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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!

I think Ringo is cheating on me – I have had suspicions since he left a few weeks ago, casually strolling off and then I didn’t see him for two days – two very long and worried days.  In our years together, he has never done that. Why is it I am attracted to those bad boys with flashing blue eyes?  He IS fixed, (and then again, so was my ex-husband.) Somehow, both my ex and Ringo reached middle age and started exploring.  I could kick out a philandering husband,  but a cat – how do you tell a pet to go and not come back? Isn’t gonna happen.
Ringo left again last Thursday night after I came home from Tampa and didn’t show up till this morning, (Sunday) then he was all rubs and love. Typical ‘lost’ male syndrome, don’t admit to anything and try and smooth things over with an abundant show of love. 
He came in, ate, rested, then wanted back out. He’s snoozing on the porch for now. Wonder if he will go off again tonight? And for how long?  Maybe it’s because I was gone away for over a week, (though Adam is always here,) or because he’s not getting fresh fish, (I can’t help it that fishing has been terrible),  maybe some other family is spoiling Ringo with better food, I know they couldn’t love him any more than I do.  I don’t get it, I’m just not good at reading the male species anymore and I’m too old to play games,  but this is not normal Ringo behavior so what can I do? I love that crazy cat and do forgive him, but I hate when he disappears for so long.  I realize I can’t hang on to something still feral neither men nor cats. At least with Ringo, I don’t have
have any legal filings if he splits, a sign will do! 
Have been taking up the slack from being out of town. Guess reality means paying the bills and getting things back into order.
For two days it has been raining on and off, I love it, the oncoming dark clouds and penetrating thunder.  
The sky blackens and threatens and the rain comes down beautifully beating. When I returned everything was so dry, this rain has been just what was needed.         How about my new camera’s panorama view!  I am enjoying my new Sony Cybershot HX1. It has many wonderful features, but the viewfinder and macro modes are not one of them. It’s quite inferior to my Kodak and makes me miss that camera which suddenly went black, literally, you turn it on and there is nothing but a black screen, I have checked everything on it. I think it’s dead. I will have to contact Kodak and see who services them. And speaking of Kodak, I got the photo book I made, ‘Crow Tao‘  from their site. I was so disappointed, the cover was off center and the binding very cheap looking.
My Sony Alpha is still being repaired, so I am learning more and more about the Cybershot.
I am still lost in space regarding how to sell art. Are brains patterned to stick in neutral? Mine seems to want to just make art, take pictures and the thought of prepping the work, setting up the website, doing PayPal and all the detailed work freaks me out. I will do stupid stuff like tell myself each week, okay this is it, I am going to get things started, then I am lost again on a tangent of sameness, and getting nowhere.  Organization skills have never been bred into me! I might as well just buy a Lotto ticket each week instead of dreaming of selling my art, better odds with the Lotto!
The wildlife around here is minimal. The heat is turned up to broil, they say it is one of the hottest June and Julys on record in our state of Florida.  The sun stares you down as soon as it rises and there is only escape into stores and homes. Once you open the door on your vehicle, it’s like being submerged inside a La Brea Tar Pit – you feel drenched and exhausted when you shut the door and wait for the air to cool it back down. The only backyard sights  I see are redwing blackbirds, bluejays, a few squirrels, doves, dragonflies and grasshoppers. here’s the view:    Those grasshoppers are still everywhere.    The turtles are still looking for a handout at the lake
young redwing blackbirds.   Lily pad.

The cranes come to visit and go after old Miss Sealy   but
she escaped.
Papa crane makes his throaty noise.    Crow

And that’s the weekend, maybe by Tuesday or Wednesday I will be able to show more or tell you I have accomplished something. Right now it is Monday morning, the rains are supposed to continue, (a good thing) and I will leave you with a few views from inside and out my window at 8:14am :    The sun is literally a disk up there.   the red passion flowers finally back to taking over the fence
mocking bird on roof
AND, me cleaning off window to take a picture of the  inside – have a great week!  

