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Hold on, have been gone since last Thursday and have had things happen! First people things, went to Tampa for a baby shower and my son, Aaron proposed to his girlfriend, Leila.  That was a lot of fun. Lots of people and scenery and gifts and a great time.   Thanks as always to Mark and Lynette for the use of their home for these wonderful parties and to all the hard workers who set it all up and took it down. Came home Sunday after spending two nights with three hours of sleep while listening to the poor cat in heat. Don’t worry she is an indoor cat,    but what is really funny, there is a slab porch with no screen out the back door, and Sasha the cat will not go off the concrete, she hates hates hates the feel of the grass.
Before I got on I-4, I was cutting through a Home Depot to get gas and caught sight of two osprey in the trees, had to stop and take a couple pics.   Then off it was toward O- town. Finally I was ready with my camera to take the upside down RV’s I always forget about –  They were near Dover.  At one point the artist was told to remove them, luckily, that has changed —  http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/mar/14/owner-told-remove-vertical-rv-display-dover/ — I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy seeing that display!
And then the monotonous ride to Orlando and the rejoicing when downtown appears ;   .
At the house, the herons have left the nest, nothing is there anymore, though the neighbors still have their family in the trees. The wood ducks too, they have taken their family and gone – didn’t even say goodbye.  The grasshoppers are horrible,
They want to dine on way too much. Most of my neighbors kill them, I have been told to fish with them, but can’t bring myself to bait them.  So they eat.  The birds are still busy even though the heat is overwhelming.
The moorhens have six babies.  The jays and cardinals also have fledglings:   The cranes were yawning in the heat.
The grackles and crows and mockingbirds continue fighting.
I was going to go to an meeting for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission about banning the penning of fox and coyotes for hunters to let their dogs loose upon- what an unfair advantage! Apparently it was well attended and they will pass the ban. I actually slept through it this am, I woke and it was 10am and the meeting began at 8:30am, whoops… Glad there are so many dedicated animal protectors via animal rights activists. Orlando has a large share.
At 1pm, I went to Debary   to  see the Gateway Center for the Arts exhibit. On my way I stopped at the White Cup on 17/92 in Debary to see if Jon D. Miller’s  work was still up, and the artist was sitting there when I walked in!   
So here is a sampling of what is hanging:   A Horoscope theme of mixed media on wood and canvas and even prints of the originals.  Here’s a few close ups:  

Jon’s painted palm fronds are just as colorful and fun as he is:   Jon’s so enthusiastic,  and even though this show comes down this Friday,  I am sure he will be somewhere else – if you are interested in his art, contact via email:  Toyseum@aol.com.   Jon does murals, interior painting besides portraits and even body painting.
Don’t forget that the White Cup has a selection of coffee and tea and is now making their own yummy desserts.

Then hit the Gateway because my friend, Judith Segall and another new friend, Mary Segal were both showing with Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson and Joanna White.  Judith is an excellent paper maker and gives classes. She has worked on making mixed media art that can be touched for the enjoyment of sight impaired people. I remember her telling me she went to Gainesville and took a class years ago about applying art as therapy. Here she has applied her knowledge as a paper maker, painter and being that she is sensitive toward someone who might not have the visual ability to see the colors, but as in nature, they can touch and identify the shapes. Her pieces are always well thought out and very beautiful:

Always love the depth of Elizabeth’s collages. Her colors are just stimulating and fun!  I have seen her do collage and it’s magic! Mary Segal does striking, long panels of soothing colors with mixed media – she has quite an interesting approach to her art.
The hanging box art by Joanna White was of small boxes strung together to make long chains of color, that looks like a time consuming project!.   There were other boxes too of varied descriptions,
and some long shots   Just a few glimpses into the brains of artists. The show will be on for about 3 more weeks I think.
The front lobby had adorable individually made bird houses for auction:  
Here’s some info, click on photo for larger reading and contact the Gateway Center For the Arts for more info. emails for Mary Segal = marysegal@yahoo.com,  Judy Segall = http://www.judithsegall.com/
Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson  http://www.nelsoncreative.com/gallery/
On the way home I saw a anhinga relaxing at Mayfair   I went home to relax and even tried my hand at fishing, not one thing is biting but the turtles and don’t want them biting my hook! I Took a walk instead.  One day seems to mesh into the next, but at 3am, I guess that’s how it seems – good morning!

