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Up by 4:24am, ugh, wide awake and it is dark outside.  But watching the early sky after 6am was worth getting up for.   The sky was orange and blue, UF colors for you Gator fans.  From early on it changed into wonderful patterns with a “cold front” going through that really meant nothing cold for the weather here.  That’s at about 8-8:30am.  As it approached noon it was still fun to watch.   And yesterday I took a photo of my fence that is now covered because of one red passion flower vine. 
I also have notice an adorable mocking bird hanging out near the mailbox and discovered she has a nice hidden nest inside the carolina jasmine bush. 

4:30pm it was still a sight  and the pink came and took over fifteen minutes later.   The heron came to fish,   and the cranes are being meaner and meaner to the baby crane. They chase him off all the time now.
Here’s another afternoon pic  and finally
the sun started setting, which turned the sky gorgeous, but I didn’t feel like chasing the sunset tonight.  The trees are too thick to the west.
The heron and I fished  and he got fed.  It was another nice day, but with only 3 hours of sleep, I am worn down and know if I go to bed before midnight, I might be back up at 4am. Still debating trip to Tampa.   

Went out around 6:45am to feed birds, get a look at the day. The anhinga was drying it’s wings, flapping them like a sail in a brisk wind.   DSC04406res The BOBs, Band of brother mallard/mix, whom I am convinced are reincarnated vikings with their attitudes, were wandering through the yard and settled to groom by the water.   DSC04401bobA-1res I still wonder where Carbs the muscovy went to.
The cranes came flying over, you will notice the baby is keeping more of a distance from its’ folks as they are harassing him more often.  Poor guy gets picked on a lot.  DSC04411res DSC04413res baby still has a way to go before all his color fills out.
But the reason I am so excited is because the herons are building their nest!  The first thing I noticed when feeding the birds was the heron flying across the lake with a stick.
000_0506heronres I ran in for my other camera since the battery was running on empty.  And I saw it leave and waited.  And it came back again, another stick in beak.   DSC04393res It then circled the tree and positioned itself for flying into the branches.   DSC04397res
DSC04398re This means it is officially Fall and we will have some eggs, when the eggs come, it’s about 28 days later that they will hatch.
I am on my way to get set up for the art venue, but thought I’d share the start to my day – I hope yours is equally exciting….

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)

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…

 

Yesterday my friend, Pam and I ventured off to the RSVP reception for photographer Douglas J. Nesbitt.
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Being that both Pam and I are photographers, she very professional one, me very amateur, we knew a reception held at the Albin Polacek Museum had to be good. And it did not disappoint
The day could not have been better, low 70’s, puffy white clouds floated over head.  relovers The place was totally packed, filled to capacity! Douglas must have been quite happy with the turn out, but we did not see him as the shoulder to shoulder crowds in the main house and galleries were so tight, after looking at each photo, we opted for the outside space.  And the outside space is glorious, Polacek, (America’s fore­most sculp­tors of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury”) knew how to pick a retirement spot on the Winter Park chain of lakes, (oh, if only they had asked us to bring a pole.)   100_5806re
Upon going outside, the food line was filling up so we got into line as I love sampling the food.   As we stood in line, the garden was opposite us and what a great and productive garden it is!
Lettuce, herbs, peppers, okra, they all looked well cared for and the planters looked lush. Pics tell the story:

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The food line went fast and the food was displayed beautifully, but the food did not really fit my palate. I must admit, I limited my choices to a few items. The downside for me, nothing sweet! (Unless they put sweets out later and we did not go back that way). But that did not matter, the gardens were opulent and Douglas’ work, especially his black and white photos were wonderful to gaze upon.  I really liked the colorful buildings in a series in the small gallery off to the left of the main hall. My favorite was one photo taken at the Bar Mitzvah of one of his friends. This reception was a classic example of what the perfect reception should look like, we were impressed, but sorry, because no photos can be taken inside the gallery. So go have a look.
Wandering people stopped and spoke to us, there was so much fun just people watching. We even saw a hummingbird! But not in time for a photo.
So here are some photos of the grounds and I encourage you to go and spend a couple hours looking at the house and the artwork. Polaceks’ sculpture and and landscaping is like icing on the cake of a fantastic piece of property – AND they are in need of volunteers, if you have an extra couple hours during the month, call them.  And don’t forget you can rent out the facilities!
www.polasek.org

