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First let me tell you that last night I was blogging when Ringo made a jump on my desk and a dive for the wall and looked like he was listening to something intense. So I listened too. What was it? I saw no crawling bugs and then worried, what if? What if  rats were back in the attic or garage? I walked out to the garage with Ringo who inspected the territory  and could find nothing to kill. I felt that was a good sign. He then went out for the night and I sat at my desk and tuned into to the house, keeping my ears open to every creaky, creepy noise that comes with a 50 year old house and when it is dark outside, the imagination is ripe!   (Ringo finds nest of newborn rats in garage last October)
I still have traps set up in the attic and change them every few weeks, only time will tell. So far I hear no foot steps. That cat is a prankster, maybe he was just trying to liven things up. Tonight Frankie has taken over, she just stares into space, she’s old and that’s what she does. If she does what Ringo did, then I will freak out and call an exterminator,
This morning woke to the same old Dante’s Hell outside. I am hoping that by next week my computer will be fixed and my Photoshop and CD/DVDs will be able to be reinstalled and I can work on my art again. Photoshop is like colorfully applied heroin, I am not doing well without my daily fix, (not of heroin, of Photoshop.) “Au natural” is not working well for me. But at least my Alpha is back and the lens working. Here’s a few morning shots:

Actually the squirrel and jay were the day before.
Tonight I drove over to Casselberry where I thought the Arthouse was having a reception.   There was no one inside that I could see, but the door was open so I went in. No one was in the main Gallery, but I did hear voices in the back to discover artists painting away. It was a class. I felt dumb when no one knew of a reception, but did take time to notice the Gallery filled with an Exhibit I think was called Magnificent 7. The colors and theme were pleasing. Here are a few of the works:
and there was photography too  – The building itself is wonderfully serene.  I enjoy the view of the lake from all the windows.  Inside the walls invite you to exhibit.   I walked outside and came across a huge hawk who only sat still for seconds when he noticed me.  he was a gorgeous speciman!  But he was quick. The views around the building are wonderful as I have stated in past blogs. Have a look:  
The lake and walkway are fun, the landscaping has become so lush! But the lightning was becoming plentiful overhead even with a mostly blue sky.
I finally found out through another lost soul that the reception was inside the City Hall building. There I found Linda Moore,  the Recreation Coordinator there talking to some of the artists.  The exhibit is called “Dance of Life” and the passion was very intense.  I met artist, Gary Paduch. His stirring paintings were absorbed as soon as you walked in. I learned he also writes and has a book and plans on writing another. All can be seen at  his website at  http://gf.paduch.com he has a gorgeous and intense body of work. Take a peek and enjoy!  Here is a view of some of the “Dance of Life” exhibit,  the artists on display are,  Betty and Jim Bay, Stephanie Kindle. Mactruque, Dale Metz, Monte olinger, Berto Ortega, Gary Pauch and Steve Piscitelli. I am only showing a few paintings, the rest are for you to discover.
http://www.casselberry.org/ I never knew Jim Bay was a painter, but he did this small jazz piece. Betty his talented wife must have rubbed off on him after all these years.  There were a few sculptures – go see it all yourself. 
When I left at about 7:45pm, the sky to the east and north were threatening. The sun was getting low when I reached Country Club but I veered off and tried to get a few pics   This is over Crystal Lake

The noisy bully of a storm was showing off overhead and thunder got louder.  The clouds over my own lake were very dark and menacing.  I did shoot a quick video as it was almost too dark. And as I shot, I noticed a heron in my pine, I have not seen a heron in about a month. I was excited by it’s presence and watched till it flew away, maybe tomorrow it will come back. Enjoy the storm that passed over,        have a great tomorrow and an even better one after that!

This looks like a polished piece of porcelain with hairs sticking wayward, but it is a close up of an Alaskan King crab claw. That was dinner last night, (not mine, I ate shrimp and they were ‘shrimpy’ in comparison with the width of that leg!) But, when I saw the cracked claws, I had to take some close ups, the hair was just too bizarre! The orange was such a pretty color.
Outside it is like a blast furnace and everywhere I go, I notice the mockingbirds chasing everything out of their way. I did happen to get a few of the crow sitting on one of my cut off trees getting ‘buzzed’ at by the mockingbird. Here’s the story in pics:
the crow retreats to tree stump, he looks out at the oncoming vengeance of two mockingbirds.