I bet you are wondering by that title what I did last night and maybe you’re conjuring up names possibly linking me to some guy I might be hooking up with, well you will have to read and find out won’t you? So let’s begin at the beginning, noontime Friday :
Lunch with my good friend and neighbor, Sonja Greenlee who is also a contributing monthly Culinary  Columnist for the Sanford Herald. We ate at Amura which is ALWAYS great! Their sushi is the best around – hands down, chopsticks up! Plus the conversation is fun as Sonja is a traveler and had just returned from New York where she got to hear Jill Biden and Caroline Kennedy Schlosberg  speak. We can chat away for hours. Afterwards when I was ready to drop her off, I requested a walk to see the garden as she has a wonderful green thumb and she uses that thumb to stir many a great meal she has created and garnished perfectly. Unlike me who feels mac and cheese made from the box and served on fine china qualifies as a gourmet meal, Sonja does not hesitate to cook from scratch using her variety of veggies and herbs. Everything she creates is ‘eat-a- licious!  Here’s a view,    and that’s just a portion of it. She has snow peas, squash, lettuces, chard, collard greens, tomatoes, cabbage, beans and herbs too, even corn this year,
and her flowers,  the  glorioso lily was a stunner.
Went shopping after that, wanted something new for Art Walk tonight, I needed some pants. But how is it, I went to Ross and ended up with dresses? Casual long kind of hippy dresses. I never wear them, but they felt so comfortable for summer and the price, $12.99 was so reasonable I got 3 of them and two pair of $9 sandals.   That cute cat bag I bought for Andrea.
All set I thought except I needed a short sweater, to cover up and I knew Andrea had a few. While my closet looks like a cluttered, flea market vendor, she has a designer closet and things are organized. So I ventured over there at 6pm as the art walk was beginning and she dragged out clothes and more clothes for me to try on. So by 7:30pm, I had a bag full of things and went back home fully prepared to wear a dress. Well, my bed bed became an abstract, fabric  artwall of color. Clothes splashed everywhere.  Yikes, my mind was as confused as my bed. while confusion is part of the alchemy of my gray matter, I ended up wearing clothes I already had in the closet – go figure?  Please don’t suggest clothes therapy, though I could use it as my normal look usually consists of T-shirts with peace symbols or funny sayings and jeans. As I stood in a spaghetti strapped long dress so completely comfortably, I felt kind of naked, like I had too much airspace. While liberating, it felt kind of like I was in a nightgown. Now here I was wearing, “Abbe-shabby-chic”, okay, forget the chic part, back to the comfort of old jeans and ‘t’s’. I will wear the dresses around the house. By then it was 8pm. later than I normally get there.
I drove upon a very crowded Art Walk in downtown Sanford. The night was perfect, a soft, nice breeze coming off Lake Monroe and the full moon were my escorts up and down First Street. I always run into people I know.  Here’s the view:
For $20 you can have a ride behind that huge Belgium horse.

The parking gets fuller and fuller at these venues! I stopped at The Gallery on First  http://galleryonfirst.com at the beginning of my artwalk. Painter, Stewart Jones  stewartjonesart.blogspot.com and I struck up a conversation and he gave me a post card proclaiming The Gallery On First was having their first annual summertime art show, it’s June 5th- June 27th. The reception is Saturday June 5, from 6pm to 9pm. Here’s some of Stewart’s work along with Cindy Sturla also a painter who shares the booth.
Also spoke to artists Lori Anne Harris and Sharon Rae Hyder, they are always so full of fun and family oriented in their booth, Lori’s son was there and told me his is working on his Anime art,  I told him I would stop by next month and check out his work, the talent pool continues to spread in their family, make more wall space!
Cherie Dacko was not there, but I did see her finished piece, the baby and it is very cool, but since she was not there, I didn’t want to take a photo without permission. It is facing the outside, so take a look a look if you are walking the downtown streets.
Mary K. Shaw is always a smiling face too, she is at the desk or helping people out, plus she too is a contributor Community Columnist for The Sanford Herald, does all the writing for the arts, so if you have a local exhibit coming up around Sanford, or are maybe you are a Local artist showing elsewhere, contact her via the Sanford Herald,  497-322-2611.  she will put it in the Herald.
Then I headed back to my home gallery, The Art Affair. (http://artaffairgallery.com)  – I say my home gallery because even though I don’t have work there,  Ronda never fails to make me feel like a ‘homie’!  I keep watching as that gallery under her watch expands and expands! It’s exciting to see the artists grow and the wheels turning in her head with ideas. Here’s some of the new work,
Marie DeCosta had brought this in and it was not hung yet, but loved the perspective. She and photographer Ken Elliott have been into ‘bikes’ lately.
Marie DeCosta     Ken Elliott

Really enjoyed the look of Patrick Flannery’s circus art.  Oh my, I don’t know who did this to give them credit.   Gum wrapper purses – Melinda Dadelis, budding artist.    

Mindy Colton has intaglia horse prints.   These collage prints are from Jolie Spellman.  Ronda has plenty of work over there too.  

Toelle Hovan has colorful paintings, check last months archive for her chair picture. She will also be teaching Acrylic Painting for adults in July. I really enjoyed her small purse paintings. 

Toelle and her husband were celebrating their anniversary and could not have looked any happier! Congrats, keep going!!! Check with gallery for art classes being offered this summer.
Then it was time for the new venue Ronda is featuring along with the restaurant, Two Blondes & a Shrimp! Every 4th Friday beginning tonight, The Art Affair will be having a meet and greet and mingle with the artists at 9pm at the restaurant until whenever the last person stops chatting! She was so excited to show off this new art venture.    She shooed us all out as she locked up and off we went to the restaurant.  The Rand building which houses 2Blondes & a Shrimp, was built in 1887, named for Frederic H. Rand general manager and Attorney for the Florida Land and Colonization Company. The interesting thing is going to the courthouse and doing research on land records and seeing the vast amount of property and land dealings that company did. The building was also home to the Newspaper, The Sanford Journal.  The ceiling, floors and bar are all original features.

