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Woke up this morning and realized I had not checked traps in a week. As soon as I opened the attic door, I could smell death! two rats were trapped and smelled to high heaven.  I threw them out and cleaned the plastic traps and rebaited. Damn! I was sure that maybe it was finished as I have really not heard feet.  I wonder how many more are up there and why the Hell are they finding shelter in the attic! And more important, How many are there? As I was sitting here, Ringo just jumped up on the window ledge and grabbed something and took off. I ran out with a flash light, but can’t find him anywhere…
Fishing sucked big time tonight, but the heron did come and watch about 15 feet away.  It’s the female.   The night was gorgeous, pink and blues on the lake, maybe that beauty in the sky distracts the fish? ha ha!
Earlier the space shuttle took off and headed with spare parts for the space station.  I watched
from my lake as the plume of smoke dashed over at 6000mph. Can’t imagine what it would be like  to see it so close. The night launches are the best. 
These two came off the live video of the launch of channel 13.
I will head to Tampa in a day or two leaving Adam to take charge. Tonight he has his movie buds over to watch True Romance.  He is thinking of renting out the Avalon theatre downtown to have a big screening for something. They would have so much fun!
Taking an artbreak, but not a photography break, always something to take around here. Go to
http://offshoot2.wordpress.com later on, I will add pics to that site .
Going to eat some dinner, have to say, dragged Adam to Smokey Bones for lunch and ate their nutty pecan, cranberry, goat cheese salad and it is great!  Now go be good to the local businesses and eat out somewhere!
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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_6682-1re This was the most colorful thing for most of the day. The promised rain that slammed Alabama, didn’t even fill the bird bath!  We hardly had a thing.
All day I finished up with pricing, bagging, and organizing to have my stuff ready for setting up on Friday.   What a mess I made, finally about 1am I vacuumed and everything put on the dining room table.  100_6745re This was taken around 10pm. Whew, glad it is all put away.
Earlier I had fished. The sky was truly beautiful. The clouds came in waves,
100_6688-1re then it settled into gray woolen puffs stacked in layers.  100_6685re Then patterns of sorts  100_6693re The heron came out to observe –
100_6687re It is the female heron. She watched for about a half hour, but since I was spending most of my time avoiding 4 turtles, she flew toward the center of the lake and chased off an anhinga. I bet she was about 300 feet away when I hooked a bream and it broke through the water splashing which alerted her and she flew right over for a meal.  She stayed on and suddenly the male heron appeared and he is a big one too.   100_6706-1re Much larger than the female.  they still have not gone up to the nesting tree, but I bet it will happen soon. they bwill be lugging branches over my head. It’s fun to watch them fly off with all kinds of sticks for the huge nest they make. I wish they would use one of my trees like they did 3 years ago, but once my red maple fell over, they probably felt vulnerable as it shaded them so well.
It got dark again so early and the mosquitos are terrible. It is still quite warm, though, right now it is about 60 degress outside and is only going to be 71 – now that is cold.
Guess, I will drag my body off to bed, yikes how will I get up on Saturday to be there before 8am, I have to be nuts! Good night, or rather good morning, catch up with you later….

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…

DSC02747re This is exactly how it looked at around 7am. I have not re-touched it at all, the day began as a red one, now it is going from pinks and blues, to blue and vanilla. Gotta get gardening before the vampire sun comes up to get me.  The cranes came for their seed and I noticed when I came out to take a photo, the shadow of the baby was on the body of the mother.
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8:28am, I have washed my hands literally of weeding and trimming, so much more to do! But I got a nice reward, the blue girl roses are in bloom and smell so sweet  DSC02752re.

Tonight the clouds settled in and they were thick, I didn’t see the moon till it got higher over the lake,  DSC02767re It was beautiful. I watched it go through the clouds as it moved higher.  DSC02784re DSC02799-1re DSC02803-1re

It is just a beautiful sight as the moon moves in orbit.  Tomorrow it will happen once more. I will of course be watching.
I am working on “ab”-stractions, my way of making crappy photos I take into abstracts – here’s a few samples,  obstacletosleep-1res 8909cattoys-2re DSC02535-3re

It’s a lot of fun – what will become of them? Some will be used on exhibit, some will get trashed – but some bad photos turn into new art, and what the heck is wrong with recycling?

