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Poor Michael Jackson, I can totally sympathize with his insomnia, last night I slept two hours, actually it was this morning from 8am to 10am. If I had to go onstage like he did, or held a regular job, I’d be screwed.
I was going to go with Dee-dee and listen to a bird lecture, but I had no attention span for sitting and listening, in fact I had invited her to go with me last week and she ended up going alone, some friend I am…
I could use some liquid coma too a few nights. 71209abbe-3res

I have no idea what 8 hours is, I guess for me it is 4 or 5. Don’t get me wrong, I do like sleeping because I like dreaming, dreaming is so damn cool, you can do anything.  But here I am after 2 hours sleep in a 24 hour cycle and I am still up and fooling around on the computer.  I did see a raccoon on the porch,
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I brought Ringo in as I was not sure if he would jump that coon or not, or maybe the raccoon would think it was another raccoon because they share the same tail.
I took a few pictures with me and Frankie:  71109Frank&AB2res
Frankie was outside too, so I brought her in also. It was hot and very damp outside. Then I took a self portrait and worked it a bit,
71209abbe-2res Hey, at least I’m smiling! And I took a few pics of furniture,  SilverLionchair-1res and even cheated and took Andrea’s cat painting she did and worked that too. mussa&fish-2res It should look like this:  mussa&fish-1res Isn’t Andrea talented? She makes the cutest paintings.
Maybe I will go into my bedroom and veg for a while, turn on the news and relax, maybe read. I do want to say a special shout out to Tabbie my blog buddy, get well ASAP!
Maybe tomorrow I will find more wildlife, these hot days the only things I see are birds quickly in the early morning, turtles when I fish, and cats on hot tin roofs and porches. Even the raccoons know better than to be outside in the afternoon. Good night, it’s almost one, cross your fingers for at least 5 hours of deep alphas and dream patterns…

Looked out at a dark sky crawling in from the west, then went about getting desk cleared off while trying to get bills in order when I glanced out and saw some weird ‘birds’ flying up on cut off tree tops.  BBwd1res Ran out to take a few pictures and luckily they did not fly off as my camera lens immediately fogged up when going from air conditioning to the really humid heat.
DSC06111res Came in and Googled ‘Florida ducks’ and found them to be black bellied whistling ducks, I had never heard of them or seen them.  They were so cute with their long, baggy pink legs and soft gray colored heads.  They looked like book ends on my cut off pine tops.
Then they just flew off, they stayed long enough for their publicity shots, then turned toward the east, away from the storm and headed over the lake and were gone. Oh they made it look so easy to just decide to fly away and go visit another lake,  There was no traffic, (unless you are flying high enough to tangle with airplanes,)  and on a dull day like this, not many flying birds going places.
DSC06114res The wings moved like the mallards as wobbly propellers.
So even though it is dark and rainy, it is always another fun day bird watching while paying the bills in between noticing the ‘bills’. I did see those black bellies, but maybe next time they will stay long enough so I can hear them whistle…

DSC05328res Woke up and the sandhill cranes had come for a visit. Keep in mind the baby is just about 12 weeks old and he is a monster!  (That’s him in the middle.)  His head is so funny as he is losing his baby fuzz. DSC05218a_edited-1 He’s going to tower over the father. The funny thing was how he loves the water.  The baby crane saw the ducks at the lake, DSC05244res and hurried in their direction to assert his machismo. He scattered them off and jumped in for a bath. I followed from behind and watched the baby as he had the best time waving his wings under the water and making the drops scatter. He would groom and then wave those wings and dunk his head. Then finally about ten minutes later he came ashore spreading his massive wings to dry.
For all the other babies we have had on the property over the years, not one would go in the water deeper than it’s knees if it did not have to. Usually just to drink and of course when they were too young to fly and would swim across the lake. but never have I seen one that spent time having fun like this. Plus he is already flying, it took the other baby cranes much longer to fly, a lot longer! But I will let the photos speak for themselves…
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Here it is another day of gray and rain threats, nothing I can do about it and I really don’t even mind it. Somehow it seems like a dreary day you would veg out and listen to Procal Harem or Led “Zep’ – oh I am so 40 years ago aren’t I?
But after three days of ice-cream cookies and junk food, I had to get out.  I ran some errands and did even stop by the marina.
There was nothing floating around in the water and only a few fisherman and very little wildlife, still no muscovy ducks. I did see a couple mallard duck mothers and their ducklings, one had almost a dozen ducklings,  52109mallardclan-3_edited-1 I thought her brood looked well disciplined.  The wind was not as brisk as it had been the past two days of driving rain. The marina waters were pretty calm
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There were a lot of homeless people sitting around the park which is always sad to see. Also saw some vultures
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I came home and attempted to go fishing, the wind was built up again and there was no use in bothering after several casts came floating back. There was a huge yellow rat snake that I saw and he saw me and he went right over the seawall and into the water. he swam out to the lily pads and did a big loop and came back to the other side of my property, back to dry land. ratsnakeedit The sky looked like it was trying to build some momentum, even Ringo didn’t bother coming out with me which is unusual. The heron family is long gone, the mama never comes to fish anymore, have not seen her since before going to Tampa almost two weeks ago. I do see one of her babies down near the channel that leads from our lake to the next. I have not seen the crane family in almost two weeks.
Tomorrow I take my two photos to the Gateway Center for The Arts for an upcoming show called “Abandoned Houses” – other than that, I am working on a dream series of work to go with some of my poetry and hoping to present that somewhere for an exhibition. Art is never quiet once it infects you, it squirms it’s way out of you and then you must find it a home just like you find a pet a home. Someone has to fall in love with it enough to buy and take home. The best part for the perspective art owner is that the artwork does not have eat, crap or have to be neutered, so there, now go buy some local artists’ pet project!

