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71409abbeat2am-1res 2:37am, no rest here.
Earlier tonight I caught a softshell turtle and had to unhook it, they have quite interesting undersides,  100_2300_res but it looked more like some kind of weird alien than a turtle from that angle. The markings are quite unique really, could this be a girl and maybe the boys have blue rectangles? Don’t worry she or he was fine after they got de-hooked.  They scurried back to the water. I HATE catching turtles!
It was actually quite hot and stagnant and I was hoping to get a shot of the rocket launch, but they scrubbed it again.
In the morning I took a few flower pics, DSC06430res The crepe myrtles are gorgeous. And forgot what this plant is, but loved the red flowers on it also. DSC06421res

The moon was even still out at 8am: DSC06419res

The crow was in the tree singing a morning song
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And I had a nice lunch with friends. Came home and worked on more photos. Oh the days go so fast, summer half over – maybe El Nino will save us from the big storms this year! I don’t know, anymore around Florida all we hear about is people getting struck by lightning. I do have to watch more carefully when I am at the lake as the storms roll in,
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The clouds roll in so fast and the lightning is really getting way too familiar with humans. But the storms are actually so wonderful to listen to, especially to hear the rain on the roof at night.  But not tonight, it is just a quiet one, so quiet, I might have to sneak off and go to bed, good…morning again…

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…

Today the news said it would be 94 and feel like 104 degrees, that was no lie. It is hot and the sun seems like a deep fryer and it’s only June! The flowers are beautiful after a great thunderstorm last night. They were closed yesterday,
100_1700res but today they were full bloomed and smelled so wonderfully rosey! The roses had small bits of purple on them.  All around the yard, flowers looked happy. I do water them a bit in the morning and in the evening if there is no rain, otherwise they would fry under that hard light and heat. 61709rose-1_edited-1 DSC07969res

61609bluebpyrose-1_edited-1 The sandhill cranes sat under the camphor tree for a long time taking in the shade. The father was really panting a lot as was my old cat Frankie. I actually think she might have been experiencing heat prostration as she looked way too lethargic on the porch  and I could see her heart beating rather wildly. I brought her in and put her on the cool counter and she drank a lot of water.  I was kind of worried her heart might give out, but after a while, she did perk up.   So remember to keep lots of fresh water out there. I keep it, but poor Frankie looked like she was almost too tired to drink so watch your older animals. DSC08163crop_edited-1

The cranes stayed a long time down by the lake. The baby was first to buckle and sit down.  then when the parents finally sat down, he got up and went over to give his father a hard time. He would jab his father in the rear and then touch beaks. 61709father&babyC2_res 61709babycranegroomsfather-1res

DSC05777res Finally they all relaxed and then finally flew off. The Moorhen is also a pretty smart, she built her nest up high on the side so as to shade her from the sun as she nested.

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Tonight I tried fishing, but only got greedy turtles trying to find bread. One is so bold as to come up and take it out of my tackle box, so I keep it up on a plastic chair now as not only the turtles, but the ants swarm inside the plastic bags once they sense food. DSC05435res Ringo looks at the turtle with amusement, but does not bother them. Fishing sucked, maybe it’s too hot. If there was no breeze off the lake tonight, I would not have thrown out a line. No use standing down there sweating profusely and ending up like Frankie prostrate on the ground, no one would notice me!
Finally Ringo and I gave up and walked back to the house. I picked some small rose buds to put in a shot glass.
DSC08162res Ringo and I were glad to come inside and absorb that nice cool air. No thunderstorms tonight. All is quiet around here. I came in to blog, Ringo passed out and then was treated to a massage from my son. We all have our ways of dealing with the heat, that’s for sure! DSC05688res DSC05693res

I’d call it a day of nostalgia. I had connected with a long lost friend on Facebook two days ago and it got me looking at old photos today which spiraled into  ‘mind-reversal’ thinking about the past.
Earlier I had to go into my Safe Deposit box at the bank looking for a Title and came across my great-grandmother’s wedding ring dated 1879 inside. So I took it home and put it on my Papa’s gold watch chain that I always wear around my neck. ring_edited-1 I get a lot of memory ‘tread’ thinking about my Nana and Papa, Louie and Rose who were the most fantastic grandparents in the whole universe!  They don’t make them like that anymore.  AND suddenly I got hungry thinking about my Nana’s cooking, that woman made gourmet food all the time. Oh, if only I had paid attention and watched her cook, oh never mind, I would weigh 400 lbs…