(whoops, lousy night photo of the bar– that’s why I will be taking the photo class offered by Photographer Ken Elliott so I have control over the dark – (go on website at artaffair.com for details)
The old brick walls came alive with a flurry of assorted work. Ronda and Marie has hung everything that morning and wow, Ronda knows how to hang, hey Ronda, new sideline, offer to hang shows on the side for a nice price!  This collection will stay up for 6 months if I am not mistaken.  Here’s a look:
Sherri the operating owner and Ronda stand united on the notion of supporting the arts! (And so should you!) Come over and eat at Two Blondes & a Shrimp noted for their Tomato Pie, Shrimp and Grips, linguine and clams and soooo much more. Sherri had a wonderful area with hor doerves for us! I ordered a mixed green salad as it was past 10pm, and had a wonderful dressing, I think it was coconut vinaigrette. I will have to go for lunch. They are closed Mondays, open 11am-3pm for lunch Tues-Sat. and then reopen 5pm – 10pm weekdays, except Friday and Saturday at night they stay open till 1am.  Chris the manager will be glad to help with anything you need. 

The artist table was outside near the band,  I must say I was walking around snapping a few shots talking to painter, Trish Vevera about going to Poland and to artist Tom Abbott   who does dimensional art that has to be seen in person. Peter Cerreta too was there   his work has to be admired for the amazing patterns and symbolism. I did not go over and tell Peter how I enjoy his pieces,  so here is a shout out to tell you Peter.
The Lake Mary food critic,  http://lakemaryfoodcritic.blogspot.com/ Leon and I chatted about our mutual love for food, he is quite an amazing cook and caters the food at Art Affair from time to time. I shared my secret of beating Kraft spinach and artichoke Philadelphia cream cheese into my mashed potatoes – yum! As I am sitting here, I’m getting hungry!
I enjoyed speaking to others around the table, upcoming artists Melinda Dadelis.  She is going in very cool directions for her future. Marie DeCosta’s husband and I spoke about music and touched on Greg Allman as her husband works at the Daytona Beach Harley dealership and Greg had just been there. Now here is how the story goes full circle -6 degrees of separation: Sonja, who I had lunch with was married to Bob Greenlee, who passed away a few years ago, he owned Kingsnake Recording studio and in high school, Bob was in a band with both Greg and Duane Allman – a weird Kevin Bacon moment for sure!
Finally I had to get going and left a few faces still talking into the night. I drove home, my date followed closely, hovering over me street after street, it was my moon of course and the clouds beautifully veiled that moon as if I should be holding wolfbane as protection to ward off the spirits that might be invoked under that moon of the ancients.   

Now think about checking out ALL Sanford art and remember both the Art Affair Gallery and the 2 Blondes & a  Shrimp will be having the after Art walk meet the artists, next one June 24th – 9pm — You must take a good look at the local  talent and also enjoy a meal at 2 Blondes & a Shrimp in which you will be so busy looking at the art, you won’t remember who you are even eating with, a great place to take that someone who you really could care less about, but you owe them a meal – haha – But really, it has a great feel, like an eatery in a sophisticated big city scene. Go and let the walls and the food do all the talking…
SUPPORT THE ARTS AND ALL SANFORD BUSINESSES!

WOW, can’t believe how fast time seems to dissolve before my eyes. Am I making it go fast spending endless hours behind this computer? It seems I start something online and the morning hours fade into afternoon and then the afternnon till the wee hours of the morning – HOW DARE THEY – it just ticks away too fast doesn’t it!
   I have been working on a website and have come to a standstill again with moving portions of it – so at a loss for right now and can’t even look at it I am so tired of the whole website thing. Instead first of all I will show you nature  from the past week, then move on to Fourth Fridays in Sanford last night.
      gerber daisy new blooms not ready to show their faces   
  my new mailbox snake, likes to hang out where the empty mockingbird nest is, maybe that’s why it’s empty.
  damsel fly eats hoursefly.         

Now for Friday night at Fourth Friday Artwalk.  Headed out and the first thing I thought, wow, the time change does make a difference, I can remember it almost last month as the sun being so low on the horizon,    but not tonight as I made my way to Sanford, rounding the corner on Commercial Street, I stopped and took a photo of a cool building that I would love to step into.      The first people I saw were members of the Gateway, as we walked up to the Welcome Center,      my favorite jazz guy was there –  saw Jane Kerle doing her Plein art painting.       The Welcome Center had a title of  “It’s All About People” for this month’s exhibit and I did a quick glance, then left to go met Adam and Ari at the clock.  We decided to go into Maya’s Books and you should too, it’s a very cool bookstore and has plenty of merchandise.
    Here he is with one of Giger’s art books, Necronomicon.  I left them looking through stacks and headed for The Gallery on First where several artists were present and working on their crafts, Debra Lapallo Ryan was painting a rock with cats, could not photograph them, but her rocks rocked – also Sharon Hyder gave me the tour of her booth, she shares her space with her daughterwho paints and does portraits, both do a wonderful job of painting and Sharon had so many pen and ink detailed drawings to look at, again, out of respect for the gallery no pictures, though Sharon let me take some, you will just have to look for yourself.
   Went to my ‘fav’ place where I can take as many photos as I want, The  ART AFFAIR of course! The theme was about ‘green art’,  everything made from recycled items. I was met as a celebrity and now I have been honored with my own official badge that hangs on their hook for these events or for anytime I just want to feel elevated – I grab my badge and feel like I am at home.      I am listed as “their favorite blogger” – how cool is that! The Art Affair Gallery is featuring artist Peter Cerreta’s work                This peace sign by Steve Stepp made of resin soldiers was one of my favorites, was told by Fern Matthews who herself  is a tremendous sculpture, no, I mean sculptor, so don’t ask to see the Fern Matthews sculpture.  She is also a gifted glass maker,  that Steve made this with plastic soldiers from the 1960s.  Here’s a close up:
     he also is a sculptor and has other work in the gallery. Here’s a few other views – you must visit and tell Ronda that Abbe sent you!        There are Julie Kessler metal scultures, her work is quite intricate – here’s one of her paintings:
          Mauricio’s gummy mugs          

