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Yep, summer is shamelessly flaunting itself. The air is hot, the lake is hot, the pavement is hot, the blood is curdling. Glad for air conditioning, but the bill is red hot –that muscle of a machine is working outside full time pumping cool air in.
Wildlife is an early morning or evening event, even then, nothing new and not much variety.
I did come across some adorable muscovy ducklings when I stopped for gas near a retention pond. People give me the strangest looks as I wander off with my camera – I can’t help it if I my eye fixates and I must follow!
The days weave their paths into each other and I am just a drone to my slacker brain and the screen of the computer monitor.
I wonder and marvel at  how “A types” operate. I spoke with Kim Nelson today when I stopped to pick up the two pieces I had at an exhibit where she works. Kim is head coordinator at the Museum of Seminole County History while also teaching Humanities at Seminole State College and writing a novel.  She pulls total triple duty and is cool as a cucumber in her total ability to handle her priorities and have everything mapped out. I do believe it must be genetically engineered. I try and juggle and my balls are always on the ground all over.
She told me that during her last trip to Italy she found her family over there had a detailed geneology mapped back to the mid 1500’s — now that is a sign of great record keeping skills her family has passed down. Her novel is a work of fiction based upon her family, I have no doubt it will be a terrific read when she is finished. She inspired me to get excited about writing again, but only till I got back home and sat in front of a blank page that read, “add new” after I hit my abbesworld dashboard . I have a novel  I gave up finishing it over ten years ago.  Even with my writing group, once I found photography, it seemed so much easier as my eye and brain could coordinate and compute their efforts in silence without coaxing words from the brain. It didn’t require adjectives to describe taking photos.  People could bring their own thought when observing thus sparing me the words on paper.  When writing constructively via short story, poetry, etc.,  my brain must blast out cohesive thoughts and the gears need to be grinding and that is too much thinking in details, the stuff I dread anymore. Maybe because I am not sure if I come across well in my writing vision, but with photography, when I have an exhibit, my work speaks for itself – I like that! People really are not afraid to tell you how they feel, and you can read faces from across a room that makes me feel like I have accomplished something.  I guess I am doubting my creative flow and its’ results. For now, I have left some of my writing in the hands, or rather paws of my beat poet cat alter ego,
cool Ringo, my “Cat Kerouac”   or “Ringo ‘Kerou-cat’ as Kim called it.  And even though Ringo does have his own blog,  http://incatdreams.wordpress.com look at the last date I updated,  I need to write if Ringo is going to actually be a poetry-cat. I mean, how can you be thought of as a “serious” writer if you don’t write? (Blogging is just my excuse for looking busy.)  Oh well, enough  – here’s some quiet down time to enjoy the leisure Florida pace, Alice had her rabbit hole, I have abbesworld, and abberantsverse and art2submit, and and and….


I am still without my photoshop on my main computer and am using my son’s lap top as back up  to do some  editing till my friend helps find my missing driver lost inside the tower, oh such a  addictive AND vindictive machine. And maybe one day the Geek squad at Best Buy will see about getting my DSLR back to me – it’s been almost a damn frigging month already – hint hint Best Buy!
Oh don’t mind my cussing, it’s just between the heat, two computers, 5+ blogs and one digital camera, lack of sleep, politics, getting ready for photo exhibits, and looking for nature to enjoy, my brain is melting.   Creativity Kills!

