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100_6630-1re The day was dull, every photo I put in todays blog is colorized. I cheated!  Hurricane Ida hit up at the panhandle and the weather is affecting us. We are supposed to finally get rain tomorrow – will it actually happen?  All day it looked so dull. As I drove up to Sanford and stopped to take some pics, I kept thinking the sky would unload any minute, but not a drop. I took a few dashboard cams of things and places, and they all looked so boring I had to jazz them up a bit.  100_6634-1re The Gateway condos actually look like this  100_6634re and the corner of First Street near the Welcome Center looked much more festive like this –  100_6632-1re and even the bales of hay in the hay trucks looked more delicious with some color to the grain.   100_6637-1re

An abandoned building looked a little more appealing by deepening the color
100_6635-1re At the marina, there was nothing new, same old birds, had to emphasize the ibis.  100_6624-1rea
And when I got home, I had to blame what I thought was an eagle as an excuse for fishing in early afternoon. I could see it flying all over, but could not get a close photo. Finally it landed three houses over so I threw out the pixels on  the telephoto to capture it  way up in a tree. That’s an osprey.
100_6644re I caught a shiner and threw it back, caught a couple bream and they went back. The cranes were there, Ringo was with me too.
100_6654-are Then the heron flew into the tree and watched me cast out over and over.   100_6649heron2 100_6650re Finally I caught a nice sized bream and threw it on the ground, the heron flew down and nabbed it.  He swallowed and happily flew off.  Ringo and I came in as it was almost completely dark by 5:30pm!
My HP “refurbished” printer came in today so I can resume getting photos ready for this weekend art show. HP tells you to send the defective printer  back within three days or get charged a chunk of change on your credit card, but the return address label I needed to do that was  not included, they forgot to send it! I had to call them and stay on the line forever getting a case number from someone in Bangladesh so they could send me a label. I suggested they email it and they refused.  I could have flown to India in the same time it took to stay on hold for their techs.
Rat update:  G & H Pest Control in Sanford came out Monday to give me my last estimate for how they would address my rodent issue. Gene, who owns the company came out and walked around and looked in the attic and did a thorough search of the house just like Massey. Gene looked at me and told me “he would be taking my money if I hired him” because he would be doing the same exact things I have been doing. They would set the traps as I have and that is all they can do. He suggested I keep fresh peanut butter in the trap every week and keep doing it. He said he could find no fresh droppings and I had no roach or bug problem. He didn’t even give me a price for a yearly spray, so if you live around this area and want a really honest pest control company, call G & H Pest Control Inc. 407-323-6681 website http://ghpestcontrol.com/ Actually, it has been rather quiet, but I will keep listening for signs of life above my head…
As I finish this I can hear a light rain outside,that is good news, hope we are in for a night of the wetstuff!  In fact, I walked outside and immediately smelled the earthy scent of wet grass. The drops were light, but anything is better than nothing!   100_6659re After the art show, I can get back to looking for photo ops. Be patient, and come to the Gateway this weekend to see what 40 artists have for you…(nothing like more self promotion)

