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Morning brings the cranes flying over for breakfast and fast moving clouds. The southern winds are blowing the warm gulf moisture toward the north. This afternoon the north cold front will clash with this warm mass and BANG, we should hear some activity! I was gardening in front this morning and watched a big otter cross from little Lake Amory into the canal that leads to our lake. I rushed in and waited and waited to see it swimming, but not a sign of it. Oh well, I will shower and look for it later… you know there will be a photo if I see it! Stay tuned

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There is some serious pupation going on here. Went out this morning to take photos of some cardinals, and as I looked up there was an odd shape dangling from almost the middle of my screen door frame. Upon inspection I found a monarch cocoon. This  small, exquisitely decorated ornament dangled proudly for the sun to catch the light on the tiny gold dots making it sparkle. How lucky to be able to watch it’s progress in plain view.
I have repeatedly told my friend Beda, ( http://anhinga.wordpress.com ) that she was so lucky to have monarch pupas. She gets a lot of them. I see the larval stage, but never the chrysalis. So now I get to watch firsthand, the progression of the pupa that should take two weeks.
good source for info: http://www.kidzone.ws/animals/monarch_butterfly.htm

So I am feeling a bit excited watching my proud dangler. And of course, the updates will be here… Oh, and here is my handsome cardinal!

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I know it’s still 4 hours till the official holiday begins, but I’ll say it anyway, Happy Thanksgiving and believe me, I have lots to be thankful for! I can only hope your day will be wonderful and full of good food and good company. And maybe, you spared the bird and had tofu instead or maybe you didn’t, but however your meal went, digest well, take a walk, tell someone you love them, and do a good deed, that way no one can call you a turkey. But even if someone did, just remember, Benjamin Franklin wanted to name the turkey as the national bird over the eagle, so you are in good company, well, except maybe not at Thanksgiving…

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And this is how most mornings start, sunshine smiling down and birds and cats waiting for a handout! The cats like to eat on the back porch, the birds like their breakfast table stump and birdseed.
In the background ducks swerve through the water and sometimes a heron can be spotted on that little island of grass beyond the sandhills if you look hard enough. The cardinals actually are the first birds I hear in the morning darkness and the last birds I hear before going in when it is almost dark after fishing. Mooches all of them!  All day there is something stirring. Ringo the stripe tailed cat can be bad at times, attempting to nab a bird, but the other cats don’t bother.
And this is how my day starts always with a smile, how can you beat that…

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Today I went to “Friends of the Library” where they sell rejected books really cheap to people like me who hate paying more than a dollar for a book unless it is an antique poetry book with plates and printed in the 1800’s.
The book store is about ten miles and I have to pass this pond which is the gross-est water I have ever seen. It is covered split-pea colored, thick water. And yet there are always muscovy ducks there either in that nasty pond or on the shore. I don’t understand it at all because not more than 200 feet is a very nice big pond that does not have one ounce of scum on it. All the ducks have to do is cross the road, or fly.
On my way home I got out and took some shots, (photo-shots) of the ducks. The only white duck swam happily around the water as if making some kind of weird point and I must say the water had a stink like  like raw sewage!
The ducks saw me and started to waddle over in single file to check me out. As they got closer I did a once over looking for a duck with two heads, three feet, tumors, something out of the ordinary because they swam in that ‘spent nuclear’ looking water. Then I wondered if they were coming over to jump on me and roll me down the bank into that scum and maybe that was why that pond was like that, it was filled with other humans who had come to observe them and that was what was making the pond reek…. oooo, I hurried back to the truck and drove off, 55mph in a 25mph twilight zone….
check for duck photos tomorrow on http://printzandart.blogspot.com

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gray is one of those words that sounds rather dour, flat, colorless, but not for me. I see something in those shades of gray that is beautifully significant of nature’s generousity.

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The monarch caterpillers were out and munching today. They are so fat and fluffy and squirmy I had to hold one. It felt like a marshmallow. I gently put it back on the milkweed. It was hard to tell which was its’ face and which was it’s rear, it could say hello and goodbye from both ends.
Away it went gobbling away, dreaming of the day it’s body would no longer be gravity bound. Dreaming of having elegant wings and taking to the sky to reach the flowers more quickly than the encumbrance of having all those short, stubby legs. Wouldn’t that be fun to wake up one morning with wings! I’d fly to Key West and visit my brother than I would go and find where there was an Aurora Borealis — I have always wanted to see one. Ah the dreams of humans dreaming of being butterflies, it sounds so light and happy!