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Here’s some from my last visit:
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Amazing how fast the years go by – it’s already 8 years since 911. I watched the whole historical footage on the Today show with Katie Couric – it still evokes the same emotions, I got goose bumps and choked up watching that second plane hit. Published two old poems written years ago after 911, they are on http://abberantverse.wordpress.com
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It is also my late sister’s birthday, the whole family misses her dynamic personality, her warmth and love.  That’s me front in blue and her behind me in white, (and cousin to right). In the bottom shot, she is in the front, I’m behind. We were always close, she was the ultimate best friend and ‘confidente’!  So it is a day to remember I don’t have her here anymore and miss her bunches.
It was a good day to escape the confines of this ‘BOX’ I am enslaved to and go to the marina and enjoy the view.
I stopped by Veterans Memorial Park and saw someone had put red roses near the flagpole.
100_4468res It added color to the rather blue day.  I was the only one there. It was so very empty.  The wind driven water was really whipping up against the sea wall.
100_4478res As I drove up to the duck pond, I could see a number of birds standing in the shade of the trees. I pulled up and could tell right away, these birds are used to getting fed!   
I’m sure they were disappointed that I did not come armed with bread.
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I always enjoy seeing the different colors on the pigeons and cross breedings of the mallards.
Again, there was not one muscovy duck up there. Forgot to mention that Carbs has also been gone four days now. I assume he will show up again soon. The Band of Brothers has been coasting around the lake lately.
Back by The Palms, the birds and ducks were all quietly sitting in the shade. Did not see any crows, but did view a few grackles.  100_4438res 100_4446res
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I came home after watching the waves for about ten minutes.  It was very calming.
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I came away with a nice sense of peacefulness.
I stopped by my friend Sonja’s.  She told me that her chimney had been struck by lightning. I guess because trees cover part of her house when I fish, that I didn’t notice it. So I had to go take a few pictures.   100_4406res Her pergola too had wood missing from the porch where the chimney had collapsed on top of the beams. She has work to get done. It affected some of her electric too.  So I guess knowing that her house is just acres away, was struck by a bolt, I won’t sneak out during those random thunderstorms to film.
And back at home, what is the best remedy for the 911 blues? Brownies! Warm brownies packed with a cut up Snickers Bar! So long for today –

72709babycraneA-1res Baby crane was here this morning with his family. They ate bird seed, groomed, wandered around yard poking the ground and then lined up and took off like paragliders sailing over the lake

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Yesterday it was storming off and on when they came. At around 11 am. it got really dark.  DSC06820res the sky blackened and let loose with a nice rain and lots of thunder. The cranes don’t like the noise, they were quite suspicious and kept looking around to see where the thunder was originating from.  It was raining hard for a while and I noticed even a softshell turtle came out of the lake and rested under my lemon tree.
DSC06832res The water was just dripping off the cranes.
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I enlarged to see the rain coming down. Even my waterbarrel was gushing from the excess.
Last week we had no real rain, it would cloud up and threaten and the lightning is getting to be way too lethal around here. A guy was gardening the other day and a bolt came from nowhere that hit near him and he said he passed out, and one of his legs didn’t work and he had to crawl back to his house and was hospitalized. That’s why I am paying more respect to the lightning gods lately as they get closer and seem to be picking out a lot of people to play their games with. I look at the sky and turn on local news before I fish to see what is moving where. But the sky is so amazing around Florida, that’s one of the assets is the constant movement of wind and clouds and rain. Sometimes it comes from the Atlantic, sometimes from the Gulf and when they collide – whammo, fireworks. Like I have said before, it will be sunshining in the front, and raining across the lake. Usually by the time it is almost dark, the sky makes peace and all is pink and quiet.
Today so far it is one of those voids where the sun is hiding, but the sky is gray/white! I need to go out and weed whack while the sun can’t fry me and the lightning is still asleep…
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Today was a scheduled maintenance for pumping the septic. Last time I had it done 4 years ago it cost $185. Now, it’s at $230 and that was the cheapest company I could find.
$230? That means crap is worth about the same price as an ounce of gold when you consider it took less then 20 minutes to empty.
They come and look for your tank, and dig around it to open it. I have a ‘slider’ or sectional, it slides open. They didn’t open it as far as the last company.  pumpingseptic1res When they finished, they made me flush all the toilets and gave me the okay. So hopefully that is it for
the septic until another 4 years. I wish they were on public sewer around here. At one point they tried to get all the lake owners to get on public sewer and no one wanted to pay the cost of doing it. It really would have been so much healthier for the lake considering all the sludge is traveling toward the lake in the drainfields on these lakefront homes.
They finish pumping and then slide the section tight and cover it all back again with the dirt they had removed to get to it. It will be a big mud pile this afternoon when the rains come.
The heron came this morning, DSC06224res but quickly flew off when the septic truck pulled up. DSC06225res