Later while fishing, my mind was directed away from the mooching turtles and onto the lone Pekin duck who sat on the bank looking for her long, lost twin sister. It seems the other twin female duck has become a groupie for the Band of Brother mallards. Poor single girl left behind, she is so missing her sister who was last seen following the mallards to places unknown. But all is okay as the missing Pekin twin and the BOB entourage will be back in the morning, they always seem to come back for breakfast. 13009ducktwins-1res

Looking at the duck sitting there watching the lake for a sign of her sister, I thought about how I miss my only sister too,  DSC07931poster-1_edited-1 it’s  not really fair when someone close to you commits suicide. I am still angry more than sad. Yep, I still want to kick her ass for being so selfish and yet I know she was just desperate.  I am sorry for what what she will miss though.
As for me, I am very content right here on earth, I’m not anxious to follow in my sister and mother’s path, plus I don’t have their addictions. I am so lucky to have about everything I want, the best kids, supportive family, terrific friends and neighbors and a camera that screams for me to take photos. Now if I could only win a big lotto and not be such an insomniac I’d almost have it all!
I have a better appreciation for what can be taken away by the many losses I have experienced over the years, and there have been a lot. But that’s enough of the crappy nostalgia, lets focus on better things.

sundown6909_edited-1 WAIT —  let me  back up again to around 6pm tonight when there was a knock on the door. A man about my age stood there and asked if I was me. yes, I said, so he handed me a phone number and told me to call my best friend from High school back in Ohio as she could not get a hold of me, (I recently changed phone numbers). I asked who he was and he was someone she dated years ago and had remained friends and happened to now live in Sanford. So I took the number and called but she was not home. So of course I do what I normally do at that time, go fishing.
I stood there thinking back to high school and beyond. Fond memories flooded over me! I just smiled at all the different things I thought of.  But I grew bored of fishing–not a thing was biting except mosquitos and white flies — oh, yes, and of course the turtles, they are such pests. But as I was about to go inside, I saw the sun getting lower and thought I’d do a sundown chase. So put my stuff away, grabbed the dslr and hurried over to Kohls where my vantage point is. I drove through the back of the parking lot and parked. Tonight I saw a funny sight, someone was grilling food right outside the back door of Kohls. People would pop in and out the door and fiddle with food on the grill. I must admit, it smelled divine. The grill fumes and the feel of about 90 degrees made for more long lost summer memories.
I took some shots of the sun as it began to leave.  wallof clouds_edited-1 And it was quite dramatic as this wall of clouds looked like a curtain half open on nature’s stage. It was really breathtaking.  Then I looked up to see the clouds and noticed one in particular that kind of scared the crap out of me. mushroom clouds_edited-1 Whoa, that looked like a mushroom cloud!  It made me think about life in the early 1960’s. I can remember watching some show during that time showing a little girl looking out her window and a nuclear blast occurs complete with actual stock footage. The father grabs her and they venture out. It showed the grocery stores being ransacked and there was no food, so I suppose there was no good ending. As kids of that era, we would have ‘drills’ in school in case of war. We were told to sit under our desks covering our head with our hands because this was how we would survive a nuclear bomb. Today we simply use duck tape to survive, (ha ha).  REMEMBER FOLKS DON”T LOOK TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR HELP!  That was a scary time with Kruschev beating his shoe on the desk of the UN and the Cuban missile crisis.

