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Today was a bit better than the last week, at least it got to 70.  The birds are busy, the yards look terrible and fishing was pretty good. I still hear the baby heron in the nest, but cannot see it up there.   The nest does have a rather large escape hatch on the side, hope the baby stays on the side it is on!
Before fishing, Andrea and I ran out to get a few things, I bought the new baby some baby fishing hats.   Yes, those will be essential.  At around 5pm I started fishing and while the sun was still up, it felt a bit chilly, but not too bad. By 6, I had to put on a hooded sweatshirt beneath the jacket as the wind was brisk and cold.
Both herons came down to watch and see what I would pull in.  
The one toward the bottom is the female.  They wade in the shallows and eat the minnows while I fish for the bigger stuff.  It gets rather crazy because the male wants to grab any fish I get right from the line so I have to hustle my catch in fast.
Tonight there were two other small boats and some young men were fishing not too far away.  They asked if they could cut through my yard with their kayak and I said sure. They asked if I wanted their bream and I said I didn’t but I bet the herons would. One of them emptied out 4 small bream and the female just hurried over and scarfed up all of them before the male had a chance. It was really humorous watching her eat them as fast as she could. The male was perturbed and told her so face to face. We all had a good laugh. Here’s a few heron pics from tonight.
the male

and across the lake I could see the cranes, but I was stretching it to even see them.  This is the best I could do   — That baby will show up one day.         Meanwhile the herons looked at each other and then ignored each other and it became too cold to fish as the water had a pretty crisp current going. Ringo and I went in and watched the Academy Awards, it was fairly boring.  And my program won’t let me open any more photos so will have to call it a night, or rather and early early morning….

Busy working on my solo show at Maitland Library opening April 1st.  I got tired of making a mess   and decided to leave it and run up to Sanford for Fourth Fridays. Had to see how the exhibit at the Welcome Center was going.
The weather was rotten, threatening to rain and cold, but I shoved a few layers on me and a long coat and left.   There was a beautifully orange sunset which looks grand through my purple tinted shades.   The downtown area was once again busy making me wonder – what recession? The German restaurant always has a line on Friday night.  The Welcome Center was comfortably packed. The saxy saxophone player was indoors, I’m sure if he was outside, his instrument might get too cold.  
The hung work was placed wonderfully, Nancy Irish and Kathleen Chenet are a well oiled “placement” machine.  Here’s a few pics:   I love so many pictures, but those onions rock!

Ann Holstein’s still life pictures look like the work of old masters.   Click on photos for larger view. The show will be there for a month. The next one will be about architecture.  You can submit your architecture work via photos until March 5th, call 407-302-2586 for further info.

Out on the street, people were briskly walking to the Gallery On First. I walked in and know I am not allowed to photograph, but if you get a chance, go take a look at Theresa Disney’s new bedspreads, they are a trip.   Inside an author was signing a book about Dragons.
Over at Rhonda Richley’s gallery, she greets me like an old friend and was excited about her Art Affair Gallery moving to a larger space almost next door to her gallery now, on the corner of Palmetto and First Street.  She expects to make the transition soon.  Her new space will give her a lot more wall space. 
Soon Rhonda’s gallery will be thriving like Jeannine Taylor.  Both will have different art that really doesn’t compete with each other. I am predicting good things for Rhonda.  We will watch her grow together.  AND, she needs work to fill her space, artists, contact her at 407-466-6365 . Check her out at http://www.artaffairgallery.com
Walked past the Wine Bar, it was hardly occupied.  But just a couple doors down, the Riverhouse Pottery was rockin’.

This is a business that teaches pottery classes, so call them if you want to throw some mean pots or cups or whatever, they can make it happen.  They had beautiful stained glass, pottery, jewelry and much more.
They teach kids and adults.   407-323-9272, call them for class schedule.  Sanford is trying hard to become an art center, bravo for them. AND I can’t forget Rae Marie at Framing 508 Gallery, she does so much work with Alive After 5 and all the promotions she helps with the Fourth Fridays, if you need something framed professionally, give her a call, she’s been framing and matting many years. Let her give you a price and show you what you can do with those prints laying around. Framing 508 Gallery, 407-324-1577, tell her Abbe made you call.
And that was it for me last night, went home and worked on photos and also worked on a few pictures that I took on Thursday at Lake Lily, there were plenty of muscovy ducks and ducklings all around the lake. I bet we saw a total of at least 75 babies with their mothers. It was just adorable. Here’s some nature pics to add to the conversation:

I love muscovies, so this is a small patch of land I like to look at the faces and document them

Threw in a seagull because of the color combo, loved the polka dot fringe.
Okay that’s it, have a good Saturday night. 