              So many cute and affordable items.  I also ran into Chuck Dinkins who is now  executive director of the Seminole Cultural Arts Council. He’s a easy to talk to guy AND I didn’t know he was a professional skateboarder, (now retired) – it seems Chuck has worn many badges along the way to where he is now. I have to sit down and talk to him sometime, pay him a visit, he’s very interesting. 
    Headed back over to the Welcome center to watch the winners of the monthly artwork, I got there just as they finished, but I did see Rae Marie who owns Framing 508 Gallery on Sanford AVe. – she won and award and recognition for her dedication and hard work, she does so much for monthly shows, I am glad they did this, plus she came in second place for her artwork. Anyone who knows Rae Marie knows she is just a radiant sunbeam always smiling and happy and glad to see you. Her framing work is well known by many as is her painting.
    As I was going to take her photo, a dragonfly chose to rest upon her winning pastel.   She LOVES dragonflies. 
the details in her pastel were unbelievably precise – what a work of art– go to the Welcome Center and see all the pieces. There won’t be another exhibitition until September again.   Here are some of the entrys:       The First Place winner.   

     I loved the smoking guy, he was my favorite this time.  
    Left and took a few pictures of the buildings                The fire station.   
love the jazz guy in the dark too, think of the photo as an abstract because it came out so poorly   
And then I headed home, passing the electrig grid on 46 and back to the house where Adam was having movie night with his friends, Brothers Bloom was the featured movie. .     Now I am trying to figure out how 7:30am is now 7:06pm?  There is t goes, I’m in a time warp, oh well, perfect excuse to go fishing — byeeeeeee……

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

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

Yesterday grabbed Adam and went to see Pirate Radio which had a nice vibe, good actors, great music, simple and fun, no thinking involved.  Then up to the Gateway for set up.
100_6777re Had baby clothes, T-shirts, cups, cards, all kinds of things to sell besides framed art.  A cute dog named Lucky was running around trying to help too. He was adorable.  100_6767re 100_6769-1re (don’t ask what setting I had on that last Lucky pic.)
We headed home and Adam took wonderful photo as we passed over the 17/92 bridge

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Diane Miller, head of the Photography club at Gateway who was in charge of getting everyone their placement and making things run smoothly, could not have been kinder or more accommodating.  There were potters, quilters, jewelry makers, fine artists, even an artists who painted on leather. The excitement was building.

This morning I was up at 6:15, at the Gateway by 7:30am. The weather could not have been more perfect for those having tables outdoors.  100_6835re They have a weekly farmers market each week. Outside they had very interesting booths.  A guy named Joe,  did woodcarving and had beautiful wooden mini houses.  100_6838re There was one man who made solar light holders.  100_6844re There was a quilter called Loving Stitches, a man selling things to benefit a border Collie Rescue, his dog Cali was a beaut!  100_6846re And very well behaved dog too.
Of course there were jewelry vendors,  and my good friend Judy Segall and her beau Rob came with the coolest assortment of Asian/African instruments of which Rob was giving  free demos making people smile.
http://www.judithsegall.com
100_6823re 100_6824re
Inside was an impressive group of artists.  The inside quilter, Paula had gorgeous quilts, and hand dyed scarves and as is a weird 6 degrees of separation,
100_6828re she knows my cousin,  Sue, who quilts under the name of Grannie Suzannie   http://www.granniesuzannie.com/
There was a man who made wooden bowls,   100_6797re And gorgeous abstract art by Nestor Charneco.  100_6788re Next to me was Bob who had hundreds upon hundreds of wildlife photos taken from his many African trips.  100_6799re
100_6795re The giraffe by the lady opposite me was very clever – do not have her name.
Also saw an architect named Don E. Grannon who was new to art, but really had interesting work.  Linda Bishop had well thought out paintings, as did the watercolor artist from St. Augustine beside her.  No more names, I’m sure The Gateway site will have much better in depth photos. Ed Cogle was on the job taking photos, his wife Nan was selling jewelry and both are always smiling.  100_6831re
http://www.gatewaycenterforthearts.org/
The volunteers for the Gateway were so kind, they came to give us breaks by sitting at our booths so we could walk around, stretch out legs, eat some of the wonderful cooking, the tomato Bisque was so thick and full of flavor.  Diane had also organized a room where children could come and pick out donated items from the artists to buy very cheaply.  (My duck photo was rejected, is this the point you give up on trying to sell art when you can’t even give it away to kids????)
The drawback was the attendance was light!  There was no advertisement and this needs to be addressed for future events!  But I thank Sandra Wilson and Diane for their efforts and visions, and a million thanks to the ever ready volunteers!  Plus a big shout out to the bright lights that flash when you look in the room and see your neighbors and friends shining faces!  Thank you wonderful supporters for being there for me! I appreciate it more than you know! Sonja, Dee, Becky, Sandra, you all rock!
By 4pm, I was on the road home with all but two items. Swapped a lot of stories with many people about their sandhill crane sightings.  When I arrived home, I was ready to get everything out of the truck and put it away.  Adam came back from work after 5 and we decided to go grab some Outback food – the timing was perfect! We got right in and I heard about his great time at the midnight showing of Repo at the Enzian, he got home after 3am and was at work 5 hours later. I found out her had plans to return to the Enzian tonight featuring Jewish filmakers with the latest Coen brothers movie.  That kid is a walking movie fest!
I would say that as of tonight, I am not feeling like doing these venues anymore, they are actually depressing.  The one plus is certainly meeting new artists and people. I will try making an Etsy site when I get back from Tampa and see where that goes. At this point, the economy is not lending itself to art for sure. Most of the artists I talked with had sold next to nothing. The ones selling art were the jewelry makers.  One tries to look around and see what sells, how other booths are set up, but this hauling of stuff is really not something I am enjoying. Now it’s time to work on internet sales I suppose and if that goes nowhere, then what the Hell, I give away all this crap and only take photos for blogs, I mean what’s the difference? I am doing that now and it makes me happy, the money would just add a bit more happiness if ya know where I’m comin’ from!

