats to get shaved again, I had to go over and wait as the mobile cat shaver did his clipping.
Now, I have three cats, one of them is a real cat, the other two are luxury items like my daughter has.
Ringo, RingoandRaccoon71209-1res epitomizes ‘Catdom’. He is the real cat, he hunts and eats his kill, he challenges raccoons, possums and even dogs much bigger than he is. Ringo’s personality is larger than life, he thinks he is a full blown lion and acts like one. 72709RingomeetshismatchB-1res

Ringo plays with snakes for entertainment, My daughters cats play with battery operated mice. My other two cats, Frank and Sealy, 000_0874res have been with us 17 years, they like being indoors, cuddling and finding a good place to sleep around the house. Not Ringo, he likes it outside and doesn’t even mind getting wet.

He is the boss of the neighborhood, has been for about 8 years. Everyone knows Ringo. He belonged to my neighbors next door. When I moved in with three cats, Ringo decided he fit right in and adopted my porch as his too. When Ringo’s folks moved away, Ringo ended up staying here. I have chronicled the details before.  Ringo for some reason terrorizes the cats next door, they call Ringo “psycho kitty”, but getting back to my story, neither Ringo nor my other two cats have ever needed grooming, (though I do brush them from time to time.) The luxury cats my daughter has are beautiful rescued Persians, they are her children and are treated as such, no, I would say they are treated like royalty. They might as well have their own silverware because they have everything else.  Cats like these are good for the economy, they have every cat toy there is and if you go back and read older posts, they have lots of cat condos too. They also require cat groomers, they keep people in business. I love it though after the cats are shaved, they feel wonderful, soft as anything, like Chinchilla!  This is sweet Coco before being shaved:  DSC01918re
and this is her after:  DSC02235re She doesn’t mind being shaved at all. Not Musa, he hates it, I think he was Sampson in another life –  Musa before:  DSC02119re DSC02239mus1re