After leaving the parking lot. I went out on the road neat the Bentley Elementary school and saw Derby Park. The sign pretty much said it all. DSC05366_edited-1 They actually hold weekend soapbox derbies. Now growing up in Akron Ohio, that was the big event each summer, though I am embarassed to say I never saw a Soapbox Derby race except on television, but I did see the Goodyear blimp– ah, more memories.     As I made my way home I smiled a lot thinking of various stages of my life so far as I approach 59 – WHOA where does time go? I really can’t complain about much except I lost some people too fast and some not fast enough.  All the crappy things that have happened actually do make one stronger, and being ‘mature’ you can be obnoxious and people forgive you because “you’re old”.
When I got back inside the house again I found some other photo albums and melted away into fun times. I was so focused I forgot to call my friend.
Every now and then, you just have to go back, think hard and analyze all the things that have happened to make you you. (is that too confusing?)
One day I will have to organize all these photos and put them on CD’s, that’s the way to really preserve for posterity.
And look at the time, 3:38am and I am still lost in retropsective thoughts about retrospective thought, wonder what I will dream about tonight, or actually, what will I dream about this morning? Either way, day dreaming or regular, I am enjoying it. I’ll end this with some good Lewis Carroll quotes, because I adore his thought process…
If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.
Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things  before  breakfast.

No good fish goes anywhere without a porpoise. Lewis Carroll
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The full moon is affecting the ducks. This morning I found Carbs on the porch! He never comes that close when I am outside. Frankie the cat sort of stared at him and hissed.

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Carbs ate the birdseed at the stump and settled under my budding, Myers lemon tree for a morning siesta, while the Pekins sat under the plastic fishing chair closer to the lake and one had layed an egg.
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And all seemed peaceful and hot as hell and humid, and the nice start to the morning, when all of a sudden, there they are — the damn band of brother mallard/mix. The bullies of the lake appear on shore. DSC05064bob1 There are 3 of them and one of me. I side track one away from Carbs while the Pekin ducks are chased in the water by the two others, of course they go right on top of one of the sisters and
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rape-mate. The other one chases Carbs and I ran and ran, finding Carbs being jumped on by my house first,
DSC05069cb-1 and I chased the mallard off and poor Carbs is not a fast enough runner, (and neither am I, and frankly I had pajama bottoms on and did not want to run through neighbors other than Kim who understands I sometimes have PJ’s on in the morning),  khrape-1
though the orange is Kim’s house where poor Carbs is getting dominated again. And then I chased them off and the last I saw was all three of the band of brothers being mean and trying to rape and dominate poor Carbs through the neighborhood. rc-1

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Poor Carbsy! That mallards would hop on top at every stop – (excuse the poetry pun.)  I hate those creepy mallard brothers!  They come out of nowhere, pillage and leave.  I have to figure out how to trap those damn bullies of the lake. I’d take them out to another lake in Orlando or somewhere one by one just to get rid of them and maybe when they are not together, they would not be so mean.  And it makes me so mad that I can’t even keep up with a duck, they are pretty fast, or maybe I am really out of shape and I think its the latter.  AND–what do I do with that nice fresh duck egg? It might be the spawn of Hell!

52009-8am It stormed most of the night! So far we are up almost ten inches. The funny thing is, at a point where there was no rain this morning, I went out to garden a bit and pick up downed tree limbs because you get stir crazy after three days of incarceration. So I transplanted a few canna lilies and the ground about five inches down is dry as dry can be!  It’s just as sandy as if no rain has ever fallen. It is another day of rain and what can I say, same old same old, but at least it is helping with our drought!  The only visitors have been the ducks and regular birds.

52009woodpeckera-1 Okay — so how does one get through the days of liquid peril that assault us? Comfort food of course.  comfortfood1 comfortfood2
comfortfood3 The best is the new Haagen Dazs ice cream “Five”!!!! OMG it’s amazing and it has fruit in it so I am counting that as a fruit suppliment in my daily diet as I count the nuts in the Payday. The cookies count as needed carbs of course. And it does give comfort when the weather is blaring all day long with lightning, thunder and storms all around us and the repeated warnings. It’s all one can do to make it through the day besides petting cats… 52009Frankie2_edited-1