Last night ther heron came down and fished with Ringo and I. He stood in the water, I stood at various places on the lake, neither of us caught anything, but that didn’t matter, I was glad to have the heron back. Every morning I keep going out to see if it is on a branch in it’s nesting tree.
100_5388-1re 100_5392_edited-1re Earlier I had been out in the yard taking pictures

of dragonflies, they are everywhere and will stop close to me as if they are as curious about me as I am about them.  DSC02660re

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The butterflies too were all over.  DSC02583-1re DSC02498-1re

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We now have a small bunny that appears from time to time .   DSC02490re The little guy came when the cranes were here and Papa crane chased him off.  Baby crane is still changing color, his eyes are still lighter and he does not have the red crest yet, though it is coming in little by little.
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Ringo was busy under the bushes eating a long blade of grass.
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The band of brother mallards are still hanging around with the pekin ducks, but Carbs is nowhere to be found. Have not seen him in weeks.
Fishing is horrible for some reason, even with the harvest moon tonight, not one little tug on the bobber.  100_5429re 100_5421re 100_5453re

Tomorrow night I think I will go to the marina and take some pics of the moon coming up over Lake Monroe.  It’s just such a treat to see it so close and so big.  The anhinga sat up in the tree and watched from his vantage point.   100_5410-1re It was a good night for moon gazing and bird watching, just not for fishing, only for feeding turtles.
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It’s Sunday, the week flies by in nano-seconds anymore. The good thing is that hurricane season is coming closer to the end.
This morning had the cranes right outside mooching for the loose bird seed on the ground.
000_0305res They have gone and a soft rain is falling on the lake. The cardinals have taken the cranes place.  DSC01556res And as I write now, it is sunny again — that’s Florida!
Thank goodness we have had no pythons come crawling through here YET as yesterday they picked up an 18 foot Python about 20 miles away that was being kept in a risky enclosure. A snake like that when hungry could do some serious eating, like kids!  snakeres
The owner said the 300 plus pound, 18 foot snake gave his daughter rides – SAY WHAT? It was fed about 4 rabbits a day.  I noticed on Yahoo a story about a python that ate 11 guard dogs, that wasn’t in the US, but it could be the way pythons are showing up here in Florida these days. I’m sure people are letting them go because they can’t afford to feed them and they grow so large.
I can remember in the learly 90’s when we were involved in the Central Florida Herpetology Club, the people came to meetings with snakes around their necks and arms, (they had to be bagged and caged during the meeting.) There were lots of vendors selling ‘herps’ of all kinds; turtles, lizards and of course all types of non-poisonous snakes. We have had ball pythons, rat snakes, Texas longnose snakes, milk snakes and Brazilian Rainbow boas. We lost some of them in the house from time to time, (but never told any of our guests that when they visited.) And we let our boas swim in our pool once in a while, climb the banisters, but Aaron, the snake’s caretaker grew bored and we sold them.  Not once did we let any go, oh take that back, we did let our mean mean yellow rat snakes loose in the woods, (those were the snakes that bit me,) but they are native.
Today, we still have the same cats we did when we had the snakes, and the
prospect of seeing a 12 foot or longer snake in my yard would be a bit unsettling. So I will just focus and show some pictures of the more delicate flora and fauna.
The flowers are bright this morning, spider lilies were wet.  DSC01553res
The canna lilies bright red. DSC01554res DSC01552res The Meyers lemons are getting bigger and bigger, can’t wait till they ripen.  The water in the lake is still up nicely, though fishing is still bad. Last night I caught a turtle. The fish are not biting. The cranes were though, they did not realize Ringo the cat was so close and Papa crane almost got him.

So that’s how Abbesworld is going today so far. How’s your day?  DSC01562res

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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 –

