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On Wednesday I noticed wood ducks on shore by the lake,   excuse the photo, I was trying to catch him as he waddled off fast as they are very shy.  Yesterday again, he and his mate came on shore. I stayed inside and watched from behind the sliding glass doors. The female flew up to the nesting box for ducks that my writing buddy, Richard Poole had put up last year.  He must be a wise man because the ducks liked the looks of it and stood on top  a while.    The female even looked in. I wondered if there might be some woodpeckers inside.      They are beautiful looking ducks. They looked about ten minutes, then flew down and swam off.     I did not see them Thursday, but might have been too busy to notice.   My son came into town Wednesday night and left on Thursday for a cruise to Mexico with friends from his old Lake Brantley high school days.  At least he’s on a cruise, I told him not to get off the boat!
We had watched “Gonzo” Wednesday night, “The life and works of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson” –  that guy was just too much, love Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.  Johnny Dep was amazing.   Ringo and Adam sprawled out on the floor to have a good view.    Aaron was busy at my desk.    Missed Andrea!
No baby cranes on Wednesday or Thursday.   Wednesday night I was fishing and the sky was quite overcast.     The clouds were moving on by from the north to the south.     The sky got dark and I had to capture in a photoshopped photo.  
I fished till it was almost dark. The ugly possum came around looking for some bread left over from the birds, that possum is scary looking,     
The herons had come down to fish with me. The big male was impressive.  Ut-oh. my Photoshop is not working – will have to address in morning, only did a four hour night, ready to hit the sack – fly to my nest. I always call my bed, my nest. So I will finish tomorrow….

Oh it was a sad headline this morning about poor Mary. I did not renew my past Zoo membership when it expired in October, that was the last time I saw her.  I worry so much for Maude who is left all alone and mourning her companion’s death. The two were bonded and it must be excruciatingly painful for Maude who must be wondering where her buddy of many years is.

This is a little tribute to Mary and Maude and some of the other animals I always find fascinating at the intimate Sanford Zoo, though I am no fan of the size of the enclosures of the big cats nor Maude and Mary. While it is an educational tool, I always felt Maude and Mary should have been given to Animal Kingdom to live out their lives. Their area is miniscule and made me always feel sad when I saw them, I hope Maude will be given the large range she deserves now, while their trainers and caretakers obviously love them, the living conditions were way too confining.
I do applaud the efforts of the Sanford Zoological Park to expand, and only want what is best for Maude. I know a committee is making a decision on how much stress is involved in this process, stress from being without a companion, more stress from moving Maude from her familiar environment and introduced to new herds. Hard decisions to make, if only Maude could tell us…

I will add more when I find my files… Here’s a few of the others


Good night, sleep tight  

Ran by the zoo Thursday looking for crows. Did not see one, but here’s what I saw:

DSC03702-1re The leopard wasn’t panting today, just looked board as when I saw him last.  DSC03700-1re One of the elephants was still in her stall, the other one came out to greet me.
DSC03720-1re The tortoises were kept apart by a fence because he is a bit too amorous all the time. They look like they miss being together. Both are 50 years old and can live for 200 years!   DSC03726re The keeper came in with food and he scratched her back and she just loved it! I did too, she looked so happy.
DSC03730-1re The emus always look at you like they judge you.  The kangaroos always look so lazy, didn’t even take a picture. The cheetahs could not be seen, they were still in their den.  DSC03734-2re The porcupines were quill to quill in their dream state. Even the goat was sound asleep.  DSC03810-1re But some kids came with food and he perked up.  DSC03809re The Llama just peered over top of his barn window and decided I was not worthy of his presence.
The reptiles were more active, well not the alligator,  DSC03738re he slept in the sun with a hat of greenery.  The lizards were busy.  DSC03778-2re
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Then I went to get french fries because I love their fries, but they did not have any made up, so

had to settle for a pretzel instead. It attracted the grackles which were everywhere, but still no crows at all.   DSC03779-1re DSC03788-1re DSC03806-3res

The grackles and I ate the pretzel and I headed on back to the car. There was an adorable marmoset out on a leash, but all it was doing was sleeping, her name is Judy,
DSC03820-2re Oh well, I’m sure if I had gone to the Walmart parking lot, I would have found some crows, but there’s always another day to catch crows. I do enjoy the zoo, especially when I have it to myself like I did early Thursday morning, even if most of the animals were still sleeping.