They swoop down and fake attack that stubborn crow,  The crow took off,   heading
right in my direction and then veering off.  The crows and mockingbirds can be seen all over as the ‘mockers’ love to dive bomb the crows. The crows just go about their business looking overhead all the time.  Here’s some crow pics: 

My cranes were here on and off all afternoon, I witnessed the tender moments between parent and child by the lake. The babies do love to chase off the other birds, they have been taught well.    Here’s Mom grooming.   Baby watches to see how close the ducks get.     ah, the love!  It was so sweet how tenderly the mother would tap the baby’s beak.   My mallard pair are hanging around too. The foot that looked broken is up and running again I am glad to report. Birds must injure themselves from time to time. I have noticed my grackle since last year who has the mis-shapen toe,     notice that wayward toe on the right.
He hops on it, gets along well and makes up for the impediment by being very much of a bully.  

That grackle is a great example of  ‘making do’!
The flowers are looking good, but the heat is getting to them as there has been no rain for over a week and 90+ degree temps that actually feel like over 100!     It’s so hot even the doves

have become feisty!    Blue jay and dove eye to eye.   The dove was

“unflappable”  Stood its’ ground.     Then it actually moved forward at the jay and they both flew off.    The heat is making our tempers short. Confrontation isn’t limited to humans – I see well executed sparring right in my own yard!
P/S, now I am in possession of a dove that got pounced on by the neighbors cat.    I saw it out of the window and ran out. The poor dove was stunned and not flying. Right now it is sitting quietly inside the cat cage with food and drink, in a dark bedroom and later or in the morning I will let it loose…(When Ringo is in the house)

Very simply, there is so beautiful detailed bits of nature around here when you take pics with macro lenses. I am going to put up photos that give natures little details. First let me tell you I saw the mallard couple    and the male was limping, but nothing at all like the other day when he didn’t use his leg and held it up – happy to say he is improving. 

So lets take a look at some details, first Kim’s Sago palm,  This ‘projection’ means it is a male plant, here’s a bit closer look at the cone,   and look closer:   and another

And lets look at some creepy little bugs that chew up my milkweed plant

They are really so tiny you hardly notice they are there.  This cutie was busy too, I think he was eating those yellow buggy goobers.
these are natures tendrils,  little vines, love the way they curl:   

These are all

from the red passion flower vines.   crepe myrtle.

Canna lily, and canna lily photoshopped,    Look at the grasshopper –  he was splashing me with his juices.   That little golden bubble came out of it’s front left foot…   a sunflower and variations     periwinkle and

variation,    and this   and a soft shell turtle

—  The turtle was swimming around cursing me, telling the fish to hurry and go toward the middle of the lake where I couldn’t reach them. It worked too, I caught nothing tonight.   Ringo was mad and went back to the porch. What’s worse, a brooding feline or vindictive turtles?  While I stood there watching my bobber a long long time, a crow was helping myself to the bait, as much as he could shove in his mouth. What can you do, he’s part of nature’s details….

I actually think a wood duck is nesting in the duck box.  Tonight as I was fishing just before the sun went down,  one duck came peeking out of the box and she and her partner flew around the lake several times. Then the fourth time they circled and the female flew into the box and the male went into the lake. It was dark almost and I could not see him for sure.
Each morning the mallard pair are still somewhere on the property.  They seem to wander from one end of the property to the other, even front to back. They are here all day.   Are they nesting somewhere? They seem to be looking for a place too. As I fished, the fulvous ducks came back once again, all three shared the herons tree and make quite a concerto up there.   
They are just adorable. They stayed a half hour and this time, then took off toward the east.   Then it was feeding time at the heron’s nest. First the babies flew home,
they waited as their parent came up with a mouthful of fish.       


It gets crazy up there with heads bobbing and necks intertwining. The babies look like they will knock the parent right off it’s feet and out of the nest. The wings are flapping and the pterodactyl  sounds permeate – it sounds like birds feeding on each other.  There is a lot going on all around me, a lot of bird/duck, wing stimulation for sure.
The moon is a beautiful half,    the evening quite windy, too much wind coming off the lake for fishing to be any good. I opted to mow the front yard after about an hour of catching nada!
Earlier I found a rodent  on the bird feeder.   When he saw me he looked below like it was the height of the Empire State building and opted not to jump, but escape via the tree branches.
Ran around Sanford to find an antique frame for Andrea’s unfinished self portrait, I kind of liked that frame in one of the antique stores.     But will look for a more ornate gold one. I love her art!  I am slacking on my website, must get that worked on, it’s actually about resizing photos, what a job, one day I will treat it as a job instead of a hobby….