It’s Friday,  this morning there was a fog over the lake 100_4139-res But that did not stop the cranes and Carbs the duck from looking for birdseed.  The other birds were busy too, lots and lots of cardinals today. 100_4155res I bet there were about 7 at one time!
When it was time to go fishing, the cranes were still here rooting around the yard. The sky was very dramatic.  100_4171-1res 100_4177res across the lake there was this wonderful rainbow patch just above the treeline.  The sky was full of storms to the east.
Most of the day I had been working on my garden. I think I am going to let more than half of it go back to being grass. The weeding is Hell.
That overgrown patch beyond the crane in the first photo is the garden and I have not weeded in a few months. I am really losing interest in keeping it up. The weeds grow the best, so essentially I have a garden of weeds. and maybe I should just let the whole lawn go to weeds and just mow one three foot area going down to the lake?
Anyway, it was time to fish so I chose a lightning rod,  100_4167res and ran to the lake because there was a great full moon last night. DSC01091res How can I ignore this magnetic call from the lake. I did catch two fish, bream,  100_4169res they are really very pretty fish with rainbow colors on parts of them.  The sky continued to turn blues and I could see the rain coming down a few miles away.  DSC01102-1res The cranes finally gathered on the hill and I grabbed my camera. Excuse how messy the image is as I had messy sticky, gooky fish hands and was trying to touch the camera without holding my hands on it too much. But when I saw the cranes all standing straight in a row waiting to take the cue from the father to leave, I wanted to try and get
a video of them flying practically over my head.
I did give up fishing as the turtles were once again making it impossible to throw the bait out without having a turtle charge right for it.
As I looked up, I noticed how beautiful the sky was, it had melded into pinks and blues, and orange my favorite look.  100_4194res 100_4190res It’s one of those moments you wish you had someone out there besides a duck and cat. The colors were spectacular. So, that’s about it. I came in and Frankie was hogging my desk and had knocked over all kinds of paperwork as she sprawled out.  100_4186res And that’s it for today – where does a day go? Where does the month go? Where does a year go? Can it all just slow down for a while, life is just passing by way too fast…. Tomorrow I will report on the garden

The day began with the titmouse banging into my window again as I sat paying bills and looking for art opportunities around town as I write an art submission blog, http://art4submission.blogspot.com So feel free to take a look and see if there is an opportunity for you.  100_3696res
I did finally grab Adam and head for the Drivers License Bureau to change a title which will double in price after September 1st. We know they have to make money somehow. That was a two and 1/2 hour wait! Actually we took our number, and then ran a few errands and came back.
It was slammed!
Finally we headed downtown to pic up my enlargement from Roger McNichols of RT Art. He lives in a wonderful older neighborhood downtown and has artists traipsing in and out all day and night picking up their work. He and his wife Trish have massive equipment, he dry mounts, stretches canvas, giclees,  uses textured paper or whatever you want, he can probably do.
http://www.rt-art.com
Right on his street was a beautiful fountain, and I mean on the street literally.  DSC00725res It looked very European down Washington Ave.
Adam and I drove toward home and I told him we would stop and look around Lake Lily for some wildlife, usually I see turtles and birds. We had passed several lakes earlier and saw nothing.
We passed all the new condo/shops near Lee Rd.  100_3714-2res WOW, they really looked good, (and I improved them with color and filters as they would look in Abbesworld).
We parked near the lake and began to explore when suddenly Adam was surrounded by faces and beaks that were all works of art! (have a few larger views at   http://offshoot2.wordpress.com
100_3717res Adam looked like he was in the middle of a new Sy-fi  movie- Zombie Bloodsucking Ducks. They are used to getting food from people, and what happens if they don’t get their way? …They just waddle away
We actually smiled all the way around the lake at face after painted face, each with such unique markings – I love the Muscovys. But, I don’t need to tell you, like a good writer I need to “show and don’t tell”…
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DSC00764 copy DSC00780-1 DSC00788res When we got back in the car, all we could think of was how happy Carbs would be if he lived here! No band of brothers, (BOBs), the mean mallards who always chase him off. We wondered if we could kidnap Carbs and throw a box over him and take him to this park??? Carbs is not like these ducks, he is still very shy of people. I am not able to get too close to him, even when I feed him some birdseed and bread, he waits till I am about ten feet away before he will come to eat. If only he knew we were doing it so he could be so happy and never again have to worry about being chased off.  We plotted ways in the car. I think we need a big net and a box – ummm, it’s something to think about, kidnapping a duck for his well being.  Just tonight I saw the BOBs chase him and peck him as he hurried away through the neighbors yard. It breaks your heart because Carbs is so happy until the mean mallards come and dominate him. We did not witness one incident of a duck bossing another one at Lake Lily. The egrets were bossy, but not any of the muscovys we saw.  Carb’s wings just don’t work or I’d map quest a direction and tape it to his wing and send him off. And, it is way too far for his flappy, yellow feet to carry him.  What shall we do? Stay tuned and don’t quack about this too loudly until we deducked the situation. I have a feeling I will dream of things like strapping him with a remote set of wings, or hitching him to a kite, or even dreaming of him with wings that hold the power of the wind. I can’t wait to go to bed and dream in deep Rem of muscovy art and Carbs being in the land where he can conduck his life with no fear of the BOBs!  41409BOB&ElvisC-1res The BOBs with Elvis in March. Elvis flew away and have not seen him since…
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Carbs has been so happy the past days.  DSC07636res He sits near the shore and primps and when he gets hot, he sleeps under the lemon tree. Life was good, but last night the ‘ BOBs’
DSC00270res showed up with the Pekins.  Carbs had already taken to the lake and was peddling those webbed feet as fast as he could to get away from them. I didn’t think I would see him this morning, but there he was.  There were no more sightings of the BOBS all day. Only lots of the regular birds and lots of butterflies.
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and there was so much activity down near the lake. lots of bees pollinating the yellow blooms off something that has grown where my old downed tree fell. All kinds of bees, big and little and the little ones were not shy about harassing the big ones.  81909-2bees-1res Every time I go out in the back, I have my camera ready, and usually I am not disappointed.
Adam and I cleaned out the garage a bit this afternoon. Man oh man, he could have a video store in our garage. Little by little he is getting rid of his old videos.
I got up and cleaned out the gutters in the front. I found it was clogged and had to unhook part of the gutter and find where the clog was. Glad I did that before we do have a hurricane or tropical storm that really soaks us. At least Bill is not coming here, can’t say we even miss him. No one even seems in hurricane mode, it is always an inconvenience. I do keep two of my hurricane plywood pieces up, one on the side of the house at the garage and the other in Adam’s window because it has been painted to look like a horse in a barn looking out and the neighbors like it.
Cross your fingers that the rest of the season is flatlined.
After dinner I went to fish and the BOBS showed up again as I was fishing. Carbs saw them and went for the water, because if they get him on land with his defective wings, Carbs is not fast enough and the BOBS over take Carbs and bite and harass him. In the water Carbs is fast.
The Bobs came swimming over when they spotted Carbs, but Carbs swam away and they didn’t even go after him. They let Carbs go. I was glad. The Pekin ducks had changed a bit since becoming BOB members, they have yellowed on their undersides. But they look very happy with their mean mallards.  They like those bad boy ducks.
100_3415res 100_3413-1res Fishing sucked, too many begging turtles, and the fish are not biting. The trees sound like alarms after 8pm, the crickets are very vocal and highly orchestrated!
Tomorrow, another hotter than Hell day – but, I’m not complaining – any day without a hurricane aiming at you is a good day.

