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First let me tell you that last night I was blogging when Ringo made a jump on my desk and a dive for the wall and looked like he was listening to something intense. So I listened too. What was it? I saw no crawling bugs and then worried, what if? What if  rats were back in the attic or garage? I walked out to the garage with Ringo who inspected the territory  and could find nothing to kill. I felt that was a good sign. He then went out for the night and I sat at my desk and tuned into to the house, keeping my ears open to every creaky, creepy noise that comes with a 50 year old house and when it is dark outside, the imagination is ripe!   (Ringo finds nest of newborn rats in garage last October)
I still have traps set up in the attic and change them every few weeks, only time will tell. So far I hear no foot steps. That cat is a prankster, maybe he was just trying to liven things up. Tonight Frankie has taken over, she just stares into space, she’s old and that’s what she does. If she does what Ringo did, then I will freak out and call an exterminator,
This morning woke to the same old Dante’s Hell outside. I am hoping that by next week my computer will be fixed and my Photoshop and CD/DVDs will be able to be reinstalled and I can work on my art again. Photoshop is like colorfully applied heroin, I am not doing well without my daily fix, (not of heroin, of Photoshop.) “Au natural” is not working well for me. But at least my Alpha is back and the lens working. Here’s a few morning shots:

Actually the squirrel and jay were the day before.
Tonight I drove over to Casselberry where I thought the Arthouse was having a reception.   There was no one inside that I could see, but the door was open so I went in. No one was in the main Gallery, but I did hear voices in the back to discover artists painting away. It was a class. I felt dumb when no one knew of a reception, but did take time to notice the Gallery filled with an Exhibit I think was called Magnificent 7. The colors and theme were pleasing. Here are a few of the works:
and there was photography too  – The building itself is wonderfully serene.  I enjoy the view of the lake from all the windows.  Inside the walls invite you to exhibit.   I walked outside and came across a huge hawk who only sat still for seconds when he noticed me.  he was a gorgeous speciman!  But he was quick. The views around the building are wonderful as I have stated in past blogs. Have a look:  
The lake and walkway are fun, the landscaping has become so lush! But the lightning was becoming plentiful overhead even with a mostly blue sky.
I finally found out through another lost soul that the reception was inside the City Hall building. There I found Linda Moore,  the Recreation Coordinator there talking to some of the artists.  The exhibit is called “Dance of Life” and the passion was very intense.  I met artist, Gary Paduch. His stirring paintings were absorbed as soon as you walked in. I learned he also writes and has a book and plans on writing another. All can be seen at  his website at  http://gf.paduch.com he has a gorgeous and intense body of work. Take a peek and enjoy!  Here is a view of some of the “Dance of Life” exhibit,  the artists on display are,  Betty and Jim Bay, Stephanie Kindle. Mactruque, Dale Metz, Monte olinger, Berto Ortega, Gary Pauch and Steve Piscitelli. I am only showing a few paintings, the rest are for you to discover.
http://www.casselberry.org/ I never knew Jim Bay was a painter, but he did this small jazz piece. Betty his talented wife must have rubbed off on him after all these years.  There were a few sculptures – go see it all yourself. 
When I left at about 7:45pm, the sky to the east and north were threatening. The sun was getting low when I reached Country Club but I veered off and tried to get a few pics   This is over Crystal Lake

The noisy bully of a storm was showing off overhead and thunder got louder.  The clouds over my own lake were very dark and menacing.  I did shoot a quick video as it was almost too dark. And as I shot, I noticed a heron in my pine, I have not seen a heron in about a month. I was excited by it’s presence and watched till it flew away, maybe tomorrow it will come back. Enjoy the storm that passed over,        have a great tomorrow and an even better one after that!

