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

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

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

      For you who don’t know me, I am a cave dweller, I like being at home, I am not good on the road as it makes me anxious. Very anxious, so anxious I get almost schizophrenic. The side of me raring to go says, get in your truck and put the pedal to the metal, and the the other id casts a ‘downer’  pall and says, ha ha, and raises my heart beat, ad declines the offer. Anxiety is lousy!        So finally, after suppressing the bad id and giving it concessions, (baby steps, I can get off I-4 at any exit and relax whenever I want.)  
    I left “O” town, a few days ago making it past downtown and all the way to Sandlake Road for the first stop.  I always stop for french fries and a coke, though I do travel with a fully stocked cooler full of cookies and apple juice, crackers, candy and even a banana for a fruit serving to balance the carbs.     
I am always glad to pass the mouse and get out of Kissimmee, which means I have ten minutes till I get to Haines City, where I stop at Burger King. This is why I travel alone, if Iwas rich, I would hire a RV and driver!      I  stop about fifteen minutes later and when I see lakeland, I know I am not too far and the anxiety goes away and it is pedal to the metal! I stop once more before hitting I-75.  So what takes most people an hour and a half, takes me 2 hours, but it works tricking my own brain.
     Then comes the reward, spending time wth the kids!  First thing I do is drive  to the Publix where my son’s office is and get goodies to surprise them with for dinner.
I don’t mind cooking when I am here because these two are so busy, they eat on the run.  Then in between, I get to take pictures of the wildlife here.      –the seagulls were in abundance on the pond out back.                
And of course the big tank inside is always great to enjoy.  
       In the afternoon the cows on Valhalla Pond were roaming the land and one cow was close by all by himself in the water.     
    It’s a wonderful condo area because of the lake and the agricultural zoning allowing the cattle. 
     So for now,I am here and enjoying chillin’ and working along side Aaron, we are always trying to figure out how to make our millions, it would be great leaving my kids a fortune!  Oh well, for now all I have to give them is all my love and a room full of frames and loose nature photographs  and hope they have futures bright and full of happiness and love just like I have had, it’s worked for me …

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…

100_6682-1re This was the most colorful thing for most of the day. The promised rain that slammed Alabama, didn’t even fill the bird bath!  We hardly had a thing.
All day I finished up with pricing, bagging, and organizing to have my stuff ready for setting up on Friday.   What a mess I made, finally about 1am I vacuumed and everything put on the dining room table.  100_6745re This was taken around 10pm. Whew, glad it is all put away.
Earlier I had fished. The sky was truly beautiful. The clouds came in waves,
100_6688-1re then it settled into gray woolen puffs stacked in layers.  100_6685re Then patterns of sorts  100_6693re The heron came out to observe –
100_6687re It is the female heron. She watched for about a half hour, but since I was spending most of my time avoiding 4 turtles, she flew toward the center of the lake and chased off an anhinga. I bet she was about 300 feet away when I hooked a bream and it broke through the water splashing which alerted her and she flew right over for a meal.  She stayed on and suddenly the male heron appeared and he is a big one too.   100_6706-1re Much larger than the female.  they still have not gone up to the nesting tree, but I bet it will happen soon. they bwill be lugging branches over my head. It’s fun to watch them fly off with all kinds of sticks for the huge nest they make. I wish they would use one of my trees like they did 3 years ago, but once my red maple fell over, they probably felt vulnerable as it shaded them so well.
It got dark again so early and the mosquitos are terrible. It is still quite warm, though, right now it is about 60 degress outside and is only going to be 71 – now that is cold.
Guess, I will drag my body off to bed, yikes how will I get up on Saturday to be there before 8am, I have to be nuts! Good night, or rather good morning, catch up with you later….

100_6630-1re The day was dull, every photo I put in todays blog is colorized. I cheated!  Hurricane Ida hit up at the panhandle and the weather is affecting us. We are supposed to finally get rain tomorrow – will it actually happen?  All day it looked so dull. As I drove up to Sanford and stopped to take some pics, I kept thinking the sky would unload any minute, but not a drop. I took a few dashboard cams of things and places, and they all looked so boring I had to jazz them up a bit.  100_6634-1re The Gateway condos actually look like this  100_6634re and the corner of First Street near the Welcome Center looked much more festive like this –  100_6632-1re and even the bales of hay in the hay trucks looked more delicious with some color to the grain.   100_6637-1re