A hot hot Saturday played out today. My friend, Sonja Greenlee was headed to Seminole State College for the annual reading by the winners of the Revelry poetry contest.   Each year they have submissions starting in February nationwide for this wonderful literary venue with a nice cash prize. Sonja was one of the top winners  I am proud to say, she is an excellent writer! Congrats to her and I wish I would have gone to hear the winners read their poems.  If you are interested in a copy, contact the SSC English Dept.
This morning the sky was killer bright at 7am –   It felt like almost a dozen suns had lit the sky showing no mercy!   The Weatherman said it would feel like over 100 degrees and they were right, WHOO, the humidity stuck to you as close as an oil slicked bird!
I was at the computer working on my art blog when I heard a banging on the porch, it was a grackle trying to get the heck out. I bought a butterfly net for $1.00 at the flea market and it has been one of the best purchases ever! The poor bird was tired as it ran into the screen over and over. I got it in the net and lifted it out, (camera close by of course.)   He was mad, but he was not as mad as he might have been if Ringo had been on the porch! So off he flew to join his flock as I went back in and tried to read up on a few things in my camera manual to bone up for the Camera class with Ken Elliott.
The class was nicely filled with people holding their DSLR Canons and Nikons, me always being the only one who shoots with a Sony Alpha.
Ken explained how aperture, shutter and ISO all worked in conjunction and had everyone working their f-stops and shutters, my camera does not have the same button positions and it is still a bit confusing to me, but I plan on getting out and try and use my Manual mode more often.  Ken gave an interesting history lesson on cameras and the inner workings and had good visuals. Afterwards he did a sidewalk shoot so the people could go experiment.   Whoops, I screwed up the settings on that!  Here’s Ken talking to one of the attendees.  He may do this again. His photography is hanging in the Art Affair gallery in Sanford, go take a look at his work. I’ll tell you a secret about him, he has a tripod fetish, loves his tripods and all the fittings.
I walked over to The Gallery On First for Hot Summer Nights. The artists were out meeting and greeting and eating. They had a nice reception going with new works upon the walls. That crazy baby mixed media of Cherie Dacko was on the wall, that just cracks me up! I saw Stewart Jones new work and of course, his pelican really got to me..
Another bird painting that was so beautiful was by Debra DePollo Ryan, beautiful white herons     mastered on canvas. Debra has a wonderful way with showing us her thoughts via calm water and peaceful settings.  She is delightful to talk to.
Sharon Hyder had wonderful sunrise and moon paintings and I admired a turtle painting which her artist daughter and booth mate, Lori Anne Harris had painted the frame  and of course Sharon’s husband had made the frame, again, they always have a solid family unit always going on.
Stan Surman had beautiful oil work. I liked his painting of a young child who had paint all over it. And then there was Aurore Brunet who does gorgeous crafting of collage and paint. Her colors and compositions are always so interesting.  
What I found most amazing were the artists’ visions – the depth of meaning to their personal work. Aurore gave me such insight into the painting next to her showing a sad letter covering the woman’s heart with the words of the French children’s song, Allouette written on the paper. Allouette is a bird, a skylark and the song is about plucking the feathers from it. The expression and detailed work can’t be seen to do it justice from this photo.  All I know is I was singing that song in my head as I came out of the gallery and looked out at the angry sky.  I hummed the tune all the way home thinking it such a haunting song really , telling a bird that it was going to have the feathers pulled from the head, wings, feet. I thought about holding that struggling grackle in my hands today before freeing it, the feel of the sturdy warm body, it’s heart beating furiously, — could I have pulled even one feather?

NO PLUCKING WAY!

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…
”                    

Yesterday it was gray and gloomy and rained on and off late afternoon.  At around 6:15pm I was finishing cooking on the grill when I glanced and looked over the lake at the sky, it had turned a weird color right over Sonja’s house. I grabbed my camera and my son Adam to come look at the strange rainbow, like a wall of hues deeply saturated that did not arc, but had been splashed against the deepening sky.
Look for yourself, I don’t even know if I did them justice, but what a treat to remember! Love what moisture Must have been the moisture and sky clearing???

Finally it melted like sherbert over the lake

and we went back inside with a big smile – convinced we had looked into the eye of Iris and she had fully winked at only us!

Deliver me oh Iris
into your rage of colors
take me under your kaleidescope skin
let me taste confusion
lure me into Prism-atica

I think of Inness, Constable, Rubens
seduced
into crossing that line from primary
cursed to spend their lives
behind empty canvas
hunting you with boars hair
trying to capture your soul

She teases from behind
a drape of stiff clouds
demanding attention
taming the storm

then elusive Iris
smiles electric
bleeding her colors
firing our very synapses
into mnemonic intoxication

once we see it
once we feel it
once we taste it
we will long for the pleasure
of always chasing rainbows…

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

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

Florida’s flora and fauna have become victims of the new deadzone.
We have frozen, and refrozen and will do it again for a few more nights.  Can the plants survive all this savage winter frost over and over? Even the wildlife is at risk, the manatees are taking over anywhere the water is warmer, they succumb to “cold stress syndrome”, (me too.)  They can’t take water below 68degrees or they can die because apparently their hormonal system is stressed.   Photo care of
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
And not only are the manatees at risk, the non native iguanas are just falling out of trees onto people in south Florida.  Apparently, being of a reptile nature, they just go into a cold induced stupor and fall over.  Plus, they are saving sea turtles from dying, and pelicans from starving and there’s 4 people in need of every one homeless shelter cot on these freezing nights. It is a winter that I have not encountered since living in Florida back in ’73’  (though we did move away for a few years in the 80’s)  This is not the Florida I love, give me back the heat, I would rather be hot than cold!
The backyard looks burnt out.  This is from Wednesday morning.  Here’s a few more of various plants around the yard:
That’s my passionflower vine all dying a slow death.   my hibiscus and young bird of paradise, kiss them goodbye – they are goners.
The view from my desk window, canna lilies are totally brown!
|    The cranes are fine and I am happy to report the Papa crane is walking much better, his limp is decreasing.  (stock footage from the summer.)  The birds are very active. 
Even the squirrels were trespassing  