Lots to do coordinating the exhibit for University Club and making sure it is a fine representation for the Gateway Photo Group – the work by the contributing photographers is beautiful, it will be a terrific show – so off to University Club on Tuesday to look around and chart wall space. But today, my daughter had off and she took me to lunch at Willowtree in Sanford, a very noted German restaurant.  We stopped by Andrea’s first where her cats were lounging, Musa and Cocobella looked like Romeo and Juliet,  Little Cocobella was looking so adoringly at that devil Musa.  Andrea had taken a picture with her and Musa, I loved it so must add it of course.    Then we headed to Hart Sister’s Tea Room on Park Avenue and thought we would grab a bite to eat there, but they were closed. It’s an adorable setting.   there was such a nice garden setting and plants around the place.   But since it was closed we ventured to First street and the gallery’s were closed so we headed to Willowtree and ate outside.   The place was still quite full and it was 1:30pm.  I had quiche which was good, but the honey mustard pecan dressing for the salad was excellent. Andrea had a sandwich, neither of our choices were German dishes, but if you like the schnitzel and knockwurst, liverwurst and bologna loaf, this is for you! The desserts looked wonderful, but neither of us really wanted any, we were full.   They do have great desserts!   My sweetest daughter and I strolled up the road, passed Maya’s and saw the Yoko John Poster:  and then saw something I didn’t expect – a rooster at Two Blondes and A Shrimp! He was a poser!    They say he comes around all the time, wonder if he came from Horstmeyers on Commercial Street, they have chicks for sale.
We stopped and bought a few things at Baileys Consignment store and then went over and looked at Miss Libby’s Antique Emporium.  They had moved their recently, but I believe Miss Libby said she and her husband had been at another location down the block for 14 years.  They had done a beautiful job of placing all their antiques. It was well organized. Had a lot of glassware and lots of Harmony Kingdom boxes which are so much fun to look at.
and Betty Boop!   There is furniture, original artwork, primitives, coins and a very cool monkey   Enjoyed our talk with Miss Libby who was happy to help us.
address is 204 E. First Street – 407-328-8298.
We had a nice chat and then headed home. It was a lot of fun, thanks Andrea for lunch!
Last night I was a stick in the mud, could see some of the Sanford fireworks from the backyard, also saw my pesky little raccoon who decided to eat the remaining cat food.   While Ringo decided he did not like the commotion at all and came in and even sat on my lap voluntarily, a first!   I had to watch to see who I let in — didn’t want a raccoon on my lap!  I watched Bye Bye Birdie and sang away with the movie..  
This morning the jay were at it again, in fact, I had forgotten there were so many fledgling birds. They were trying to be the boss of everyone and chased off the other birds and squirrel.   Though the doves are pretty feisty too.   There was a showdown between the squirrel and dove, but they called a draw and both stayed.
The jays then came in pairs:   and had a few words,  

the third brother joined in, then two more.   They were hard to get at one time!  Then it boiled down to two and they argued and both flew off — but they come back now again and again and it never gets old.   and to look at this last picture, it is my tribute to Independence day, the natural beauty of the red, white and blue!

The rains have been coming off and on today. The heat is tremendous under the weight of all the humidity. The birds seemed to be panting.    They cooled off a lot in the bird baths.
The one baby and it’s mother were back.   I noticed that there were actually two fledgling babies begging for food, but she refused to feed the second one, (in the middle) though both seem fine because if they have to eat on their own, they do, they are just lazy.  The rejected baby at the bottom right of the photo finally got his own seed.
Have young jays coming in also,  Got nice photo of the handsome young male
They hear me clicking the camera from at my desk inside and jump!
I had a baby thrasher come in and eat, then get exhausted and sat down to relax.  I felt like that too, I had a hard time getting my camera to adjust to the heat outside, it took about ten minutes before I could defog my lens.|

The BOB’s, band of brothers stopped by for a drink, they ambled away into the steam of the afternoon. I walked down to the lake and saw the Mallard couple, the male is one of the BOM’s band of mallards from May, he was the weakest of them and they dominated him.   The two stronger ducks left. The weaker link stayed here and took a mate. His foot was injured back then he was limping. The female stays with him all the time, the pair stay on the edge of the lake as they are shy of people and head right out on the lake when I get too close.  He hobbles on the left leg. But today he got up and could hardly walk on it.  It was so pathetic watching him swim off not using that leg.  The leg looks broken poor guy. I hope the Band of Brothers don’t find him down there, they will take advantage of him for sure as they did with our sweet Carbs, the muscovy who was hanging out here last year until the BOB’s made him leave “their” lake, nature can be so very cruel.  (That’s Carbs)  What will happen? Oh, it is the secrets of the lake that keep us all guessing around here! Like, will I fish tonight? All I have to do is look at the lake to see the sky is telling me no!  