An abandoned building looked a little more appealing by deepening the color
100_6635-1re At the marina, there was nothing new, same old birds, had to emphasize the ibis.  100_6624-1rea
And when I got home, I had to blame what I thought was an eagle as an excuse for fishing in early afternoon. I could see it flying all over, but could not get a close photo. Finally it landed three houses over so I threw out the pixels on  the telephoto to capture it  way up in a tree. That’s an osprey.
100_6644re I caught a shiner and threw it back, caught a couple bream and they went back. The cranes were there, Ringo was with me too.
100_6654-are Then the heron flew into the tree and watched me cast out over and over.   100_6649heron2 100_6650re Finally I caught a nice sized bream and threw it on the ground, the heron flew down and nabbed it.  He swallowed and happily flew off.  Ringo and I came in as it was almost completely dark by 5:30pm!
My HP “refurbished” printer came in today so I can resume getting photos ready for this weekend art show. HP tells you to send the defective printer  back within three days or get charged a chunk of change on your credit card, but the return address label I needed to do that was  not included, they forgot to send it! I had to call them and stay on the line forever getting a case number from someone in Bangladesh so they could send me a label. I suggested they email it and they refused.  I could have flown to India in the same time it took to stay on hold for their techs.
Rat update:  G & H Pest Control in Sanford came out Monday to give me my last estimate for how they would address my rodent issue. Gene, who owns the company came out and walked around and looked in the attic and did a thorough search of the house just like Massey. Gene looked at me and told me “he would be taking my money if I hired him” because he would be doing the same exact things I have been doing. They would set the traps as I have and that is all they can do. He suggested I keep fresh peanut butter in the trap every week and keep doing it. He said he could find no fresh droppings and I had no roach or bug problem. He didn’t even give me a price for a yearly spray, so if you live around this area and want a really honest pest control company, call G & H Pest Control Inc. 407-323-6681 website http://ghpestcontrol.com/ Actually, it has been rather quiet, but I will keep listening for signs of life above my head…
As I finish this I can hear a light rain outside,that is good news, hope we are in for a night of the wetstuff!  In fact, I walked outside and immediately smelled the earthy scent of wet grass. The drops were light, but anything is better than nothing!   100_6659re After the art show, I can get back to looking for photo ops. Be patient, and come to the Gateway this weekend to see what 40 artists have for you…(nothing like more self promotion)

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”)

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.

Yesterday my friend, Pam and I ventured off to the RSVP reception for photographer Douglas J. Nesbitt.
http://www.djn1111.com/

Being that both Pam and I are photographers, she very professional one, me very amateur, we knew a reception held at the Albin Polacek Museum had to be good. And it did not disappoint
The day could not have been better, low 70’s, puffy white clouds floated over head.  relovers The place was totally packed, filled to capacity! Douglas must have been quite happy with the turn out, but we did not see him as the shoulder to shoulder crowds in the main house and galleries were so tight, after looking at each photo, we opted for the outside space.  And the outside space is glorious, Polacek, (America’s fore­most sculp­tors of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury”) knew how to pick a retirement spot on the Winter Park chain of lakes, (oh, if only they had asked us to bring a pole.)   100_5806re
Upon going outside, the food line was filling up so we got into line as I love sampling the food.   As we stood in line, the garden was opposite us and what a great and productive garden it is!
Lettuce, herbs, peppers, okra, they all looked well cared for and the planters looked lush. Pics tell the story:

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The food line went fast and the food was displayed beautifully, but the food did not really fit my palate. I must admit, I limited my choices to a few items. The downside for me, nothing sweet! (Unless they put sweets out later and we did not go back that way). But that did not matter, the gardens were opulent and Douglas’ work, especially his black and white photos were wonderful to gaze upon.  I really liked the colorful buildings in a series in the small gallery off to the left of the main hall. My favorite was one photo taken at the Bar Mitzvah of one of his friends. This reception was a classic example of what the perfect reception should look like, we were impressed, but sorry, because no photos can be taken inside the gallery. So go have a look.
Wandering people stopped and spoke to us, there was so much fun just people watching. We even saw a hummingbird! But not in time for a photo.
So here are some photos of the grounds and I encourage you to go and spend a couple hours looking at the house and the artwork. Polaceks’ sculpture and and landscaping is like icing on the cake of a fantastic piece of property – AND they are in need of volunteers, if you have an extra couple hours during the month, call them.  And don’t forget you can rent out the facilities!
www.polasek.org