The heat is horrible, supposed to feel once again over 100 degrees.
I can see the woodpecker is busy feeding a very noisy crew inside the one tree stump. Tomorrow I will do a more palatable subject…

7209res This is how the day began around 6am. The sky was beautifully lit with red clouds. It’s in the low 70’s, feels almost cool. I saw both moorhen parents swimming about, but not one baby sighting.  53109moorhenC-1res Yesterday my friends Christine and Richard came over to hang a duck box in hopes that the Black bellied whistling ducks might come back.  DSC08898res I showed Christine the moorhen nest and only an hour earlier there had been 3 eggs. As we stood there, all eggs were completely gone, not one broken shell in sight. Then we saw the culprit, a big black crow flew down and began pecking at the nest. Immediately we knew where the eggs had gone. I have not seen the baby in days, I hope it is hiding.   007res This is a picture on the day it hatched.
Now I am trying to figure why the baby and mama crane are coming without the father? For 5 days now they have come to eat birdseed and Papa crane is not with them which is very unusual. He has been a good daddy for the years I have lived here and NEVER left the baby and mother. This is highly suspect. Do you think maybe he flew to Argentina to find a soul-mate??? I am thinking the worst, that something has happened to him. The baby is taller than the mother. Last night he came and did his goofy dance before they fly across the lake for a good nights sleep.
100_2093res I am hoping the father will find his way back soon. As for me, I am going back to bed, only slept 3 hours so far, time to get some shut eye. I am living in a vampire time zone, the sun comes up, I go back to get a couple hours of sleep…

The heat is bad – “how bad is it?” it seems the lizards are melting – or wearing protection. liz-res
DSC08794res2 The flowers are wilting under the mighty swell of

DSC08786res sun. I went over to the Lake Mary Farmers market which is very shady.  Not many people this morning. This was to be a debut for the artists who wanted to rent a table and I found one artist willing to pay.
There will be a new grocer on the corner of Lake MAry blvd and where the town hall is. It is the same man who has vegetables and fruits in a booth on Saturdays. The name of his place is Morris Market and he opens this coming Friday.
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Yesterday I ventured up toward the zoo and stopped by the marina. Drove back toward the Palms, maybe 1000 feet 100_1972re and to the right of the driveway a few hundred feet to the right is the marina building.

