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Back from a nice visit to Tampa where it was officially announced, I will be a grandmother.  This will be my first grandchild and it is exciting news, of course, Aaron wants me to move there, I am undecided as of yet.  I didn’t get time to really take many photos except for Leila’s party, which I left on their computer. The pelicans are all gone, hardly any birds, only a few woodstorks.   and smaller birds.
By now we all know about the earthquakes that rocked Haiti. And because of that, my little town of Sanford is on the map. The US Airforce transport planes are shuttling the sick, injured, orphaned and Haitian Americans over to Sanford International Airport 7 miles away. For a while those planes were coming in often during the day.  These heavy green military planes rock the house as they flew over.  While they were coming ever couple hours, I only heard two yesterday, in fact, they said they were going to stop because the state is having a hard time financially dealing with what to do with everyone.  Some have family, many don’t, many more require hospital care. They also announced that Miami and south Florida would not accept anymore injured Haitians at the hospitals and even moved many patients up to North Florida because of the Super Bowl and the potential of needing those beds.    This last pic is a transport heading back toward Haiti over a week ago. Poor Haitians, what is to become of them? I suppose more of the same.
Last night was a moon event, the moon was the closest to us for the year, unfortunately, the clouds were really thick too. But did get a few peeks in between.  
I am hoping that by the time the moon comes tonight, these rain clouds will be gone and I can get a really good photo. We are waiting and waiting for some front, it’s gloomy, but won’t hold my breath for rain. (Ah, as I write I hear the rain.)
Went over to see how Andrea’s cats look after being shaved. Musa was not happy
He looked like he had UGG’s on his feet. Lola was cleaning herself right away.  And Cocobella gawked at them because she did not have to get shaved, so she gets to be dominant! The cat with the most hair wins for being the boss.   My own Ringo was busy by the bird bath this morning just daring the birds to come near him, no one took him up on his offer.
Though there were a lot of birds earlier.   And there is one black bird who has a broken foot I keep noticing, it’s curled up, but he is still feisty and gets around well.
Andrea always gives me the cutest things, she gave me a camera charm, and had this funny pot scrubber  and adorable dessert plates  
And of course, Lee always sends her roses each week, this week’s were gorgeous as always, Lee is always so kind.  
After I left, I came home and noticed some vultures up the road eating a squirrel, I scared most of them off with the camera.     When I looked up, there were about a dozen flying into the trees and could not get a good shot with all their movement.
Yesterday met Pam for lunch at Mimi’s and we got our art submissions off for potential exhibits, I am hoping we get at least one of the two.  It was a crappy day yesterday too, but at least it was about 73 degrees. So I got to fish for the first time in a while and the fishing sucked, but my heron did come down to see if I hooked anything.    Ringo watched the bobber – that’s his job.
And I looked all around,

I love fishing in this smooth, parallel world, where the ghost moon rests
it’s big head on soft, wide cloud shoulders
and birds sing with full hearts and
there is nothing to burden the mind
except for winking bobbers and a cat licking it’s lips…

100_3939res Today I drove downtown,

I had artwork to drop off –
I had to find the right building.
Downtown Orlando is not huge,
not New York or Los Angeles,
it’s pretty easy to manuver EXCEPT for the sarcastic one way streets
who snicker when they know they have you trapped in a city force field
and the streets hold the parking spaces hostage.

I circumvented blocks two and three times,
right street, wrong way –
braking behind gawkers, and half filled city buses.
circling and waiting for that “red sea parting” moment
in which a building would bust its’ seams
exposing the place where I needed to be
and my gray Sierra chariot would stop and
a valet would open my door and carry my art
with white cotton gloves to the waiting public.

A wish unfulfilled
as I parked 4 blocks from my venue
lugging ziplocked art up the avenue
trying to find store front numbers
on the tiny mapquest sheet that only depicted a star
on a flatlined street –
I officially had the downtown Orlando Monday Blues.

Passing rough, bushy characters who looked like they protected
Mick Jagger at Altamont.
Passing executives in their noose suits,
foreigners with cameras and smiles,
gapped teeth children,
Buddhists and Viet Nam vets,
but no nuns, or not in a habit anyway.

I watched an old woman feeding bits of bread to sparrows,
five little brown birds surrounded
her gnarled hands with arthritic fingers.
There was a man soliciting with a sign because he was “impeared” –
his impairment was spelling
I could have my own sign for that –

Police on bikes wrote tickets,
was that Brian Feldman trying to be a city bench?
One man (?) wore large spike heels and a flirty sun hat
with a flowered broach on his chartruse tank top,
(or maybe it was a woman in need of a shave?)