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Here’s some from my last visit:
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100_4582-1res Unless you are putting your car on the train, or picking it up, there’s really no need to go to the Sanford Amtrak Auto train Station.  But I wanted to see some trains and I have only passed by the train station two times in all the time I have lived in this area, (since 1985) and do love trains, so I figured, why not look up close.  The original station opened in 1971, and was taken over by Amtrak in 1983. This new terminal was dedicated in May of this year.  The colorized photos below are of the old abandoned station in the old location not too far from the new one.  I took several photos of it last April for a show called The Abandoned Florida exhibition at The Gateway this year. This is how the old Amtrak Station used to look.
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The new station is smaller and not much to look at, but first, I had to get someone to let me have permission take photos so they didn’t think I was doing something sinister. They have signs warning people that Amtrak is monitored 100_4587res and it is, the area is not large, they can easily monitor crazy, older ladies with a train fetish, or someone worse.
I started at the waiting area, 100_4580res a clean space under a tent.   So if you have to wait for your car, looks like you won’t have a problem finding a seat. At one time Sanford did take regular passengers, but they quit that a few years ago I guess to become the ‘auto-train” only station.  There is a gift shop too, and a very nice lady was busy with her work.
100_4581res I don’t know the arrival and departure times, but I did see one train come in with all the red flashing light, horn honking pagentry a train deserves upon arrival.
100_4577res 100_4591res I saw a funny sign  — was it for the passengers or the trains?  I guess trains are quite romantic when coupled, haha. 100_4578res

There were a lot of wonderful angles and lines in the shots. — Trains have such a wonderful feel and symmetry to them don’t they? To see more photos or ‘artsy’ trains, check out
http://offshoot2.wordpress.com
Later I stopped at Hobbyworld in Sanford and took photos of their wonderful train display that is very old and belongs to the owner, but by accident I deleted them. So tomorrow I shall have to pop over there and put them up tomorrow. It was quite an impressive display.
So Monday morning was fun feeling the largess of Amtrak trains and the tiny details of models. And thanks to the Amtrak people for letting me take pictures.  Now, I wish they would go all the way to Key West and I would hop on board!

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Amazing how fast the years go by – it’s already 8 years since 911. I watched the whole historical footage on the Today show with Katie Couric – it still evokes the same emotions, I got goose bumps and choked up watching that second plane hit. Published two old poems written years ago after 911, they are on http://abberantverse.wordpress.com
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It is also my late sister’s birthday, the whole family misses her dynamic personality, her warmth and love.  That’s me front in blue and her behind me in white, (and cousin to right). In the bottom shot, she is in the front, I’m behind. We were always close, she was the ultimate best friend and ‘confidente’!  So it is a day to remember I don’t have her here anymore and miss her bunches.
It was a good day to escape the confines of this ‘BOX’ I am enslaved to and go to the marina and enjoy the view.
I stopped by Veterans Memorial Park and saw someone had put red roses near the flagpole.
100_4468res It added color to the rather blue day.  I was the only one there. It was so very empty.  The wind driven water was really whipping up against the sea wall.
100_4478res As I drove up to the duck pond, I could see a number of birds standing in the shade of the trees. I pulled up and could tell right away, these birds are used to getting fed!   
I’m sure they were disappointed that I did not come armed with bread.
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I always enjoy seeing the different colors on the pigeons and cross breedings of the mallards.
Again, there was not one muscovy duck up there. Forgot to mention that Carbs has also been gone four days now. I assume he will show up again soon. The Band of Brothers has been coasting around the lake lately.
Back by The Palms, the birds and ducks were all quietly sitting in the shade. Did not see any crows, but did view a few grackles.  100_4438res 100_4446res
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I came home after watching the waves for about ten minutes.  It was very calming.
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I came away with a nice sense of peacefulness.
I stopped by my friend Sonja’s.  She told me that her chimney had been struck by lightning. I guess because trees cover part of her house when I fish, that I didn’t notice it. So I had to go take a few pictures.   100_4406res Her pergola too had wood missing from the porch where the chimney had collapsed on top of the beams. She has work to get done. It affected some of her electric too.  So I guess knowing that her house is just acres away, was struck by a bolt, I won’t sneak out during those random thunderstorms to film.
And back at home, what is the best remedy for the 911 blues? Brownies! Warm brownies packed with a cut up Snickers Bar! So long for today –

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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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

weatheredit The rain became wind driven once it hit about one am. Coming hard from the east mainly.  No lightening or thunder, but the rain is pelting the east side of the house as we speak and winds up to 20mph. All night as I slept off and on, I was aware of the sound. Got up at 5am to make sure garage floor didn’t have anything that could be wrecked by rain coming in. They say we could get up to 7 inches today and I believe it. That’s great news though I don’t understand why mother nature has to throw it down all at once, it’s almost like Fay last year.  These weather patterns are so odd anymore. I’m sure there will be a lot of flooding all around Florida. When it gets light and stops raining so hard, I’ll take a picture of the water meter. Yesterday this is what it looked like around 10am. monday8am The rain had just begun to really hit. When I took a photo last night after fishing, the water was up to the 130 number gaining about 2 inches. I fully expect it to be around 135 when I see it next this morning.  Frankie the cat had sense and came in last night. Old Church toughed it out on porch and came in this morning only to pee and eat and ran back outside to the wet porch again. I think I have the only cat that comes in to use the box and goes back out! I don’t see Ringo, but I know he is high and dry somewhere. Later…