Had to go help check in artists today that the Sanford Welcome Center. Some were picking up their work from last month, some were bringing their art for Fourth Friday this Friday. It will be a still life theme and I promise, the work I saw was beautifully done and very colorful.  One Artist, Mary Ann Erikson came back and brought homemade pine straw baskets that she had carefully crafted and wow,  her intricate work was astonishing. She also paints and does photography. The baskets will be for sale.  


The day started out overcast and dull.  
I didn’t realize it was national pancake day or I would have gone for a short stack at i-hop!  The artists came in and out and I took photos in between.
a guy on a motorcycle pointed at me

After I finished I took myself to the Colonial Room for a cheap lunch. It’s like being in a time warp where many of the locals know each other and chat between the tables and even the waitresses seem as if they are stereotyped out of “Alice”.  I heard one man describing his chemo experience and said he did not have to shave anymore. A waitress telling another she got her uni-brow waxed and it hurt like Hell.  A couple chatting about camping somewhere, you just hear it all. One man sitting with a friend said the adorable waitress was just too young for him, he was taken with her you could tell.
I am only eating light because yesterday I thought I had something wedged between my teeth and flossed and part of a filling fell out. You know what that means, big money going to a dentist- YUK! If only they could charge a bit less than a yacht payment for any work they do…
left the downtown area and swerved to the left to the  marina to see the birds, still not one muscovy duck, but did see a lot of sights, here they are.
The big white heron had a beautifully colored area around it’s eye.   

Then I went home and did some photo editing, popped off some emails and fished and now I am getting ready for SCC poetry open mic –

This morning was loaded with woodpeckers, pileated and red-bellied. they were in pairs and very busy looking at existing tree holes and even trying to make home improvements on other ones.

Of course there are always the regulars
The cats wonder if Godzilla crane will be setting foot onto the porch to trample them…
Ringo dreams about fishing…   
Grackles look out for Ringo, the squirrels find safety in numbers
This little “rocky” says, “Bring it on Ringo” 

And of course tonight the rain was coming in and the ibis looked beautiful in the tree.  They were so white against the dark blue sky, whereas on Saturday they just looked beautiful flying against the cloudy sky.

The grackles and blackbirds are always waiting for food.
At around 4-5pm, the heron comes down to fish with Ringo and me.     and all is fine until the jealous crane comes and chases the heron off.  Even Ringo steers clear of the mean crane.

On Sunday as Lee fished, the crane chased the heron off to the island, the crane thinks he’s the boss of everyone.  

The heron hurries away, but waits for the crane to fly off and comes back. Tonight a storm came in and I had to quit fishing,             

tomorrow the heron and crane will be back as will the woodpeckers, birds and squirrels and we will start all over again…(gladly)

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…

The day started out with the grackling grackles all over dominating each other, each vying for a position at the stump, (umm, good exhibition name, will use for next art proposal – note to self.)  The grackles were so active and I love their color. Here’s a few pics:

A crow snuck in too.    The male crane came for a while, he saw his shadow, only 4 more weeks of winter.  
Then he flew away and I can see where he and Mama crane are nesting.

She’s secluded and definitely nesting, can’t wait for new arrival!  That means next month we will have baby cranes AND herons, that is always fun and a good photo op!
The same man fishing the other day in the rain was back today enjoying the lake, he didn’t seem to be catching anything, but the day was too beautiful to care anyway. I bet he is on vacation and visiting someone.
Then the winds did pick up from the east, it got a bit chilly with the whipping wind.  The sky was too gorgeous not to notice.
Went to a garage sale and bought a couple matching nice frames for $5.  Then on to Walmart and this is what was beneath my truck when I parked — SMOKERS CLEAN YOUR BUTTS — NO ONE APPRECIATES LOOKING AT YOUR OLD BUTTS!    Then on to marina for a while.   
Past the New Tribes Mission    And around to the water, and actually it was very boring up there,  just ducks, not much else.    

