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Somehow these days have liquified and spilled away – I went to Tampa to paint the new house for the new baby. Painted bedrooms and the nursery which was a joy and every stroke was painted with love for the new life about to come our way. When I left, the chair rail was all cut, but not up yet, nor the border, but Aaron will get it all done and send me a photo of the end result.
The day I left Sanford, the baby herons had taken to flight and what fun it was watching their clumsy sailing from pine tree to pine tree where they would spend perched hours trying to determine when to fly back to the nest.   The first day they learned their wings worked was on the 28th of April. One of the babies took off and stayed away about 3 doors down in a tree top for 6 hours. The other was too afraid yet and stayed in the nest waiting one extra day to test it’s wings. Since then they come and go, always back at the nest for bed time.  They are very excited about flying, but as much as they go tree top to tree top, I have not seen them down in the water getting their food.
we enjoy our night time visitors and the flowers that have been blooming to make gorgeous photos:
Over in Riverview I really was too busy to take photos. I did stop and look closely at the blooms on the magnolias over there as there were so full and buzzing with bees.  I had never noticed how fuzzy the buds were. They looked like they were coated in hair.
— The house was in a subdivision 6 miles from Aaron’s current townhouse. As is the norm here in Florida, many acres of cleared land have farm animals upon them to get the owner a tax deduction. In the meantime, they don’t have to provide an ounce of shade at all for these animals. You know those cows and goats in the heat of a 90+ degree afternoon oppressive sun can’t feel too good. It’s wrong that animals are treated so cruelly and the owner benefits financially, use the money for some shade!
In their natural state on land that has not been denuded for developers, the cows and goats will be found under the trees taking in the shade on these brutal afternoons. It is quite sad that the owners of agricultural animals are not required to supply an area of shading via structures on this vacant land areas, anything to give them some shelter. Am I wrong in my thinking? PETA, where are you?
I stopped by one morning around 8am, the cows were close by the fence.  The first thing I saw was this bird who was intent on telling me this was its’ property.  Not sure what it is.  Here’s the cows:
So many look alikes.  
I got to pet one cows head and love the feel of the strong hide and the smell of these wonderful animals.
Back at the townhouse, the birds were scarce really, not much variety. The pond behind the townhomes had all these bed where the fish tilipia were nesting, they were huge, but, NO FISHING!  Here’s a look at the birds:  That limpkin was so chatty.
Then yesterday, I took off back for Orlando.  Always keep my camera handy as I approach downtown.
And after that, it was a day of getting back into order, tossing junk mail, paying bills, hugging my other two kids and cleaning and loving on the cats. It was a great time in Riverview and it’s always good to get back into the groove!

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!

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…

Here it is at 7 weeks and it is going to be the biggest crane I can think of – it is growing like a corn stalk in July!
So I will let the photos speak for themselves
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For some reason I was drawn to the marina yesterday to see what action was going on. I parked the truck and walked around by the boats. The gators were gone, but I saw weird patterns in the water
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then I saw this dsc03297resiz

and I knew I had found buried treasure! Manatees! 4 of them swirling around.  But, trying to catch their faces was another story.
These ‘baked potatoes’ of the sea would rarely put their whole face out of the water. I did manage a few and you can go to
http://offshoot2.wordpress.com or just type in offshoot2 in the search bar to take you there.
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I saw plenty of mallard type ducks – but not one muscovy.
I even asked a few city workers I saw if they had seen any muscovy ducks and they thought about it and said not recently.
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There were baby ducks, ibis, small herons and turtles, but no muscovy. Have not even seen Carbs or Elvis in about 5 days.
Haven’t seen baby crane either in over a week.

