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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”)

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.
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That’s it so far on the Rat Wars,  Victor can call me any time for an endorsement…

DSC02747re This is exactly how it looked at around 7am. I have not re-touched it at all, the day began as a red one, now it is going from pinks and blues, to blue and vanilla. Gotta get gardening before the vampire sun comes up to get me.  The cranes came for their seed and I noticed when I came out to take a photo, the shadow of the baby was on the body of the mother.
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8:28am, I have washed my hands literally of weeding and trimming, so much more to do! But I got a nice reward, the blue girl roses are in bloom and smell so sweet  DSC02752re.

Tonight the clouds settled in and they were thick, I didn’t see the moon till it got higher over the lake,  DSC02767re It was beautiful. I watched it go through the clouds as it moved higher.  DSC02784re DSC02799-1re DSC02803-1re

It is just a beautiful sight as the moon moves in orbit.  Tomorrow it will happen once more. I will of course be watching.
I am working on “ab”-stractions, my way of making crappy photos I take into abstracts – here’s a few samples,  obstacletosleep-1res 8909cattoys-2re DSC02535-3re

It’s a lot of fun – what will become of them? Some will be used on exhibit, some will get trashed – but some bad photos turn into new art, and what the heck is wrong with recycling?

Last night ther heron came down and fished with Ringo and I. He stood in the water, I stood at various places on the lake, neither of us caught anything, but that didn’t matter, I was glad to have the heron back. Every morning I keep going out to see if it is on a branch in it’s nesting tree.
100_5388-1re 100_5392_edited-1re Earlier I had been out in the yard taking pictures

of dragonflies, they are everywhere and will stop close to me as if they are as curious about me as I am about them.  DSC02660re

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The butterflies too were all over.  DSC02583-1re DSC02498-1re

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We now have a small bunny that appears from time to time .   DSC02490re The little guy came when the cranes were here and Papa crane chased him off.  Baby crane is still changing color, his eyes are still lighter and he does not have the red crest yet, though it is coming in little by little.
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Ringo was busy under the bushes eating a long blade of grass.
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The band of brother mallards are still hanging around with the pekin ducks, but Carbs is nowhere to be found. Have not seen him in weeks.
Fishing is horrible for some reason, even with the harvest moon tonight, not one little tug on the bobber.  100_5429re 100_5421re 100_5453re

Tomorrow night I think I will go to the marina and take some pics of the moon coming up over Lake Monroe.  It’s just such a treat to see it so close and so big.  The anhinga sat up in the tree and watched from his vantage point.   100_5410-1re It was a good night for moon gazing and bird watching, just not for fishing, only for feeding turtles.
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It’s Sunday, the week flies by in nano-seconds anymore. The good thing is that hurricane season is coming closer to the end.
This morning had the cranes right outside mooching for the loose bird seed on the ground.
000_0305res They have gone and a soft rain is falling on the lake. The cardinals have taken the cranes place.  DSC01556res And as I write now, it is sunny again — that’s Florida!
Thank goodness we have had no pythons come crawling through here YET as yesterday they picked up an 18 foot Python about 20 miles away that was being kept in a risky enclosure. A snake like that when hungry could do some serious eating, like kids!  snakeres
The owner said the 300 plus pound, 18 foot snake gave his daughter rides – SAY WHAT? It was fed about 4 rabbits a day.  I noticed on Yahoo a story about a python that ate 11 guard dogs, that wasn’t in the US, but it could be the way pythons are showing up here in Florida these days. I’m sure people are letting them go because they can’t afford to feed them and they grow so large.
I can remember in the learly 90’s when we were involved in the Central Florida Herpetology Club, the people came to meetings with snakes around their necks and arms, (they had to be bagged and caged during the meeting.) There were lots of vendors selling ‘herps’ of all kinds; turtles, lizards and of course all types of non-poisonous snakes. We have had ball pythons, rat snakes, Texas longnose snakes, milk snakes and Brazilian Rainbow boas. We lost some of them in the house from time to time, (but never told any of our guests that when they visited.) And we let our boas swim in our pool once in a while, climb the banisters, but Aaron, the snake’s caretaker grew bored and we sold them.  Not once did we let any go, oh take that back, we did let our mean mean yellow rat snakes loose in the woods, (those were the snakes that bit me,) but they are native.
Today, we still have the same cats we did when we had the snakes, and the
prospect of seeing a 12 foot or longer snake in my yard would be a bit unsettling. So I will just focus and show some pictures of the more delicate flora and fauna.
The flowers are bright this morning, spider lilies were wet.  DSC01553res
The canna lilies bright red. DSC01554res DSC01552res The Meyers lemons are getting bigger and bigger, can’t wait till they ripen.  The water in the lake is still up nicely, though fishing is still bad. Last night I caught a turtle. The fish are not biting. The cranes were though, they did not realize Ringo the cat was so close and Papa crane almost got him.