I have enjoyed the wonderful array of dragonflies down by the lake – here’s an assortment of photos and a quick glimpse

Well, so much for my Mothers Day!  I was thinking about this really nice flatware I wanted as I stood on the roof this afternoon over at Andrea’s townhouse and caulked around the upstairs bedroom window.   I sat up there overlooking Lake Bellaire which looked like it was getting algae too. People must be mindful of over fertilization of their grass. But to get back. I was on the verge of asking the kids for some Reed and Barton flatware I had admired, and knew that would be something fun for mothers day. I kept it in the back of my head all afternoon. I didn’t go to Sanford’s Alive After 5, instead I fished and then came in because the turtles, 5 of them were harassing me by going for the bait. I went to go look in the dryer when I noticed my water pump was running and running and there was no water on. When I opened the garage door I saw a problem… now I guess I will tell the kids I want a well tank instead of the flatware. See those mumbo-jumbo of contraptions?   That is my water system, the blue tank is the well pump tank, the middle is the chlorine tank, then the softener and then the charcoal tank. If you notice, you will see water all over beneath the pump tank, yep, the iron has eaten through the bottom of the tank and it gave way and has been leaking as I was fishing which of course is after business hours! Water was gushing when I came out to check on my wash after fishing. Now it feels like a hurricane has passed through as I have had to turn the water to the house off. BUT– I have a great water team, Bill and Bradley who own Discount Water Supply  on Airport Blvd in Sanford. Bill is good about calling me back and smoothing things over and assuring me I will live through the night and won’t flood out.  I will have water tomorrow. Bill really gives good lessons in water equipment and I write down his lessons on the wall above the tanks,   they read like Biblical verses of things to live by regarding water, like which spigot turns off water to the house, which is the by-pass for the salt tank, which is the testing spigot. Too much for a brain to absorb. So I wrote them in permanent marker on the walls and live by them.  Bill even provided me with my own little ‘plug’  so during hurricane season or if a bad storm would turn the electric off for hours, I can plug right into my generator so I have water. When you live with a well, it does make you appreciate water usage that much more. Tonight I even miss simple flipping on the spigot at the sink to have water, for now  I pour about a tablespoon of water in my hand and some soap, foam it up and then a small amount of water  for a short rinse. It makes one mindful of what a precious commodity water is.
But to get back to Mothers Day, I had so wanted this nice inexpensive flatware to replace all the cheap broken sets that are now occupying the drawer.  But think I will ask the kids for the new Pump tank, that makes more logical sense and I will certainly use it enough. These things aren’t cheap. Gosh, $200 for a tank which hopefully will last for years, and I also need a new charcoal refill, another $200 also, but once both are put into place, they should last for years. I have no monthly charges for water and sewer, but things must be maintained for up keep to have good water. Most of you have city water, my water is loaded with iron and goes through a chlorine tank that then washes out the chlorine via salt and then the charcoal, there is no flouride in my water. I have noticed that that now have chlorine free systems, there are options to maintaining clean water.
I guess flatware can wait for my birthday, well, that’s in August  – ummm, my front truck tires are wearing out, maybe the kids can buy me flatware next X-mas…

This young mockingbird was outside my window this afternoon   – it was eating seed and then seemed to get tired and it sat down. 
It almost toppled over, but straightened up and flew off.

Yesterday morning I heard a lot of noise around 7:30am. Of course the baby herons were screaming for their breakfast, but it sounded like the adults were squabbling. I looked out and saw there were 4 other herons around the trees where the nest is. The sun was blinding as it is right behind the nest, but I tried to get some of the group in all one photo, that was a challenge. They stayed grouped for hours, it seems like they took off in the early hours of the afternoon. Here’s a look at the clan.
The first thing I noticed were the mass of blue clouds fortressed, almost denying the sun her entrance.  They said all night we would have big storms, only a slight rain came for about an hour, nothing with the magnitude they predicted. I looked above and noticed a heron flying in.   That’s normal, the male must fish in the early morning and comes back with the grub. But today there were 4 other adults up in various spots in the surrounding trees.   Click on photo to see larger version. They stuck around for a while, then one would fly off and come back and play musical branches, flying up and tagging of the other cranes which would scream and then fly off, circle and come back again.
They were quite active, lots of interaction.

This photo shows that one even stood on my roof for a while. He stood and watched the others, ruffled his feathers and took off .
I read a ‘dream’ explanation for herons and of course, they had several interpretations. One they are wading birds, so if you dreamt of them, you stood in doubt of your direction. The other said they brought prosperity. I’ll go with the last.    Where’s Waldo?

This one is quite distinctive as it’s mouth is always open like that, must have a beak defect. 

Threw in a small blue heron that happened to be hanging on neighbors boat.
Finally I could see the babies in the nest t get a photo, look hard, they are busy flapping their wings trying to figure out how they work. I did a blog last year about one that fell from the nest and it was so pathetic how it would cry and cry for it’s folks and once it was down, the parents could do nothing to get it back up that high. The baby would sleep in the lower branches of one of my norfolk pines at night. I am hoping that one of these herons is that baby. It was eating on it’s own.
Here’s the babies:   They now stand on the edge of the nest and look out.