Where is it? They keep promising rain and once again in the same pattern for the third year, it seems to rain all around us, but not here.
51409waterlevel-1_editedIf you look at the photo with the water gauge, you can see we have lost all the inches of water since Fay last August. The top of the other small meter is showing. The level is down about 30 inches and each day that sun sucks away about an inch more. The sky will cloud up and look like impending doom above us. 51409stormclouds-1_edited It looks mean and ready to strike, but moves along, just drifts away to storm on someone else. I love a great thunderstorm, all that juice built up in the atmosphere brewing away with lightning to heat it and thunder to give it drama. I was eating lunch with my friend Leslie today in Lake Mary at Toojays where there is no recession.  It’s about 4 miles from my house and as I left the restaurant, droplets began to fall and about 2 miles from the house, it was raining very steadily until I get about two blocks from home and the look was there, but no rain. I went inside and framed a couple pics for an art show and no rain still.  Finally we got a few drops about 4pm, but not enough to even cover the driveway completely.  That meant of course I could go fishing since there was no lightening threat. Too bad the fish were as scare as the rain. All I had were the two pesky turtles that have been bugging me for this past week.    51409turtle&Ringo-1_edited They are bold and chase my bait all over the lake wherever I stand.  Ringo the cat was not sure if he should go after it or not, but decided the slimy shelled red-eared slider wasn’t worth the bother.
The birds too seemed on edge today, they were busy going after each other at the stump. Chasing each other off.  51409blackbird&woodpecker-1_edited 51409trioofbirds-1_edited It was entertaining.
Later, around 7pm, a young raccoon came to the porch. The cats did not care for him, infact, Frankie, the female tried to fight with him, the raccoon did not want to fight thank goodness.

51409Frank&raccoon-1_edited Then Church gave him the staredown  51409Church&raccoonB-1_edited and he finally left.  The night sky changed 51409sunset-1_edited and it looked like a very calming end to the evening. Cross your fingers for tomorrow and for my buddy Beda who just got a new rain barrel who anxiously awaits it filling up. And one last thing, here’s a sight I came across walking a couple days ago,  51409armadillo-1_edited-1 it was a three legged armadillo, he was walking faster than me!

Hello all,
Have been visiting in Tampa since Wednesday and could not get access to working on photos so I am back home
and will be making up for lost time.  (Have a few pics on http://offshoot2.wordpress.com )

First, Happy Un-Mothers Day all you mothers – Hope yours was as great as mine. I got so many goodies like bouquet and of course what would the day be without eating and I mean pigging out on something I would not buy for myself like this, mothers day cake As you can see I made a small dent in it earlier, but about 1/3rd is gone by now. ”
Last night I dined with my son Aaron, the Broker Price Opinion “King” of Tampa, we laugh about that title his friends have given him, but he hustles doing  ‘BPO’s for banks.  I spent a lot of time driving around with him to look at all kinds of homes that banks are owning these days. There are many dwellings in all types of conditions.  It’s very sad really to see so many houses going into foreclosure.  Houses are just stagnating on the market over there.  Even his townhome has lost  about $40,000 in value since he bought it 5 years ago brand new. Many of the same units are now abandoned to foreclosure.  We bought a ‘flip’ house two years ago and were very lucky that our hard work paid off and we were able to sell it fast, had it just been a few months later, we might still be sitting on that house!  It is a sad time in the real estate business unless you have big bucks and can pay cash for a bargain — then this IS the time to buy something distressed. But it is creepy profitting on someone’s hardship.

Today I came home to more fun surprises, more wonderful flowers from my younger son and also from Leila. Tomorrow my son Adam and I will have dinner and a movie because he was at work on Mothers Day. My daughter  gives me fun things all the time. Today she took me to lunch when I got back home from Tampa and brought that cake and these great earrings, earrings She also made a donation to A New Beginnings Pet Rescue, a gift that keeps on giving.  I was also given a fun bag of goodies for fishing that I will have to try my luck on tonight! bait I am sure spoiled! I have a lot to be thankful for – I wouldn’t trade these kids for anything…and no, they are not for sale either! Also, as I was leaving to come back to Orlando, I heard a familiar sound and looked out the front door,  DSC04163_edited DSC04168edit A family of sandhill cranes took off just before I left. I think they followed me back to Orlando. In the coming days I should be showing off photos  from the sights in Tampa…

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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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

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(Carbs red head below lead duck)

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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”…

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First of all the clocks ‘sprung’ ahead last night, but I got up at normal time. Bella and Ringo the cat and I went out the back door, (actually Bella is about 3 feet behind Ringo being that Ringo is about twelve pounds heavier than Bella and sometimes looks at Bella as a nuisance animal and pounces.) The first thing I saw was the otter swim by so I turned and ran in for the camera and the otter was long gone. Missed that shot. But did see Elvis the duck was here visiting his buddy Carbs. They posed for me.