around the yard knowing Ringo was inside playing.  
The fox was around,  he’s looking a bit better, and was off in a split second as soon as I opened the sliding glass door to get a photo of him. He sprints around here, then in a minute, he is off through the neighborhood.

The female heron sits around in her less than egg-worthy nest and waits for her lover to appear twice a day. I think he is disappointed in the nest and spends more time with the other female heron at her pad because it is a  better home environment.

Fishing you ask? I have not fished in over a week, the cold is way too cold for me, as I guess it would be for the fish, who are most likely hardly moving.  The lake looks great,  you can see beneath the water quite clearly.   I did see minnows, but nothing bigger.  I remember a few years ago watching bass swim around in specific areas, they seemed territorial. But fishing has not been that great in the past year and a half, when my neighbors moved, the big bass have decided not to be caught anymore.
And back to the weather, I never thought I would say a 50 degree day would be a heatwave!  There might be snow in the morning, how freaky would that be?
So now it is morning, 8:41am to be exact, it has rained, but it is not quite cold enough yet for snow. It looks once again boring and cold, brown and lifeless except for the fluttering of birds at my stump and feeders – DO NOT FORGET TO FEED THE BIRDS THIS WINTER! You will be greatly rewarded by having so much activity around on these days when you feel so sluggish under several layers of clothing and a full length robe. Here’s the latest view :  And I just came in from being outside and it has cooled down a lot! Temp is at 35, maybe in an hour you will see snow, I will be watching, it’s gonna happen!

I did write a story about “fish cubes” — we had a frost in 2008 and I had a dream that the fish were all frozen in the lake and I boated out and rescued them, it’s on my poetry blog –  Go to http://abberantverse.wordpress.com if you feel like reading my surreal view of poetry/prose, I have a strange take on things.
Will keep you posted “literally” when the snow comes – stay warm wherever you are, and gear up for making our utility companies rich via  monstrous electric and gas bills!  Now if America could only ‘green up’ and have a huge manufacturing industry of turbines and solar with the ability to sell our excess energy back!  Energy should be propelling a massive industry for us, where is it? I suppose all one can do to protest for now is to expel excessive energy and fart on the check to the electric & gas  companies before sealing the bill in the envelope, maybe they will get ‘wind’ of our need for change…

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)

100_3939res Today I drove downtown,

I had artwork to drop off –
I had to find the right building.
Downtown Orlando is not huge,
not New York or Los Angeles,
it’s pretty easy to manuver EXCEPT for the sarcastic one way streets
who snicker when they know they have you trapped in a city force field
and the streets hold the parking spaces hostage.

I circumvented blocks two and three times,
right street, wrong way –
braking behind gawkers, and half filled city buses.
circling and waiting for that “red sea parting” moment
in which a building would bust its’ seams
exposing the place where I needed to be
and my gray Sierra chariot would stop and
a valet would open my door and carry my art
with white cotton gloves to the waiting public.

A wish unfulfilled
as I parked 4 blocks from my venue
lugging ziplocked art up the avenue
trying to find store front numbers
on the tiny mapquest sheet that only depicted a star
on a flatlined street –
I officially had the downtown Orlando Monday Blues.

Passing rough, bushy characters who looked like they protected
Mick Jagger at Altamont.
Passing executives in their noose suits,
foreigners with cameras and smiles,
gapped teeth children,
Buddhists and Viet Nam vets,
but no nuns, or not in a habit anyway.

I watched an old woman feeding bits of bread to sparrows,
five little brown birds surrounded
her gnarled hands with arthritic fingers.
There was a man soliciting with a sign because he was “impeared” –
his impairment was spelling
I could have my own sign for that –

Police on bikes wrote tickets,
was that Brian Feldman trying to be a city bench?
One man (?) wore large spike heels and a flirty sun hat
with a flowered broach on his chartruse tank top,
(or maybe it was a woman in need of a shave?)

