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Went to a luncheon put on by the Gateway Center For the Arts, and The National Museum of Women in the Arts. They wanted to thank Victor Thomas, the manager of Stacey’s for his generous support of food during the art receptions. I had never been to Staceys which is about a mile north of Saxon Blvd on 17/92. It’s been there many years under different names: Homers and Duffs. Stacey is Homer the owners daughter.  They also have them in Ohio and other Florida locations.
There was a good line waiting to get in at 1pm when Pam and I went to the meeting. They charge $5.99 for all you can eat and WHAT A DEAL! The food was DELISH!!!! I ate and ate and looked at the dozens of different desserts and my eyeballs almost went into a diabetic shock! They do have the option of sugar-free pies).   003res They had it all, food food food in all descriptions. I ate fried fish and hush puppies, steamed carrots and mac and cheese, broccoli and soup. They had turkey, tacos, meatloaf, fried chicken and much more. Everything was great. I had a lot of fun and so wanted to really take close ups of the food which was beautifully displayed, but knew that was rather tacky.  So just got a few to show.  004res

006res Victor’s wife, Veronica works there also and could not have been more attentive to our needs.  The NMWA & Gateway gave Victor and Veronica a beautiful signed and numbered print from one of the members.
So here’s the thumbs up for a fun afternoon with very nice artists and art supporters and of course, great home cooking, (I never cook anything like this at home,) thanks to Pam for hauling me up there and paying for my lunch, I ate my fill and then some! My turn to get lunch next time!
Back at home, Carbs is still here. 81709carbsmouth-1res Look at duck’s teeth, how uniform, see if you can enlarge to see them. As long as the Band Of Brother mallards stay away, I guess Carbs will stick around. I fished a little while, no bites, but a wonderful breeze blew over the lake. I decided to mow the back instead. Carbs just moved from one side of the yard to the other as I mowed, it didn’t really bother him.
The hurricane is supposed to stay to the east of us, lets hope so. The state of Florida seems to love to gouge us with spiking gas prices as a hurricane approaches, they know we will be gassing our cars and gas cans and any thing that has a gas cap to have the extra gas for generators. It will be reaching about $3.00 a gallon in a week I bet, and maybe sooner if that hurricane comes closer to home. I did fill up a couple gas cans and they are out in the garage, and I can even smell faint fumes in the house – how I hate hate hate everything gasoline. One day they will find an alternative like electric instead! I hate having to gas the lawn mower and blower and having that awful smell on your hands or a few drops on your shoes – YUK!!! But I hate having extra long cords and fooling with electric by the lake!!! One day we should be able to harness the sun with a sensor chip on our lawn equipment!  If I don’t write tomorrow. I have been overcome with gas…

Had a great time in Tampa. Did see my nutria, DSC07535res,  81409nutriaB-1re also there was tilapia in the condo pond – how they got there — who knows — they are certainly not native.
81309carpA-1res Also on the condo pond were many female mallards with beautiful faces, and all had different markings. mallardres

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Other than some long distance birds that I get over here. the wildlife was quiet.  I didn’t go anywhere interesting to take pics this time. Just quiet family time. My Bella and Sasha were there to be my bed mates.
81309sashares Then it was back home to reality, two tropical storms about to turn into hurricanes with one as a fairly substantial one. Both could impact us.  tsana The first is tropical storm Ana due to possibly hit Florida between Miami and Port Canaveral so far. It will be a rain maker they say, winds around 70mph, that’s not too bad. The other one is worse, will be a Category 2 hurricane. That one is following behind the other one. So far it is TD #3. I went this am to stock up on food and water just in case.
100_3088res Will be watching closely. Don’t plan on leaving home, will be here to monitor and blog. I can’t imagine leaving my ‘box’ unless it is possibly Katrina big.  Meanwhile, it’s always good to be home. Today went to the flea market and got Orangeblossom-oak flavor honey, ummmm, delicious! I also bought a suet feeder and something is eating the whole block of suet in one gulp over night. I will have to remove it nightly. I do have a lot of cardinals and jays lately.  81409cardinalB-1 91409cardinalA-1
jayres One last thing, I was at a garage sale that had dept. store dummies, a few male torso and legs, if you need any, call Katy 407-690-2929
torso legs

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
DSC06424res

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,
100_2268res

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…

Today looks better for us so far, hurricane Ike is way south of here and hopefully he will stay that way, EXCEPT, he is headed toward where my brother and his family live and have lived for 25 years, Key West.
I don’t want it to go there either as they are just enjoying their house they had to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina flooded it with 2 feet of water. You don’t hear much about what Katrina did to the Keys, but it was very bad down there too. Though their new house is built up nine feet,  the big worry would be the wind.
They love Key West, my sister-in-law and neice will get out of the way of the storm, but not my salty dog little brother. He will stay and hunker down, (or up in his case) and try and weather it out. I am hoping it will have down graded at that point to a Cat. 0ne from passing over Cuba. We have about 36 hours to see what will happen.
The other pictures were my happy wake up flying things this morning. The cranes were happily sitting down over looking the lakes, the white heron was a wonderful unexpected surprise and so many butterflies
are all over. Everyone has told me that they have lots of variaties coming through their yards.
The water level is up which is good because in another 6 weeks that will be about the topper for the winter months. At least so far we have a decent level in comparison to last year at this time. These tropical systems are certainly helping us recover from drought, but some places around here are still too wet. Homes still underwater. Let’s hope that the wings for Sunday include a fast moving Ike that weakens and does not do too much more damage to the people and property it decides to land upon. I feel fortunate that the hurricane shutters can stay in the garage and we can look out at the bright sunshine and breathe a sigh of relief, at least I hope this thing does not come back to bite us….

Ut oh, “red in the morning, sailors warning” — what does that mean? Will Hanna brush us or become a full blown cling on? We don’t need extra water! There are still many places that have flooding conditions.  But, hey, we have no control, mother Nature will choose for us.
This morning sunrise was beautiful coming over the lake, the colors so vivid. Even as the sun broke free, the ridge of clouds it emerged triumphant, like a birthing of light. I stood out watching for a bit.  The cardinals are the first birds out, they fly all over looking for breakfast. That was at about 7am. Then the sandhill cranes set down across the lake sounding their loud trumpeting reverberating off the water. After that the rest of the birds woke and there were jays and mockingbirds, red winged blackbirds and blackbirds all crisscrossing the landscape.
Hopefully the tropical storm coming at us will turn north faster than it is supposed to. But behind it is Ike and Josephine, whew, here we go, plenty of subject matter, way too much…

   This morning (9:ooam) water gauge is up to 1.28, so it has risen over 3 inches since Monday. We are still getting rain bands coming through, but really they are more wind bands than rain. Another gray day, have not seen birds this morning. The cranes came last night and then took off.
   We were spared any tornadoes and large rain amounts of those to the east of the storm down along the Atlantic coast. Some places flooding up with up to 15 inches. I would not be here to write if that were the case at my house. I would be swimming out  of here.
  As for Fay, she is near Cape Canaveral and trying to gain her momentum again so she can hit us as a hurricane up the coast between daytona and Jax. She is persistant and so very very slow. This is the slowest tropical storm I ever saw. We may be feeling these effects through Friday then must watch another system trying “its’ wings” out in the Carribean.
   update later in day….

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