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Yesterday I kept hearing a loud hammering, over and over this drilling on metal, a mini jackhammer up in the tree. And there he was, a gorgeous pileated woodpecker hammering away at the metal plate around the bird box that Richard put up.
The bird was unfazed by the metalworks and kept at it for a while, then jumped on the tree and finally flew away.  I am hoping he or she will make their home nearby! Besides, he only jackhammers during business hours…


My daughter’s cats have more condos now than they need! There are 3 cats and about 8 kitty condos and one brown box. The condos come in zebra, reds, blues and now a new green one. My daughter could be making a living at adverstising for cat condo rentals if cats could only read the Classifieds and had money. They would love it at her place, so many toys, so many condos, cat treats, places to hide, why it’s cat nirvana!
Her cats go from condo to condo, they do have their favorites, Mussa like’s the red one, Lola, the zebra and Coco seems happy anywhere, but she really seems to like the new green one with the scratch pad. some of the condos sit empty for a while, then one of the cats will sit in it and another one comes by to wait outside and stare at the cat in the condo until the cat leaves, that is when the other cat rushes in to sniff and check out the space that was just abandoned.  These cats are so spoiled. I suppose it is because these are the loves of my daughter’s life. Her eyes light when she talks about these creatures, she gushes about them, we can’t walk into a store where she doesn’t see something ‘perfect’ for them that is “necessary” to their existance.
My cats, (I have 4), are outta luck, there are no condos, no toys, no ‘happy’ items. They sleep on the couch, or a bed, or even a corner and seem to feel satisfied, or am I wrong? I do notice that whenever I get a paper bag from the grocery, or even some plastic bags, my cat, Frankie likes to surround herself with paper walls. She will sit in a paper bag for hours if available.
Now I am feeling guilt…when my daughter goes to work tomorrow, I will go ‘borrow’ one of those condos, repossess it over to my house and see if any of my felines think kitty condos are as great as her cats do. And if by the end of the day, it looks like my cats are in need of some condo ‘space’, I’ll ‘foreclose’ on one of my daughters 8 condos, which one you wonder? Probably the brown box, her cats look at the box like it’s a crack house,  while mine would look at it as a castle…

Anyday at the zoo is a good day,  and the Weather being cool, I made my way to Sanford zoo a few miles up the road. Hardly anyone was there so I took my time and roamed around really going over the animals. It’s such a tiny place and I always feel so very sad for the big cats and the elephants who should have plenty of roaming room with vegetation to pick at and there is nothing for Maud and Mary to do. The elephants have been there 20 plus years I think. I would never encourage them to be separated, but I would love to see them go to live out their lives on a big piece of property where they could walk around. They seem like prisoners on the yard!
The zoo has made strides for bigger enclosures for the cheetahs and the kangaroos, but the leopards look so very confined, all one can hope for is to teach children and others about conservation and helping out the wild animal populations. The staff was absolutely wonderful and very helpful. It all gave me an idea for a photo exhibition of my own. Hope I follow through!
to see more pics go to www.http://printzandart.blogspot
www.http://printzandart.blogspot.com

  Gray, sunless morning. The morning of the impending cold front.
Right now it is very warm, (80’s) and very very muggy outside.
  Wings of gray have been fluttering among the humid mist.
The mockingbird always sings down my chimney to welcome in the morning.
The cranes have been down foraging in the sandy shoreline along the water. And,
the heron made a surprise appearance. It has to be about time for them to
mate and make their nests.  I am hoping to see more herons as it seems they have
been away and should be returning to keep their numbers going. I have not had a
heron standing close by as I fish for sometime now. But then again, fishing has been
quiet. Not even many turtles. Too much hydrilla and duckweed in water. The County is
trying to get us to add to our taxes by getting us to use a municipal bond to spray. 
Why can’t they offer a grant for windmills to stimulate the water, or grass carp and natural
cures without making it all about governmental add ons and pesticides? It is all about the
green and I don’t mean the trees and grasses. 
   The face of this small 13 acre lake changes each year. Three years ago there was an algae
bloom that looked like wooly clouds had fallen into the lake and were going to blot it all up.
And all the water creatures looked as if they were being starved of oxygen. Each day I would take
my rake and pull that thick sponge covering off to make sure the fish and turtles had a place to breathe. The thick glop would dry out and looked like cotton when dry. It was from all the run off by the gold course constantly fertilizing to keep it visually appetizing for the golfers. Plus many people use excessive fertilize, some have faulty septic tanks and it all adds up to lake pollution. That was the worst I have seen it.  Once the cold weather came through, the piles of algae sink to the bottom making it ‘nutrient dense’ which is another problem.
The winter of that thick algae bloom, the county got the owners of the culprit Lake next to us by
the golfcourse to take a municipal bond and they cleaned up the lake that feeds into ours.  It
made a big difference in the run off for us.  We have not had algae bloom like that in the past two years. But the non native plants are invasive and sink their roots in and grow with glee.
   This year I have a shoreline with lots of duckweed and spikey grass. Grass carp sure might fill the bill. But of course, we need permits and government okay. We do still have a few left over from
a time they introduced the sterile fish a few years ago. I heard the otters ate many. The County
has since told the owners of the lake with the municipal bond that they need more money for
spraying because it costs more. Of course that was going to happen, that’s government for you,
it’s always inflation and demand driving the price. I heard the spraying has been cut back a bit, wonder if they have watered it down even as compensation? There is still a film that seems to stain that lake near the canal that feeds downstream into our lake. It might be pollen, but sometimes it
looks like that familiar soft sheen of chemicals. We humans are awfully hard on our water sources.
   Isn’t it nice to escape the reality of human problems and the television drone of talk of politics, violence, and recession? All I have to do is look outside and something with wings or scales is busy gathering its’ creature needs. It seems so simple for them, just fend for yourself and your family. All species do this, but humans are much more dependent on everything around us. It is the complex simplicity that strikes me about nature, so easy and yet so complicated. How to eat and nest and survive the appetite of something else.  We do that too, but somehow our struggle seems almost egotistical driven, needs needs needs for the goods on demand. The creatures make it seem so unhindered: eat, shelter, reproduction, survival, they make it look like almost valiant as we humans sloppily struggle along. Ummm, sounds like a perfect excuse to go fishing, see ya later…