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My philosophical and wise neighbor Dee always says if you get one muscovy, a lot more will follow. I am hoping Carbs is keeping a low profile and only entertains once in a while. The worst thing is the duck dung, it is all over the bank and where I fish, I can no longer wear my shoes in the house after fishing, they have to be hosed off! Gross!                                             100_0065

The ducks were all at the lake and when we walked down there, I saw one duck egg on the bank. I walked over to go get it and a big black bird swooped it up in it’s mouth and took off! I am going to get out earlier to see if I can find duck eggs. I often see cracked ones so I assume Daisy and Lily the Pekin, Aflac ducks are on a roll, (ha ha ‘cheep’ humor.) I am going to try and hatch one if I find one whole. It just amazed me that crow could carry it off. I wish I had had time for that photo.

The mocking bird was singing away on the chimney as usual. His song fills the fireplace and living room with bird music in the early morning.  He is the reason I am not using the fireplace, too much nesting material up there!100_0072

The mama crane came over and gets more rusty looking all the time  – I looked in on her yesterday and she was sitting on nest so did not see if both eggs were present.100_0079And thats it for the morning at least. I missed two good photo opportunities. One day I will get that otter photo! Maybe it will show up tonight when I am fishing. Well, looks like a gorgeous Florida day with 80+ degree temp, I can dig it! The water level is dropping low, can’t see my small meter yet, but it will show soon if we don’t get any rain, it’s too dry.

One more close up of Elvis the muscovy to go- do you believe in reincarnation? This duck wiggles like Elvis too! Later…
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Found it! I had to go on a hunt, but found the nest and papa was sitting on the eggs. He was sitting very proudly on his future family. His nest is nicely built up, but in very easy access to a boater. Luckily the water level is falling and the lily pads so abundant, I am hoping for the next 20+ days that no boaters come by to disturb the nest. My neighbor and I watched for a while as the Papa sat like Horton on those eggs. He was ever vigilant. Finally the mama crane came back to the nest
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She walked up and the father crane stood up  3509malemoveseggs-1and

could see there were two distinct eggs which he moved

around a bit.

3509femalecamouflage Finally mama crane switched places and sat down on the nest. She really blends in with that rusty coloration. It is always a pleasure to have these birds close by and watch the progress of the family. By my calculations we should see some hatching around the 25th-26th of March. So stay tuned….

That’s Valentines Day for all you kuckleheads who have tuned in to see something related to a health issue! Actually on the radio yesterday I heard it called SAD Day, Singles Awareness Day. But it was awonderful day! The sun was high in the sky. I went to Mennelo’s Folk art festival with Pam and saw the booth of our mutual friend Madeleine  100_5016 who makes these adorable “nicchos”, small hand painted, Mexican tin boxes with adorable things inside them. Then on to Winter Park for lunch at Chef Justin’s, (excellent salads and great french fries topped with parmasan cheese.)  Thank you Pam! We went back to her home so I could see all  the work she has prepared for her in-frared and manipulated  photography for her exhibit in downtown Orlando at The Office on Robinson Street March 16th.  It will be a stunner of a show!
Then rushed out to pick up wine and candy and hurried home to catch a forty-five minute fishing session with the usual crew and off to Valentine’s Day dinner with my daughter and her boyfriend at his very swank home.  AND WOW – did they threw out a bang of a VD dinner! There was shrimp, lobster tails, chicken and crab legs, vd-1

Also salad, fettachini alfredo, garlic bread, fruit, chocolate mousse, cheesecake and a huge personalized frosted sugar cookie. And after that I felt like I had died and gone to heaven! It was the bomb! Then we had asti-spumonte to drink with lots of strawberries and vd2 then we watched a movie and I went home at 11pm. My younger son had come home with a huge bouquet of flowers waiting for me! dsc05408

What more can a mother ask for! I even had leftovers so I didn’t have to cook at all today! JT, my daughter’s guy sent  me home with a big solid chocolate shaped fish and a heart shaped waffle maker, so this morning you can imagine what I had for breakfast! Waffles with chunks of melted chocolate and some with blueberries too. When I have stroked out, you won’t be seeing anym0re blogs! As for my other son, I will go and make him reciprocate this week when I go to visit him in Tampa,  I know I will get treated like a queen there too. How lucky am I?!!!!!!!!!!