I love all this kinetic energy outside, the flashing electric, the thunder, the urgency of the rain. It has been like this for a few hours now.  There is something very soothing about it, even with the tremendous boom that is going on right now as the thunder proclaims the night for itself.  I did get a chance to fish as the sky was changing from the cold front.      My heron came down and I caught her one small shiner. Ringo sat under my plastic chair, when he does that, it means a hard rain is coming because there are many times we fish together in the rain, but he knows the difference between big storms and these soft showers that happen as I fish.  I know a storm is coming when he opts of being under the chair. And it has been a truly drenching rain. So far not too bad, the toilets still flush!
   There seems to be a new “Band of Brothers” lately – I have not seen the bully brothers of the lake in the past few weeks, instead, I am seeing a group of 4, 3 mallards, one is a mallard mix and the mis is the leader. They have been coming into the yard and relaxing.  Here’s the leader and the others, the lead duck has a limp, why do I get all these limping animals? Maybe my yard is just tilted?            it’s a bit smaller than the others, but if this is male or female, it is commanding the lead.              The iridescent color on the heads and small stripes on the bodys are beautiful. Wonder how long they will stick around?   
        Yesterday had beautiful tri-colored heron,       and the baby herons were yapping it up up in the tree, but no signs of them leaving the nest.
    The mother is the one on the left.  They really don’t even venture far out on the branch. 
I do see lots of dragonflies as it must be mating season for them.   
     Went to bed and woke up to clearing sky      and watched the crane family come for breakfast without the baby that is the bigger one. The smaller one came and ate and of course, sat down and lazily made attempts to dig for worms. What an adorable face. 
      and that is what I will leave you with to start your day – have a great week!

All day the weather service has thrown out the “C” word, “cyclonic activity”.  Apparently there were swirling weather dervishes all over central Florida.  Brighthouse channel 13 kept an atmosphere of fear and doom and impending present natural forces waiting to pounce: straightline winds, tornados, lightening, blinding rain, floods, etc etc.
My weather radio   kept going off over and over with tornado and thunderstorm warnings, it gets to a point where it’s like ‘calling wolf” via a robotic voice calm as Hal in 20o1 Space Odyssey that tells you you are about to die if you ignore this radio command.  I called in The Cat in the Hat to soften the blow and point out the irony of a robot’s voice controlling the sheer panic of real people.
As soon as that blatant noise goes off warning of warnings, I look around and if I don’t see or hear anything, I figure ‘Hal’ must have meant the tornado was headed somewhere else and I don’t have to unload the linen closet and step in while concrete block falls around me.
The birds had been active all morning.   The clouds low and growling from the warm southeast. Marching like they had a mission to accomplish by fighting  the north with it’s cold front.  As I said the birds were  busy,  (squirrels too).

This grackle shook off the loose water.

The woodpeckers were tapping out their SOS to the other peckers to seek a deep hole and stay there.
Mama heron flew over for a visit.  

I looked across the lake and could see the father crane and grabbed Adam to go have a look, (yes, even tornadic activity can’t stop me from risking limb and life to see baby cranes .)  The mama had flown back over and we saw the babies,   one which had run under the wire fence and the other was soon to follow. When the parents noticed that they had a couple peewee escapees, they could not figure out how to get through that fence and kept banging into it.  Their bird brains did not compute metal as part of nature’s mesh.

Meanwhile the colts were bolting with their new found freedom and fear of the unknown.   So Adam chased the adult cranes out toward the water and they found they could get over to their offspring. We didn’t see the babies after that, they were on private property inside that fenced yard. I am hoping soon they will swim those babies over in a week or so so I can get close ups.
At 4:00pm was the ribbon cutting  by the Chamber of Commerce for Rhonda Richley’s new re-opening of Art Affair Gallery to a larger space at 301 East First Street in Sanford. I looked at the weather and decided to wait it out a bit. At 6pm I left and was glad I got to see the new space. Even with the weather alert many people were out attending Alive After 5 which had an Irish/ St. Patrick Day theme.
The gallery was packed with people, it was a wonderful turnout. I met artists and or photographers: Marie Decosta,  Mauricio Murillo, Ken Elliott and Gummy Bear
shown here with Mauricio who does wonderful satiric gummybear art.   Look at that, Mauricio and GB are the cover of In Progress urban arts Mag!  Mauricio’s work is quite humorous and he says he enjoys making people laugh. You can’t help enjoy his work.   
here’s a link  http://www.murilloarts.daportfolio.com/ Mauricio is also quite involved with the Icla Da Silva Foundation matching bone marrow donors to Leukemia patients.
Marie DeCosta had a room full of acrylic abstract paintings that were bold and full of imagery. She also had nature photography and her prices were very fair.