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”)

Back to nature! Today was a slow day of wildlife. It was hot, sauna like 90’s, a quick burn if you go out for any length of time. Last night my neighbor Sonja and I went to go see the art walk in Sanford, they had terrific art at several locations, it was nice and crowded and made you feel that Sanford is pulling together the community for these great venues. I had nothing on display, but Sanford is having monthly Juried shows so when they have one that is related to nature, I’ll enter.
This morning outside there were very few birds, but a lot of dragon flies and butterflies. From my desk I saw a few and ran outside to take a few pics.  DSC02005re This zebra longwings was extremely beat up and shredded. It actually flew very slowly from all the rips and tears in it’s wings, but flew with a purpose.  DSC02010-1res It was actually interesting to watch as it seemed to be moving in slow motion.  I saw lots of different butterflies, but they were too quick. I did see a dragonfly that landed on a branch near the back door, but the Sony could not focus on it with the wind blowing the branch, so I went in and got the old Kodak. It is a sure bet with that camera.  100_5139-1re Though the quality of the Sony DSLR is better.
Flowers were wilting all over, I did get a canna lily,  DSC01995re and crepe myrtle is just beginning to bud and bloom, DSC01998re My lemons are huge and I am going to have a nice little harvest when they finally ripen.  DSC01999-3res DSC02000re
The blue jays came out later and this one was especially beautiful.
Of course later I came out to go fishing, the water was dead calm and of course, the damn turtles were everywhere I went from one end of the property to the other, they love that bread on the hook.  000_0350res 000_0359re at one point I looked down and it almost looked like a turtle was swimming through the clouds.  I counted six turtles, four softshells and two sliders.  I did catch one bream, threw it back. And looked up and noticed that the heron was on an island in the middle of lake,  000_0353-1 He was big. like the male that has been building the nests for the past 4 years, so I assumed it was him. And when I threw the bream back and the heron flew over to the yard next door, that signaled to me that this was the male who will eventually come over and stand beside me when I do catch fish. I didn’t catch anything else, but the sky was gorgeous, there was just one large cloud in the sky that changed colors and had such a beautiful shape to it.  000_0370re The planes flew too close over head,   000_0351re and there were many woodpeckers all over trying to contact each other.  000_0354re The weather will change and soon the herons will be back building their nests.  I am hoping this heron will be coming back each night now.  ringos blues-2re Ringo did not fish with me tonight, he stayed in the garage, I am wondering if he too thinks there is a squirrel or rat or mouse in the attic after hearing footsteps near my desk. I put the ladder down to the attic so Ringo could go on a hunt if he feels like it. I am confident if something is there, Ringo is my pet removal service.
Right now as I write this we are having a nice little thunderstorm which is much needed as my poor plants were wilting today.  DSC02011moonre Earlier the half moon was out and I marked on the calendar that October 3,4,5,6 should be all harvest moons, you know I will be taking photos and I so hope it will be over the lake when it rises next week.
I hope it will cool off enough that more wildlife will be coming out to capture on film. The marina is devoid of much diversity, and as for Carbs the muscovy duck, have not seen him in weeks. The BOBs were here earlier, but have not seen Pekin ducks in a while. And that’s Saturday around here, for now, I am enjoying the storm, hoping for more water in the lake as soon it will be our dryer season, so it’s good to have the lake up.
Have not heard any footsteps above my head, so maybe Ringo got whatever it was, might have to do a check tomorrow and if anything is dead in the attic, will let ya know… Sleep tight.
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I would say if Sonja’s garden were to be a song, it would be written by Joni Mitchell.  We are Joni’s Ladies of the Canyon, I am Trina, she is Annie. First you go there and you are greeted by her sweet dogs. Oscar is my favorite and he hates having his photo taken, but I tricked him.
small-oscar She has cats here and there and lots and lots of citrus which she gives to you “for free”.  She has now grown her own garden with all sorts of “vine and leaf are filagree” ; peas, green beans, cukes, squash and it all looks lovely and orderly like someone who knows that they are doing. gardena-smallThe plants seem like soldiers standing at attention, guarding their terrain.  I wonder if Sonja goes out at night and sings them a lullaby? They are truly pampered plants like her animals. And because of it, they have so much to give back. She brought over wonderful snap peas and dip, ummm, they were fresh and organic and I, the not a bigtime vegetable eater, loved them!  Sonja is trying to practice what she preaches about buying local produce and being a “locavore”. She wrote a terrific article in the Sanford Herald about needing to get more local farms working and getting fresh fruits and vegetables to our own local markets. We went to the produce docks one day and  on the docks where pallets of food waiting to be loaded to be shipped off.  We saw nothing except peanuts from the USA! The pineapples were from Costa Rica as were the bananas, the green peppers — Hondurus and on and on. We were both disappointed that our Florida soil isn’t used much for other things besides citrus and developers.
The backyard at Sonja’s is so inspiring,  besides the luscious squash, squash