Some of these place want $40bucks a rat trap and $40 to remove EACH trap, Damn varmints are expensive. Massey was over $400 bucks and that includes the year of pest service spraying for everything, destroying microcosms of worlds beyond the human eye. They will get rid of rats and come back and do more traps until they are gone which is a good thing, but somehow I don’t like all the spray everywhere outside. Ingesting a cloud of toxic crap around my perimeter does not thrill me and knowing my cats are sitting in out there surrounded by mini doses of agent orange and then I am holding them and loving on them excites me even less.  They say it’s hardly dangerous, (unless one reads the label),  a conundrum of sorts.  I rather like natural rat killers myself,   71109ringobluesB-1re but I’m keeping Ringo away from those traps.
Tonight went to Gateway Center for the Arts at 17/92 and Saxon for Photography Group meeting. So many talented photographers who are excellent at what they do. When we left, it was a beautiful moon nestled inside the clouds and again, I tried taking a few pics and they sucked, but here is the Abbe interpretation of the moon and its’    faces tonight:
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Another one bit the dust! Went up to check traps and one held a bounty – YES!  Tonight I will be listening for the pitter of little feet. I did call Massey for a free inspection, ‘guestimating’  how much do I estimate the service will be? Over $300 for the pest control and traps are ala carte — will let you know what the estimate is. Tomorrow I will put aluminum mesh over my plumbing stacks so things cannot get in and out. I don’t want to say I have won until I hear no running above me. Hopefully no weaned babies are up there.  So for now, I reset the Victor traps and let them sit in waiting. From my results, those traps are instant death!   100_6369re
Since the daylight savings time went into effect, it has affected my sleep, I wake earlier, but go to bed the same. I have become lethargic around 10am, and have had to nap an hour for the past two days. This is not how I operate.
This morning I was up by 5:15am and of course it was actually getting light. I opened the back door and heard the heron close by wailing. He was sitting in one of my pines.
022re It actually stayed until after 8:30am. The cranes flew over for an early birdseed breakfast.  DSC04207-1re While I went out and cleared my lakefront of weeds. The water is going down so I can pull in some of the stuff clogging the shore line.   100_6371re And maybe soon, that area can look like the part I was able to clear further along the lake.  The weeds are locked together like webbing and pull in in blocks.
100_6373re You can see from this picture where my neighbor’s property still has the weeds next door.
The cranes came along and thought my weed pile was a play pile and pulled weeds out and tossed them about, dancing and jumping, they had a great time and I enjoyed watching them.
The baby had an itch  034re – the heron stayed out of their way safely in the tree.
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That’s it so far on the Rat Wars,  Victor can call me any time for an endorsement…

EEEEK! Last night the trap snapped as I was walking down the hallway to the bedroom. I screamed knowing above me was a rodent in a neckhold. But let me back up with some nice photos from the weekend.
First yesterday was rather dreary, thought we might get some rain finally, but nothing but a sprinkle. My lemons are looking good as they start to ripen. 100_6204re and the hibiscus are blooming nicely.  100_6197re and the lake was quiet with it’s graceful lilies.  100_6201re
I would rather be outside than inside with rodents over head. But my brother drove up from the Keys with his wife, sweet Penni, so we got to spend the afternoon together and went to Fuji for sushi dinner.  It’s always great to see my little bro. They left after 9pm and Adam was at home and I was walking down the hallway and heard a sound like something had snapped. I then realized it was the trap and got the ladder and peeked into the attic. I heard a rodent run and looked for the trap, it was kind of hidden by insulation, but could see something in it, didn’t want to stay with one rodent still running around.
After going to bed at 4am, I woke at 8am, that was after waking several times dreaming of rats swimming around the attic. I awoke twice really panicky. Finally I got up at 8am, but waited till Adam was up before I made noise going up to the attic. I pulled the fishing line and on the end was a dead rat in the trap, he died very quickly! Those big Victor traps do the job! So the good news is, one less rat to infest mankind, but the bad news is, there is still another, or possibly more. Tomorrow I will call a critter place and see if I can hire one to put the traps way in the back where I can’t reach.  I want to be rat free! What if they have a family – YIKES!!! I put up two traps today and am going to get glue strips.  Wonder if we will have two snaps up tonight, that would be delightful!
As for today – went outside to weed and heard the heron making a familiar call when it is in the tree where it normally nests.  100_6257re That is always a great sign, and maybe it means Fall is here, though the temps have been record hot all week in 90’s still.  The crows were out this morning too.   100_6245re, even saw two crows kissing.  100_6249-1re
Most of the day was warm and overcast, got two trash cans of weeds for Wednesday and didn’t even go fishing. Through a bit of bread out there and just minnows ate it.  The time change means things will be dark earlier, I don’t understand why we here in Florida even need to “Fall back”? What’s the point? We should get out there with enough petitions to stop this nonsense.
At just about 4:30pm, looked like it might rain, but again, clouds passed on by.
100_6277re Look at that view, my cranes, the little lake, my wonderful neighbors, these are all the pluses, but am feeling that itch for new scenery, maybe it is time for a change, a bigger lake or a lake community with a place to fish. Am thinking seriously of moving on somewhere…