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…

Went to visit my son’s good friend and his wife as they have a beautiful new baby.  Of course it is always a treat to see  their friends grow into adulthood and begin families of their own.  After that we went to my son’s friends’ brother’s ranch and go see the clydesdales.
We drove the short distance and walked through the wonderful stable to see chickens and goats.
51709goatandbaby-1_edited-1 The baby goats were adorable. We then came upon a very handsome and alert paint stud. He was very macho and quite an anxious horse. His eyes were amazing, blue on the left side, brown on the right.  He liked attention.  may172009 216edit_edited-1 As we doted on him, the friend went to the fence and yelled at the top of his lungs. Suddenly, from way out back of the field came a pack of 4 horses and a cow running hard, thundering
through to where we stood.

may172009 212size The young cow was out in front leading the way and believe me, with all that weight you could feel the earth vibrate beneath as they came closer.  They stopped before us and let us rub their faces, (well, not the cow, he stood way off to the side).  There were two clydesdales and they were huge. I don’t technically know how many hands they were for a measurement, but the one male was very tall.  edithorse My son is 6’2″ and look at the height of the head of that horse! The ankles of those horses are covered in long hair.  They are terrifically muscled and
may172009 246edit look how a real work horse should look. The male paint on the other side saw the female horse and got extremely excited and sounded like he might come over the fence to join her and the others.  may172009 224edit

Horses are so cool, their faces and reactions are interesting.  As there was a young colt in that pack, the mother would not let us near the baby and tried to bite my son’s friends hand!  The beauty and strength of their bodies was impressive.  We fed them all a bit of hay and I enjoyed petting those long noses and thick necks.
When we left, my son looked around and wished he had some acreage and a horse. When he was very young we lived in South Carolina in the small town of Camden which holds the yearly Camden Cup. He took riding lessons when he was four and I have movies of him with that tiny body on top of an adult horse as it jumped. He looks like a little doll in a helmet and riding pants and now I squirm when I see it!  I loved having property and when we lived in Davie, Florida when my children were toddlers, we had a house that was surrounded by ranches with horses on all sides of us. We always had horses at our fence and fed them carrots – the neighbors gave us use of one of their horses to ride and one of our neighbors collected Amish buggies and would give everyone rides around our neighborhood on Sundays. So we have fond memories of horses.
Later we got home and watched the Preakness Stakes and cheered the filly winner. But I’ll tell you one thing, that little     may172009 229edit cow might be able to give Rachel Alexandra a run for the money and my bet is on the cow!