The laughing sun was held at bay in part
by the taller buildings – it was still early
so at least I was not under the complete solar microscope
while  heading up Church Street.
The funny thing was, home at my desk
if I had read my email thoroughly
I would have noticed yesterday they had changed the day
from Monday to Wednesday.

But this was Monday, Monday, a day for downtown blues.
Lugging and looking
lugging and looking.

The young ladies at the drop off point were sympathetic to
an old stressed out lady,
out of breath-
out of place-
out of patience with the city and herself-

But as I made my way back down the blocks
back toward my truck with the hour time limit on the meter
I was glad to briefly have been there,
among ‘city–fied worker bees’,
to absorb this bustling image of people and cars in a hurry,
of buildings humming with demands,
of hungry mouths being fed at the shelter,
of children giggling and wailing at a daycare playground,
of honking  and the wonderful aroma of garlic rolls
coming from that small Italian restaurant.
It’s good to be among culture and art,
expensive boutiques and lawyers and
banks and snobs and slobs and body odor.
I felt light, Ginsberg-esque as he took
his stroll through a Supermarket in California;
focused on images,
of “aisles of husbands”,
because I was shoulder to shoulder at times
with someone’s spouse or their secret lover.
I passed the abused wife, covering her bruise in long sleeves
on a summer morning,
the man in need of a root canal and
no means to pay for it.
I was holding Ginsberg’s hand,
as we both wanted to shout, ”

"Who killed the
pork chops?  What price bananas?  Are you my Angel?"

The morning was still new,
all the jackhammers and drills of city music
had a nice Dharma beat .
I swear we saw Walt Whitman on Magnoilia and Church,
he was asking for a ride to the “Y” at Thornton and Mills
to ponder the road less traveled.

I waved goodbye to Allen
who was thumbing a ride to College Park,
And I drove home knowing I was not alone,
happy to be headed back to Abbesworld;
a place of quiet,
of birds and wildlife,
of creativity.
A place to shake off the downtown Orlando Monday Blues
by threading it through the hook on my fishing pole
and letting the line go slack when a catfish swallowed it whole –
I reeled it in and the catfish jumped off and spit the blues out on the ground,
“worse thing I ever tasted – stick with bread”, he spat three more times,
kicked me in the shins and went diving back to the lake,
I knew then this was where I belonged…

ABbe

Do you come across these bad boys? Southern lubber grasshopper, Romalea guttata 72309grasshopper-1b copy

They are mean and spit at you and eat your yard from top to bottom. They are the kind of beings that you dream about and in the dream you are an inch tall and they are big as Godzilla and running after you and spitting out globs of tobacco, (where did that rumor come from anyway – though I can see this guy sitting on a naked plant after eating the whole thing and having a smoke.)
Most people around here don’t like them because they are pests and love to snack on ornamental bushes, but I love the crisp colors.  72109grasshopperinyrface-2res The Grasshoppers come in a few  sizes around here, this guy is the King of grasshoppers.  712109grasshopperontunk-1res 72109grasshopperfacesright-2res Someone told me to put it on my fishing hook and a big bass will be waiting for me. But somehow I look at this funny face and I can’t bring myself to do it.  Why? I don’t know – they are locusts in disquise, and if there were an abundance of them, I could probably attempt to, but picking that funny critter up and feeling it’s strong body just pushing to get loose, I have to let him go. And don’t you think that is so generous of me? Me too, though, don’t tell the neighbors because that’s where my kindness put that hungry critter…

When all the birds are faint with the hot sun, And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead; That is the grasshopper’s–he takes the lead

In summer luxury–he has never done With his delights, for when tired out with fun, He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
John Keats


dsc02705 That’s him! The missing baby heron has grown a bit and now he   and his sibling have taken to regular flights back and forth to the nest. I am convinced that is the same one who was rejected. What’s fun is to watch the two babies fly awkwardly around the lake, they stop and eat at different spots then fly back to the nest to compare. They are always competing up there, YAK YAK YAK, their necks go up and down, their wings extend and it’s always competiton.