Musa, is very mad when his hair is gone, and he is less of a bully to his two female companions. As for Lola, she is so adorable and loves loves loves being brushed,  DSC02114re, so as long as you brush little Miss Prissy, she is happy with or without hair, except when I tried to take a photo of her , she bolted upstairs under the bed, thinking I was going to make her get shaved again.  DSC02243re
You wonder why go through the trauma? Persians get so matted and throw up a lot of furballs and hair floats all over the place even when you vacuum a lot. These cats are luxurious, pussy cats. Not Ringo, he’s a cat, he  would probably fight someone tooth and nail if they tried shaving him!  71809ringoyawn-2re So where am I going? The cat-egories don’t really matter do they?  Anyway you look at it, they are all loved unconditionally and that’s the truth.
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Back to nature! Today was a slow day of wildlife. It was hot, sauna like 90’s, a quick burn if you go out for any length of time. Last night my neighbor Sonja and I went to go see the art walk in Sanford, they had terrific art at several locations, it was nice and crowded and made you feel that Sanford is pulling together the community for these great venues. I had nothing on display, but Sanford is having monthly Juried shows so when they have one that is related to nature, I’ll enter.
This morning outside there were very few birds, but a lot of dragon flies and butterflies. From my desk I saw a few and ran outside to take a few pics.  DSC02005re This zebra longwings was extremely beat up and shredded. It actually flew very slowly from all the rips and tears in it’s wings, but flew with a purpose.  DSC02010-1res It was actually interesting to watch as it seemed to be moving in slow motion.  I saw lots of different butterflies, but they were too quick. I did see a dragonfly that landed on a branch near the back door, but the Sony could not focus on it with the wind blowing the branch, so I went in and got the old Kodak. It is a sure bet with that camera.  100_5139-1re Though the quality of the Sony DSLR is better.
Flowers were wilting all over, I did get a canna lily,  DSC01995re and crepe myrtle is just beginning to bud and bloom, DSC01998re My lemons are huge and I am going to have a nice little harvest when they finally ripen.  DSC01999-3res DSC02000re
The blue jays came out later and this one was especially beautiful.
Of course later I came out to go fishing, the water was dead calm and of course, the damn turtles were everywhere I went from one end of the property to the other, they love that bread on the hook.  000_0350res 000_0359re at one point I looked down and it almost looked like a turtle was swimming through the clouds.  I counted six turtles, four softshells and two sliders.  I did catch one bream, threw it back. And looked up and noticed that the heron was on an island in the middle of lake,  000_0353-1 He was big. like the male that has been building the nests for the past 4 years, so I assumed it was him. And when I threw the bream back and the heron flew over to the yard next door, that signaled to me that this was the male who will eventually come over and stand beside me when I do catch fish. I didn’t catch anything else, but the sky was gorgeous, there was just one large cloud in the sky that changed colors and had such a beautiful shape to it.  000_0370re The planes flew too close over head,   000_0351re and there were many woodpeckers all over trying to contact each other.  000_0354re The weather will change and soon the herons will be back building their nests.  I am hoping this heron will be coming back each night now.  ringos blues-2re Ringo did not fish with me tonight, he stayed in the garage, I am wondering if he too thinks there is a squirrel or rat or mouse in the attic after hearing footsteps near my desk. I put the ladder down to the attic so Ringo could go on a hunt if he feels like it. I am confident if something is there, Ringo is my pet removal service.
Right now as I write this we are having a nice little thunderstorm which is much needed as my poor plants were wilting today.  DSC02011moonre Earlier the half moon was out and I marked on the calendar that October 3,4,5,6 should be all harvest moons, you know I will be taking photos and I so hope it will be over the lake when it rises next week.
I hope it will cool off enough that more wildlife will be coming out to capture on film. The marina is devoid of much diversity, and as for Carbs the muscovy duck, have not seen him in weeks. The BOBs were here earlier, but have not seen Pekin ducks in a while. And that’s Saturday around here, for now, I am enjoying the storm, hoping for more water in the lake as soon it will be our dryer season, so it’s good to have the lake up.
Have not heard any footsteps above my head, so maybe Ringo got whatever it was, might have to do a check tomorrow and if anything is dead in the attic, will let ya know… Sleep tight.
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Today I went over to Petsmart in Casselberry, Florida where RAIN, Rescuing Animals In Need, a 501(c) Corp. had some of their animals on display for people to adopt. DSC01770res They had an assortment of cats and dogs, dogs both small and big who need new homes. RAIN volunteers foster many rescued animals they get  from people giving up their pets to rescuing pets from the streets and from shelters that have animals ready to be euthanized.
They take care to observe the animals first and get their shots and tests like feline leukemia, and heartworm updated. All adopted animals are neutered before adoption. You have to always admire these people for going all out to help animals find a loving home.  Here are a few of the photos of pets available for adoption. ANd you can contact them at 407-620-9736, or go on their website http://www.rescuinganimalsinneed.org
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The people at Animal Welfare Alliance of Central Florida have a wonderful founder and activist named Gloria Wade. She has been working with animals and looking out for their rights for years. She and volunteer, Gail Nagin, (who had just come from protesting the Greyhound conditions at the racetrack,) are both trying hard to get a ‘high volume, low cost” spay and neuter clinic for central Florida, one that only specializes in neutering because having animals sterilized is needed badly to discourage this overrun of the dog and cat population. That has to be a priority and hopefully it will be a dream realized.  Gloria had with her a “Chain of Colors”, each link representing a dog or cat euthanized in one Central Florida shelter.
100_4877-1res This link represents a Siberian Husky put to death because someone did not have the space for him, each link has a story, and there are over 5000 of them. Gloria
showed them to me with much sadness that so many animals have to be put to sleep because they are unwanted which is her reason for helping people have a low cost spay/neuter clinic.
100_4875-2res DSC01781-1res visit  http://www.awacf1.org both groups are reaching out for your help, if you can, take an animal home and give it the love and attention it deserves, that is a great reward to all these volunteers who open their hearts for animals in need.  Contact AWACF about helping fund the clinic and RAIN  for any of the animals in the photos, and they have plenty more cats and dogs in need of a home, if you are looking for love, try looking here.

lakemarygazebo-2res It’s always fun to go to the Farmers Market on Saturdays at the back of the City Hall of Lake Mary. I went early to go get some of my favorite honey.  DSC09638res Frederickson Apiaries will be opening their own store and bakery in a few months. Will have to go for that grand opening! Orange blossom and wildflower are my favorites.  After walking around the many booths, I walked across the street to where they had opened a new shopping area.
The first store was Morris’s Market, they are carrying fresh produce, honey, meats, cheeses and they also do the Farmers Market with their own booth.
100_2356res There was a floral shop next door and I forgot to take the photo, but it had a beautiful courtyard in the rear packed with plants. Next to that was Coastal Gifts and Decor. 100_2366res
giftres There was jewelry, note cards, knick knacks with a flair for Florida seaside decor.  Next to that was Kristin Shaw’s trendy clothing boutique called, ‘sophie and trey’.  100_2367res Inside were reasonably
priced men andwomens clothing.  100_2368res Kristin organizes the once monthly, Paint The Towns. Now she is trying to organize artists for the Farmers Markets so they can display their wares on Saturday mornings. If interested, contact her, 407-324-5747.
The artists who were displaying were ‘Nine 2 Five’, Tina Pochedley who had beautiful handmade jewelry on her table, 100_2373res I apologize for having taken it from a distance.  She works with silver and precious and semi precious stones and does private parties. Her number is 407-467-8138.