So that’s how Abbesworld is going today so far. How’s your day?  DSC01562res

It’s Friday,  this morning there was a fog over the lake 100_4139-res But that did not stop the cranes and Carbs the duck from looking for birdseed.  The other birds were busy too, lots and lots of cardinals today. 100_4155res I bet there were about 7 at one time!
When it was time to go fishing, the cranes were still here rooting around the yard. The sky was very dramatic.  100_4171-1res 100_4177res across the lake there was this wonderful rainbow patch just above the treeline.  The sky was full of storms to the east.
Most of the day I had been working on my garden. I think I am going to let more than half of it go back to being grass. The weeding is Hell.
That overgrown patch beyond the crane in the first photo is the garden and I have not weeded in a few months. I am really losing interest in keeping it up. The weeds grow the best, so essentially I have a garden of weeds. and maybe I should just let the whole lawn go to weeds and just mow one three foot area going down to the lake?
Anyway, it was time to fish so I chose a lightning rod,  100_4167res and ran to the lake because there was a great full moon last night. DSC01091res How can I ignore this magnetic call from the lake. I did catch two fish, bream,  100_4169res they are really very pretty fish with rainbow colors on parts of them.  The sky continued to turn blues and I could see the rain coming down a few miles away.  DSC01102-1res The cranes finally gathered on the hill and I grabbed my camera. Excuse how messy the image is as I had messy sticky, gooky fish hands and was trying to touch the camera without holding my hands on it too much. But when I saw the cranes all standing straight in a row waiting to take the cue from the father to leave, I wanted to try and get
a video of them flying practically over my head.
I did give up fishing as the turtles were once again making it impossible to throw the bait out without having a turtle charge right for it.
As I looked up, I noticed how beautiful the sky was, it had melded into pinks and blues, and orange my favorite look.  100_4194res 100_4190res It’s one of those moments you wish you had someone out there besides a duck and cat. The colors were spectacular. So, that’s about it. I came in and Frankie was hogging my desk and had knocked over all kinds of paperwork as she sprawled out.  100_4186res And that’s it for today – where does a day go? Where does the month go? Where does a year go? Can it all just slow down for a while, life is just passing by way too fast…. Tomorrow I will report on the garden

Today I walked out to feed the birds and Carbs was gone. I wondered if the BOBs had chased him away. The yard was busy, especially down by the lake where many many dragonflies and bees flew all over the yellow blooms down by the stump of my fallen oak. In fact so many bees were there pollinating, the air was humming.  DSC00669resbee
The fungi growing in the wet grass even looked happily like a cute couple. DSC00664res

The cranes flew over and the baby was quite intimidated by the step-father crane who kept bullying him. The baby would fluff all up and crouch with it’s head  down when it was near the male.  82709babycranefluff-4-1res It knows to try and stay away from that dominant beak.