But seeing the manatees was a treat. There was one with a tatoo of A-5. Lots of scarring on the backs of those bodies.. I stayed over 2 hours watching them frolic from point A to point B and everywhere in between.  I wondered if it was mating season as there was a lot of manatee kissing going on, big wet ones… As Paris Hilton would say, “that’s hot”! (well it was about 87 in the shade)
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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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Yesterday my friend Pam and I went on a quest to find the “National Museum of Women in Art”. It was said to be in Deland and since Pam is a member, we thought we would go find out what she is a member of. So we trucked it up to the beautiful, quaint city of Deland, about 15 miles away.  We went to the address on the Google map and it turned out to be the Cultural Arts Center at Stetson University. We wandered in and looked around at the gallery, the work was abstract expressionist by Florida artist, Harold Garde. Every piece was vibrant, really alive and embracing, I gravitated to his “puppet” series, one of a few series he has on display. The exhibit will be there till the 15th of this month –

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But, when we asked about the Women’s Museum, no one had heard much about it. And the women working there as volunteers were quite wonderfully informative. So we back tracked and went walking with our cameras to downtown and ate at Norville Barnes which had excellent food.    restaurantnorville-2_edited-1 Then off we went through the downtown looking for places of interest where Pam can work with her infra-red film.  We found a very cool bookstore with many antiquarian books which I love. Then there was a very fun pet store, Animalia which had terrific snakes and lizards and koi besides other pets. 3beardedlizards-1 Outside there were robins flying all over and they so remind me of growing up in Ohio and seeing those wonderful red breasted birds. 21109robins-1

But still no National Women’s Museum.
We went to take photos of the Wharf, an older building where artist Courtney Canova has painted people on the windows.  21109thewharf-1 And as we walked back to the car, we scame across the Artsan Inn and on a fluke Pam looked up and saw a sign, (no not from God, an actual sign) that read, National Museum of Women in Art. We wandered in and took the elevator where it directed us, the second floor, because there are only 2 floors. And we peeked in all kinds of room and found it. There was a featured artist on exhibit and we found a women who welcomed us there and said yes, this was where Pam was a member. They hoped to host many one person exhibits. Unfortunately, I forgot the name of the artist, but she had remarkable detailed work, plus a painted ostrich egg!   3 (this photo from the Artisan Inn itself, not one of mine)
So Pam and I had a great time and had fun discovering part of Deland which I can say I would be happy to live in such a wonderful and friendly town. Everyone we met was so open and nice. Being a University town with Stetson has shaped this into a cultured city with lots of history and charm. I would go back at the drop of a hat.
When I got home I fished, no fish caught, but weather all day was so perfect you could not have asked for a better day to enjoy!    a few more pics:100_4994_00 Methodist Church  21109elizabethhall-1 Elizabeth Hall.

For more visit:   http://offshoot2.wordpress.com

21009rovermuscoveyc-31 The visitor showed up this morning, he ate some seed and flew off. I have named him Rover, a good name I figured. He is definitely all male! He also is very shy but mixes well with the other 3 ducks.

Last night the moon was so awesome — dsc02448edited

it was just huge. The fishing was also quite good for bream and shiners.  My heron came down at his usual time and waited on the stump for me.
dsc02405 then we walked down to the lake where the ducks were rooting around in the grass and water and Ringo took his position on the concrete to watch the water. The cranes flew south dsc02391 and there were lots of birds flying overhead. It reminded me of the plane recently in the news that sucked up some flying geese and landed in the Hudson. Let me tell you, the Sanford International Airport is about 8 miles away and for how low those planes are coming over my house, I am very surprised that this has not happened on top of me!  The bottoms of some of those planes look close enough for me to hook if I were casting as they flew by!  The bird traffic at night is similar to that of our rush hour, birds and ducks hurrying off to find their sleeping spaces.  Last night I saw so many large flocks moving in all directions and planes that looked like they were only yards above them, I can only wonder when that will happen here – SCARY!
It should be mid seventies today – YES! Wildlife active out there. At some point I do want to go back to Blue Springs on a windless day, though the mantees might be gone with the warm temperatures.
As I was coming out this morning, a woodpecker was upside down on my one small feeder by my desk window. He looked like an acrobat 21009woodpeckeronfeeder-1 It seemed very silly since he has plenty of birdseed on the regular feeder and the stump. I have seen had 2 woodpeckers on my feeder a couple days ago dsc02315
I hope they will also be nesting here soon. I am still waiting for the cranes to find their nesting place. I know it will not be in the water this time, the water is still too high. We  have lots of air traffic at my house as usual, it’s just the way I like it. Have a good day and create a place for nature in your own yard!
Today I am still looking at how to build a website – yikes there are so many sites and instructions. I am reading how to sell stock photography – wow there is so much to learn. It makes me feel like escaping this machine and go back and take photos, oh, I just talked myself into that idea, bye!

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