 

100_6142re Taken at Horstmeyer’s in Sanford

Well…I put the boombox with Helter Skelter from Across the Universe on the house side attic opening and Adam had a Halloween tape with cats screaming and people screaming and we blasted, and…. nothing, frigging nothing. I walked around the perimeter of the roof, didn’t see a thing. So I took the leaf blower up in the attic, left it on it’s side for 5 minutes  —  and that’s the new mission, DISORIENT DISORIENT DISORIENT!  I figure that blower blasts at decibles much higher than the boom box, (don’t worry, I plugged my ears.) I’m wondering if I do this several times a day, will it disorient them and make those critters leave???  One of us is going to be disoriented by the time this is through and yes, I have traps up there and thank Julius for his genius idea of knotting fishing line on the traps so the animals can’t run somewhere with the trap attached, Thanks Julius. Now Bobbo on the other hand felt that since I like fishing, I should give up my regular fishing time and put bread and peanut butter on the end of a hook and cast out into the bowels of the attic and wait and see.  Naw, not happening Bobbo, not missing my outdoor fishing for indoor rodent wrestling.
Well, the traps are set, I will continue to blast off the blower at weird times and see what happens… Is this how we lost Osama to the mountains? What if the rodents headed for my walls, maybe the neo-con strategy is really a lose-lose situation,  Meanwhile…

Yesterday my buddy Dee-dee and I went to Horstmeyers in Sanford, I had never even heard of it, so we drove over and what a super nice weed and feed kind of store.
100_6152re They have a ton of horse tack and horse supplies, lots of seeds, hay, and even live chicks. The help was nice and the place is very clean and appealing.  Here’s some photos –  100_6147
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100_6139-1re So if you need some pet supplies, tractor supplies, a saddle, chickens and even baby ducks and bunnies in season, fertilizer, local honey,  head on downtown to Sanford and enjoy the ambiance over there, it’s like being in the country somewhere up north!

We continued down toward the marina looking for wildlife and say the usual characters near the marina,  100_6167re 100_6157re The ducks came right toward the truck like they were getting roadside service. There was one yacht decorated for Halloween.
100_6184re ummm, wonder what made the water swirl to the left of the boat. I saw my favorite duck I will call “Blago” with his great hairline
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We noticed a bus sitting along the river that said Stirfrytv.com on the side and the same dog on the bus was on a leash outside the bus, I looked it up at home and it is a goofy news spoof channel.  100_6155re