Ken Elliott a photographer from Ormond beach was gracious and gave me great tips on using the manual setting. His work was testament to his professional eye.  http://www.kenelliottphotography.com/ Ken does a lot of fine art and commercial work.  Thanks again Ken for all the tips and the stories. I enjoyed his sunset photo of a red sunset that he caught.  I had one of those nights a few weeks ago after a wonderful vertical rainbow and the sky rather tapered off into a rich sunset as I fished  – this was how it looked. And if you read my blog, you know I fish quite often!  Except not tonight.
There was a room that featured a student artist, Andrew Allen McCoy
The collage by Constance Payne was very telling. I was told she is a tattoo artist and takes in young artists and tries to help them focus on their lives and their art.    One piece is Payne’s and the others are students.  They learned well.  And on with the show, here is more of the Art Affair expanded Gallery. Rhonda does her own textured art and she is not shy with her colors and subjects.  There was artwork made out of soda cans, baskets out of paper, jewelry, very imaginative woodworking and much more, whatever the texture, whatever the medium, paper, rock, scissors, you will find something to suit you.  And it’s not a place where you can only look and can’t afford to buy.  Go take a look, you will enjoy what Rhonda has done for Sanford, she’s added a lot of class and fine art. Here’s more proof:

And here’s a few of my own “abb-strax” resulting from trying to take night photography of the surrounding events from outside. That included a group of Irish Bagpipe players.

Last night went over to our very quaint Lake Mary Historical Museum, it has a doll show.  All dolls were on loan. They had wax dolls and others over 100 years old.  When I grew up, we had dolls like ‘Pitiful Pearl’, Shirley Temple, then on to Barbies, which were the most fun because of all the accessories. I remember having handmade clothes for my Barbies, I don’t know where my Mom bought them, only wish I still had them, I kept all my Barbie dolls and clothes and my mother gave them away while I was in college – bummer, I had wanted to save them for my Andrea. Oh well, that’s so almost 40 years ago – Never mind that psychological trauma, haha.
Here’s some pics.

That last one kind of looked ‘corpsey’.

This shows the bulk of the one room museum, it holds all the documentation for incorporating Lake Mary, Florida.  It was used as a social hall for many years.
Ever hear of Golliwogs? They were black, male dolls and it became acceptable around the 1930’2  for boys to have dolls, but now they are called Gollys because golliwog has become an unacceptable racial term. I never knew these things.  All I know is, little boys have little killing machines like GI Joe and metro sexual Ken to balance GI Joe’s aggressive behavior.  Though I don’t remember my brother having a Ken at all.  I know my young boys liked Stretch Armstrong so they could pull his arms and legs and punch him.     My boys were more into video games and outdoor sports.
They had a lot of Barbies, I didn’t even know they beamed Barbie up to be with Captain Kirk and Spock.   The exhibit is fun, the museum interesting, so go have a look if you are near Country Club and Lake Mary Blvd.  Call them for their hours, they have odd opening times.   These are really old.  

Now to wildlife, lots this morning, maybe because the storms are coming in later today. So many blackbirds, crows, cardinals. It sounds beautiful out there with the doors open.
Here’s a view:
The crow up on the branch was all alone until another joined it up there, they kissed   Then stood together looking south.   Then went to separate branches
then parted, hopefully on friendly terms.
The male heron was busy getting branches again, I enjoy watching his ability of manuvering them around the big branches up in the tree. He brings them to his wife and she shapes them in the nest.     He them moves upward again and again.   

He passes it off and she in true female genetic glue, makes the nest a home.   Look how large it has become.
So that’s it for the am, gotta go before it gets stormy. Kids are coming for weekend.
Here’s a few more pics.   
And this ballsy little grackle who walked right in the porch despite the cat and ate cat food as if to laugh right in Frankie’s face.
What a sense of humor these birds have!  That’s why I have to take their pictures…

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…

okay, the title is a lie, I can’t take night pics yet, even though I keep pressing buttons, moving settings, and get sucked dry by mosquitos, for all that, I am useless at night photography. The second lie, there was no visible moon tonight, that’s from the night before, whatever day it is now. We were supposed to get all this horrid weather and it passed on by with just a short period of rain and alot of tv hoopla.
I went to Gateway Photo group last night and got the names of good printing sites, and Danielle was kind and patient as she tried showing me how to work my camera settings, but I have to look at more tutorials and find the way to keep this shutter open, my cameras play tricks on me at night, I think they are actually tried of being molested and want the mosquitos to kill me off.
Today I did some holiday shopping and came home, and as I rounded the corner and got on Country Club, I noticed lots of waterfowl at the Mayfair CC, so I had my camera and parked the truck and walked over to the golf course hoping not to get whacked in the head – though maybe it would default my head settings and I could go to bed)
I saw woodstorks, 
A woodstork who thought he was a commorant.  
Lots of crows flying all over,  cranes of course. what would a golf course around here be with out cranes?  And then I went home before my luck ran out.  The heron has progressed a bit with the nest, though I did not see the male all day.   She sits and sits and waits, but I think he has been seeing someone else and twigging up her nest!
She looks quite forlorn.  My fat mockingbird was posing as always by the mailbox, she has such bright eyes.
No eggs in her nest though.  There was an elephant  on my mantle. 