A lot of fisherman, so maybe fishing is good, in fact, I will go see for myself…
Okay fishing sucked, but did get good pics.  
Heron with an upsweep.
Heron was disappointed, we got nothing.   Packed up my gear,  I had my camera case to the left of  the nesting heron, the wind out of the east blew heron-poo down on my camera case, now I have a story to tell.
Went inside and cleaned up to run over to the Lake Mary Historical Museum, will show that tomorrow…. What a teaser…

Went to Welcome Center to drop off caterpiller pic for Friday night reception. There will be 40 artists with their work. Go see the art, it will hang for a month. You can go to the reception Friday night the 22 of Jan. from 6-9pm At the Sanford Welcome Center on First St.
Downtown was quiet – 
I stopped at the Goodwill and dropped off two boxes of clothes and picked up this mirror to put somewhere.  It’s about 14inches long, and I like elephants, it was so cheap, I couldn’t pass it up.
Stopped at Jeanine Taylor’s Gallery which is always filled with beautiful art. On to Maya’s Bookstore and over to Colonial Inn where I had a great grilled cheese and vegetable soup, yum, and all that and a drink under $7.  After looking in Fawn to see how they were settling in, I went over to marina. Pictures will speak for themselves.

There were two osprey with fish, this one had a crow that was pestering him for a bite, the crow even tried to sneak a bite and the osprey shooed him off.     

A crow sat in the middle of those seagulls.

And that was my morning, it’s a gorgeous day, feeling 70 degrees, ahhhhh….

How do they do it? Communication that is —
I went down to the lake to cast a line and not a thing was biting, but that does not mean a loss of activity. The cranes were here, they were looking for their last birdseed meal before leaving. Both looked like they have been busy in the iron rich mud.   Earlier they had had a fun game of pine cone toss. The male is an amazing tosser.   The sky has been dark all day and the birds quite busy.  Saw an eagle over the lake this morning.   the smaller birds were all over too,  it must be due to a front going through with rain promised tonight. The rain gauge looked like this early in the day.   The blue jay came down to grab as much bread as it could hold in one beekful.     There were crows all over.     as were the cardinals and other smaller birds.
Ringo and I headed to the lake.   and watched many birds overhead, Ringo was ever so alert and hoping one might crash down for him.  But no such luck.  No fox sightings today.
The female heron was in her nest when the male came to greet her, and as soon as their beaks touched and they made their prehistoric chatter, the male was off.
He headed right for my cedar tree which always means he is looking for branches.  He landed,    and plucked a tiny branch and then ran it back to the female.

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He handed it to her and watched her take it and shape it into the nest and then he
took off again.   Back to the tree  
and got another and went back again.   They touch beaks and squawk  and then he left and flew to the ground.    He looked to the left and right and even up.  When I saw him next, he had a huge branch.   click on the numbers/letter below for video, you might have to also give a click when the preview box comes on, (click on the preview box and it should show the video, sorry for a bit of grainy-ness – there are two videos of herons, one further below)

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That branch was longer than he was.  It’s amazing how these birds know each other’s needs. The male has hardly even paid much attention to her lately, this is the most time I have seen him spend tending to her nesting needs.


He was gone a third time and brought one more branch and then it began to drizzle a bit and I had both cameras and decided I would like to be able to keep having two working cameras so I headed in while Ringo stayed at the shore watching more birds overhead dreamin for one to fall within range.  The
herons communicate their needs well, and even the other ‘lessor’ birds seem to know Ringo’s thoughts and aren’t going to fall for his innocuous pussycat act. Maybe birds are better communicators than I thought, maybe they’re psychic…

This has to be the coldest winter in years!  I had to go drop off my art submissions to the Sanford Welcome Center and the minute I got out of the car, it felt colder than went I left my home fifteen minutes earlier. The wind whipping off Monroe was a hard slap to the face. Hardly anyone was walking around.  At least the Welcome Center was warm and welcoming. 
And the art on exhibit was exciting.  They had a lot of different items for sale.   Like chomping gators and sharks to edibles.  Our Sanford Welcome Center really welcomes you with a lot of info.
Walked on over to Maya’s books and looked around, then went to a new store recently opened called Fawn,   a baby and child store.  In fact they are giving away everything in their window so go to www.fawnmom.com and register to see if you win something.  They did have adorable baby stuff, like these hats  
How could you resist?  This one looked like a sweet lamb. 
They had stuffed animals that kept the “fear factor” at bay for little ones  There were the cutest shoes:  