A titmouse was continually banging itself against my window. DSC00680res I will go into that in a day or two. The butterflies were all over the place, DSC00692 copy 4 DSC00652res and the roses were young and tender.  DSC00687res
The brown thrasher was the bossy bird this morning. DSC00704res The bird was happily having fun splashing and cooling off.
82609thrasherinbathA-1res DSC00551res and then a dove decided it was it’s turn to get wet .  DSC00705res The thrasher was wildly twisting and jumping and I suppose the dove thought it looked like such fun, it decided to join the thrasher.  Except the thrasher wanted no part of sharing the bird bath and screamed at the dove and sent the dove flying off. The thrasher fly up on top of the feeder.
Finally it ate enough seed and flew off. DSC00504res
I ran out to my Free lunch at Don Pablos. I won the free lunch for 4 by putting my business card in a bowl about two weeks ago. 100_3688res I took my good artist friends who have been so helpful and nice to me, Pam, Judy and Leslie. The service was great and the conversation too. Judy, Pam, and Leslie are always inspiring to listen too, always have irons in the fire. Leslie is a published writer who should have another book out sometime soon. She writes about film, (movies) and does a very detailed and thorough job of research, she also writes poetry and reads it at local venues. Pam has been juried into many shows, I think she said 8 or 9 this year alone, her infrared photography is a standout. Judy has a super group, she started the Womens Caucus for Art branch here in Orlando and really took pains in getting it to a non profit status. So I am the slacker of the group, well, actually I have one piece, a photo I did of Jimmy Hendrix, to be put on display for a month as part of an interior design show downtown. Tomorrow I have to go pick up the work at RT Art. Just one email and Roger said he’d have it for me so I could get it framed this weekend, that’s service!  sales@RT-Art.com
On the 8th of September, I will have 3 pieces at the Gateway in Debary for a month. So things are not that bad for s struggling artist getting her feet wet just like that brown thrasher, enjoying the exposure, lost in her abandon of the arts and the wonderful natural view in front of her window…
P/S, carbs came back and is still here…

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I was happy to hear that both Andrea and I have art in the newest book out from a group of Ovation tv artists. It’s called, Meditations On The Modern Nude. The link is
http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/813696
Otherwise, I am happy to say that Carbs has been here all day sitting down by the lake. He is a bit on edge watching for the band of brother mallards.  81609CarbsB1res The cranes flew over, but didn’t seem to bother Carbs. 81609carbs&crane-1 I guess he just sort of shows up.
Tonight I went to let Ringo out and I heard cranes still trumpeting at 11:45pm – that is really late for them to be up, usually they go back to the nest by 8pm. It is getting dark now around 8:30pm. Didn’t fish tonight, I mowed the front lawn instead. Right now I’m watching the Woodstock documentary – what a happy place to visit before going to bed…
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40 year anniversary to peace and love and the best music of our baby boomer generation! That was the greatest time of sound ever! Sorry to say, I didn’t go to Woodstock, but in my mind, as I watch this, I sure feel like I am right in the groove! I was 18 when Woodstock happened – those were the greatest years those 60’s and 70’s – Whew! Blast from the tell-tale past, guess I will say no more – now go to bed…

72709babycraneA-1res Baby crane was here this morning with his family. They ate bird seed, groomed, wandered around yard poking the ground and then lined up and took off like paragliders sailing over the lake