I just threw that in to see if you were paying attention.
I hope tomorrow we will get more rain. I must explore mpix.com for having photos printed, their prices and quality seem really worth it. Metallic paper is so cool if the photo is right. I am wondering if I should try a few for my crow photo exhibit in April.
Just threw that in as a tease.
Okay, I went back out and could not get anything with recognition. But as I was walking back toward the house, the moon popped out for a few seconds 
In between the thick clouds, there was an opening and the light gave me a quick shot with whatever setting I had on.  Hey, at 4:46am, I will take what I can get literally… Ah, if only I could photograph my dreams, they are amazing….

First, rat update: the traps remain unsnapped, and I do not hear any foot prints, I am sooo knocking on wood hoping the last of them were trapped.  So far, so good.
Heron update:
Wow, they are new at this. This young heron drops a lot of sticks, she has put this nest in a very wide “Y” of the branch. The building is going slowly, and the male stays away more than he is coming to bring branches.  This is how it looked early this morning.

It looks like a tangled mess.  AND — on Wednesday night they have said we will get a cold front with winds up to 50MPH!  Unless she sits there like “Horton Hears  A Who” on that nest, I am getting anxious it will all blow away.  As of now, all I see is her standing over it, looking for her mate who seems to ignore her more than help her.
I ran to the tax office to pay my property taxes and stopped by the marina to see what was exciting. Not a whole lot at all.  But here’s a few pictures.  

Now that I think about it, I saw a lot of  ‘white birds’  and no pigeons down by the one tiny pond across from the marina.  I drove by the buildings on the “island” and saw some of the same old same old ducks so I parked by the memorial eagle statue to look at the water. I did get rewarded by those carp or cat fish that suck air. 

They stand straight or lie on their backs and suck air.

The boats looked clean, air was fresh.

I say that as there was trash in the water and it looks dirty despite the blue reflected from the sky and the extra blue tint I added to the pictures.  Did not see any gators or other water birds like osprey.
I came back home   , the road was ‘less traveled’ at 11am.  I gave up my zoo membership this time around. So I drove home because I was going to pick up my new glasses at the mall. That 20/20 Superstore changed my RX so much, I will have to try them out a few days and see how the change works. So far, my left eye feels a bit cheated and might need a bit more power. I hate to think I have to go back to that damn store again to get the RX right!
On the way back home, there was a hawk sitting on a fence near the red light,
By the time I ran all over, when I got home it was almost time to fish. I gathered my goods and walked with Ringo to the lake. I discovered that my heron that fishes with me is not part of the duo building the nest. I think she is the original mother of one of them.  She was waiting for me. 

As was a beautiful pink and blue night with near full moon.  The moon seemed quite shy tonight and blushed a lot as the clouds passed by.

The water itself was reflective of the deepening shades of pink.
I caught two bream and the heron was well fed.
Left the lake as it grew dark and the mosquitoes came out.  No videos tonight,
just an artistic rendition of Ringo as we left the lake, now pray for rain, but no wind for Wednesday….

You can’t give this stuff away – everyone around me is bloated, gassy, and tired of leftovers. How lucky we are when we think of those around us so less fortunate. Tomorrow, on to new food!
The day before Thanksgiving was still a subtle gray, the front went through and all the rain promised was a farce. We got very little over here.   Thanksgiving morning looked like a black and white photograph, the color drained from the landscape and sky, the lake the mirror reflecting the void of color  
Finally the sun broke through and we went away to eat our dinner.
Came back late and went to bed with a belly full! Our host and hostess, my nephew and niece did an outstanding job of keeping us loaded. Plus we all enjoy seeing Irving the tortoise.
He’s so full of contrasting lines and testure. He also follows you like a dog and his favorite food is hibiscus flowers. He weighs about 175lbs now.  He has many birthdays to go. He’s still just passing puberty and is a horny little devil, he has a flower pot he loves to hump.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrW59oLXmY0&feature=player_embedded  (cut and paste to see yourself)    Irving is in love with this hardshell!
Black Friday came and went, I did not shop, nor did I go anywhere Saturday, it was relaxing not to be spending money. That will go by the wayside soon enough. My daughter said to wait for black Monday, great buys on the internet.
Nature itself goes on, and these are shots I took today. The weather is very cold, low 60’s today, in 40’s the past nights, that is so cold Ringo slept next to me! In fact, he usually will ring the bell attached to the inside front door handle around 4:30am to go out, when I opened the door to let him out, he felt the cold and turned and went back to bed.  Also, the herons, male and female have both been coming to the lake as I fish, tonight, they were touching beaks and making noises that seems like the mating rituals are taking place.  They are nesting nearby, I suppose maybe babies will be coming near New Years????
The band of brothers were the first thing I saw outside this morning, they are still actively patrolling the lake. But an hour later, a pair of mallards came to relax.  An anhinga was next door getting ready to fly off and when he saw me, that was exactly what he did.
the spider lily was blooming.  
A baby moorhen was running away from me too.
but not the wren, he was calm.
The lily pad looked interesting, like a non conformist among the conservatives.  The day flew by and it was too cold for me to fish, but I took a few pictures before the sun went down.  The moon was soft and muted.