there’s zuccinizucciniand wonderful lumbering trees just as calm as Sonja.  She has sentimental plantings around yard and her home is  just as luminous as she is. She brings me “apples and cheeses”, we chat about life and writing, and she is one of the brightest people you’ll ever meet.  Even when she is away, (which was a lot last year)  and…. she is not like me who goes to Tampa and feels that was a huge feat! No, she ventures down the Amazon, has hot cocoa in Switzerland, and loves climbing the hills in Greece. And she is always considerate of others and always spoils me with little things she brings back. The best was the chocolate from Switzerland, hint hint.  I am so lucky to have such a friend who puts up with me, and I am smarter just by being around her and learning so many things. There is always something fun going on in Sonja’s sharing garden.
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sunrise41309-8x10 This morning the sun woke up angry and red!  The camera and I saw two different faces. When I came out after feeding the birds and got the camera, it had softened, but the sky was dramatic with all the clouds and in that photo, it looked like that plane was taking off from the sun.

41309bee-1resize Yesterday I noticed that all these little purple flowers were blooming near the lake and I had lots and lots of honey bees. Maybe the bees are coming back. Just last year they said we had lost millions of bees. Well, if people don’t mow and get little purple flowers, the bees will ‘bee’ back, I can guarantee it! Umm, what does it take to be a bee keeper? I could have honey and I love honey – have it every morning! Maybe I will look into that.

41109frankiesideview-1_edited-1 Sometimes I just get the feeling that Frankie is tuned into a world far beyond. That perhaps in another life she was an Egyptian princess.

It’s still early yet. They say a big rain is coming tomorrow. If the sun is right, then the rain will be coming, (red in the morning…)  The woodpecker is looking out of his hole. The baby herons are looking over the lake from the nest, and the birds are singing away for free. Will see what is new and exciting….later

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The female Pekin ducks have been hanging around
the males too long. Now they are emulating the same
behavior. This morning after the male mafia had been
on shore, mobboss1

they all consorted with Elvis and followed the Pekin twins around, (no eggs so far this morning).
And after the males left, the girls were swimming and one  jumped on top of the other and
waterboarded her repeatedly for about a minute and then both came on shore and were BFF,
(best friends forever). This domination ‘game’ is crossing genders and I guess the females are
prone to acting out for showing who is boss of who just as the males do. I don’t know if Lily was
the boss or Daisy, but they have been corrupted by those mean mallard-mixes who use waterboarding
as normal domination we are discovering.
The baby heron was out this morning sitting on the trunk of my dead tree, I tried fishing a bit,
but he wandered off.
The day looks gloomy, supposed to make it to 90 degrees possibly. The humidity is already making my hair
frizz like the bride of Frankenstein, next thing I know there will be birds nesting in my hair as I fish!

Gotta go get ready to start the day….. Here’s a happy photo, a bee doing the right thing… not stinging me!
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dsc01244 Finally today it rained nicely in the afternoon. It was how it’s supposed to be,
the thunder clouds developed, the lightning flashed and the rain came
sheeting down. It really feels so alive, so electric! We also had some tornado
warnings, but luckily, nothing happened. 4109bayheroninrain-1The baby heron was drenched having no protection.

After all the soaking, the sky cleared
and the hour struck;  fishing time!
The mother heron flew right in over my head 4109motherheronfliesoverhead-1_edited-1

and took her place at the lake to the side of me. Mama heron watched to see if I would toss her a fish.
The baby heron was walking over toward us and
saw his mother, he came alive: his wings extended, 4109babyseesmomc-1

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he hurried over to get as close as he could to her and flapped and flapped trying to get her attention.
He made his prehistoric plea, he jumped and ran to the edge of the sea wall. He was
ecstatic, overjoyed to see that familiar face who fed him. And in his little, baby
bird mind, I’m sure baby heron thought he was going back to the nest, that his dreams were going to come true, surely his mother would help him back to safety, back to where he would get a nice meal and spend time with the sibling who is still up there, but that was not to be. The mother would not even look at him. She ignored all his waving and sqwacking and his unbridled joy.  He continued for a few minutes more and then gave up, his head went down and he walked off in the opposite direction.
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Poor thing, so  depressed and rejected, so full of hope and then so full of sadness.
No one can tell me that animals don’t feel! That baby heron looked at
his mother with the need of any child waiting to go home again, wanting to be protected and fed.

I am still not sure if he is eating too well. I see him down by the water pulling at weeds and I even brought him a small plastic bucket with a dozen live goldfish and placed it under his tree where he sleeps only to find the damn ducks trying to splash out the water and the fish. I know the heron did not eat any.
Oh my heart hurts for the feathered baby, his spirit tonight was broken. He still cannot figure out what his wings do or how to catch a fish, he is lacking in so many skills. And there is no way I can catch him, he runs if I start to advance in its direction. All I hope is he toughens up and learns all the skills he needs to grow strong. It will be a wonderful day when I can tell you I saw his first flight, it will be with the excitement of a mother watching her babies first steps!