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I enjoy looking out and seeing their activity from my desk. Yesterday the one baby was here twice and that’s the one I think finally found his way back home.
It’s also quite evident the dragonflies are busy. At the lake they are all over. I also get them on the porch and have to take them outside. They do pinch too! dfAnd of course, the band of brothers and Pekins are here off and on as usual and even Carbs will show up during early evening then take off before the BOB’s pick on him.  carbsresize

Then last night I was flipping through the channels and came across the American network and another winged specimen  the  old Batman series with Adam West and he looked like a little kid!  bmresize

dsc06519dsc06531 The bat mobile looked so cheap, but it was fun watching the action scenes with POP, POW and cartoon effects when our imaginations were so much simpler. We had no bloodshed, only lame storylines and stupid acting that made it work in the 60’s.      I stuck around and saw The Hornet was next and watched about ten minutes and my son pointed out that Bruce Lee was the Hornets butler. How weird! The Hornet was really a great looking guy!

hornetreisix So it was a full day of wings and even Ringo the cat was exhausted and dreaming as his tail seemed to take flight. Was he dreaming of flying, or growing up to become a lion and catching all kinds of things? 42409ringolion

It actually rained! (A little bit.) There was water falling down and things getting wet!  The air smelled earthy and clean and smoky too from all the burning acres about 15 miles away. In fact, the smoke really blew in heavily for a while on Sunday. It’s  dry and so much timber available to burn and if no humans were around, some of this would be a natural cycle and the land would just be clearing itself out. But when people and their dwellings are in the way, it gets to be scary.
The day was very gray when I woke up, a nice surprise. The birds were all over and Carbs and the sandhill came by to eat seed. I checked the nest twice today and no baby sandhill crane yet, maybe tomorrow.
After running errands I went to the marina in Sanford and took some pics of the sky and the birds and boats. Nothing exciting and new, but it is always fun to look out over the water and to enjoy a dramatic sky.
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I saw a bunch of snouts breaking the water, some at the same time and looked through my lens and saw they were cat fish all standing vertically and bobbing to get whiffs of air into their lungs. The wide mouths open and receiving the breeze. There were a lot of them all together. I had never seen catfish doing this before. Earlier I asked one of the fishermen if he had caught anything and then we proceeded to have a nice conversation about the variety of fish he caught there. We talked of catfish and I told them when they were caught they complained a lot and wanted to be let go. The guy laughed and said he didn’t care about any complaints, he just wanted them for dinner. So later, even though that guy was still fishing on the other side of the pier as I looked up, I did not disclose this treasure trove of a meal just about fifty feet from him. (He had a bucket of enough fish he had caught for dinner.)
Another thing that is outstanding are the gorgeous colors on the mallard ducks. They have the must beautiful blue/purple on a spot of their wings. the pigeons are also quite beautifully colored with pinks and purple hues and the males are always on parade. dsc00269

the sky was beautifully moody, the Florida sky is like that, clear, then full of clouds that change from one minute to the next.  dsc00350How lucky to
be able to enjoy it!

Watching the people fishing, the birds flying and swimming, the catfish gulping air, the water chronicling the moods of the sky was a wonderful way to clear out the cobwebs in the old brain. It is always sad to see the many homeless who wander about with all their lives contained within their pockets and grocery carts. How spoiled I am to be able to take those same moments in which they are trying to find something to sustain themselves for the day, and take my photographs without worrying about finding food or having a home. Life is sure an odd lottery — so far the numbers have been right for me and I have been lucky. But luck can always change, or maybe I have just seen way too many blackbirds today…
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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.

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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….

Today my good friend Sonja picked me up because she does monthly articles for the Sanford Herald. She is researching a piece about Sanford Florida’s produce heritage.
Sanford Florida was the first place to pack produce on ice and ship it north.  But I will leave the story for her to tell and you can buy a copy of the Sanford Herald in a couple of weeks.
Personally, I was trying to pull off taking a photo to accompany the article. Actually it was just fun taking produce pics.  After checking out the old Farmers Market, we stopped at a small produce market on 17/92 right next to the newer Farmers market.  100_0435 It had no name, but when you walked in, there was beautiful produce that looked well selected.   There were walls and bins full of interesting packaged spices an many other food stuffs. It was all so colorful and happy looking. Some veggies and fruits were swaddled as sweetly as if baby Jesus were a mango in the manger.      The cukes looked green and they had tiny potatoes and lovely persimmons. (look for my pictures later at   http://offshoot2.wordpress.com 100_0425

After all that produce and of course buying some fruit for later, Sonja and I went to one of her Mexican favorites,   100_0445 Tortilleria La Mexicana.
We roamed the aisles in the grocery side looking at all their produce,
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they had a wide variety of peppers and fresh quesa cheese and there was also a meat counter.  We ventured over to the restaurant and had a very filling lunch for $5.95 each. I had two quesadillas filled with cheese and veggies with rice on the side, YUM! They were so fresh. Sonja had tacos with cactus and other things I could not think about eating, I have no sense of adventure for spicy food. We both agreed it was a piece of Mexico in Sanford!  100_0449We wandered further and landed up at the old Sanford Amtrack station that now looks like a crack house. 100_0441 100_0442 .  The new station has a shuttle service that offers people the option of going into downtown Sanford if they have a long layover time.
the new station is now only basically an auto-train depot. 100_04431