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…

Looked out at a dark sky crawling in from the west, then went about getting desk cleared off while trying to get bills in order when I glanced out and saw some weird ‘birds’ flying up on cut off tree tops.  BBwd1res Ran out to take a few pictures and luckily they did not fly off as my camera lens immediately fogged up when going from air conditioning to the really humid heat.
DSC06111res Came in and Googled ‘Florida ducks’ and found them to be black bellied whistling ducks, I had never heard of them or seen them.  They were so cute with their long, baggy pink legs and soft gray colored heads.  They looked like book ends on my cut off pine tops.
Then they just flew off, they stayed long enough for their publicity shots, then turned toward the east, away from the storm and headed over the lake and were gone. Oh they made it look so easy to just decide to fly away and go visit another lake,  There was no traffic, (unless you are flying high enough to tangle with airplanes,)  and on a dull day like this, not many flying birds going places.
DSC06114res The wings moved like the mallards as wobbly propellers.
So even though it is dark and rainy, it is always another fun day bird watching while paying the bills in between noticing the ‘bills’. I did see those black bellies, but maybe next time they will stay long enough so I can hear them whistle…

Today the news said it would be 94 and feel like 104 degrees, that was no lie. It is hot and the sun seems like a deep fryer and it’s only June! The flowers are beautiful after a great thunderstorm last night. They were closed yesterday,
100_1700res but today they were full bloomed and smelled so wonderfully rosey! The roses had small bits of purple on them.  All around the yard, flowers looked happy. I do water them a bit in the morning and in the evening if there is no rain, otherwise they would fry under that hard light and heat. 61709rose-1_edited-1 DSC07969res

61609bluebpyrose-1_edited-1 The sandhill cranes sat under the camphor tree for a long time taking in the shade. The father was really panting a lot as was my old cat Frankie. I actually think she might have been experiencing heat prostration as she looked way too lethargic on the porch  and I could see her heart beating rather wildly. I brought her in and put her on the cool counter and she drank a lot of water.  I was kind of worried her heart might give out, but after a while, she did perk up.   So remember to keep lots of fresh water out there. I keep it, but poor Frankie looked like she was almost too tired to drink so watch your older animals. DSC08163crop_edited-1

The cranes stayed a long time down by the lake. The baby was first to buckle and sit down.  then when the parents finally sat down, he got up and went over to give his father a hard time. He would jab his father in the rear and then touch beaks. 61709father&babyC2_res 61709babycranegroomsfather-1res

DSC05777res Finally they all relaxed and then finally flew off. The Moorhen is also a pretty smart, she built her nest up high on the side so as to shade her from the sun as she nested.