100_1976mres The building looked pretty quiet and the little business building next to the Palms Resort had ‘ for rent’ signs. A sign of the time for sure. Ususally I see birds there, but nothing was there. I wanted to photograph crows and there wasn’t one in sight. I decided to go to the zoo.
waterfrontre The drive along Lake Monroe was quiet, even the water seemed too tired to wave, (that was a joke).
zoo-1 I turned into the zoo which is a few miles from the marina. Surely there would be some crows at the refreshment stand.
The zoo had a lot of small kids using the water park. The snake room was air conditioned and a refuge. They keep it colder so the reptiles will look perky.
snake1 But outside, the alligator was not anywhere to be found and the croc was hidden beneath his water hole. The cats looked like my Frankie, panting and hot. DSC08860leop After I made the rounds I stopped and got a pretzel and drink and sat down. I made small bits of the pretzel and tossed a few out and waited, nothing, no birds came at all. I stayed ten minutes enjoying the shade and drink, but not one bird took me up on my food offer. I walked back to my truck and came home. The birds are staying to themselves these days. The sun is singe-ing their feathers.
Back on Abbe’s lake things are quiet except for my moorhen, a couple of her eggs have hatched. Will save that story and pictures for tomorrows blog.
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DSC05328res Woke up and the sandhill cranes had come for a visit. Keep in mind the baby is just about 12 weeks old and he is a monster!  (That’s him in the middle.)  His head is so funny as he is losing his baby fuzz. DSC05218a_edited-1 He’s going to tower over the father. The funny thing was how he loves the water.  The baby crane saw the ducks at the lake, DSC05244res and hurried in their direction to assert his machismo. He scattered them off and jumped in for a bath. I followed from behind and watched the baby as he had the best time waving his wings under the water and making the drops scatter. He would groom and then wave those wings and dunk his head. Then finally about ten minutes later he came ashore spreading his massive wings to dry.
For all the other babies we have had on the property over the years, not one would go in the water deeper than it’s knees if it did not have to. Usually just to drink and of course when they were too young to fly and would swim across the lake. but never have I seen one that spent time having fun like this. Plus he is already flying, it took the other baby cranes much longer to fly, a lot longer! But I will let the photos speak for themselves…
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53009carbs-1 CARBS! Carbs the duck was by the stump this morning looking for seed. What a surprise! It was good to see him, he ate then waddled away not even waiting for the Pekins who were not far away. Hope he will come more often. I will have to go by the marina to see if there are more muscovy ducks up there now.
I had another surprise last night — a moorhen has built a nest in the cattails and tall grass about twenty feet from the bank. She used bent cat tail leaves as the base or kind of platform  and built it up with nesting material. 53009moorhennest-1 52908moorhenonnest_edited-1

It holds two ‘hen-size’ eggs that I can see, though they say usually there are 5 or more. I only see two. It takes about 27 days to hatch so I will keep an eye out.
Outside it is HOT and it is only morning. When I was out at 6:45am it was already humid and hot and when the sun breeched the homes across the lake, WHEW! That stare down was no competition, I got out of the suns way!
Today I might get the boat my neighbor does not want anymore. I am so hoping I get it, my son and I have big weeding projects for our area of lakefront.  And that’s today so far, got a long way to go yet and temperature is supposed to hit 93!!! I will be in most of the day!  And here’s a face that popped up last night while I was fishing – the mooch turtle face with feather – oh, that’s a duck feather stuck to its’ chin. then there is always Ringo and how he deals with the heat… ringotakessnooze

52009-8am It stormed most of the night! So far we are up almost ten inches. The funny thing is, at a point where there was no rain this morning, I went out to garden a bit and pick up downed tree limbs because you get stir crazy after three days of incarceration. So I transplanted a few canna lilies and the ground about five inches down is dry as dry can be!  It’s just as sandy as if no rain has ever fallen. It is another day of rain and what can I say, same old same old, but at least it is helping with our drought!  The only visitors have been the ducks and regular birds.

52009woodpeckera-1 Okay — so how does one get through the days of liquid peril that assault us? Comfort food of course.  comfortfood1 comfortfood2
comfortfood3 The best is the new Haagen Dazs ice cream “Five”!!!! OMG it’s amazing and it has fruit in it so I am counting that as a fruit suppliment in my daily diet as I count the nuts in the Payday. The cookies count as needed carbs of course. And it does give comfort when the weather is blaring all day long with lightning, thunder and storms all around us and the repeated warnings. It’s all one can do to make it through the day besides petting cats… 52009Frankie2_edited-1