Another avian experience today: I was driving with a friend to show her the marina in Sanford and on the road that runs parallel with Lake Monroe, a damn duck flew right into my truck, BANG! Its’ thick flying body hit hard but luckily it didn’t get bashed too badly, I looked back and didn’t see it on the road or side, so I suppose it made it to where it was going. What’s with me and these crazy damn ducks???

33009elviswith2bandofbrothers-1 I am convinced Elvis is a double agent or the Mob boss of the lake.
I was fishing around 6pm and suddenly my neighbor Reyna and I were chatting about her school work when suddenly Carbs came swimming over with the Pekin twins in tow. He was glad to be home you could tell. Carbs and the girls made a lot of happy honks and I fed them all a few bread crumbs which they happily ate. When I looked up, there was Elvis flying straight across the lake and not a minute later, the BOB, (band of brothers) were flying after him. We expected to see a fight, but no, they all were swimming around one another when one of the BOB noticed Carbs at my house and took off in our direction. Reyna and I tried to block the mallard mix from Carbs. We made the bad duck go back to the water as Carbs hurried his fat body up toward my house, Carbs wings were going like a broken wind up toy while the mallard mix flew right over Reyna and I and right into Carbs! Carbs ran as fast as he could while Reyna and I tried to sidetrack the bad duck, but we just weren’t fast enough and Carbs was chased off the property by the other duck.
Elvis flew over with the other two mallard males and they cavorted around flirting with the Pekin twins. The twins swam away to the other side of the lake. The two band of brother ducks and Elvis swam around bickering among themselves near my shore. The mallards would get right in Elvis’ face arguing, but Elvis looked like he could care less!  33009bobmouthsofftoelvis-1_edited-1

I am thinking that Elvis might be the top dog, or top duck as it applies. How else does it make sense that the BOB don’t bother
Elvis and he can swim among them, but Carbs is totaly attacked?
Why does Elvis pretend to be Carbs good friend? Is it only to get at the Pekin twins? dsc01161

Somehow this is akin to Meerkat manor light.
The Pekin ducks also seem confused, they love
Carbs, but are not as chummy with the Mallard

band of brothers and are shy around Elvis too.
We felt so badly for Carbs. He obviously does not fly, and his wings are not fast enough to propel him away from the mean mallard. Elvis must be the mob king, the band of brothers are his cartel, and poor carbs is caught in a thug war!
As for the baby heron, it was here all afternoon. I caught some fish and threw it in his direction. the baby just did not get it. He did not even perk up when they flipped around onshore. When it started to get dark, it began it’s climb into the Norfolk pine while it’s mother who was fishing within 25 feet of him, flew up to the nest and when she got up there, the one baby still in the nest was making it’s pteradactyl noise. The baby heron on the ground did notice this familiar sound and looked up. You could tell that he wanted to be up there too! he squawked a low noise and looked in that direction. I still don’t know if the baby heron is eating, but he looks no worse for the wear. So much drama on the lake! I need a life or syndication…

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No photos of Carbs included, the muscovy pictured is Elvis so don’t get confused. the flying heron is the mother and that’s the baby heron in the last photo.

FINALLY – I tracked them down and got a few photos. The baby has been very well taught by the parents to be skeptical of all noise and older people with cameras. The baby darted out of view into the bushes and I would have to wait for it to feel safe enough to come out. I bet I was at least 75 feet from them, but the parents were fine, it was the baby who wanted my credentials before posing. I tried to hide behind a tree so it would come out, this was all I could get, but gives a sense of size of this 5 day old and he’s bigger than I remembered. The single child seems to thrive faster and grow bigger!
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P/S, so long to Carbs. Have not seen him since the band of brothers took over ruling the lake
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Elvis and Carbs March 2009

This morning a fracas broke out in my yard! Carbs and Elvis and the twin Peking ducks were all socializing nicely and the ‘band of brother’ (BOBs) mallards that I had mentioned from yesterday showed up and they did not go after the girls! No, they singled out Carbs and took off chasing him around the yard and then into the water. The girls stayed on shore, but Elvis took off in the rear. The band leader mallard jumped on top Carbs and began unleashing a rape/mating stance. I’m confused… Was it an act of domination? The BOBs pursued Carbs with Elvis swimming in tow.  In fact, Elvis swam to Carbs side, but could do nothing until the mallard was through ravaging Carbs. bandofbrothersaftercarbs1

rapeofcarbs-1

(Carbs red head below lead duck)

328bandofbrothers

I think it is a property issue of domination. For the first year I lived here, the BOB’s (band of brothers) were here all the time. After that, I only saw them sporadically.  Now suddenly they come back to claim the place? And I have heard that ducks do NOT cross breed, but I have seen breeding between three different breeds of ducks.
As I was finishing this, Carbs and the twins have come back on shore. The band of brothers stayed off shore and bickered with each other. I went out side to snap some pics. Those BOBs are truly the bullies of the lake! When they tried to get back onshore, I chased them off so now they are next door and will probably be back again. And we as humans think we hold all the cards on emotions. I don’t know, I look outside and see another ducky version of TV/Land’s,  “The reunion Story”…