And that was last night before the Sanford Art Walk, will have a few pics later today as the sun is rising, must go look towards the horizon… Good morning….

Don’t be jealous, but this is the view from my window as I write this.
– Of course I had to run out and take a bizillion photos of the new arrivals.  I observed them for a long time.

The smaller one required a lot of down time. It seemed a bit weak. It sat a lot and pecked at the ground. The parents fed them a lot of worms and some bird seed, one tiny grain at a time.

So gently and loving the parents are AND protective. The father talks when I cross the line of demarcation. He gives me a warning and I back off. Luckily I have a good long telephoto on the Kodak and I like the quality of the Kodak on the photos better than the Sony, the Kodak takes a bit softer photo, because of that telephoto I suppose.  But I take both cameras out and shoot away anyway.   Both parents are attentive, but I do worry for that smaller baby as it must sit and rest almost every ten minutes, this is not anything I have seen with any of the other baby cranes, most are good with keeping the pace and only relax when they have walked a good distance, never as frequently as this little one.

Little Beta leans on Alpha.   Mama crane rests with babies. You probably ask, what about Ringo? Ringo has never gone after any of the baby cranes in the 6 years I have been here. But we do have a stray coming around, a black cat and I think it will learn a lesson about the wrath of the big birds should he get fresh.  If I can trap it, I will send it to the humane society.   
Here’s a few more photos:

We did have more visitors this morning, some ducks that were very beautifully marked
possibly a wood duck?

Yesterday I say a pinkie sized snail that required a macro lens view:   and a Great Egret came by and stopped for a meal:   grabbed that lizard quicker than quick.
As usual the bird bath was busy   Many grackles, cardinals, jays and blackbirds.  A mockingbird is busily building a nest:   The time change sucks and I am trying to learn how to change it and have only one time all year around. When I find out how this could be changed and we could become like Arizona, I will inform you so our fellow Floridians could all rally around a one time year round state – the changes are just stupid – leave it on daylight savings time!  I don’t sleep much, but now I am going to bed at 4 and 5am – it’s crazy!
Enjoy your day, I have miles to go and cranes to meet and a heron waiting for me to fish on the other side of the time zone – how do you tell a waiting heron to come back in an hour? I guess I just have to extend the fishing time by an hour – gotta run out and do my duty…

This morning was loaded with woodpeckers, pileated and red-bellied. they were in pairs and very busy looking at existing tree holes and even trying to make home improvements on other ones.

Of course there are always the regulars
The cats wonder if Godzilla crane will be setting foot onto the porch to trample them…
Ringo dreams about fishing…   
Grackles look out for Ringo, the squirrels find safety in numbers
This little “rocky” says, “Bring it on Ringo” 

And of course tonight the rain was coming in and the ibis looked beautiful in the tree.  They were so white against the dark blue sky, whereas on Saturday they just looked beautiful flying against the cloudy sky.

The grackles and blackbirds are always waiting for food.
At around 4-5pm, the heron comes down to fish with Ringo and me.     and all is fine until the jealous crane comes and chases the heron off.  Even Ringo steers clear of the mean crane.

On Sunday as Lee fished, the crane chased the heron off to the island, the crane thinks he’s the boss of everyone.  

The heron hurries away, but waits for the crane to fly off and comes back. Tonight a storm came in and I had to quit fishing,             

tomorrow the heron and crane will be back as will the woodpeckers, birds and squirrels and we will start all over again…(gladly)

Like a nut, I decided to fish. I put on two longsleeved shirts, (over a t-shirt) and then donned a sweatshirt and then an oversized bigger sweatshirt. After all, it is only in the 50’s here, low 50’s at fishing hour and ever minute as the sun wanes, a degree drops.  Okay, that might be laughable to someone in Minnesota who feels like 50 degrees is like 80, but to me, it feels like ice fishing minus the ice.
I spotted some vultures enjoying the wind currents.       Look, a harlequin vulture.
The fishing sucked, but I kept hearing a noise and looked up. I recognized the sound, a baby heron telling it’s Mom it was hungry.  I tried to see if I could catch any baby wings, but all I could see was the Mom bending over to feed it. Do you see anything?

I could not see anything, but it was one noisy baby. It only sounded like one.  Will have to wait till it gets a bit bigger before I see any physical evidence.
After about fifteen minutes I gave up fishing for nothing and explored my neighbor Kim’s camelias, there were tons of buds and a few blooms, the flowers were quite pretty,  here’s a sampling.