But the cutest thing that made us both laugh was a man wheeling around his four terriers in the back of a homemade cart attached to his bike as he rode them around and they seemed to love it, so I leave you with better creatures than I began with…
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100_6131re THIS IS SPARTA! 158e2a0ab585e2c0
Frankie inspects the bounty, we are on a mission! Somewhere in my attic is a mouse, or worse, a rat or even worse, plural—EEK!
I hear the foot prints over my computer desk. I thought it was a squirrel for a while and figured it would leave, but then noticed that there was mouse crap in the garage. I took everything out of the garage Tuesday and uncovered a nest of some lose, torn plastic and inside was birdseed and nuts from the bird seed, a nice stash for a mouse wanting to eat at home. Then I pulled an old antique mirror away from the wall and saw a big field mouse or a young rat and she ran. I had the doors, both the door to the outside and the double garage door open, but it hid behind a desk. I found Ringo and brought him out with me, he sniffed around and stopped at that nest and sniffed and sat . I pulled it open and 8 baby pinkies were in the nest. Ringo baby sat  100_6092ringore and the mouse must have snuck out.  I pulled everything out and looked in all nook and cranies. Next strategy, put the squealing babies in a box and put them up in the attic with Ringo, I was hoping their distress would bring out a sympathetic rodent.  Ringo bounded up the ladder to the attic and I sat up there and watched him disappear, but it was hot up there, I came down after five minutes, Ringo stayed about fifteen minutes, he didn’t bring anything with him, but went inside and plopped down on the kitchen floor to cool off. It has to be 100 degrees up in the attic because it is mid nineties on the ground. I brought the babies down and left their box outside figuring maybe the mom would come back or maybe there was some nice snake who would be quick. Sorry, I do not want 8 more rodents around here.
I had my son put expanding caulk in the place where the air conditioner wiring goes through between garage and outside.  100_6132re And sealed up everything, EXCEPT, the roof long vents, that is where they had to have gotten in,  100_6134re – they are open and have plenty of room to welcome the weary animals who get tired from climbing the roof. I bought wiring to try and rig inside the vents, but not just yet!
What’s next? Strategy planning, first I called the critter removal places, it’s either a free inspection and $250 with no guarantees or even more depending on what they find and the services they deliver. I have found they clean up and repair damage. It’s $89 for some to come set the traps and then a few days later another $89 to retrieve and remove the dead animals. Everything is ala carte, one place says they have a 5 and 10 year guarantee, but who knows if they will be in business when you call them in a week to pick up the traps? That makes those mice worth their weight in gold. What I need is three hungry feral cats to go out and have a field day! But since that isn’t feasible and I don’t want Ringo up there around all that insulation anymore, THIS IS WAR!
I have employed neo-con thinking, screw the Geneva Comvention stance on these rodent terrorists, forget it PETA, unless they want to come save the animals. I am going to employ Abu Ghraib tactics — loud loud torturous music supplied by two boom boxes simultaneously blasting music at full blast from the two attic access doors.I am looking at music choices now and will load a DVD later with our special rodent removal songs. Right now I am researching the music our military used on terror suspects. AC/DC, Britney Speirs, Metallica, I am scrutinizing, but at this point, I am considering Hendrix, Judas priest and even a bit of William Hung, remember that guy, Keith Olberman was obsessed by him.  794a297b8143fa02 We will experiment a bit, and when we come up with the right mix, we will blast from the boom boxes and I will be standing by with my camera to see if there is any exodus. If it works, I will sell my rodent revenge mix for $19.99! That will save people a lot of dirty work, and a lot of financial pain!
If that does not work, we will switch to plan B — dehydrating/bloodthinner D-con biscuits and big traps. Plan C- is the default pet removal –   Stay tuned….
71c3916b4c9ab0c0 This rodent image caught my eye, what the Hell???

 

On my second official nature walk where I am supposed to be exercising, I find myself walking on parts of Mayfair golf course which is full of mature live oaks.  mayfairgca-1_edited and sometimes

the hawks and other birds are within a good photo range. What I really want to see are more of what everyone says are fox squirrels.  Well what I thought they were fox squirrels, but according to wikipedia and other sources, fox squirrels are pretty common  gray squirrel looking squirrels.  foxsquirrel So now I had to go pull up squirrel mugs and see what I was really looking for.  The squirrels at the golf course are unique – the first time I saw them I thought they were either prarie dogs or ferrets jetting across the greens. They are larger than normal squirrels, and they have very interesting faces. When I finally got my first photo of one, it had a mushroom stem in it’s mouth and looked like it was smoking.  foxsquirreld-1Today I found two that were quite a distance and I tried to make my way over close to where they were and not get whacked in the head by some golfer, (I heard that more sandhill cranes down here are killed by golf balls than anything else. )  42809foxquirrelsstanding The fox squirrels just might be called Sherman’s fox squirrels, which technically makes them still fox squirrels. I will research further. They certainly were not wanting their faces photographed, one took off and one started climbing a pole that was not too close, so I did the best I could in capturing it’s image.  42809shermansfoxsquirrela-1resix It says they can get up to 27″ long and I believe it, they are big. The funny part is, I only live about a half mile away and they don’t seem to cross the road. They seem to like it on only one side of Country Club blvd. It would be so cool to see these animals in my yard. But then again, if I had all my wishes for wildlife in my yard, there would be a mini Africa around here and probably no room for me.

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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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