The new shop is prepping for their newest additions.  I hope they do well.
Walked across the street to the antique shop, Antiques and Dustibles-  they had wonderful gifts —

Then I put up my hood, put on my gloves and braved the marina:
The birds all headed away from me whan they found I didn’t come with food – how rude was that!    The north east wind was just cruel! It even whipped the waves into a frothy foam near Wolfies.   The birds got great wind currents.   
The ducks were all over looking for food
Now I am home and the cold has numbed me to the bone as the sun goes down.  The suns surrender made the night pink before fading now to black.
That pink was a mean pink, deceptive, it’s now below 40 degrees.  If there are still rats in my attic, I can’t blame them. The native plants around the yard are dead, shriveled,  it feels like Florida has been freeze dried…

BRRRR- I can’t help but feel guilt for homeless people, especially families who might be out trying to survive in this horrific cold. What can it be like to try to keep warm on these miserable chilled days? No home, no running water to bathe, no food, and more and more people are at that point of no return.
I hate thinking about stray animals too and how they cope. There is a cat that the owners do not permit to go inside over at the condos where my daughter lives. The owner did set up a pedestal outside the kitchen window, and the cat sits and looks inside – how can someone not allow their “pet” cat access to their home? Why have a “pet” you don’t really want to care for?  It always breaks my daughters heart and mine to see it alone wanting the company of human contact. Sometimes the cat will be standing up peeking into my daughters kitchen window watching as those “inside beasts” lounge in their ‘padded cat tree’.     My daughter’s cats are very spoiled.
Ringo and Frank, (my cats) won’t even consider staying outside for longer than about 15 minutes in this cold before they are at the back door begging to come in.
Well, I’m sitting with my coat and bathrobe trying to stay warm as the thermostat sits at 70degrees, I know this bill is going to be a big one!
Wroking on stuff to send over to juried show in Sanforw welcome center called Kingdom of Birds and Animals, I figure I have enough of both to be able to try and get one photo in the show,  here’s a few samples

So trying to narrow down field.

I am going through all my files one by one deleting the lousy pics and trying to trim the phat photo excess,  ( I guess that was the same logic that the Beautiful People dating website used after the holidays to delet 5000 people who had gained wait on their site – can you believe?)   Thought I would share a few pics off the folder called “heron”

Just a few to keep your interest until I have something fun to write about. Okay, lets see, it’s 8am, I’ve been up since 4:30am, so think I’ll grab a couple Zzzz’z before I restart the day, maybe the temp will be up to 39degrees by 11am!

Those are turtle eggs, freshly laid.  They came by the way of their mother turtle this morning around 8am.  I had gone out to take some photos of the crappy day. We had a good rain and it was so dark.  The cranes came in for breakfast,
and I had walked to the lake to take some photos of the ‘band of brothers’ who were frolicking in the water.   It was truly a day to be a duck!  It was drizzling a bit after a hard rain.  I started walking back toward the house when I saw a turtle making her way from the house to the lake. She was quite slow in fact, probably because she is a reptile and it was cold and she was tired from laying those eggs.

She ignored the cranes attempt to peck her, and could not even get the energy to run past me to get to the lake, usually the  turtles will crank on the speed when they see humans near them. I’m sure she was exhausted and cold.  I walked back to where she had come from and could see where she had buried the eggs, I gently extracted five eggs that were not buried too deep.  The raccoons would have easily gotten to them or the cold coming tonight would have killed them.  I have raised successfully a number of snake eggs, and did have luck with one clutch of  turtle eggs a couple summers ago.    They were the size of quarters, but it was always summer when we incubated the eggs so the heat naturally kept them warm enough to grow into full term turtles and snakes that broke open their shells and were ready for the world.  The turtles looked just like the ones we kept as kids in those little clear plastic turtle bowls we had in the 50’s before they scared us all with the “salmonella” stories.
The eggs I took I have placed within a small plastic fish tank that has a night light incorporated into the top of the tank. I also placed a thermometer inside and the temp is almost 80 degrees with a tiny 7 watt bulb — that’s perfect, so maybe on February 19th, there could be 5 little baby turtles hatching.  I must keep them moist without being too wet, and heated without getting hardboiled.  This should work perfectly:
Will keep you posted. They say you can’t “candle” them like duck eggs. We never did get one fertilized duck egg.
It was just a dreadful morning, I ran to Michaels and as I looked for a frame, it began pouring. I had to wait for it to settle down a bit before going back to the car.  As I drove from the parking lot in the pouring rain, I noticed two vultures up on a light post waiting out the burst of water.  They looked rather stunned.  Notice that it was so dark, the lights were on at 11am.
Even driving through the neighborhood looked blurred  —        Now comes the cold, and tonight, you can feel the temperature drop!  Ringo is inside on my bed, he hates the cold too.
My little brother is here and we took Adam and got all bloated eating Chinese at Lee’s Palace then topped it off with ice box cake, Judd’s favorite made of pure whipping cream and Nabisco chocolate wafers.
I finished framing and should be ready to drop off work on Sunday, will let you know if there is a reception and what the dates are for the Gateway Members Exhibit.