All afternoon I had grackles, blackbirds, cardinals and the steady crowd. Yesterday I had robins come by,  but they were tough to get a good photo of, they are really “flighty”!

I walked toward them and forget it, they flew away fast.   Here’s some of the regulars who are better at cooperating,

Gather your nuts carefully and have a great Friday….

Yesterday it was gray and gloomy and rained on and off late afternoon.  At around 6:15pm I was finishing cooking on the grill when I glanced and looked over the lake at the sky, it had turned a weird color right over Sonja’s house. I grabbed my camera and my son Adam to come look at the strange rainbow, like a wall of hues deeply saturated that did not arc, but had been splashed against the deepening sky.
Look for yourself, I don’t even know if I did them justice, but what a treat to remember! Love what moisture Must have been the moisture and sky clearing???

Finally it melted like sherbert over the lake

and we went back inside with a big smile – convinced we had looked into the eye of Iris and she had fully winked at only us!

Deliver me oh Iris
into your rage of colors
take me under your kaleidescope skin
let me taste confusion
lure me into Prism-atica

I think of Inness, Constable, Rubens
seduced
into crossing that line from primary
cursed to spend their lives
behind empty canvas
hunting you with boars hair
trying to capture your soul

She teases from behind
a drape of stiff clouds
demanding attention
taming the storm

then elusive Iris
smiles electric
bleeding her colors
firing our very synapses
into mnemonic intoxication

once we see it
once we feel it
once we taste it
we will long for the pleasure
of always chasing rainbows…

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…

This has to be the coldest winter in years!  I had to go drop off my art submissions to the Sanford Welcome Center and the minute I got out of the car, it felt colder than went I left my home fifteen minutes earlier. The wind whipping off Monroe was a hard slap to the face. Hardly anyone was walking around.  At least the Welcome Center was warm and welcoming. 
And the art on exhibit was exciting.  They had a lot of different items for sale.   Like chomping gators and sharks to edibles.  Our Sanford Welcome Center really welcomes you with a lot of info.
Walked on over to Maya’s books and looked around, then went to a new store recently opened called Fawn,   a baby and child store.  In fact they are giving away everything in their window so go to www.fawnmom.com and register to see if you win something.  They did have adorable baby stuff, like these hats  
How could you resist?  This one looked like a sweet lamb. 
They had stuffed animals that kept the “fear factor” at bay for little ones  There were the cutest shoes:  

The new shop is prepping for their newest additions.  I hope they do well.
Walked across the street to the antique shop, Antiques and Dustibles-  they had wonderful gifts —

Then I put up my hood, put on my gloves and braved the marina:
The birds all headed away from me whan they found I didn’t come with food – how rude was that!    The north east wind was just cruel! It even whipped the waves into a frothy foam near Wolfies.   The birds got great wind currents.   
The ducks were all over looking for food
Now I am home and the cold has numbed me to the bone as the sun goes down.  The suns surrender made the night pink before fading now to black.
That pink was a mean pink, deceptive, it’s now below 40 degrees.  If there are still rats in my attic, I can’t blame them. The native plants around the yard are dead, shriveled,  it feels like Florida has been freeze dried…

Those are turtle eggs, freshly laid.  They came by the way of their mother turtle this morning around 8am.  I had gone out to take some photos of the crappy day. We had a good rain and it was so dark.  The cranes came in for breakfast,
and I had walked to the lake to take some photos of the ‘band of brothers’ who were frolicking in the water.   It was truly a day to be a duck!  It was drizzling a bit after a hard rain.  I started walking back toward the house when I saw a turtle making her way from the house to the lake. She was quite slow in fact, probably because she is a reptile and it was cold and she was tired from laying those eggs.