Lots to do coordinating the exhibit for University Club and making sure it is a fine representation for the Gateway Photo Group – the work by the contributing photographers is beautiful, it will be a terrific show – so off to University Club on Tuesday to look around and chart wall space. But today, my daughter had off and she took me to lunch at Willowtree in Sanford, a very noted German restaurant.  We stopped by Andrea’s first where her cats were lounging, Musa and Cocobella looked like Romeo and Juliet,  Little Cocobella was looking so adoringly at that devil Musa.  Andrea had taken a picture with her and Musa, I loved it so must add it of course.    Then we headed to Hart Sister’s Tea Room on Park Avenue and thought we would grab a bite to eat there, but they were closed. It’s an adorable setting.   there was such a nice garden setting and plants around the place.   But since it was closed we ventured to First street and the gallery’s were closed so we headed to Willowtree and ate outside.   The place was still quite full and it was 1:30pm.  I had quiche which was good, but the honey mustard pecan dressing for the salad was excellent. Andrea had a sandwich, neither of our choices were German dishes, but if you like the schnitzel and knockwurst, liverwurst and bologna loaf, this is for you! The desserts looked wonderful, but neither of us really wanted any, we were full.   They do have great desserts!   My sweetest daughter and I strolled up the road, passed Maya’s and saw the Yoko John Poster:  and then saw something I didn’t expect – a rooster at Two Blondes and A Shrimp! He was a poser!    They say he comes around all the time, wonder if he came from Horstmeyers on Commercial Street, they have chicks for sale.
We stopped and bought a few things at Baileys Consignment store and then went over and looked at Miss Libby’s Antique Emporium.  They had moved their recently, but I believe Miss Libby said she and her husband had been at another location down the block for 14 years.  They had done a beautiful job of placing all their antiques. It was well organized. Had a lot of glassware and lots of Harmony Kingdom boxes which are so much fun to look at.
and Betty Boop!   There is furniture, original artwork, primitives, coins and a very cool monkey   Enjoyed our talk with Miss Libby who was happy to help us.
address is 204 E. First Street – 407-328-8298.
We had a nice chat and then headed home. It was a lot of fun, thanks Andrea for lunch!
Last night I was a stick in the mud, could see some of the Sanford fireworks from the backyard, also saw my pesky little raccoon who decided to eat the remaining cat food.   While Ringo decided he did not like the commotion at all and came in and even sat on my lap voluntarily, a first!   I had to watch to see who I let in — didn’t want a raccoon on my lap!  I watched Bye Bye Birdie and sang away with the movie..  
This morning the jay were at it again, in fact, I had forgotten there were so many fledgling birds. They were trying to be the boss of everyone and chased off the other birds and squirrel.   Though the doves are pretty feisty too.   There was a showdown between the squirrel and dove, but they called a draw and both stayed.
The jays then came in pairs:   and had a few words,  

the third brother joined in, then two more.   They were hard to get at one time!  Then it boiled down to two and they argued and both flew off — but they come back now again and again and it never gets old.   and to look at this last picture, it is my tribute to Independence day, the natural beauty of the red, white and blue!