Those are the pics, though I think they are only using two per person.  The next pics below are some I took this am.

And that’s it for tonight, stay warm, have a fun weekend….   

It’s 10:oopm, I’m sitting here after trying to take pictures of the “blue” moon through the fast moving gray web of clouds. So here’s an abbesworld look at the moon:
The full moon didn’t show up as the heron and I fished tonight.  It was gloomy all New Years Eve day.  I looked up at the herons nest this morning and wondered how it could hold eggs as it seems so lacking in good structure.   It really is not like the nest there several years ago, the last one was huge and really thick.  This one was built by a young, very inexperienced first nestor.  The male flew by me this morning to bring the female one stick.     He walked briskly to give it to her and then left for the day.   I have no idea if eggs are in that nest, but somehow I doubt it.

As for the fox, he didn’t show. I called a trapper who wanted a bunch of money as if I was asking him to send a fox to Alaska in the first class section of a plane.
The day as I said was cloudy and there was no recognition of it being the last day of 2009.    It started beautifully – this morning the sunrise was ostentatiously orange!    Then it went downhill and stayed cloudy.  
I was supposed to be framing art for the Gateway show that has to be turned in on Sunday.  But I decided to try some macro photos.


There is just too much beauty out there. I played around way too long.
The cranes were lounging around. What is fun about the cranes is how they recognize other cranes flying over. When they see a fellow crane winging it on by, they open their mouths and give that big noisy scream.  They don’t do it for any other birds, the woodstorks flew by and not a peep, but one crane can spark their loud hello.   I am finally now at 11pm getting the frames worked on with the help of Frankie and Ringo.   
I must say this past year has brought me so many riches, my family and so many people who are genuinely encouraging — so many people who have been my friends for decades and excuse my quirks as just belonging to Abbe.  It’s wonderful to have found some lost childhood friends this year, and new friends and other bloggers who read me as I read them.  And where would I be without the beauty of the surrounding bounty of life surrounding me.  I am so lucky to have so much. I can only hope that the new year brings you all the wonderful pleasures you desire. For me, I hope to continue taking that photo that someone will appreciate as much as I do, for it to be a source of something comical, something healing, something just to take the edge off , or something to inspire one by.
Happy New Years to my children and family, to my writing and blogging buddies, to my artist friends and political arguing friends, to those I know and those I don’t, all I can say is, make this your best year yet, find your passion and go for it! Enjoy the things around you, find a cause and put yourself into it, and most of all love love love –
Peace and happiness and love – Abbe
some fireworks…

This morning we had quite a fog. The night before we had a clear look at the meteor shower and I saw a good amount of gorgeous mini looking comets, it was beautiful to watch. Stayed up till 3am, then woke up and the fog swallowed the lake.  The herons, both male and female were clanking their beaks together.
They seemed real lovey-dovey.   I found it to be a good time to try my hand at some macro photography. I tried with 4 different lenses and had a hard time, but looking through my lens at spider webs was just over-whelming, the webs looked like crystal beads.  Here’s some pics.
There were webs everywhere, and I had 4 different magnifications, so I was all over using different settings. I need a mentor standing beside me. 

The plants and a few bugs were on the plants. I tried to get them, but have no tripod to keep me steady, it is tedious trying to stay still and focus on the details.

The cranes were in full mating mode – they have totally ditched the baby and now only have each other and are enjoying each other. 
They were goofy and looking for trouble. They tried Ringo,   and even Frankie.   I tried to get close to the males silly face.   
It was a good morning and took all day till the sun came shining through.   I did a few abb-strax.  And came out to see the heron take off.