Also on display was Shelia Golden who does wonderful animal paintings and collage and note cards, there are some on display at Coastal.  sheliares-1 contact:  http://www.sheliagolden.com
The last artist on the street was Randall Smith who does very cool robot paintings and robot figures.  100_2369res100_2371res
To check out his work:  To contact Randall:
RandallsRobots@aol.com. 407-923-2075
The artists are always good to talk to and as I always say, support the arts!
On my way back to the truck, I stopped at the SPCA booth and got a t-shirt for making a donation.  spcares spcares Remember, not only our artists need support so do the local animal service groups!
Walked past the Orchid Nanny,  100_2377res Though those orchids are gorgeous, I have a very deadly thumb with plants that need attention.  But I find inspiration everywhere and always have a fun time making abstracts out of the picture I took.
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DSC05328res Woke up and the sandhill cranes had come for a visit. Keep in mind the baby is just about 12 weeks old and he is a monster!  (That’s him in the middle.)  His head is so funny as he is losing his baby fuzz. DSC05218a_edited-1 He’s going to tower over the father. The funny thing was how he loves the water.  The baby crane saw the ducks at the lake, DSC05244res and hurried in their direction to assert his machismo. He scattered them off and jumped in for a bath. I followed from behind and watched the baby as he had the best time waving his wings under the water and making the drops scatter. He would groom and then wave those wings and dunk his head. Then finally about ten minutes later he came ashore spreading his massive wings to dry.
For all the other babies we have had on the property over the years, not one would go in the water deeper than it’s knees if it did not have to. Usually just to drink and of course when they were too young to fly and would swim across the lake. but never have I seen one that spent time having fun like this. Plus he is already flying, it took the other baby cranes much longer to fly, a lot longer! But I will let the photos speak for themselves…
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churchresize This is the last photo I took of Church just two nights ago. He would come out and share the cement with Ringo watching me fish.  He was old, perhaps 17-18 or even more. He was a stray when we found him hungry in our driveway as we were about to move in 1995. We packed him up along with our stuff and our two other cats. I had him immunized and neutered and brought him into our new home where he fit in just as if he had always been there. The vet thought he might be 4 years old back then. He was the cat that resembled “Church” in the movie Pet Cemetery, so that’s how he got his name.
In the past months poor old cat has been shrinking and acting old. Last night he did not eat and he is usually the first one talking in the morning for the food. This morning I put the food out and he had no interest, didn’t even meow. I took chicken to him and he ignored it and went back to the corner and curled up. I knew it was time to take him in to the Vet.
I got there at 8am when they opened and when I signed in the clip board, they ask the reason you are here. I left it blank and could not put even the word, was it death? Termination?  The guy at the desk asked me why and I told him the purpose.  He put us in a room to await the vet who was not due in till 9am. I sat petting the drooling ,old, purring cat as the clock over the door ticked away each agonizing second of his remaining life.
The smells of the vet perk an animal’s interest and they know instantly they are not in a normal environment. Church looked up at every door closing, at each bark, at the noise of the techs behind the doors and still he purred and rubbed his head hard against my hand. We spent that time reflecting on old times, he let me do all the talking. We laughed about his old nemesis Terra the bull terrier and how they would get into big spats and Church seemed to know just when Terra was going into the show ring and the day before the show and he would make sure Terra had some nice big scratches on Terra’s face and nose, the cat had a sense of humor.  Church was a good “mouser”, he liked bringing a gifts home.
He leaves behind his adopted sisters, Miss Sealy and Frankie, (also strays) and his brother Ringo. He leaves behind Abbe and Adam and the memories a good cat should. Church was a gentleman at all times, even when Sealy would smack him repeatedly, he always let the girls have their ‘opinions’.
A good cat will never be forgotten, and neither will a bad one, we have had our share of both, but for a stray, he came into our home with respect and love and we will miss our Church. fishingbuddys-1resize

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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…

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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dsc00016Woke up this morning and went out to feed critters and no Carbs. I didn’t see him anywhere around the lake. The girls came swimming up about fifteen minutes later, they did not see their man-duck and swam off. Yesterday Elvis had come to visit.
31809ducks-11 He and Carbs and the girls all yakked it up on the bank and then Elvis flew off and the girls left.

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Carbs has taken to jumping up on the stump and eating the bird seed, he doesn’t care a ducks ass about Ringo hiding to sabbotage the birds.

Will let you know if he comes back, maybe he is visiting Elvis??? It’s only 10:am – Do you know where Carbs is???

Now it’s 5pm, Carbs has a hiding place underneath the fallen tree, I called and called and finally went to the waters edge and saw a little red duck head peek out when he heard me.
31909carbsinhiding-1 31909carbspekinducknap-1

So he is still here, enjoying life in Abbesworld, and I’m
so happy he still likes it here, enough to hang out and be a duck model….

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