I love all this kinetic energy outside, the flashing electric, the thunder, the urgency of the rain. It has been like this for a few hours now.  There is something very soothing about it, even with the tremendous boom that is going on right now as the thunder proclaims the night for itself.  I did get a chance to fish as the sky was changing from the cold front.      My heron came down and I caught her one small shiner. Ringo sat under my plastic chair, when he does that, it means a hard rain is coming because there are many times we fish together in the rain, but he knows the difference between big storms and these soft showers that happen as I fish.  I know a storm is coming when he opts of being under the chair. And it has been a truly drenching rain. So far not too bad, the toilets still flush!
   There seems to be a new “Band of Brothers” lately – I have not seen the bully brothers of the lake in the past few weeks, instead, I am seeing a group of 4, 3 mallards, one is a mallard mix and the mis is the leader. They have been coming into the yard and relaxing.  Here’s the leader and the others, the lead duck has a limp, why do I get all these limping animals? Maybe my yard is just tilted?            it’s a bit smaller than the others, but if this is male or female, it is commanding the lead.              The iridescent color on the heads and small stripes on the bodys are beautiful. Wonder how long they will stick around?   
        Yesterday had beautiful tri-colored heron,       and the baby herons were yapping it up up in the tree, but no signs of them leaving the nest.
    The mother is the one on the left.  They really don’t even venture far out on the branch. 
I do see lots of dragonflies as it must be mating season for them.   
     Went to bed and woke up to clearing sky      and watched the crane family come for breakfast without the baby that is the bigger one. The smaller one came and ate and of course, sat down and lazily made attempts to dig for worms. What an adorable face. 
      and that is what I will leave you with to start your day – have a great week!

The female heron got a nice catch tonight and promptly set the fish in the correct position to eat it. I really didn’t know if she could handle it and neither did the male who flew over to see if he could help himself to the meal.

It took a little down time, but that fish did find it’s way down. I bet that added about 4-5 pounds of weight to her – talk about gluttony and she still stayed by my side until I gave up as nothing was eating my bait. Here’s the video
if that does not work, try this link
http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?ref=profile&id=1532181417
The day was gorgeous and getting warmer. The moon is a sliver and the fish really were not cooperating. Working on finishing up exhibit with few last photos. One of the heron with the bass will add conversation!  Found out today they have accepted a couple photos for an exhibit in June at the Museum of Seminole County History.
Enjoy the video, forgive the hand held shakiness, at some point I will get a camera with better quality video and maybe even bring a tripod out with me, as it is, when I walk down to fish, I look like I am in dress rehearsal to go to the beach!

Busy working on my solo show at Maitland Library opening April 1st.  I got tired of making a mess   and decided to leave it and run up to Sanford for Fourth Fridays. Had to see how the exhibit at the Welcome Center was going.
The weather was rotten, threatening to rain and cold, but I shoved a few layers on me and a long coat and left.   There was a beautifully orange sunset which looks grand through my purple tinted shades.   The downtown area was once again busy making me wonder – what recession? The German restaurant always has a line on Friday night.  The Welcome Center was comfortably packed. The saxy saxophone player was indoors, I’m sure if he was outside, his instrument might get too cold.  
The hung work was placed wonderfully, Nancy Irish and Kathleen Chenet are a well oiled “placement” machine.  Here’s a few pics:   I love so many pictures, but those onions rock!

Ann Holstein’s still life pictures look like the work of old masters.   Click on photos for larger view. The show will be there for a month. The next one will be about architecture.  You can submit your architecture work via photos until March 5th, call 407-302-2586 for further info.

Out on the street, people were briskly walking to the Gallery On First. I walked in and know I am not allowed to photograph, but if you get a chance, go take a look at Theresa Disney’s new bedspreads, they are a trip.   Inside an author was signing a book about Dragons.
Over at Rhonda Richley’s gallery, she greets me like an old friend and was excited about her Art Affair Gallery moving to a larger space almost next door to her gallery now, on the corner of Palmetto and First Street.  She expects to make the transition soon.  Her new space will give her a lot more wall space. 
Soon Rhonda’s gallery will be thriving like Jeannine Taylor.  Both will have different art that really doesn’t compete with each other. I am predicting good things for Rhonda.  We will watch her grow together.  AND, she needs work to fill her space, artists, contact her at 407-466-6365 . Check her out at http://www.artaffairgallery.com
Walked past the Wine Bar, it was hardly occupied.  But just a couple doors down, the Riverhouse Pottery was rockin’.