It’s my birthday! Thank you very much, but why bother celebrating being old? Let’s just move on – I decided to go visit the Sanford zoo and look for crows as they are always there waiting for discarded food at the concession stand. I want to take more for the art exhibit I am trying to get together for the upcoming Seminole Community College submissions for 2010 and to submit as a proposal for some other galleries.
I first looked for Carbs and threw him some seed.  DSC00630res Then headed on to Sanford Zoo only about 5 miles away. The sky was really overcast, threatened to rain, but figured I’d take my chances.  The Zoo was quiet, they are gearing up for a Grand Opening for the obstacle course with low and high, tree level walkways. I wonder how long that will last till they have an accident and the liability will end that.  100_3663res

The Zoo itself was quiet as the kids are back in school. I came first to a red shoulder hawk on display. DSC00562res After that I headed toward the concession stand and nada, nothing, no birds anywhere! So I moved on to where they were feeding the iguana.
DSC00566res The alligators head was so close to the wall, I couldn’t even take it, so I took his knobby body. 82609alligatorback-1res I passed up on the snake room this time as the sky was darkening and thunder could be heard and I am handling metal. I went to visit the cats and Maude and Mary the old Asian elephants.
The cats were all sound asleep. DSC00580res Except the leopards who were panting away like last time, poor jail birds.  DSC00594res The monkeys were also sound asleep, not one was moving! On to the elephants.  82609trunkup-1res, Maud or Mary, whichever it was was posing nicely. Then she took a massive leak. elephanttakingaleak-1res

And it kept going and going  — 82609peeingelephant-1res

I then wandered on to the butterfly garden,  100_3661res So much of the zoo is built around a natural setting which makes it such a treasure. It is not manufactured like other zoos. The bad part is the cats and elephants, they need a lot more room.  100_3647res

100_3654res 100_3665res The natural flow of water is also a bonus with all the streams hidden among the cages and exhibits.
I made my way to the cheetahs,  100_3656leopardres DSC00602res
One of the cheetahs kept pacing and pacing. he looked so bored.  Finally I saw some grackles at a little pond across from the emus.  DSC00614res The birds frolicked and had fun dipping in the water. I took a good amount and then hurried through a few more paths of animal cages.  82609zoogoat-1res
DSC00619res And the sky looked and sounded like it might open up so I hurried out. On the way back home right outside the zoo was a wild turkey, but I was driving and could not stop to take the photo. I did see a rooster by a house and no one was coming so I pulled over and took it’s picture, 82609roostercloseup-3res – it was quite handsome!
And that’s how my day has gone.  I came back and had more birds in bird bath and eating at feeders. Love sitting and getting side-tracked at my desk.  82609birdbath-1res That’s a mocking bird shaking off the water. And so far, that’s the day. I really love that being this age has brought a real passion for taking pictures. I feel that is me, I can’t even imagine not having a day without a photo!  Thanks to Lee and Andrea for our sushi dinner last night and to Adam who gave the family Journey tickets next month. I’m excited to see that new guy who sings like Steve Perry.

Enjoy photos at http://offshoot2.wordpress.com

It’s been another hot humid inferno. Loved seeing so many bees and dragonflys and flying things.
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The butterflies, like yesterday are all over the place.  So are the red ants, they have ant piles all over. Some people take gas and kill them. I use borax and sugar, but they still pop up somewhere else. I need some of that stuff that kills the queen. I did purchase some vinyl boots for $6.24 at Target  DSC00558res They have anchors all over them. I wore them tonight while fishing, I didn’t catch anything and didn’t get bitten once either! Then, as the turtles were chasing my fake frog toward the shore, they stopped to mock me.
100_3431res Carbs was close by, but the baby crane chased him in the lake. You could tell the baby was very proud of himself. he even walked down toward the lake to make sure that Carbs didn’t come back on shore.  He did after the cranes left.
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Then the clouds gathered overhead,  100_3437res they came up fast, and I figured I better head on in.  A few minutes after I came in, the lightning was crazy. It was all over the place.  I turned off the computer and unplugged it for a while. But almost 2 hours have passed with lots and lots of flashes. Here’s the thunderstorm at night, thunder and crickets and frogs and beautiful flashes of lightning near beginning and at the end –  you can pause it to look at the electric bolts! ANd you can even see how light it becomes during the flashes.