We looked around Goldsboro and side streets, the Bettye D. Smith Cultural Arts Center where I would like to see if I can organize an art showing.
All and all I encourage you to get in your car and go explore your city, or one near you. It is amazing what you learn and our little Sanford is full of history. Plus Sonja and I love to talk ‘smack’ about our own old history being as we are close in age and have many common denominators. We aren’t quite the ‘Golden girls’, let’s just say we can remember the days of college in the 60’s:  riots, Tricky Dick, war, love, Woodstock  and peace and the good old days. We worshipped at the altar of Led Zep, and Jim Morrison. Loved Bob Dylan before his electric guitar.  Sonja married her man who graduated Harvard and played in a band with the Allman Brothers. We were the hippie generation. Sonja stayed in school and went on to get her Masters  and I dropped out of college after hurricane Camille blew it away.
How’s this for a photo out of 1969? Abbe and the father of her kids captured in time.
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dsc03807dsc03833dsc03818filler-stained-glass Yesterday went to Flea World to see the “big cats”. It turned out to be one huge bengal tiger named Woosy weighing almost 500 lbs. and when they brought him out of his cage and you looked at the size of him versus the handlers, there would have been no way they could have controlled that beast had he wanted to head for the wilds! Only a short fence separated us from him and it would been an easy leap into the stands for some native meat! But once freed from his cage, they lured him to a table and fed him meat chuncks while they talked about the animal rescue, Central Florida Animal Reserve a  non-profit org. in Cocoa Beach.  They have many big cats there and are trying to get the word out about conservation and the environmental impact on animals around the globe.  The man who spoke really knew the many aspects of big cats and the world conditions of wild animals and poaching. The big cat ate, then was lured back to his pen with more raw meat. I made sure I sat behind others so the cat would have a choice before getting to me if he decided to make that break.
Afterwards I wanderd through the mostly desolate place, so many vendors gone, booths empty. I wandered down one remote aisle and found a wealth of info in Book Conservator, Douglas Filler. He had a booth that stood out from the phony purses, gawdy jewelry, and old candy among the many arteries along the way. Dougs booth had a feel of true class and appreciation for antique books and their leather work and history.  He had a nice tiffany looking lamp and an antique desk with bookselves lined with interesting titles.  Doug restores old books,  has a fetish for old Bibles which he does amazing restoration on.  He also sells rare and old books, makes stained glass, makes beautiful glass detailed book cases, collects art noveau and Dali illustrations and loves to speak about folklore and obscure history. He was so enthusiastic about his craft and hobbies, has been restoring books for 15 years from his home in Geneva Fl.  It was so nice speaking to him because I love antiquarian poetry books. I only wish I had a bigger knowledge of folklore and history that he is so easily able to speak about.  It was a wonderful find and I hope he gets business from being so far away from the heart of the flea market throngs, though the throngs were very few on Friday. Anyway, his site is
http://www.curiouslore.com or email him directly at  douglas@curiouslore.com

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

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

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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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Today a little bird flew into the porch. It’s wrong turn made that bird fly into Hell. There were 3 sleeping cats until they heard the flutter of wings against the screen. Each of the cats stood at a different location waiting for their kill. I looked like a lunatic running up and down the porch trying to chase the bird away from the many jaws of death. The poor thing was so frightened, it was speaking in bird-ese, whistling for help as it kept slamming into the screens getting weaker and weaker, flying lower and lower. Finally I was able to get my hand around it and take it outside, much to the cats dismay.
I could feel the heartbeating so fast, it’s head looking away from me. I did take a quick picture, (obviously), and then opened my hand and let it fly.  Away it went, to the shelter of the grapefruit tree, the closest tree from the door.
The cats look perplexed, where was their entertainment? They realized the show was over and went back to their sleeping positions around the porch.
Within my hand had been the softest, little bird. It’s life left up to me to save. I shuddered thinking about what would have happened if I had not had the windows and doors open, or if I had been away. Sometimes the thought of such responsibility for saving even the smallest life is almost overwhelming, my heart began to flutter as fast at that bird’s beat against my hand…

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

They say you can tell alot about the quality of a lake from the dragonflies. My lake must be very healthy despite all the excessive hydrilla. Dragonflies are all over, buzzing about,  some in pairs, some solo, and some riding piggyback! I see eggs clustered on lake plants to assure the future of these beautiful and intricate creatures. They zip from point A to point B, then quicky decide on another location. Somehow they never seem satisfied with their choices. I usually find a few stuck on the porch screen, I cup them in my hands and sometimes they bite, which is really a cute little pinch of hello, and sometimes they sit for a minute as if to say thank you. So I in turn will thank them for their lovely interludes.