She ignored the cranes attempt to peck her, and could not even get the energy to run past me to get to the lake, usually the  turtles will crank on the speed when they see humans near them. I’m sure she was exhausted and cold.  I walked back to where she had come from and could see where she had buried the eggs, I gently extracted five eggs that were not buried too deep.  The raccoons would have easily gotten to them or the cold coming tonight would have killed them.  I have raised successfully a number of snake eggs, and did have luck with one clutch of  turtle eggs a couple summers ago.    They were the size of quarters, but it was always summer when we incubated the eggs so the heat naturally kept them warm enough to grow into full term turtles and snakes that broke open their shells and were ready for the world.  The turtles looked just like the ones we kept as kids in those little clear plastic turtle bowls we had in the 50’s before they scared us all with the “salmonella” stories.
The eggs I took I have placed within a small plastic fish tank that has a night light incorporated into the top of the tank. I also placed a thermometer inside and the temp is almost 80 degrees with a tiny 7 watt bulb — that’s perfect, so maybe on February 19th, there could be 5 little baby turtles hatching.  I must keep them moist without being too wet, and heated without getting hardboiled.  This should work perfectly:
Will keep you posted. They say you can’t “candle” them like duck eggs. We never did get one fertilized duck egg.
It was just a dreadful morning, I ran to Michaels and as I looked for a frame, it began pouring. I had to wait for it to settle down a bit before going back to the car.  As I drove from the parking lot in the pouring rain, I noticed two vultures up on a light post waiting out the burst of water.  They looked rather stunned.  Notice that it was so dark, the lights were on at 11am.
Even driving through the neighborhood looked blurred  —        Now comes the cold, and tonight, you can feel the temperature drop!  Ringo is inside on my bed, he hates the cold too.
My little brother is here and we took Adam and got all bloated eating Chinese at Lee’s Palace then topped it off with ice box cake, Judd’s favorite made of pure whipping cream and Nabisco chocolate wafers.
I finished framing and should be ready to drop off work on Sunday, will let you know if there is a reception and what the dates are for the Gateway Members Exhibit.

Those are the pics, though I think they are only using two per person.  The next pics below are some I took this am.

And that’s it for tonight, stay warm, have a fun weekend….   

The cranes had been sunning themselves right out my window. 
The seemed so happy and peaceful taking in the warmth on this 50+ degree afternoon.
The female sat and contentedly groomed,  and I forget that they have white eyelids, and they close going up, versus ours that close down.   When suddenly the cranes took off. and I looked and the fox was out there.  He took off after them and I didn’t see him. Then I looked out the back, and there he was standing on my stump eating bird seed.  He looked starved and mange-y.
He looked at me through slits and then jumped down and ran away. I called animal services, told them the situation, and they said if he was eating he was okay. I beg to differ, does this look okay?   He looks kind of creepy, hope it is not rabid.
I will have to watch when I take little Bella outside. Don’t want the fox to think she is a Taco Bell special.    Yesterday my neighbor called when she saw the fox, I went out and caught a photo of him crossing the street.  Poor thing looks so lost.
The ibis are out in pairs again,   the heron has left it’s nest, I’m sure it went fishing.  A cute moth was on the wild little daisies.  
Later I should have some photos on http://offshoot2.wordpress.com
Until then, I am going to take a nap and then do X-mas cards. Catch ya later….

PS – I will call animal services tomorrow, request a trap, and will send them a photo…

A cold front approaches. It’s another gray day, everything looks bland. 
The cranes came , did a rain dance. We are in need of moisture.  The heron was MIA in her nest for 4 hours, maybe she was fishing.   The nest is filling out slowly.
She did come back in early afternoon.  A pair of ibis came foraging for food.
and a pied-billed grebe came by and dove under the water when he saw me.   They are funny looking.

I tried my hand at macro, but wind was blowing and the focus was almost impossible. But did get a few pics in to show.  So here’s a few…

Someone told me that those are some sort of beetles mating and not lady bugs.
Ringo the heron and I fished,    but the wind was whipping and the drizzling rain was getting cold and miserable, so I had to come in.  The heron was in her nest and it was waving in the wind.   Ringo came to the back door and decided to come in and dry off.
Right now Frankie is in my lap and my legs have lost all circulation,    ugh, I must get up and move.   Oh, I was looking at my match holder and realized I must get a chimney sweep to clean out  the fireplace.   For now, that’s it, and I’m sending a rose to Tabbie to let her know I am thinking about her and hope she is feeling better.
And here’s a video from Tampa, a bit shaky, but hope you enjoy anyway…     

I had to pick up Hendrix  today from 55 West downtown where he had hung in a model rental, and it rented so Jimi had no further service.  Anyone need a Hendrix photo?  And since I had to go downtown, I decided I would make a few stops along the way, one was at Borders in Winter Park where the Animal Welfare Alliance was wrapping holiday gifts for donations, I was eager to help and dropped off wrapping paper and bows. Gail Nagan is trying hard to get her dream of the low cost spay and neuter clinic realized and she is making all efforts to fund it, so if you need something wrapped or would like to volunteer to gift wrap, please call her, (407-462-2320 )  — she would love the help.  But of course, I am out of sequence, first I stopped off in Casselberry.   Went to Casselberry Art House and WOW, I was not prepared for how it has morphed since last time I visited!  They have revamped the whole space around it into a absolutely ‘bucolic’ – peacful space!  The street Melody has been sealed off so you must turn on Triplet.  The Art House itself remains the same in it’s arty-ambiance. Linda, the Recreation Coordinator was getting it ready for an art exhibit.  It looked interesting.  I didn’t take photos on the inside only because I was not sure how their artists would react. But, here’s photos of the new outside. 