Have a wonderful night…

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

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

It’s been a little while, but really have been waiting for the heat to subside. The birds have been hardly coming, everything is just rather worn out by this heat. last night was supposed to be the beginning of a cold front touching down to bring some relief.  100_5643re The fishing is lousy because of the mooching turtles. The fish are not biting like they were over a year ago. The bass have retreated somewhere though Ringo and I relentless keep our eyes on all activity that stirs the surface.  100_5645-1re Today started sunny hot and humid, all week it has been high 90’s. The cranes flew in  DSC03487-1re to make their presence known
DSC03516-3re DSC03512-1re DSC03526re As usual they did
a rain dance

rain dance

The flowers seem tired too, we all need a change.  DSC03564re DSC03566re DSC03559re But they always manage to still color the yard.
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The day clouded up and got to a cool 87 degrees, so that was about 10 degrees cooler than it has been.  They said big rains were coming with this cold front, but only a short period of just droplets came and that was it. We ended up with a rainbow hardly visible.  But still nothing that remotely felt cool. So still waiting for our big Fall to fall.

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Back to nature! Today was a slow day of wildlife. It was hot, sauna like 90’s, a quick burn if you go out for any length of time. Last night my neighbor Sonja and I went to go see the art walk in Sanford, they had terrific art at several locations, it was nice and crowded and made you feel that Sanford is pulling together the community for these great venues. I had nothing on display, but Sanford is having monthly Juried shows so when they have one that is related to nature, I’ll enter.
This morning outside there were very few birds, but a lot of dragon flies and butterflies. From my desk I saw a few and ran outside to take a few pics.  DSC02005re This zebra longwings was extremely beat up and shredded. It actually flew very slowly from all the rips and tears in it’s wings, but flew with a purpose.  DSC02010-1res It was actually interesting to watch as it seemed to be moving in slow motion.  I saw lots of different butterflies, but they were too quick. I did see a dragonfly that landed on a branch near the back door, but the Sony could not focus on it with the wind blowing the branch, so I went in and got the old Kodak. It is a sure bet with that camera.  100_5139-1re Though the quality of the Sony DSLR is better.
Flowers were wilting all over, I did get a canna lily,  DSC01995re and crepe myrtle is just beginning to bud and bloom, DSC01998re My lemons are huge and I am going to have a nice little harvest when they finally ripen.  DSC01999-3res DSC02000re
The blue jays came out later and this one was especially beautiful.
Of course later I came out to go fishing, the water was dead calm and of course, the damn turtles were everywhere I went from one end of the property to the other, they love that bread on the hook.  000_0350res 000_0359re at one point I looked down and it almost looked like a turtle was swimming through the clouds.  I counted six turtles, four softshells and two sliders.  I did catch one bream, threw it back. And looked up and noticed that the heron was on an island in the middle of lake,  000_0353-1 He was big. like the male that has been building the nests for the past 4 years, so I assumed it was him. And when I threw the bream back and the heron flew over to the yard next door, that signaled to me that this was the male who will eventually come over and stand beside me when I do catch fish. I didn’t catch anything else, but the sky was gorgeous, there was just one large cloud in the sky that changed colors and had such a beautiful shape to it.  000_0370re The planes flew too close over head,   000_0351re and there were many woodpeckers all over trying to contact each other.  000_0354re The weather will change and soon the herons will be back building their nests.  I am hoping this heron will be coming back each night now.  ringos blues-2re Ringo did not fish with me tonight, he stayed in the garage, I am wondering if he too thinks there is a squirrel or rat or mouse in the attic after hearing footsteps near my desk. I put the ladder down to the attic so Ringo could go on a hunt if he feels like it. I am confident if something is there, Ringo is my pet removal service.
Right now as I write this we are having a nice little thunderstorm which is much needed as my poor plants were wilting today.  DSC02011moonre Earlier the half moon was out and I marked on the calendar that October 3,4,5,6 should be all harvest moons, you know I will be taking photos and I so hope it will be over the lake when it rises next week.
I hope it will cool off enough that more wildlife will be coming out to capture on film. The marina is devoid of much diversity, and as for Carbs the muscovy duck, have not seen him in weeks. The BOBs were here earlier, but have not seen Pekin ducks in a while. And that’s Saturday around here, for now, I am enjoying the storm, hoping for more water in the lake as soon it will be our dryer season, so it’s good to have the lake up.
Have not heard any footsteps above my head, so maybe Ringo got whatever it was, might have to do a check tomorrow and if anything is dead in the attic, will let ya know… Sleep tight.
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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