weatheredit The rain became wind driven once it hit about one am. Coming hard from the east mainly.  No lightening or thunder, but the rain is pelting the east side of the house as we speak and winds up to 20mph. All night as I slept off and on, I was aware of the sound. Got up at 5am to make sure garage floor didn’t have anything that could be wrecked by rain coming in. They say we could get up to 7 inches today and I believe it. That’s great news though I don’t understand why mother nature has to throw it down all at once, it’s almost like Fay last year.  These weather patterns are so odd anymore. I’m sure there will be a lot of flooding all around Florida. When it gets light and stops raining so hard, I’ll take a picture of the water meter. Yesterday this is what it looked like around 10am. monday8am The rain had just begun to really hit. When I took a photo last night after fishing, the water was up to the 130 number gaining about 2 inches. I fully expect it to be around 135 when I see it next this morning.  Frankie the cat had sense and came in last night. Old Church toughed it out on porch and came in this morning only to pee and eat and ran back outside to the wet porch again. I think I have the only cat that comes in to use the box and goes back out! I don’t see Ringo, but I know he is high and dry somewhere. Later…

guage519 8:am, the water gauge is up past 160, that’s 4 inches of rain! And if you notice, the small meter is back under the water once again.  The birds must be sleeping in the trees as there is not one that has come for breakfast. At least for now, wind and rain have slacked off which gives it time to absorb in Florida’s deep sand heap!
Now it’s 7:35. meter reading is at 1.80, that means we have had 6 1/2 inches so far! 51909meter-edited-1_edited-1 It clearly was a day for the ducks! 51909duckinrain-1_edited-1

and as for Ringo, he was asleep inside the whole time! ringoyawn-1 more cats at http://offshoot2.wordpress.com

WAIT, it is now 12:35am and we are having wrapping rainbands and winds just like we are in a hurricane! outside the trees are swaying hard and the wind is pushing things around out there. I can constantly hear my loose porch door. The rain is coming at a slant and very hard. We are back in a yellow band of full force water. I bet when I get up tomorrow and can go out, I bet we have 5 more inches. We are getting slammed. weatheredit There were a couple tornados not too far away.  It’s hard to sleep with all this noise of nature. There seems to be a low pressure area mixing with the cold front and it is in some twirly mood circling around the middle of the state. We had our electric go out once, but came right back. I do have our flashlights ready.  I am always happy I made the decision to take the trees out that hung over the house, too risky having those huge pines that close.  I can’t imagine that my toilets will flush, will be able to tell that later.  The winds are very very active, at one point I thought it might break through, in fact it is doing it again as I write. Maybe I better think about getting this out and looking for a safe place… will write later…

That was fun being among tanks of floating things. It constantly reminds one of how “grounded” humans really are.
The Tampa Aquarium was packed on Saturday and I got in free for being a mother,  that was a good deal! All around that place was glass with a vast world beyond it. Tanks and tanks of beautiful swimming life.  jellyresize Jelly fish, sharks, dragon fish, sea horses, alligators, otters and much more. Each floor is loaded with visual excitement.  I loved the large round tanks loaded with yellow trigger fish. Of course the salt water fish are so full of color and beauty and the freshwater seemed so dull in comparison.
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The shrimp were festive, the many sights prove to remind us there is much in this world to care about and try and preserve.  The world below sea level inspires one to think that we humans also started out in that gravity free, ‘floaty’, state moving about on an umbilical leash tethered inside the ‘womb tank’.  Then rudely enough, we are pushed out and dried off never to have that total aqua suspension again. Oh sure, we can swim and we can dive, but we visit the wet world as a foreigner. Nothing wrong with being a foreigner exploring new land, (or water or sky) — it sure gives us places to visit that normally we wouldn’t see, but then we must go home again.
An enormous aquarium like this gives us a view into the nooks and crannies of wet places many of us would not have an opportunity to experience.  We need places that educate us to what an extraordinary world we have.    My favorites were these big silver looking fish, 5909silverfish-1edit

they looked like they had been freshly plated, all shiny and sleek. Plus there were more than just fish, there were nesting birds up on the third level with the freshwater tanks and comedic turtles, both sea and fresh water.
Maybe the most interesting creature was the last one I saw as we were getting ready to leave,
the mermaid was wearing items I bet never touched anything but a dry cleaners…

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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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This morning began with a walk, if you call it that when one takes their camera. I decided I need to try and get some ‘legit’ exercise, (yawn). I used to walk at a good clip, but kept getting heal spurs and then of course, you don’t walk. But I thought today might be the day to start again so I put on the shoes and stopped about 200 feet away to take a photo of a tree hugging another tree 100_1113resizetree.  I stopped a few more times to take photos of wonderfully bucolic scenes.

