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Today I went over to Petsmart in Casselberry, Florida where RAIN, Rescuing Animals In Need, a 501(c) Corp. had some of their animals on display for people to adopt. DSC01770res They had an assortment of cats and dogs, dogs both small and big who need new homes. RAIN volunteers foster many rescued animals they get  from people giving up their pets to rescuing pets from the streets and from shelters that have animals ready to be euthanized.
They take care to observe the animals first and get their shots and tests like feline leukemia, and heartworm updated. All adopted animals are neutered before adoption. You have to always admire these people for going all out to help animals find a loving home.  Here are a few of the photos of pets available for adoption. ANd you can contact them at 407-620-9736, or go on their website http://www.rescuinganimalsinneed.org
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The people at Animal Welfare Alliance of Central Florida have a wonderful founder and activist named Gloria Wade. She has been working with animals and looking out for their rights for years. She and volunteer, Gail Nagin, (who had just come from protesting the Greyhound conditions at the racetrack,) are both trying hard to get a ‘high volume, low cost” spay and neuter clinic for central Florida, one that only specializes in neutering because having animals sterilized is needed badly to discourage this overrun of the dog and cat population. That has to be a priority and hopefully it will be a dream realized.  Gloria had with her a “Chain of Colors”, each link representing a dog or cat euthanized in one Central Florida shelter.
100_4877-1res This link represents a Siberian Husky put to death because someone did not have the space for him, each link has a story, and there are over 5000 of them. Gloria
showed them to me with much sadness that so many animals have to be put to sleep because they are unwanted which is her reason for helping people have a low cost spay/neuter clinic.
100_4875-2res DSC01781-1res visit  http://www.awacf1.org both groups are reaching out for your help, if you can, take an animal home and give it the love and attention it deserves, that is a great reward to all these volunteers who open their hearts for animals in need.  Contact AWACF about helping fund the clinic and RAIN  for any of the animals in the photos, and they have plenty more cats and dogs in need of a home, if you are looking for love, try looking here.

churchresize This is the last photo I took of Church just two nights ago. He would come out and share the cement with Ringo watching me fish.  He was old, perhaps 17-18 or even more. He was a stray when we found him hungry in our driveway as we were about to move in 1995. We packed him up along with our stuff and our two other cats. I had him immunized and neutered and brought him into our new home where he fit in just as if he had always been there. The vet thought he might be 4 years old back then. He was the cat that resembled “Church” in the movie Pet Cemetery, so that’s how he got his name.
In the past months poor old cat has been shrinking and acting old. Last night he did not eat and he is usually the first one talking in the morning for the food. This morning I put the food out and he had no interest, didn’t even meow. I took chicken to him and he ignored it and went back to the corner and curled up. I knew it was time to take him in to the Vet.
I got there at 8am when they opened and when I signed in the clip board, they ask the reason you are here. I left it blank and could not put even the word, was it death? Termination?  The guy at the desk asked me why and I told him the purpose.  He put us in a room to await the vet who was not due in till 9am. I sat petting the drooling ,old, purring cat as the clock over the door ticked away each agonizing second of his remaining life.
The smells of the vet perk an animal’s interest and they know instantly they are not in a normal environment. Church looked up at every door closing, at each bark, at the noise of the techs behind the doors and still he purred and rubbed his head hard against my hand. We spent that time reflecting on old times, he let me do all the talking. We laughed about his old nemesis Terra the bull terrier and how they would get into big spats and Church seemed to know just when Terra was going into the show ring and the day before the show and he would make sure Terra had some nice big scratches on Terra’s face and nose, the cat had a sense of humor.  Church was a good “mouser”, he liked bringing a gifts home.
He leaves behind his adopted sisters, Miss Sealy and Frankie, (also strays) and his brother Ringo. He leaves behind Abbe and Adam and the memories a good cat should. Church was a gentleman at all times, even when Sealy would smack him repeatedly, he always let the girls have their ‘opinions’.
A good cat will never be forgotten, and neither will a bad one, we have had our share of both, but for a stray, he came into our home with respect and love and we will miss our Church. fishingbuddys-1resize

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3609lilblueherona-1Had a little blue heron spend most of the afternoon around the lake. It sprinted from pad to pad and would stop to bend and catch some minnows and then be back on the run.

3609pekinduck-2_edited-1Pekin ducks came to call

3609heronintree-1 of course the heron was there as were both mama and papa cranes each taking their turn on the nest.