Look at all the crows!   And my favorite spot, the wonderful fountain!    
The jets go in several sequences and you could take a lap top and sit and reel off that novel you have been wanting to write, but your brain is in blocked mode. Or read a book — this setting over looking the lake and the wonderful boardwalk will help relax you!  This really added to their city hall.  They have concerts and art shows, go to their website, the Art House offers art lessons and other types of classes too. They have a seniors group that also meets, call 407-262-7700
for more info or go to their site, www.casselberry.org or cut and paste
http://www.casselberry.org/index.aspx?nid=338
It was after that , that I went to Borders and I also got an assiago pretzel, not that great.
Then I figured I would stop to see what was new at the Comma, Karen had sent out notices about her latest exhibit,  “4 The Birds” – I missed the reception, they even had live birds from the Orange County Audubon Society!  When I parked, there was a window with ‘day of the dead’ figures.

I walked in the back door of Comma and felt like I always do,  that I am in a first class art gallery! And Karen comes out and always greets ‘silly old me’ as if I am a paying customer. She has always been a great teacher about the people and techniques and pieces she has on the walls and on display.  She told me I had to photograph the t-shirt I was wearing and call it “Something”, so here’s my shirt –   Yep, that shirt is a trick, a ploy to divert the eyes and keep them focused upwards and not at my chubby Jewish thighs!  The shirt as you notice has two tigers in strategic placement.  It is a shirt you see coming at you.  But I always wear shirts with something visual, many times with something to read,  like Dr. Suess – 
but that’s another blog and neurosis folded in my t-shirt drawer!
And here’s a tour of Comma Art Gallery:

The glasswork by Duncan McClellan, his color and usage of design were truly beautiful.   Love the swans.  My favorite was a collage and stitched piece of a women and a crow.   There is always unique jewelry and the same with the artwork.
Grady Kimsey is totally awesome.  Karen’s painting is always fresh and inspiring.  She’s very diverse!
Patrick McGrath Muniz has an astounding icon view of art, it’s ironic and totally eye consuming, you really have to look at the detailing of his art.  You must venture down to 813 Virginia Dr. and see the art work.  Hey, I can’t show everything, I want you to go have a look. And if you are an artist, there is gallery space available, e-mail Karen at  commagallery@gmail.com   She runs an internationally known gallery and will be glad to fill you in.    http://www.commagallery.com
I  enjoyed my visit there, but knew Jimi was waiting. I bid Karen ‘adieu’ and moved on to Orange Avenue. I  hate driving the one way, narrow  streets of downtown. I parked and walked several blocks to new 55 West condos that did not sell as condos, but as rentals, they rent out briskly.  I walked in and asked for  Jimi Hendrix, the ‘concierge’ guy seemed rather uppity! Hey desk guy, get over yourself, in the dictionary your job title is only a fancy French name for a front desk watcher/janitor.
Jimi and I marched back with 9 minutes left on the parking meter.  I played “the Wind Cries Mary” and “Little Wing”, (my song to myself) over and over as we traveled down Rosilyn onto the east I-4 ramp and off we cruised to our Sanford exit.
I didn’t go right home,  there was that one stop at Giovannis for eggplant parmigiana,  (Pam, I just couldn’t wait for a visit to Brio.)  Jimi waited politely in the car.
Giovannis’ garlic rolls are the best, I love Italian food and pasta, (too much) it all fits in with the  strategy of  wearing flashy, eye grabbing, catchy t-shirts.  I bet Finola Hughes would grab me off the street for a fashion makeover, Heidi Klum would recoil in horror looking at my wardrobe choices, while Wendy Williams might burn my shirts with her lighter as she does with beef jerky— Please, don’t tell any of them where I live…

This morning we had quite a fog. The night before we had a clear look at the meteor shower and I saw a good amount of gorgeous mini looking comets, it was beautiful to watch. Stayed up till 3am, then woke up and the fog swallowed the lake.  The herons, both male and female were clanking their beaks together.
They seemed real lovey-dovey.   I found it to be a good time to try my hand at some macro photography. I tried with 4 different lenses and had a hard time, but looking through my lens at spider webs was just over-whelming, the webs looked like crystal beads.  Here’s some pics.
There were webs everywhere, and I had 4 different magnifications, so I was all over using different settings. I need a mentor standing beside me. 

The plants and a few bugs were on the plants. I tried to get them, but have no tripod to keep me steady, it is tedious trying to stay still and focus on the details.