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Yesterday it was storming off and on when they came. At around 11 am. it got really dark.  DSC06820res the sky blackened and let loose with a nice rain and lots of thunder. The cranes don’t like the noise, they were quite suspicious and kept looking around to see where the thunder was originating from.  It was raining hard for a while and I noticed even a softshell turtle came out of the lake and rested under my lemon tree.
DSC06832res The water was just dripping off the cranes.
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I enlarged to see the rain coming down. Even my waterbarrel was gushing from the excess.
Last week we had no real rain, it would cloud up and threaten and the lightning is getting to be way too lethal around here. A guy was gardening the other day and a bolt came from nowhere that hit near him and he said he passed out, and one of his legs didn’t work and he had to crawl back to his house and was hospitalized. That’s why I am paying more respect to the lightning gods lately as they get closer and seem to be picking out a lot of people to play their games with. I look at the sky and turn on local news before I fish to see what is moving where. But the sky is so amazing around Florida, that’s one of the assets is the constant movement of wind and clouds and rain. Sometimes it comes from the Atlantic, sometimes from the Gulf and when they collide – whammo, fireworks. Like I have said before, it will be sunshining in the front, and raining across the lake. Usually by the time it is almost dark, the sky makes peace and all is pink and quiet.
Today so far it is one of those voids where the sun is hiding, but the sky is gray/white! I need to go out and weed whack while the sun can’t fry me and the lightning is still asleep…
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DSC08718res This is the last time we saw the male, father crane. I told you that the mama and baby have been coming alone for 5 days. But today 3 of them came and I was very excited and had to go take some photos. DSC06201res But right away, I noticed that Papa crane was not acting the same as I knew. The other father crane would let me get very close, this one was skittish,  very worried about me and stayed back. He was also very weary of noise and was looking all over at each ‘whir-noise’ the camera made when taking a photo.  Upon noticing his head, I knew right away this was a different male.  Notice the shape of the head of the top photo and this new head shape of this male.
DSC06206res This male has a more rounded head shape. So I say, a new male has joined the newly widowed female and son. That’s a good thing as a baby should have a father’s influence. The mother seems fine with the male and he also seems fine with his new family. But wonder what happened to the other male? Especially since the male and female had been together the whole 5 years I have lived here. I wish the state would band these birds so I could study them further. It would be a great way to identify them.
I also observed that this male crane did not share the food and ‘snipped’ at the baby if he was getting a morsel that the new male wanted. That was not the case with the other male, who gladly fed his baby. I am pretty sure this is another male.
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Umm, we need some DNA testing – what do you think? I think we have a new family unit combination.

Hope all had a happy 4th holiday, mine was filled with family and too much good food! Hope yours was the same!

7209res This is how the day began around 6am. The sky was beautifully lit with red clouds. It’s in the low 70’s, feels almost cool. I saw both moorhen parents swimming about, but not one baby sighting.  53109moorhenC-1res Yesterday my friends Christine and Richard came over to hang a duck box in hopes that the Black bellied whistling ducks might come back.  DSC08898res I showed Christine the moorhen nest and only an hour earlier there had been 3 eggs. As we stood there, all eggs were completely gone, not one broken shell in sight. Then we saw the culprit, a big black crow flew down and began pecking at the nest. Immediately we knew where the eggs had gone. I have not seen the baby in days, I hope it is hiding.   007res This is a picture on the day it hatched.
Now I am trying to figure why the baby and mama crane are coming without the father? For 5 days now they have come to eat birdseed and Papa crane is not with them which is very unusual. He has been a good daddy for the years I have lived here and NEVER left the baby and mother. This is highly suspect. Do you think maybe he flew to Argentina to find a soul-mate??? I am thinking the worst, that something has happened to him. The baby is taller than the mother. Last night he came and did his goofy dance before they fly across the lake for a good nights sleep.
100_2093res I am hoping the father will find his way back soon. As for me, I am going back to bed, only slept 3 hours so far, time to get some shut eye. I am living in a vampire time zone, the sun comes up, I go back to get a couple hours of sleep…

Today the news said it would be 94 and feel like 104 degrees, that was no lie. It is hot and the sun seems like a deep fryer and it’s only June! The flowers are beautiful after a great thunderstorm last night. They were closed yesterday,
100_1700res but today they were full bloomed and smelled so wonderfully rosey! The roses had small bits of purple on them.  All around the yard, flowers looked happy. I do water them a bit in the morning and in the evening if there is no rain, otherwise they would fry under that hard light and heat. 61709rose-1_edited-1 DSC07969res

61609bluebpyrose-1_edited-1 The sandhill cranes sat under the camphor tree for a long time taking in the shade. The father was really panting a lot as was my old cat Frankie. I actually think she might have been experiencing heat prostration as she looked way too lethargic on the porch  and I could see her heart beating rather wildly. I brought her in and put her on the cool counter and she drank a lot of water.  I was kind of worried her heart might give out, but after a while, she did perk up.   So remember to keep lots of fresh water out there. I keep it, but poor Frankie looked like she was almost too tired to drink so watch your older animals. DSC08163crop_edited-1

The cranes stayed a long time down by the lake. The baby was first to buckle and sit down.  then when the parents finally sat down, he got up and went over to give his father a hard time. He would jab his father in the rear and then touch beaks. 61709father&babyC2_res 61709babycranegroomsfather-1res

DSC05777res Finally they all relaxed and then finally flew off. The Moorhen is also a pretty smart, she built her nest up high on the side so as to shade her from the sun as she nested.