The clouds are schizophrenic today, 81809clouds2pmres dark, light, puffy, happy and sad.  I went up to the marina to see if anything was going on. Only saw limited birds and ducks. Took pictures of whatever looked interesting.  DSC00095-1res DSC00121-1res
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DSC00136-1res Went back home and it stormed hard with driving wind. 100_3288res

It settled down and have had lots of jays, cardinals, and doves by the feeder right out my window. I watched one titmouse take a sunflower seed and put it between it’s feet, then crack the seed and carefully eat it.  DSC00069-1res
DSC00068-1res These birds work so hard for their treats. Carbs of course is down at the lake. Adam and I went off to lunch at Imperial Dynasty on 434, we love the sesame tofu. They are even offering sushi classes over there if anyone in Longwood area is interested. Afterwards we took the long way home up Markham Woods road to look at some of the mansions they have built – I can’t even fathom what it costs to live in those massive homes. Did notice several homes that are in foreclosure, lawns uncared for, the abandoned look of emptiness.
We drove up through International Parkway and handed Adam the camera when we saw a woodstork.  000_0106res He did a good job!
After coming home and sitting here at the computer. I am just so spoiled by an eyeful all the time! Beautiful female red wing black birds are on the feeder this afternoon. they are brown, unlike the sleek males, but still very nicely marked birds.  100_3296res And that’s how it’s been today so far, dark, dreary, bright and light and so enjoying the birds in the tree outside my window.
Looking at the time, wondering where did the afternoon go? I have been lost in the world of wings, amused by blurring colors and captivated by flight… here’s photos for your enjoyment.
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How do I get anything done??? 100_3351res

Went to a luncheon put on by the Gateway Center For the Arts, and The National Museum of Women in the Arts. They wanted to thank Victor Thomas, the manager of Stacey’s for his generous support of food during the art receptions. I had never been to Staceys which is about a mile north of Saxon Blvd on 17/92. It’s been there many years under different names: Homers and Duffs. Stacey is Homer the owners daughter.  They also have them in Ohio and other Florida locations.
There was a good line waiting to get in at 1pm when Pam and I went to the meeting. They charge $5.99 for all you can eat and WHAT A DEAL! The food was DELISH!!!! I ate and ate and looked at the dozens of different desserts and my eyeballs almost went into a diabetic shock! They do have the option of sugar-free pies).   003res They had it all, food food food in all descriptions. I ate fried fish and hush puppies, steamed carrots and mac and cheese, broccoli and soup. They had turkey, tacos, meatloaf, fried chicken and much more. Everything was great. I had a lot of fun and so wanted to really take close ups of the food which was beautifully displayed, but knew that was rather tacky.  So just got a few to show.  004res

006res Victor’s wife, Veronica works there also and could not have been more attentive to our needs.  The NMWA & Gateway gave Victor and Veronica a beautiful signed and numbered print from one of the members.
So here’s the thumbs up for a fun afternoon with very nice artists and art supporters and of course, great home cooking, (I never cook anything like this at home,) thanks to Pam for hauling me up there and paying for my lunch, I ate my fill and then some! My turn to get lunch next time!
Back at home, Carbs is still here. 81709carbsmouth-1res Look at duck’s teeth, how uniform, see if you can enlarge to see them. As long as the Band Of Brother mallards stay away, I guess Carbs will stick around. I fished a little while, no bites, but a wonderful breeze blew over the lake. I decided to mow the back instead. Carbs just moved from one side of the yard to the other as I mowed, it didn’t really bother him.
The hurricane is supposed to stay to the east of us, lets hope so. The state of Florida seems to love to gouge us with spiking gas prices as a hurricane approaches, they know we will be gassing our cars and gas cans and any thing that has a gas cap to have the extra gas for generators. It will be reaching about $3.00 a gallon in a week I bet, and maybe sooner if that hurricane comes closer to home. I did fill up a couple gas cans and they are out in the garage, and I can even smell faint fumes in the house – how I hate hate hate everything gasoline. One day they will find an alternative like electric instead! I hate having to gas the lawn mower and blower and having that awful smell on your hands or a few drops on your shoes – YUK!!! But I hate having extra long cords and fooling with electric by the lake!!! One day we should be able to harness the sun with a sensor chip on our lawn equipment!  If I don’t write tomorrow. I have been overcome with gas…