http://offshoot2.wordpress.com for more pics

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

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I saw a hawk preening, squirrels everywhere, and heard plenty of birds. It is good to go out and really look around as you walk taking in all the sights. (I am not sure if it is effective exercise, but it’s good for the heart and peace of mind).
The trees around here are old and stately. I saw a staghorn fern growing on an oak, it was gorgeous, but my friend Dee has a wonderful huge staghorn fern she artistically hung in her own back yard that is quite beautifully displayed.  42609staghornfernb-1resizefernontree_editedresize
After coming home and finding that my Adobe photoshop was not working, I was in a panic. It really put me in a bad mood. Then the band of brother ducks were here mooching
at the stump so I chased them and came to a quick stop when I saw a really long yellow rat snake.  It was a mean one too, you could tell by his expression. I felt like I was trespassing on my own property, I got as close as I dared as he was in full striking position. I will have more pics on  http://offshoot2.wordpress.com (later) .
The baby heron also visited twice. He shows off his flight techniques which are improving. The baby comes to the area where I fish at least twice a day now. He still has the baby coloring, but is larger than his father! What is in the water in this lake?
Also today the newer cranes came to eat seed off the stump, they were wandering around the yard when out of the blue, the old rusty couple came to claim their stake. They left the baby at home I suppose. I have not seen the baby in a while. After they chased the young couple away, they flew off.  dsc02944heronresize
My son and I finally got the Photoshop working so later I will add some pics to Offshoot.
The wind has been tough for 4 days now, it blows like a ‘noreaster’ at times off the lake, no fishing and the Mama
heron hasn’t bothered to come and see if I was going to fish or not lately. I tried tonight, but I threw the line out and it comes wobbling right back in a matter of seconds.
The point of the blog today is get your mind working as you walk, take in the surroundings like a dirty voyeur, take pleasure in hugging trees, bad ducks, mean snakes, birds that fly over head and squirrels on the ground. You are not alone out there, so turn off that ipod and listen to the birds sing, the wind blow and even the snakes hiss, their music is a reminder to yourself that sometimes you must slow down and hear what others are saying – it’s the universal language of love and renewal.
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dsc02705 That’s him! The missing baby heron has grown a bit and now he   and his sibling have taken to regular flights back and forth to the nest. I am convinced that is the same one who was rejected. What’s fun is to watch the two babies fly awkwardly around the lake, they stop and eat at different spots then fly back to the nest to compare. They are always competing up there, YAK YAK YAK, their necks go up and down, their wings extend and it’s always competiton.

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I enjoy looking out and seeing their activity from my desk. Yesterday the one baby was here twice and that’s the one I think finally found his way back home.
It’s also quite evident the dragonflies are busy. At the lake they are all over. I also get them on the porch and have to take them outside. They do pinch too! dfAnd of course, the band of brothers and Pekins are here off and on as usual and even Carbs will show up during early evening then take off before the BOB’s pick on him.  carbsresize

Then last night I was flipping through the channels and came across the American network and another winged specimen  the  old Batman series with Adam West and he looked like a little kid!  bmresize

dsc06519dsc06531 The bat mobile looked so cheap, but it was fun watching the action scenes with POP, POW and cartoon effects when our imaginations were so much simpler. We had no bloodshed, only lame storylines and stupid acting that made it work in the 60’s.      I stuck around and saw The Hornet was next and watched about ten minutes and my son pointed out that Bruce Lee was the Hornets butler. How weird! The Hornet was really a great looking guy!

hornetreisix So it was a full day of wings and even Ringo the cat was exhausted and dreaming as his tail seemed to take flight. Was he dreaming of flying, or growing up to become a lion and catching all kinds of things? 42409ringolion

Did you ever see the sun go down and you are convinced it was like no other night? Well last Thursday when I had to run an errand, it was 7:55pm and the sunset which I normally can’t see because of all the trees around the Loch Arbor area, was closing in over Interstate 4 and was one of the best sunsets I have ever seen! The peaches and dark pinks were astonishing, it had gift wrapped the sun in peach and was there to be photographed and I did not have my camera. I am lucky enough to have the sunrise right pop up right over the lake in my backyard, but I do miss the sun going down.
Last night as I was fishing, it was getting later and filtering through the trees I could see it might be another pink one. So I put down my rods and tackle box, said a rushed good night to my heron and the cats

catsandheron420-small who by now know I am wacky and accept it.  Though the heron does get a bit miffed when I leave early.  In fact, the cats stayed there sleeping while the heron escorted me in.heron420 But I had to see what was unveiling tonight. I grabbed my camera and truck keys and off I went toward I-4 heading west chasing the sunset. But I was just too late, it was after 8pm and the sun had about avoided me by pulling up most of her stakes and taking her light toward California. I pulled into Kohls parking lot and watched the absolutely stunning remnants of the sun pulling her light away and the clouds left by the cold front. The clouds seem to be folding their colors into the fabric of the night. And it was worth it, and though I didn’t have anyone to share it with, that’s the great thing about blogging, you can n see the totally unretouched pics I have. I do have to say, it is worth it to get a glimpse of something that takes your breath away. It is something that brings a lot of peace and a smile, but then again, I am afforded that each day with my wildlife too. So chase sunsets, it’s worth every minute!
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