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Tonight I tried fishing, but only got greedy turtles trying to find bread. One is so bold as to come up and take it out of my tackle box, so I keep it up on a plastic chair now as not only the turtles, but the ants swarm inside the plastic bags once they sense food. DSC05435res Ringo looks at the turtle with amusement, but does not bother them. Fishing sucked, maybe it’s too hot. If there was no breeze off the lake tonight, I would not have thrown out a line. No use standing down there sweating profusely and ending up like Frankie prostrate on the ground, no one would notice me!
Finally Ringo and I gave up and walked back to the house. I picked some small rose buds to put in a shot glass.
DSC08162res Ringo and I were glad to come inside and absorb that nice cool air. No thunderstorms tonight. All is quiet around here. I came in to blog, Ringo passed out and then was treated to a massage from my son. We all have our ways of dealing with the heat, that’s for sure! DSC05688res DSC05693res

This morning began with a walk, if you call it that when one takes their camera. I decided I need to try and get some ‘legit’ exercise, (yawn). I used to walk at a good clip, but kept getting heal spurs and then of course, you don’t walk. But I thought today might be the day to start again so I put on the shoes and stopped about 200 feet away to take a photo of a tree hugging another tree 100_1113resizetree.  I stopped a few more times to take photos of wonderfully bucolic scenes.

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I saw a hawk preening, squirrels everywhere, and heard plenty of birds. It is good to go out and really look around as you walk taking in all the sights. (I am not sure if it is effective exercise, but it’s good for the heart and peace of mind).
The trees around here are old and stately. I saw a staghorn fern growing on an oak, it was gorgeous, but my friend Dee has a wonderful huge staghorn fern she artistically hung in her own back yard that is quite beautifully displayed.  42609staghornfernb-1resizefernontree_editedresize
After coming home and finding that my Adobe photoshop was not working, I was in a panic. It really put me in a bad mood. Then the band of brother ducks were here mooching
at the stump so I chased them and came to a quick stop when I saw a really long yellow rat snake.  It was a mean one too, you could tell by his expression. I felt like I was trespassing on my own property, I got as close as I dared as he was in full striking position. I will have more pics on  http://offshoot2.wordpress.com (later) .
The baby heron also visited twice. He shows off his flight techniques which are improving. The baby comes to the area where I fish at least twice a day now. He still has the baby coloring, but is larger than his father! What is in the water in this lake?
Also today the newer cranes came to eat seed off the stump, they were wandering around the yard when out of the blue, the old rusty couple came to claim their stake. They left the baby at home I suppose. I have not seen the baby in a while. After they chased the young couple away, they flew off.  dsc02944heronresize
My son and I finally got the Photoshop working so later I will add some pics to Offshoot.
The wind has been tough for 4 days now, it blows like a ‘noreaster’ at times off the lake, no fishing and the Mama
heron hasn’t bothered to come and see if I was going to fish or not lately. I tried tonight, but I threw the line out and it comes wobbling right back in a matter of seconds.
The point of the blog today is get your mind working as you walk, take in the surroundings like a dirty voyeur, take pleasure in hugging trees, bad ducks, mean snakes, birds that fly over head and squirrels on the ground. You are not alone out there, so turn off that ipod and listen to the birds sing, the wind blow and even the snakes hiss, their music is a reminder to yourself that sometimes you must slow down and hear what others are saying – it’s the universal language of love and renewal.
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The baby crane was left alone today, but only for a few minutes. The folks had come to the stump to eat some seed.
dsc02483cranefamily-1resize the baby found some crevices that it could stick it’s head into and find seed for itself. They are now coming very regularly as before. I so love when I see them coming.
And as the heron and I fished, the papa crane came and ran toward the heron charging at her and sending the heron flying off for a while.  The male crane also threatened Ringo the cat too, but Ringo knows better and gets out of the way.
The crane parents must have had some nostalgia to visit their old nest in the little marsh just off my property. The water was lower last year, low enough that they hatched a baby there over a year ago.
The Papa crane flew over first and began looking  at his ‘old digs’, then the Mama followed him.    dsc02528-1parentsresize