    Today they kept saying would be wet. It threatened a lot with thunder and lightening off and on, but
I am still waiting for the big rain. In the meantime, because of bolts of electric zapping across the sky, I didn’t think it a good idea to take my fishing rod and go fish. The sky looked very convincing with it’s mean intention.
   The sky this morning at 6:00am was wonderfully rich with color, and the birds were active all day, as they seem to be when rain is coming. I would look outside and see beautiful flurries of blue and red and gray crossing paths to eat bird seed.
   The winds carried the songs of birds wrapped inside, what a gift for a quiet Friday…

    All but one of the pictures show a crane and cat encounter. Since the sandhills come and go throughout the neighborhood, they know how to navigate through the ‘locals’ without having a problem. The cats want nothing to do with the cranes, it would be like looking up in the eyes of Goliath for a challenge and none of the cats even risk it. It’s actually funny to watch the cranes chase the cats off. They don’t even bat an eye or raise their wings anymore, cats are just bigger rats to them.
  The baby crane’s face is changing color, he is beginning to lose the beige and start the gray and white phase. Underneath is a hint of the red that is to come. It is a wonderful metamorphose to watch over time. He’s still very baby like, and whines alot. He has a very lovely high pitched sound
that’s almost musical to hear, so different from his parents deep voices. His parents still are very protective and keep the cat’s and other animals and humans they don’t know at bay, that’s exactly the way it is supposed to work.
   The cats usually avoid confrontations, but once in a while the birds will just fly over and plunk down close by. And while cats are fairly bold, (and Ringo will go after the heron),  when those cranes come in for a full frontal attack and the cats see a beak that’s longer than their whole body coming after them, they do scatter like rats!

 P/S, click on the pictures a few times to magnify if you don’t see a cat, they are in all but one photo

 

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 Three male cat adversaries sat on my porch and waited out the rain. Ringo, the cat beneath the chair and old Church, the gray cat sitting up are now step brothers and they get along okay, but add the stray
cat, ‘Gray’, (the one with the white feet) who wanders over from time to time and you have a stick of dynamite that explodes when cat testosterone and tempers get hot.
   But this afternoon, the noisy rain fell hard trapping all three in one place. All of them relaxed and used their time cat napping. Gray is very skittish and one day soon I will catch him and take him to the Humane Society, he’s hard to pin down at this point, but he needs to go to a place where they can put him up for adoption, he deserves a home, and needs to obviously be fixed. 
   After the rain stopped by late afternoon, Gray left. I grabbed my fishing pole and headed for the lake. Church and Ringo braved the wet grass and followed me down.  The cranes never showed up, but the heron was on the marsh and at one point he flew over, but upon seeing the cats, he flew right back. Ringo has no hesitation about going after the heron even though the heron is as big as the cranes. But the cats will not fool around with the cranes as those big birds will attack the cats, especially when they have their baby with them.  the papa crane is especially assertive.
   Fishing was bad, but the water had risen several inches! My cats remained in position until they heard the tackle box close which is the signal that it’s time to go in and eat. The three of us walked back to the porch and when I slid the door open,  the hierarchy resumes, first in is Old Church, Ringo’s next. then me.  I know my place and cherish it.

  The Anhinga are odd. They have paddle-like feet that make it awkward for them to land in trees. When they go swimming, they look like a snake gliding with half it’s body out of the water.  They dry their wet, raggedy looking wings by spreading them wide in the sun. Funny, I don’t see them in the rain. But when they fly overhead as I fish, they land on the pine tree quite clumsily wrapping those feet-paddles around a branch tightly and squawk loudly as if to say, “whoa, that was close.”

     The sandhill cranes were quite successful in doing a rain dance yesterday. The baby loves spreading his wings and strutting.  He looks like a flasher, and if you look closely, you can see me taking his picture via the sliding glass door, (and you might make out a cat on the table watching us.)
     The cranes dancing for the rain god got about an extra inch of water for the lake yesterday. While it downpours the cranes seem to walk, then stop for a few minutes and look up at the water coming at them. They look as if they don’t know what to make of it. Their feathers get matted and wet and then when the rain slows down, they run around with wings spread. I can remember when the baby was so tiny, and when the downpours came, he would run to his mother and hide beneath her. Only a tiny orange speck could be seen once the baby was ticked in. But, not anymore, the baby has a strong sense of self now, just the way any child, avian or human should be raised.

  

 

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