guage519 8:am, the water gauge is up past 160, that’s 4 inches of rain! And if you notice, the small meter is back under the water once again.  The birds must be sleeping in the trees as there is not one that has come for breakfast. At least for now, wind and rain have slacked off which gives it time to absorb in Florida’s deep sand heap!
Now it’s 7:35. meter reading is at 1.80, that means we have had 6 1/2 inches so far! 51909meter-edited-1_edited-1 It clearly was a day for the ducks! 51909duckinrain-1_edited-1

and as for Ringo, he was asleep inside the whole time! ringoyawn-1 more cats at http://offshoot2.wordpress.com

WAIT, it is now 12:35am and we are having wrapping rainbands and winds just like we are in a hurricane! outside the trees are swaying hard and the wind is pushing things around out there. I can constantly hear my loose porch door. The rain is coming at a slant and very hard. We are back in a yellow band of full force water. I bet when I get up tomorrow and can go out, I bet we have 5 more inches. We are getting slammed. weatheredit There were a couple tornados not too far away.  It’s hard to sleep with all this noise of nature. There seems to be a low pressure area mixing with the cold front and it is in some twirly mood circling around the middle of the state. We had our electric go out once, but came right back. I do have our flashlights ready.  I am always happy I made the decision to take the trees out that hung over the house, too risky having those huge pines that close.  I can’t imagine that my toilets will flush, will be able to tell that later.  The winds are very very active, at one point I thought it might break through, in fact it is doing it again as I write. Maybe I better think about getting this out and looking for a safe place… will write later…

This is a peek at the start of the day — will add more later RAIN BEAUTIFUL RAIN –

51809waether_edited-1 518rainbarrel_edited-1I bet Beda is outside watching her rain barrel filled, mine is splashing out of the top – full to the brim, looks like night ouside right now at 10:26am, glad I have nowhere to go this morning…

The afternoon slid by and now on the evening is still just a blur of hazy gray with soft rain, enough to add about 2 inches to the lake today.  shadowplane-1 The birds were quite busy, mostly blackbirds that looked nasty.  51809wetcrow-1_edited The woodpecker and bluejays all jockeyed in for positions too. The birds always seem active during moderate rains.  And yes, crazy Abbe did go out and try to dodge the rain and fish. The turtles were out in full speed mode, and an anhinga sat in the tree. Last night I had 3 anhinga on the pine where I fish.
3anhinga-1_editedTonight, there was one who is very distinct in her coloration.  51709anhingaA-1_edited

I finally gave up the water fight and came in and the anhinga came down, sat a few minutes and then took off.anhingaedited

51809anhingaflies-1_edited It was a wet one today and if it continues as it is supposed to, maybe we will have a half a foot added to the lake and my lawn will even green up. I don’t see any negative downside to this, except trying to keep my camera dry when chasing wildlife in the rain…

That was fun being among tanks of floating things. It constantly reminds one of how “grounded” humans really are.
The Tampa Aquarium was packed on Saturday and I got in free for being a mother,  that was a good deal! All around that place was glass with a vast world beyond it. Tanks and tanks of beautiful swimming life.  jellyresize Jelly fish, sharks, dragon fish, sea horses, alligators, otters and much more. Each floor is loaded with visual excitement.  I loved the large round tanks loaded with yellow trigger fish. Of course the salt water fish are so full of color and beauty and the freshwater seemed so dull in comparison.
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The shrimp were festive, the many sights prove to remind us there is much in this world to care about and try and preserve.  The world below sea level inspires one to think that we humans also started out in that gravity free, ‘floaty’, state moving about on an umbilical leash tethered inside the ‘womb tank’.  Then rudely enough, we are pushed out and dried off never to have that total aqua suspension again. Oh sure, we can swim and we can dive, but we visit the wet world as a foreigner. Nothing wrong with being a foreigner exploring new land, (or water or sky) — it sure gives us places to visit that normally we wouldn’t see, but then we must go home again.
An enormous aquarium like this gives us a view into the nooks and crannies of wet places many of us would not have an opportunity to experience.  We need places that educate us to what an extraordinary world we have.    My favorites were these big silver looking fish, 5909silverfish-1edit

they looked like they had been freshly plated, all shiny and sleek. Plus there were more than just fish, there were nesting birds up on the third level with the freshwater tanks and comedic turtles, both sea and fresh water.
Maybe the most interesting creature was the last one I saw as we were getting ready to leave,
the mermaid was wearing items I bet never touched anything but a dry cleaners…

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