3609woodpeckerb-1The woodpecker too. No otter sighting and the
fishing was horrid, caught one fat catfish and he
complained the whole time till I freed it.
I have not check up on the cranes, but will do so tomorrow. I am once again babysitting for Bella the Chihuahua. She will keep me busy as her bladder seems to be a magnet to the carpet! But no worries, I won’t take pictures of the puddles…

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And now we have 3!  Another muscovy was out swimming with Carbs the duck and that other male muscovy that comes from time to time. Bella the Chihuahua was trying to herd them, she had already done a great job of turning the crane away. We are expecting rain and a big cold front, so I must go hurry down to lake and try out my new rod holder my brother bought for me at Gander Mountain.
Yesterday I had to take down my artwork at the Maitland Library, got there just before they opened and that is one busy library, even some tourists came in asking for things to see around Maitland and Winter Park and the librarian gave them great information. Afterwards I walked to Lake Lily which is a wonderful and calm park with a round the lake walk way. My purpose was to look at the muscovy ducks and see how they differ. And there were a lot, too many to show all the photos I took. The best thing was the turtles are not freaked out by people and actually sit close to shore. dsc00587

Ut oh, clouds building, have to fish before rain – be back later    100_5090

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I saw this weird thing on shore at my son’s Tampa townhome in the “waterfront” backyard, (wait, is that an oxymoron?)        You know how the developers work, they dig a big drainage ditch and call it waterfront in Florida. The water is pretty yukky looking, but there is action out there.
My son had told me about the nutria inhabiting his back yard, and there is a big nutria population around Brandon Florida close by where he lives.  It’s a South American import, (the nutria, not my son.)
The nutria, a species of rodent /beaver were introduced into Louisiana during the 1930’s for their fur, but somehow many made it into the swamps where they love and thrive upon the plants. Apparently they really dig in and destroy the wetlands. Maybe the past administration could have ‘scape-goated’ the situation with Hurricane Katrina damage by blaming the problems with flooding on the nutria’s destruction of Louisiana wetlands, a perfectly ‘ratty’ excuse! But it really was the greedy Louisiana fur trappers and their eager beaver European, fur wearing consumers demanding pelts for coats, who caused the problem. When the muskrat ran low, the furriers imported nutria. These nutria have damaged thousands of acres

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by chomping away whole eco systems for meals,  they call these “eat outs”.  And somehow, they were introduced here in Florida too where they lounge about in drainage ditches and love golf courses, (it must be the greens – ha ha). The nutria are blamed for making sink holes by burrowing deeply into the sandy golf courses.

The British had a problem with nutria eating their marshy vegetation too, eventually they shot and trapped them and rid the British shores of this nuisance animal over a ten year period.
In Jefferson Parish Louisiana, they have been so abundant that the Jefferson Parrish swat team used nutria for sharp shooting target practice.  In Florida in the past, there have been nutria night shoots at golf courses infested by the rodents. They are not well liked. And don’t try and pet them either, many are infested with roundworm and you can catch the larva from them and get the ‘nutria itch’ – yuk!
Some zoos feed them to snakes. I guess gators must be happy having them close! These are a strange breed of animal! BUT, the idea light just went off!!!!   If I could have a couple sterile nutria, that might be the solution to my over weed choked lake. HEY!!!! Anyone up for trapping some nutria and then sterilizing them? I’ll bait the trap, you can sterilize!  If we get a lot of them, there are other options, the new “soylent green”! Or how about a restaurant chain: The Nutritious Nutria!  Can’t you see it? The cook-offs! How about this one and it IS legit!

Nutria Chili  from: http://www.nutria.com/site16.php

Recipe by: Chef Enola Prudhomme
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds nutria ground meat
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup tomato paste
4 cups beef stock (or water)
1 can red kidney beans (opt.)

In a heavy 5-quart pot on high heat, add oil and heat until very hot. Add nutria meat, and cook and stir 10 minutes. Add salt, red pepper, chili powder, onion and both bell peppers. Cook and stir 15 minutes. Add tomato paste and 4 cups stock. Cook 30 minutes; reduce heat to medium. Add red kidney beans; cook an additional 10 minutes. Serve hot!

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We needed the air conditioners on today – it was into 80’s and very humid. Thought we might get massive rain, but only a short shower and it seemed like Sunday all day for some reason. But the scenery was wonderful and all our birds were around us. Though I left to go to a dinner at a friends and wonder if the heron was waiting for me at his usual time of 4pm. He is usually walking up to my house from the lake by then so he can escort me back to the lake.
The family and I had a terrific day except my youngest who works in a grocery and says they were slammed all day and came home too exhausted to even care about opening his gifts and went right to sleep!