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Tonight I tried fishing, but only got greedy turtles trying to find bread. One is so bold as to come up and take it out of my tackle box, so I keep it up on a plastic chair now as not only the turtles, but the ants swarm inside the plastic bags once they sense food. DSC05435res Ringo looks at the turtle with amusement, but does not bother them. Fishing sucked, maybe it’s too hot. If there was no breeze off the lake tonight, I would not have thrown out a line. No use standing down there sweating profusely and ending up like Frankie prostrate on the ground, no one would notice me!
Finally Ringo and I gave up and walked back to the house. I picked some small rose buds to put in a shot glass.
DSC08162res Ringo and I were glad to come inside and absorb that nice cool air. No thunderstorms tonight. All is quiet around here. I came in to blog, Ringo passed out and then was treated to a massage from my son. We all have our ways of dealing with the heat, that’s for sure! DSC05688res DSC05693res

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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!

It’s hot out there, really hot, but felt like running up to the used bookstore in Sanford.  Wanted to rumage around the shelves and see what was new. I stopped by the marina to see if anything was floating around, water was flat and nothing visible, not even ducks swimming. So I went toward the businesses up on the “island”.  I can’t figure out how this concrete slab is considered an island, I have been to Sanibel, that’s an island, but then again in Florida, we call drainage ditches “ponds”. Anyway, the familiar ducks were out and about and do seem to stay all together. I saw the one with the hair standing up, DSC04937resiz and I saw the baby ducks which have grown. 6209ducklings-1_edited-1 I also saw a duck walking around with a broken wing.  6209brokenwing-1_edited-1 It looked kind of pathetic. When I walked up to where the ducks live, suddenly it looked like a mass march toward the human. DSC04932resiz When they realized I had a camera and no food, they ignored me. I still did not see one muscovy anywhere, even at the pond that is across the street.
The City of Sanford has built quite an elaborate exercise track and have lots of new playground equipment.
The osprey in the nest are flying now. 6209ospreyleavesnest-1_edited-1 I took a few minutes to watch
them fly from post to post.
Upon returning home, I checked the little mother moorhen on her nest. She has at least 5 eggs now,
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I got a bit worried as the crows began to gather, and they were digging away on the property.  About five crows bossing each other around. One was digging and digging and I watched  to see what it would extract.
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DSC04979res Turtle eggs! They had found a hole,  DSC04981resize

and I shooed them away and took the shovel and got the only two remaining eggs and buried them in the garden so the birds would not bother them. Those birds were rather snippy about that, and finally left. Now I am going fishing. I hope something is biting, last night didn’t catch anything, if fact, I put down my rod and my son and I went for a walk. Now ask my son how annoying it is to seriously walk with someone who wears a camera around her neck, he will gladly tell you…(wait, when I look at that hole, it looks more like snake eggs, might have to let the crows have their raw omelets)

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

This is a peek at the start of the day — will add more later RAIN BEAUTIFUL RAIN –

51809waether_edited-1 518rainbarrel_edited-1I bet Beda is outside watching her rain barrel filled, mine is splashing out of the top – full to the brim, looks like night ouside right now at 10:26am, glad I have nowhere to go this morning…

The afternoon slid by and now on the evening is still just a blur of hazy gray with soft rain, enough to add about 2 inches to the lake today.  shadowplane-1 The birds were quite busy, mostly blackbirds that looked nasty.  51809wetcrow-1_edited The woodpecker and bluejays all jockeyed in for positions too. The birds always seem active during moderate rains.  And yes, crazy Abbe did go out and try to dodge the rain and fish. The turtles were out in full speed mode, and an anhinga sat in the tree. Last night I had 3 anhinga on the pine where I fish.
3anhinga-1_editedTonight, there was one who is very distinct in her coloration.  51709anhingaA-1_edited

I finally gave up the water fight and came in and the anhinga came down, sat a few minutes and then took off.anhingaedited

51809anhingaflies-1_edited It was a wet one today and if it continues as it is supposed to, maybe we will have a half a foot added to the lake and my lawn will even green up. I don’t see any negative downside to this, except trying to keep my camera dry when chasing wildlife in the rain…

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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