Had a great time in Tampa. Did see my nutria, DSC07535res,  81409nutriaB-1re also there was tilapia in the condo pond – how they got there — who knows — they are certainly not native.
81309carpA-1res Also on the condo pond were many female mallards with beautiful faces, and all had different markings. mallardres

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Other than some long distance birds that I get over here. the wildlife was quiet.  I didn’t go anywhere interesting to take pics this time. Just quiet family time. My Bella and Sasha were there to be my bed mates.
81309sashares Then it was back home to reality, two tropical storms about to turn into hurricanes with one as a fairly substantial one. Both could impact us.  tsana The first is tropical storm Ana due to possibly hit Florida between Miami and Port Canaveral so far. It will be a rain maker they say, winds around 70mph, that’s not too bad. The other one is worse, will be a Category 2 hurricane. That one is following behind the other one. So far it is TD #3. I went this am to stock up on food and water just in case.
100_3088res Will be watching closely. Don’t plan on leaving home, will be here to monitor and blog. I can’t imagine leaving my ‘box’ unless it is possibly Katrina big.  Meanwhile, it’s always good to be home. Today went to the flea market and got Orangeblossom-oak flavor honey, ummmm, delicious! I also bought a suet feeder and something is eating the whole block of suet in one gulp over night. I will have to remove it nightly. I do have a lot of cardinals and jays lately.  81409cardinalB-1 91409cardinalA-1
jayres One last thing, I was at a garage sale that had dept. store dummies, a few male torso and legs, if you need any, call Katy 407-690-2929
torso legs

After 4 years of having droughts and very few storms, we are finally back to normal. Back to having the sky change it’s face in the afternoon. 008res

The heat becomes a slow southern burn and the clouds decide to ban together and grow dark and scary. 100_2835res It’s been wonderful having the rain. The lake is coming up nicely and everything is green and fresh and humid, oh the humidity. You open the door to go out and immediately your hair crimps up like the Bride of Frankenstein.  Today I had almost finished mowing when the sky looked a bit crabby so I came in and watched with Ringo.

The lightning
8709ringo-1res flashed across the lake.

The lightning was flashing in front of me as I filmed from the porch. Look for lightning bolt in that big cloud around the middle of the film.  The rain poured down and about a half hour later, it’s about all rained out, in fact. It now looks like fishing time…
Okay, I’m back – the fishing sucked. But at least there were nibbles. Here are some familiar faces that always surface and bug me.

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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cloudsbuildingres 000_0047res reflection of sun on water72609eveningcomesres

71409abbeat2am-1res 2:37am, no rest here.
Earlier tonight I caught a softshell turtle and had to unhook it, they have quite interesting undersides,  100_2300_res but it looked more like some kind of weird alien than a turtle from that angle. The markings are quite unique really, could this be a girl and maybe the boys have blue rectangles? Don’t worry she or he was fine after they got de-hooked.  They scurried back to the water. I HATE catching turtles!
It was actually quite hot and stagnant and I was hoping to get a shot of the rocket launch, but they scrubbed it again.
In the morning I took a few flower pics, DSC06430res The crepe myrtles are gorgeous. And forgot what this plant is, but loved the red flowers on it also. DSC06421res

The moon was even still out at 8am: DSC06419res

The crow was in the tree singing a morning song
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And I had a nice lunch with friends. Came home and worked on more photos. Oh the days go so fast, summer half over – maybe El Nino will save us from the big storms this year! I don’t know, anymore around Florida all we hear about is people getting struck by lightning. I do have to watch more carefully when I am at the lake as the storms roll in,
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The clouds roll in so fast and the lightning is really getting way too familiar with humans. But the storms are actually so wonderful to listen to, especially to hear the rain on the roof at night.  But not tonight, it is just a quiet one, so quiet, I might have to sneak off and go to bed, good…morning again…

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