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

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

Article below just in case you would like to read:

Seminole gets OK to pump from St. Johns

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

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

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

Of course I feel quite honored as the folks brought the baby by, hard to believe it is almost a month old. I don’t have to add much, will just show the photos:  But look to my nature photography blog to have many more today, link below

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For a much more in depth look, come to my photo blog:
http://offshoot2.wordpress.com

4609babycranec-1_edited-1 Finally, my neighbor called and said the cranes were visiting her. I drove over and there they were. The baby looks so big to me.
I took about 70 photos of the shy bird. The parents feed it well.
while I watched, it ate 5 worms!

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They still have not come to visit me, though the father crane
will fly in and eat seed from the stump and then fly back to the family.

Enjoy the family, I sure do!

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33009elviswith2bandofbrothers-1 I am convinced Elvis is a double agent or the Mob boss of the lake.
I was fishing around 6pm and suddenly my neighbor Reyna and I were chatting about her school work when suddenly Carbs came swimming over with the Pekin twins in tow. He was glad to be home you could tell. Carbs and the girls made a lot of happy honks and I fed them all a few bread crumbs which they happily ate. When I looked up, there was Elvis flying straight across the lake and not a minute later, the BOB, (band of brothers) were flying after him. We expected to see a fight, but no, they all were swimming around one another when one of the BOB noticed Carbs at my house and took off in our direction. Reyna and I tried to block the mallard mix from Carbs. We made the bad duck go back to the water as Carbs hurried his fat body up toward my house, Carbs wings were going like a broken wind up toy while the mallard mix flew right over Reyna and I and right into Carbs! Carbs ran as fast as he could while Reyna and I tried to sidetrack the bad duck, but we just weren’t fast enough and Carbs was chased off the property by the other duck.
Elvis flew over with the other two mallard males and they cavorted around flirting with the Pekin twins. The twins swam away to the other side of the lake. The two band of brother ducks and Elvis swam around bickering among themselves near my shore. The mallards would get right in Elvis’ face arguing, but Elvis looked like he could care less!  33009bobmouthsofftoelvis-1_edited-1

I am thinking that Elvis might be the top dog, or top duck as it applies. How else does it make sense that the BOB don’t bother
Elvis and he can swim among them, but Carbs is totaly attacked?
Why does Elvis pretend to be Carbs good friend? Is it only to get at the Pekin twins? dsc01161

Somehow this is akin to Meerkat manor light.
The Pekin ducks also seem confused, they love
Carbs, but are not as chummy with the Mallard

band of brothers and are shy around Elvis too.
We felt so badly for Carbs. He obviously does not fly, and his wings are not fast enough to propel him away from the mean mallard. Elvis must be the mob king, the band of brothers are his cartel, and poor carbs is caught in a thug war!
As for the baby heron, it was here all afternoon. I caught some fish and threw it in his direction. the baby just did not get it. He did not even perk up when they flipped around onshore. When it started to get dark, it began it’s climb into the Norfolk pine while it’s mother who was fishing within 25 feet of him, flew up to the nest and when she got up there, the one baby still in the nest was making it’s pteradactyl noise. The baby heron on the ground did notice this familiar sound and looked up. You could tell that he wanted to be up there too! he squawked a low noise and looked in that direction. I still don’t know if the baby heron is eating, but he looks no worse for the wear. So much drama on the lake! I need a life or syndication…

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No photos of Carbs included, the muscovy pictured is Elvis so don’t get confused. the flying heron is the mother and that’s the baby heron in the last photo.

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

32409papaonegg-1 There he is, Papa crane
sitting on the egg. I have been
there twice this am to see
if there was any progress, but it’s still an egg.

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So I am still waiting like an anxious, expectant, overdue mother. Any day

now the colt will be hatching. It’s probably close.

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Here are the folks, mama is the rusty color on right, though Papa crane has also gotten a bit rusty too.

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And here’s a pretty flower on the ground

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The lake the cranes are nesting on this spring, how I wish they were still nesting
on my marsh like last year.

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