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I saw a hawk preening, squirrels everywhere, and heard plenty of birds. It is good to go out and really look around as you walk taking in all the sights. (I am not sure if it is effective exercise, but it’s good for the heart and peace of mind).
The trees around here are old and stately. I saw a staghorn fern growing on an oak, it was gorgeous, but my friend Dee has a wonderful huge staghorn fern she artistically hung in her own back yard that is quite beautifully displayed.  42609staghornfernb-1resizefernontree_editedresize
After coming home and finding that my Adobe photoshop was not working, I was in a panic. It really put me in a bad mood. Then the band of brother ducks were here mooching
at the stump so I chased them and came to a quick stop when I saw a really long yellow rat snake.  It was a mean one too, you could tell by his expression. I felt like I was trespassing on my own property, I got as close as I dared as he was in full striking position. I will have more pics on  http://offshoot2.wordpress.com (later) .
The baby heron also visited twice. He shows off his flight techniques which are improving. The baby comes to the area where I fish at least twice a day now. He still has the baby coloring, but is larger than his father! What is in the water in this lake?
Also today the newer cranes came to eat seed off the stump, they were wandering around the yard when out of the blue, the old rusty couple came to claim their stake. They left the baby at home I suppose. I have not seen the baby in a while. After they chased the young couple away, they flew off.  dsc02944heronresize
My son and I finally got the Photoshop working so later I will add some pics to Offshoot.
The wind has been tough for 4 days now, it blows like a ‘noreaster’ at times off the lake, no fishing and the Mama
heron hasn’t bothered to come and see if I was going to fish or not lately. I tried tonight, but I threw the line out and it comes wobbling right back in a matter of seconds.
The point of the blog today is get your mind working as you walk, take in the surroundings like a dirty voyeur, take pleasure in hugging trees, bad ducks, mean snakes, birds that fly over head and squirrels on the ground. You are not alone out there, so turn off that ipod and listen to the birds sing, the wind blow and even the snakes hiss, their music is a reminder to yourself that sometimes you must slow down and hear what others are saying – it’s the universal language of love and renewal.
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dsc02705 That’s him! The missing baby heron has grown a bit and now he   and his sibling have taken to regular flights back and forth to the nest. I am convinced that is the same one who was rejected. What’s fun is to watch the two babies fly awkwardly around the lake, they stop and eat at different spots then fly back to the nest to compare. They are always competing up there, YAK YAK YAK, their necks go up and down, their wings extend and it’s always competiton.

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

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

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

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

Did you ever see the sun go down and you are convinced it was like no other night? Well last Thursday when I had to run an errand, it was 7:55pm and the sunset which I normally can’t see because of all the trees around the Loch Arbor area, was closing in over Interstate 4 and was one of the best sunsets I have ever seen! The peaches and dark pinks were astonishing, it had gift wrapped the sun in peach and was there to be photographed and I did not have my camera. I am lucky enough to have the sunrise right pop up right over the lake in my backyard, but I do miss the sun going down.
Last night as I was fishing, it was getting later and filtering through the trees I could see it might be another pink one. So I put down my rods and tackle box, said a rushed good night to my heron and the cats

catsandheron420-small who by now know I am wacky and accept it.  Though the heron does get a bit miffed when I leave early.  In fact, the cats stayed there sleeping while the heron escorted me in.heron420 But I had to see what was unveiling tonight. I grabbed my camera and truck keys and off I went toward I-4 heading west chasing the sunset. But I was just too late, it was after 8pm and the sun had about avoided me by pulling up most of her stakes and taking her light toward California. I pulled into Kohls parking lot and watched the absolutely stunning remnants of the sun pulling her light away and the clouds left by the cold front. The clouds seem to be folding their colors into the fabric of the night. And it was worth it, and though I didn’t have anyone to share it with, that’s the great thing about blogging, you can n see the totally unretouched pics I have. I do have to say, it is worth it to get a glimpse of something that takes your breath away. It is something that brings a lot of peace and a smile, but then again, I am afforded that each day with my wildlife too. So chase sunsets, it’s worth every minute!
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