The laughing sun was held at bay in part
by the taller buildings – it was still early
so at least I was not under the complete solar microscope
while  heading up Church Street.
The funny thing was, home at my desk
if I had read my email thoroughly
I would have noticed yesterday they had changed the day
from Monday to Wednesday.

But this was Monday, Monday, a day for downtown blues.
Lugging and looking
lugging and looking.

The young ladies at the drop off point were sympathetic to
an old stressed out lady,
out of breath-
out of place-
out of patience with the city and herself-

But as I made my way back down the blocks
back toward my truck with the hour time limit on the meter
I was glad to briefly have been there,
among ‘city–fied worker bees’,
to absorb this bustling image of people and cars in a hurry,
of buildings humming with demands,
of hungry mouths being fed at the shelter,
of children giggling and wailing at a daycare playground,
of honking  and the wonderful aroma of garlic rolls
coming from that small Italian restaurant.
It’s good to be among culture and art,
expensive boutiques and lawyers and
banks and snobs and slobs and body odor.
I felt light, Ginsberg-esque as he took
his stroll through a Supermarket in California;
focused on images,
of “aisles of husbands”,
because I was shoulder to shoulder at times
with someone’s spouse or their secret lover.
I passed the abused wife, covering her bruise in long sleeves
on a summer morning,
the man in need of a root canal and
no means to pay for it.
I was holding Ginsberg’s hand,
as we both wanted to shout, ”

"Who killed the
pork chops?  What price bananas?  Are you my Angel?"

The morning was still new,
all the jackhammers and drills of city music
had a nice Dharma beat .
I swear we saw Walt Whitman on Magnoilia and Church,
he was asking for a ride to the “Y” at Thornton and Mills
to ponder the road less traveled.

I waved goodbye to Allen
who was thumbing a ride to College Park,
And I drove home knowing I was not alone,
happy to be headed back to Abbesworld;
a place of quiet,
of birds and wildlife,
of creativity.
A place to shake off the downtown Orlando Monday Blues
by threading it through the hook on my fishing pole
and letting the line go slack when a catfish swallowed it whole –
I reeled it in and the catfish jumped off and spit the blues out on the ground,
“worse thing I ever tasted – stick with bread”, he spat three more times,
kicked me in the shins and went diving back to the lake,
I knew then this was where I belonged…

ABbe

72509desk1This is my desk at 12:51am – maybe I need a blog that shows my desk at different times during the day just for effect! It looks a little messy, but there is a method to my madness. And breakfast at Tiffany it’s not- but that box of POPS was a great deal at the grocery today, 21.4 ounces for $2.50!  Can’t get get perfume per ounce for anywhere near that, not even stuff like nuts, makeup, or even other cereal!  It’s the biggest box of cereal I have ever seen – how could I turn it down? Right now it’s keeping me and my stomach company. I can see how insomniacs gain weight, this box weighs 1 and 1/2 pounds, I should weigh 5 more at the end of the week. Ha ha – just kidding, I don’t intend to eat it all, Adam is about ten feet away and he has been dipping his hand in the box pretty good himself.
Right now I am looking at the huge tree frog on my window, it showed up about an hour ago. 72409frogC-1res I will have photos later at
http://offshoot2.wordpress.com
Yesterday it seemed like I got a few visitors pictures of things around here. First of all Ringo, because he starts my day with a smile. I see his big face and hear him meow and see him flash those big blues and that is a good sign. 72409ringo-1res Out on the porch was a busy anole running around chasing off the other lizards.  72409anole-1res Went out in the yard and there were a lot of butterflies on and off. Two were flirting for a long time.
72409queenbutterflies-2 There even seemed to be a few monarchs trying to find some milkweed.  72409monarchA-1res Behind the large hibiscus bush I have a tree stump that had a fresh snake skin across it, so a nude snake is somewhere around. DSC09823hibres DSC09822snakeres And later on, just about the time I was getting ready to fish, the clouds came in for a visit and they did not look happy. lastnightcloudsres Even Papa Crane was keeping a close eye on “weather” or not I would be down at the lake. And I wasn’t, we had a lot of lightening, but no rain.  I took many photos of the changing sky and will probably post them tomorrow. But for now, I am finishing this and getting ready to post tree frog pics at the other blogsite –
Sweet dreams – don’t let the tree frogs bite…

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


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.
gardensmall3 100_0414

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….

frankwatchingyoutube

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…

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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