And that was it for the morning, then I left to run errands, get some shopping done and come back in time to fish with the heron and Ringo. It turned out to be in the 80’s and we had sunshine.  Fishing was not great, but that’s okay with me.
Hope your day went well, you can see, there’s hardly a dull animal moment around here…

      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 …

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….

It’s so exciting, last night the last vision I had outside was the herons in the tree.  I came in feeling bad I didn’t fish, but the weather was too cold. Ringo went to bed early and I monitored his dreams,  first it was Pinhead, then it was the ‘Saw’ figure.
You can see Ringo was having nightmares. I whispered to his subconscious that he must think lovely thoughts.  next thing I know, ‘Saw’ had melded into a sweet Casper  Then another being came in — ET gave him a cat massage and put him into sweet alpha sleep.   He slept all night until Payne woke him at 6:30am, if you know Payne, she is a cartoon political pundit who time travels using cat bladders, she needed Ringo’s.   He woke and left who knows where he went…
But back to reality, went outside and the heron pair were still in the tree, they are shaping twigs, building their nest it looks like, WOW do I feel like Chanukah Harry and Santa have left me a gift!!!!

The male snaps twigs off the tree and sometimes flies off and gets twigs and she shapes them. I have been watching and she drops a lot of twigs in the water below.  They must be new at this, wonder if these are kids of the parents in my neighbors yard last year?  The male gets kind of impatient and bangs her with his beak. She is working hard trying to make her home. I will keep you posted as to their progress. It’s so exciting I can hardly contain myself!

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…

Woke up this morning and realized I had not checked traps in a week. As soon as I opened the attic door, I could smell death! two rats were trapped and smelled to high heaven.  I threw them out and cleaned the plastic traps and rebaited. Damn! I was sure that maybe it was finished as I have really not heard feet.  I wonder how many more are up there and why the Hell are they finding shelter in the attic! And more important, How many are there? As I was sitting here, Ringo just jumped up on the window ledge and grabbed something and took off. I ran out with a flash light, but can’t find him anywhere…
Fishing sucked big time tonight, but the heron did come and watch about 15 feet away.  It’s the female.   The night was gorgeous, pink and blues on the lake, maybe that beauty in the sky distracts the fish? ha ha!
Earlier the space shuttle took off and headed with spare parts for the space station.  I watched
from my lake as the plume of smoke dashed over at 6000mph. Can’t imagine what it would be like  to see it so close. The night launches are the best. 
These two came off the live video of the launch of channel 13.
I will head to Tampa in a day or two leaving Adam to take charge. Tonight he has his movie buds over to watch True Romance.  He is thinking of renting out the Avalon theatre downtown to have a big screening for something. They would have so much fun!
Taking an artbreak, but not a photography break, always something to take around here. Go to
http://offshoot2.wordpress.com later on, I will add pics to that site .
Going to eat some dinner, have to say, dragged Adam to Smokey Bones for lunch and ate their nutty pecan, cranberry, goat cheese salad and it is great!  Now go be good to the local businesses and eat out somewhere!
screening

Went out around 6:45am to feed birds, get a look at the day. The anhinga was drying it’s wings, flapping them like a sail in a brisk wind.   DSC04406res The BOBs, Band of brother mallard/mix, whom I am convinced are reincarnated vikings with their attitudes, were wandering through the yard and settled to groom by the water.   DSC04401bobA-1res I still wonder where Carbs the muscovy went to.
The cranes came flying over, you will notice the baby is keeping more of a distance from its’ folks as they are harassing him more often.  Poor guy gets picked on a lot.  DSC04411res DSC04413res baby still has a way to go before all his color fills out.
But the reason I am so excited is because the herons are building their nest!  The first thing I noticed when feeding the birds was the heron flying across the lake with a stick.
000_0506heronres I ran in for my other camera since the battery was running on empty.  And I saw it leave and waited.  And it came back again, another stick in beak.   DSC04393res It then circled the tree and positioned itself for flying into the branches.   DSC04397res
DSC04398re This means it is officially Fall and we will have some eggs, when the eggs come, it’s about 28 days later that they will hatch.
I am on my way to get set up for the art venue, but thought I’d share the start to my day – I hope yours is equally exciting….

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