As of now, the storm has moved over toward Daytona and left probably at least an inch or more of water. We have to keep adding rain water now so when winter comes and rain is rare, the lake is still up and people don’t need to dig a new well like a few of the neighbors have had to do in the past when we had droughts.  But with more and more people leaving Florida as evidenced by articles in the paper yesterday, maybe we will have enough to sustain the rest of us without draining some of our rivers for wasteful lawn watering.
The fat possum stopped by for a minute to eat the rest of the left over catfood, then rambled back out in the storm.  100_3443res The mosquitos are absolutely horrible, when I was filming the storm, they were draining me.  And that’s it for tonight. One day I will figure out how to do night shots, and maybe it’s better for now I don’t, I might never go to bed…

DSC09975res Ummum, today at ‘the desk’ — move over Jared – does it get better than Subway’s chocolate chip cookies? (Yes, it gets better if they are warmed ever so slightly.) While my friend Beda in her 70’s, and looks 49 goes to her first pilates class after being so disciplined on her diet, I salute her steadfast  efforts! Today I saw a T-shirt that said,  reject-thumb That’s a great motto – I agonized with her as she denied herself carbs in order to lose weight and stay healthy and now she goes the extra mile to exercise – Yikes the E word scares me! I will exercise later by getting up from the computer to put the cookies back in the kitchen fifteen feet away, maybe I will walk back and forth five times just to lose a couple calories. Right now I am on the ‘feed the fever’ trend, because I have a slight cold, (and boring enough I think it’s starve the cold – or is it reversed?)  Whatever, I admire these efforts by people to trim up  and fly right, “I reject your reality and substitute my own“. Here’s one, eat colorful foods, so how about if the food comes in a the colorful bag? Look at that colorful title on the Subway cookies – hows that for rationale?
I was invited to go to pilates class, but no thanks, I remember those years of being chosen last for every team in gym class. I remember taking a Jazzercize class with my then, ten year old daughter who after seeing that I could not figure how hands and feet moved at the same time, requested I sit down or not stand next to her, I remember those days and respect that I am not an exerciser  or anything near athletic except for wearing tennis shoes for comfort! The only thing that might make me behave is the sin tax, if they tax sugar, I will become a hoarder and blackmarket sugar runner…I ACCEPT MY LIMITATIONS – Don’t worry be happy, that’s the other credo…
Back to nature – I love ibis, they have those beady eyes and long beaks and make the whackiest noises.  I had some vistors, (requiring me to get up and walk outside) and watched as three lovely ibis came to play in my yard.
Another tidbit I found on Wikipedia, “The ibis is the last sign of wildlife to take shelter before a hurricane hits and the first to reappear once the storm has passed.” They are noted for their bravery. I guess they aren’t that brave, they didn’t let me get too close before flying off.  Here is the photos of a descendant of birds long ago. One of my favorite favorite, top two favorite short stories is The Scarlet Ibis by James Hurst – go online and read it, and get a kleenex!

Here’s some photos for you to enjoy and see how regal they are.
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The heat is bad – “how bad is it?” it seems the lizards are melting – or wearing protection. liz-res
DSC08794res2 The flowers are wilting under the mighty swell of

DSC08786res sun. I went over to the Lake Mary Farmers market which is very shady.  Not many people this morning. This was to be a debut for the artists who wanted to rent a table and I found one artist willing to pay.
There will be a new grocer on the corner of Lake MAry blvd and where the town hall is. It is the same man who has vegetables and fruits in a booth on Saturdays. The name of his place is Morris Market and he opens this coming Friday.
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Yesterday I ventured up toward the zoo and stopped by the marina. Drove back toward the Palms, maybe 1000 feet 100_1972re and to the right of the driveway a few hundred feet to the right is the marina building.

100_1976mres The building looked pretty quiet and the little business building next to the Palms Resort had ‘ for rent’ signs. A sign of the time for sure. Ususally I see birds there, but nothing was there. I wanted to photograph crows and there wasn’t one in sight. I decided to go to the zoo.
waterfrontre The drive along Lake Monroe was quiet, even the water seemed too tired to wave, (that was a joke).
zoo-1 I turned into the zoo which is a few miles from the marina. Surely there would be some crows at the refreshment stand.
The zoo had a lot of small kids using the water park. The snake room was air conditioned and a refuge. They keep it colder so the reptiles will look perky.
snake1 But outside, the alligator was not anywhere to be found and the croc was hidden beneath his water hole. The cats looked like my Frankie, panting and hot. DSC08860leop After I made the rounds I stopped and got a pretzel and drink and sat down. I made small bits of the pretzel and tossed a few out and waited, nothing, no birds came at all. I stayed ten minutes enjoying the shade and drink, but not one bird took me up on my food offer. I walked back to my truck and came home. The birds are staying to themselves these days. The sun is singe-ing their feathers.
Back on Abbe’s lake things are quiet except for my moorhen, a couple of her eggs have hatched. Will save that story and pictures for tomorrows blog.
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