The cranes were in full mating mode – they have totally ditched the baby and now only have each other and are enjoying each other. 
They were goofy and looking for trouble. They tried Ringo,   and even Frankie.   I tried to get close to the males silly face.   
It was a good morning and took all day till the sun came shining through.   I did a few abb-strax.  And came out to see the heron take off.

And that was it for the morning, then I left to run errands, get some shopping done and come back in time to fish with the heron and Ringo. It turned out to be in the 80’s and we had sunshine.  Fishing was not great, but that’s okay with me.
Hope your day went well, you can see, there’s hardly a dull animal moment around here…

Forgot to shout out a Happy Hanukah to the other tribe members.
Made my way back from Tampa, weather was very gray and cold until today.  I had a great time though.  I miss Sasha,  and little Bella,
and the kids. We checked the market over there, wow, great home buying opportunities!  Maybe for me???
These are some of the photos I took.

Aaron’s 250 gallon tank only has 3 fish at this time, the big puffer, lion fish and small clown.  The salt water tank is hard to maintain, he might sell the fish and go fresh water, he loves oscar and pacu fish.
The weather as I mentioned was weird, a cold front came through and the winds coming from the northeast off the lake were intense and felt so cold.  The sky was mostly dull the whole time until today.   It was gray and dreary.  When I left this morning, it was sunny and warm again.   I only got off at 4 stops on the way back, traffic was not even that bad.   I stopped at lakeland to get some fries and found a little bookstore called Mary’s. It even had women’s hats.  On the way back, it’s always good to see the outline of downtown.  
I had to stop on Washington St. at RT Art and pick up my photos that were made.
you notice I made them bigger than the others, that’s marketing. As always, Roger and Trish do terrific work, and their dogs are adorable and posed for me too.   They were awesome subjects!
Finally I got home and the sky became totally overcast. I did fish with the heron female on the nest, she flew down and got a few treats. The cranes did a dance, they seemed glad to have me back.  I’m back in the cave, now to get working on my spring crow exhibition and also send a few pics over for the Gateway next month.
Of course I will let you know the dates.
And that’s it — oh wait, the other night, TCM, Turner Classic Movies had a wonderful “short” where dogs starred in all the actor rolls, it was very funny.

And I have no idea what this has to do with anything, just thought I’d let ya go with a smile, (or a growl) …ARF ARF

First, rat update: the traps remain unsnapped, and I do not hear any foot prints, I am sooo knocking on wood hoping the last of them were trapped.  So far, so good.
Heron update:
Wow, they are new at this. This young heron drops a lot of sticks, she has put this nest in a very wide “Y” of the branch. The building is going slowly, and the male stays away more than he is coming to bring branches.  This is how it looked early this morning.

It looks like a tangled mess.  AND — on Wednesday night they have said we will get a cold front with winds up to 50MPH!  Unless she sits there like “Horton Hears  A Who” on that nest, I am getting anxious it will all blow away.  As of now, all I see is her standing over it, looking for her mate who seems to ignore her more than help her.
I ran to the tax office to pay my property taxes and stopped by the marina to see what was exciting. Not a whole lot at all.  But here’s a few pictures.  

Now that I think about it, I saw a lot of  ‘white birds’  and no pigeons down by the one tiny pond across from the marina.  I drove by the buildings on the “island” and saw some of the same old same old ducks so I parked by the memorial eagle statue to look at the water. I did get rewarded by those carp or cat fish that suck air. 

They stand straight or lie on their backs and suck air.

The boats looked clean, air was fresh.

I say that as there was trash in the water and it looks dirty despite the blue reflected from the sky and the extra blue tint I added to the pictures.  Did not see any gators or other water birds like osprey.
I came back home   , the road was ‘less traveled’ at 11am.  I gave up my zoo membership this time around. So I drove home because I was going to pick up my new glasses at the mall. That 20/20 Superstore changed my RX so much, I will have to try them out a few days and see how the change works. So far, my left eye feels a bit cheated and might need a bit more power. I hate to think I have to go back to that damn store again to get the RX right!
On the way back home, there was a hawk sitting on a fence near the red light,
By the time I ran all over, when I got home it was almost time to fish. I gathered my goods and walked with Ringo to the lake. I discovered that my heron that fishes with me is not part of the duo building the nest. I think she is the original mother of one of them.  She was waiting for me. 

As was a beautiful pink and blue night with near full moon.  The moon seemed quite shy tonight and blushed a lot as the clouds passed by.

The water itself was reflective of the deepening shades of pink.
I caught two bream and the heron was well fed.
Left the lake as it grew dark and the mosquitoes came out.  No videos tonight,
just an artistic rendition of Ringo as we left the lake, now pray for rain, but no wind for Wednesday….

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