13109gatewayjudy-1 The beautiful Gateway Center for the Arts was officially sanctioned yesterday with dignitaries and a ribbon cutting. Sandra Wilson, whose vision brought this dream to life should be so very proud of all the work that she and many other volunteers put into this, it certainly showed!

I arrived at about three hours after the big ribbon cutting and the place was packed. 13109gatewayartist

In every room something was going on. The children’s art room was full of projects that had been worked on earlier.  Oil painters and quilters and a ‘miniature’ maker were all demonstrating their work. The artists at  Gateway offer lessons for sewing, painting and even has a Spanish speaking class. They are also the home to a choir and orchestra and I joined for the photography group.
I am proud to say I had 3 pieces of work in the exhibit and that is exciting to be among the very first artists to show it off .13109gatewayartwork-11

I was lucky enough to have a few really supportive friends show up to see my work and much more than that, to be impressed by the Gateway. And they were very impressed by the whole story, how it took ten years for Sandra Wilson to cook up an idea and follow through with complete dedication to her heart and her vision so that it ends up with the state donating the land and enough donations and funding through corporations and grants to actually have such an exquisite working art gallery that is only nine miles from my house. The people I have met have all been so enthusiastic and of course artists and their supporters are always an appreciative group because they all know that funding for the arts sometimes is one of the first cuts in the state and city budgets. 13109gatewaygiftshop-1

The gift shop has so many fun and unique pieces. If you need something different for someone, this is a good place to find it as there are lots of things for sale including the majority of art on the walls.
They had fun entertainment also: singing, a dance troupe and a man who played weird instruments from all over the globe. 13109gatewaymusic

He had a bag full of very strange looking implements that made equally strange sounds.
So anytime you are passing through Debary and have time, stop by the Gateway Center for the Arts at the intersection of 17/92 and Saxon Blvd in Debary. The site is www.gatewaycenterforthearts.org

And thanks so much to Judy Segall, Dee and Jim, Sonja, Pam and Chuck for coming. And especially thanks to Sandra Wilson who had a bee in her bonnet and built it a grandiose beehive!

photo credit below belongs to Allen Whitson, head of the photography group…

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dsc0198513009lumpyduck-1

dsc02012dsc01971 Rain since yesterday! This is a big relief, we have been soooo dry. The birds are out flying all over the place. All I have to do is look out and see them winging from bush to tree to stump to feeders and off again. Somehow it feels like Saturday, don’t ask me why, maybe it’s just so gloomy that it feels like a day that you would sleep in or take a long nap.
The cold front sitting on top of us is keeping the temperature high at about 60 today – UGH! But at least we have electric unlike some cities up north.  Carbs the duck is still hanging around and the white twins come every day to spend time with him. I cannot figure out why this poor duck has no group it’s attached to. Is it his ugliness? The duck has huge, red cysts looking knobby things on his face and on the back of it’s neck. It’s funny feet have shades of yellow marbling. It is a very funny looking duck, but Muscovy’s are like that.
I’d light a fire, but there is nesting material up there that has not been cleaned out and I’m not getting up on the roof today – no falling off a slippery roof for me! Last night I was moving a stack of pictures in frames for an upcoming exhibit and I did not see the hassock in front of me and went flying over it. I luckily didn’t break anything or even the pictures. But talk about black and blue, yep, my legs hitting the hassock and my left arm that took the main blunt force looks like I was a victim of some type of  gnarley altercation. I think if anyone asks, I’ll just say I was trying to photograph a Florida black bear and got mauled, at least it sounds more exciting than falling over a stupid hassock from T.J. Maxx – (Well, I was the stupid one for not looking down)…

cys

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