I was outside at 11pm and noticed how bright and broad Venus is – it sure looks like a huge bright star and I guess many mistake it for the northern star. I have not used my telescope in a while, it’s actually broken and the mirror is always falling off. One day I will get a good one as it there is nothing like seeing Jupiter and Saturn and knowing how far away they really are. It is really “spacey” pardon the pun!   And of course we must include visiting Bella the chihuahua, she’s all smiles in her festive gold bow. She’s all smiles when she has all our attention, but she is not all smiles when she comes across the cats, she is smaller than they are, but thinks she is the boss over them! The cats accomodate her noisy tirades by tormenting her as they sit looking outside the sliding glass door where they can stare in and Bella can keep banging her head repeatedly into the glass trying to get them as they smuggly look on, cats are sadistic like that.

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I just finished listing an art submission on my other blog, ( http://florida4art.blogspot.com )  and decided to read my emails. Of course Andrea sends an email about cats talking. She is always sending email attachments featuring ‘You Tube’ animals, especially cats. But I have 4 cats so I get talked to plenty and really don’t find many of these videos that funny.  I mean really, either people are torturing their cat by rubbing them hard on the hotspot next to their tail and their cat heads spin like the exorcist or someone is egging them on over and over and it’s usually boring. So I left the You tube playing with the white cat on the screen meowing and went to the kitchen for some lunch.  When I came back, there was Frankie, staring lovingly at the screen mesmerized by the beautiful white cat. I played the video for her a couple times and she watched him go through his meowing routine, I played a few more videos listening to cats saying things like “hi” or Mama, or “bigdongjohnson’, whatever the human ear perceives it as. Frank then looked at me and I told her if she was wanting her fifteen minutes of fame, I could tape her too as she is a big talker, but instead she hopped across the key board and plopped herself right in front of the screen, placing her body as close to that white cat on the monitor as she could get. I suppose that cat had said something very intriguing and enticing in ‘feline-ese’ that made Frankie want to snuggle against the cool, flat screen, one dimensional cat. Then we struggled as she was blocking the monitor and I finally moved her around enough so she was happy and I could continue blogging, about a cat watching cats, having cat-fatuations’ and then dreaming about sailing off with some white cat as they cuddle in a gondola in Venice as the oarsman croons “oh sole-a MEOW”.
In the meantime, I have no hope of the keyboard lasting long with all the cat hair that gets inside, but now Frankie has her fifteen minutes…or more…

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My beautiful heron has been coming to fish with me for 2 years. I think it is a female after wondering if it was one of the offspring. It could be the wife of the large male. I say that because tonight while fishing, it wisked down about twenty feet from me and watched as I fished. Her head turning toward me as soon as the line held a splashing noise. The heron is highly alert to the sound of a fish in peril. But so is Ringo, he loves raw fish if he can get to them first, plus he will watch for an opportunity to stalk that heron even though the heron is so much taller. The heron either stands in the shallow water or waits in a tree branch overseeing the fishing operation, he is very aware of Ringo. If I catch a fish, I usually have Ringo who will try and get it and the heron who will swoop down to have it – it’s a competitive race and juggling act.
If Ringo sees the heron on dry land, he will not hesitate to chase it away. He won’t do that to the cranes because they stand their ground and won’t hesitate to come right after a cat! The sandhills are dominant. Even the heron knows that!
Tonight as Ringo, the heron and I fished, I caught a small bream and the bigger heron who must have been observing, flew the smaller heron off to try and take the catch. So it’s back to the heron wars and I love it.
The fishing is fun, I can’t explain what it feels like to get a tug on the line, but there is an excitement that sparks a reaction from that tug.  I either throw the fish back, or feed one or two to the herons, I figure it culls the overpopulation of bream.
It is exciting watching all these species interact. There is always something going on down by the lake, that’s why I try and fish almost every night. I find I am taking a huge camera bag down by the lake with my old Kodak and new Sony. The new camera does make a difference, but I am afraid I am going to treat it roughly like my cheaper camera as I love having it ready, lens cap off and sitting in the bag as I fish, which is not professional, but I am only an amateur so I guess that rationalizes that. Oh well, I bought the four year full replacement policy, what’s the worse that can happen, it breaks and they have to replace it?
The last photo is Ringo looking all innocent and sound asleep last night. It has gotten cold here at night,
(low 60’s and for us Floridians, it equates to freezing), Ringo comes in now either after we fish around dark,
(that’s about 6pm these days) or he’ll show up around 10pm to do some serious cutting of ZZZZ’s. Right now, he is passed out on the electric blanket, (yes Northerners, this whimpy Floridian sleeps under electric blanket even with the house temp at 72degrees. Once a Floridian, you always need to feel the heat of the sun even if it is fake and you are sleeping.)
Well, it’s 3:05am, time to go ‘electrifry’ and feel those alpha wave jolts for a few hours. In this economy, dreaming is the only luxury they can’t take away…

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