I left this morning and the baby was still in the pine.
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I came home around 2pm and he was gone. I looked all over and did not see it anywhere. The only heron I saw up in the old nest was one of the parents, but there is one other sibling I think I hear.  So in a perfect case scenerio, it got hungry, jumped down and walked to the lake and ate lots of fish. Then went somewhere in private to figure out how to use it’s wings.  And how I can relate to that. I went to a camera group meeting tonight where they were learning about different lighting. I took a note pad and pen and my sony and was ready to write down the secrets of doing photography with studio lighting. When I got there (late I have to admit because I was fishing), all kinds of different lighting equipment was set up to take photos. The group members there were all in action mode – they are all quite professional with their cameras and knew what the heck to do and I felt like the heron, I wanted to climb a tree and sit and watch below because these people are serious and fast and furious and I could not keep up with their pace! Plus I didn’t know how the different ISO’s and f-stops worked and I kept fiddling around using different settings and I got my usual weird take  on a photo shoot.
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pictwo_edited-1 I hope I’m not in trouble for using the photos without getting model releases!  (And I apologize if anyone is offended and they can tell me and I will remove their images.) These people are all very nice and obviously dedicated to their craft.  I saw glimpses of their photos and all were done so well within the lighting parameters, I sucked and felt like heading for the tree, retreating to taking pictures of animals in daylight. So I did the next best thing. I got to be the model, that way I could cop out and not have to pretend I knew what I was doing – Yes that was a total cop out –like that baby heron, you run for the place of safety, (not that being a model has any safety, I saw some of the photos taken of me and wondered who the hell was that old person sitting there, in fact that lighting didn’t flatter me at all.) Now I will just have to get online and watch some videos about the cameras details. I know I could have asked anyone there to help, but they were all very into their shots I didn’t want to bother.
Back to the story, the baby heron is missing, no egg was hatched and I didn’t accomplish anything with my camera tonight. The best part was a woman who said she read my blog and liked it, that gave me some props up to come home and finish todays’  blog. Oh well,  good or bad with the camera I guess people can relate to my take on nature, be it baby herons who flap their wings and just fall down, or a silly human lady who tries to use a dslr camera under complicated lighting and makes funny faces on print literally! The heron and I are both just flesh, (and feathered), and blood and a little stunted in our flights of fancy…
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No baby sandhill crane yet, Papa crane is on the egg as of 8am. BUT, poor baby heron still sitting in norfolk pine. He’s got to be very hungry as he has not eaten

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in at least 24 hours. Meantime. his father it looked like was sitting ‘shiva’ in the tall pine waiting for a sign. The baby does not make a sound and they are both so ‘near and yet so far…
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This morning while I was watching for the new baby sandhill crane to hatch, the baby great heron decided to try his wings for the first time and came down to a camilla bush.

100_0561 The poor little guy stayed there from about 8am, until he figured out where the ground was at 5pm!

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He wandered around the ground, but didn’t have a clue how to get back up to his pine tree nest over 100 feet up! He has been trying to figure out his wings, how they took him down and yet, won’t lift him up.  dsc00452

The heron walked around for hours looking for the nest. It remained silent. Hasn’t made much noise. While I fished it was still looking and the funny thing was, his mother was down with me and never noticed her wandering bird.
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At 7:30pm, the baby heron climbed up into my norfolk pine. I suppose he knew it had to find a place to sleep.   dsc00511

I could hear a racket up in the nest when the parents noticed their baby gone. I saw one heron take off flying. I wish I could speak ‘heronese’ to tell them where the baby was. But last I saw tonight. He was in the safety of the norfolk pine. I know it will be a long scary night for it. It is old enough to fledge, but they also say being young and immature, have a 70% survivor rate. I hope this little one makes it!  I’ll let you know if I see it in the morning light. I hate thinking it is so very scared all alone….ahhhh

32409papaonegg-1 There he is, Papa crane
sitting on the egg. I have been
there twice this am to see
if there was any progress, but it’s still an egg.

32409papacranestandingoveregg

So I am still waiting like an anxious, expectant, overdue mother. Any day

now the colt will be hatching. It’s probably close.

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Here are the folks, mama is the rusty color on right, though Papa crane has also gotten a bit rusty too.

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And here’s a pretty flower on the ground

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The lake the cranes are nesting on this spring, how I wish they were still nesting
on my marsh like last year.

Unfortunatly, it’s way too windy to fish tonight. Cool winds are whipping up to 25mph and standing at the lake earlier, I could tell it was not worth it as the bobber would just be swimming right back for shore quickly once I cast. So I have included some photos of fishing last night and the heron. The photos below include todays look at the Mama crane and her egg, the heron, and some extras. The crane’s beak is also looking rusty!  Finally some roses are starting to bloom!
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dsc00016Woke up this morning and went out to feed critters and no Carbs. I didn’t see him anywhere around the lake. The girls came swimming up about fifteen minutes later, they did not see their man-duck and swam off. Yesterday Elvis had come to visit.
31809ducks-11 He and Carbs and the girls all yakked it up on the bank and then Elvis flew off and the girls left.

31809ringocarbs

Carbs has taken to jumping up on the stump and eating the bird seed, he doesn’t care a ducks ass about Ringo hiding to sabbotage the birds.

Will let you know if he comes back, maybe he is visiting Elvis??? It’s only 10:am – Do you know where Carbs is???

Now it’s 5pm, Carbs has a hiding place underneath the fallen tree, I called and called and finally went to the waters edge and saw a little red duck head peek out when he heard me.
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So he is still here, enjoying life in Abbesworld, and I’m
so happy he still likes it here, enough to hang out and be a duck model….

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