This morning at 8am I grabbed my rod and walked through the yard to fish. I spotted the cranes flying across. They stopped at the neighbors and foraged through the backyards and finally came to my stump to grab some birdseed.
There is still nothing biting at the lake so I came back. I noticed Frankie the cat watching from her angle of what those 3 giant creatures were doing. I wondered what she thought when they all look back at her… Is she thinking, “bring it on you feathered birdbrains”, or “Oh man, I better act really cool then turn and go inside the porch.” She might have been thinking the first thought, but she followed through on the second…

This turtle was in the driveway a while ago. Maybe it was looking for a place to lay eggs, maybe it was looking for the lake and got sidetracked, or maybe Ringo lured it over just to tease it? The thing is, it was slimy and shiny, very black and wrinkled. He looked like something that crawled out of a septic tank after living there for a few years, YUK.  At least it was patient as I took it’s picture numerous times, but I don’t like big turtles, they look germy and hiss when you pick them up…so I don’t.

to see more colorful photos  go to     http://printzandart.blogspot.com

Sunday started off very foggy, could not see houses across the lake, but by 9am the sun lifted and there was beautiful bird of paradise blooming, and cranes flying in for breakfast. The lake is up over 4 inches since Fay has left weeks ago, it is mucky though and fishing is bad, you have to have a pro ball players arm to get the bait out of the gook near the shoreline.  The big grasshopper did not get fed to the birds or bass, he’s eating my plants somewhere in the garden. Speaking of which, it is full of weeds and overgrown, ah, so much weeding to do, let me go and give it a shot!
Don’t forget to look for more photos at     http://printzandart.blogspot.com

WOW was I treated to a wonderful day and night. First because all my kids came to spend time with me and second because nature did too.
It was brutally hot it seemed out there, but around 6pm, the sky clouded and it began to rain. The sun though kept peeking through the front of the house to the back, so I knew there had to be a rainbow and there was quite a huge double rainbow that lept right out of the sky! The colors were so vibrant and it crossed the lake also. Then came the huge fill moon poised over the lake giving earth a bit of competition.
How can you beat a full house on Sunday…

Monday and the thunder boomers are already sounding their alarms for more rain this afternoon. The lightening is intense! It’s very close. 
    I still have not been fishing in the upgraded lake yet. The level was at 3.09 this am, down a bit from yesterday. Flooding is everywhere around here. How can we handle thinking that this next tropical storm headed for Haiti now might become a tropical storm, then hurricane? It’s too much to think about. We Floridians are in big trouble if that dumps on us like Fay!
   But nature around is booming, the birds enjoy their baths and butterflies are very busy in the overgrown and weed packed garden. The sky is dark, the turtle shell is art, and I have many things to do…

AWK – this is way too much rain all at once. How long before septic backs up? There is no letting up. We are in endless cycle of yellow on the map. This Fay spins and is moving at 5miles per hour, it is essentially going nowhere fast. The rain continues to add up. The lake fills and fills and so do the streets and the property. There are some very heavy wind gusts too.   
  Waterlogged heavy Limbs are falling from the trees, this is worse than if it was a hurricane! For all those we had in 2004, they kicked ass and left! This one is taking her own sweet time and is swamping the state…Is Florida worth staying in when at any time you could be a flood statistic, I’m beginning to wonder…

Did I jinx it by asking Fay to show us what she’s got? This storm is not going anywhere! It has dumped over 30inches in places along the coast! You need a boat to get around on some streets and I’m not lying! Here in my backyard, the water line shows that we have gone up over 6 inches totally so far and I can see it will be rising further today as Fay swirls around in place doing nothing but feeding off the warm Atlantic. At least we have not lost power. Maybe I ought to inflate my water proof air mattress before the days end just in case we have to evacuate. My garage is sandbagged, so far so good.
   Last night between hard rain bands I tried to fish, but the fish are smarter than me, they were way under their new depths. At least we have had no lightening at all.
   I hear birds out there, but don’t see them, the cranes did not show at all yesterday. The winds are light, with a bit of a gust as the bands move around, but I guess the plan is to continue the dance…

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