This is a business that teaches pottery classes, so call them if you want to throw some mean pots or cups or whatever, they can make it happen.  They had beautiful stained glass, pottery, jewelry and much more.
They teach kids and adults.   407-323-9272, call them for class schedule.  Sanford is trying hard to become an art center, bravo for them. AND I can’t forget Rae Marie at Framing 508 Gallery, she does so much work with Alive After 5 and all the promotions she helps with the Fourth Fridays, if you need something framed professionally, give her a call, she’s been framing and matting many years. Let her give you a price and show you what you can do with those prints laying around. Framing 508 Gallery, 407-324-1577, tell her Abbe made you call.
And that was it for me last night, went home and worked on photos and also worked on a few pictures that I took on Thursday at Lake Lily, there were plenty of muscovy ducks and ducklings all around the lake. I bet we saw a total of at least 75 babies with their mothers. It was just adorable. Here’s some nature pics to add to the conversation:

I love muscovies, so this is a small patch of land I like to look at the faces and document them

Threw in a seagull because of the color combo, loved the polka dot fringe.
Okay that’s it, have a good Saturday night. 

I don’t know about you, but the days are just sliding away and you can’t preserve time. This morning I did a few things, came home, did a few more and before I know it, there’s Hardball at 5pm!
It is too cold to go out today and walk around, it hurts my sensitive teeth!  I hate this cold and hope it does not last too much longer.
My art for Maitland Library is shaping up. I have a few more pics to send to be enlarged and that should be the end of that. Also am hoping they will use some of my work at the Seminole County Museum in June. It’s always something one must do if they expect to get their work out, keep submitting. I am so hoping Pam and I get accepted as a show for  Seminole State College.
The wildlife around here is same old same old. The fox came back on Saturday and Sunday.  Poor little hungry guy looks so pathetic.  Here’s a few captures:

Again on Monday I called the Florida Fish and Game Commission who gave me the Seminole county branch who said basically, I could dispose of it however I wanted, but I would have to trap it as they won’t.  So that was the dilemma.  Same as before.  As it is, have not seen fox in two days.  Have seen the fat old raccoons,     and also possums, have two distinct possums.  

they love leftover catfood.

Last night caught a nice big bass by a fluke when reeling in a shiner. The bass tried to get the shiner, but got caught on the hook on the edge of the mouth.  It was a nice surprise! Don’t worry, I catch and release after taking a couple pics.   A few nights ago I did catch a smaller bass    – Ringo never fools with them.  Maybe it’s because their mouths are so wide and always moving.
The birds are always competing with each other.   The squirrels are so damn cute you can’t get too mad when they get in the birdfood.
Outside it is headed for the 30’s — YUK!  This is horrible, terrible, miserable.  At least today was sunny.  Hurry spring, I can’t take the cold…

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…

Last night went over to our very quaint Lake Mary Historical Museum, it has a doll show.  All dolls were on loan. They had wax dolls and others over 100 years old.  When I grew up, we had dolls like ‘Pitiful Pearl’, Shirley Temple, then on to Barbies, which were the most fun because of all the accessories. I remember having handmade clothes for my Barbies, I don’t know where my Mom bought them, only wish I still had them, I kept all my Barbie dolls and clothes and my mother gave them away while I was in college – bummer, I had wanted to save them for my Andrea. Oh well, that’s so almost 40 years ago – Never mind that psychological trauma, haha.
Here’s some pics.

That last one kind of looked ‘corpsey’.

This shows the bulk of the one room museum, it holds all the documentation for incorporating Lake Mary, Florida.  It was used as a social hall for many years.
Ever hear of Golliwogs? They were black, male dolls and it became acceptable around the 1930’2  for boys to have dolls, but now they are called Gollys because golliwog has become an unacceptable racial term. I never knew these things.  All I know is, little boys have little killing machines like GI Joe and metro sexual Ken to balance GI Joe’s aggressive behavior.  Though I don’t remember my brother having a Ken at all.  I know my young boys liked Stretch Armstrong so they could pull his arms and legs and punch him.     My boys were more into video games and outdoor sports.
They had a lot of Barbies, I didn’t even know they beamed Barbie up to be with Captain Kirk and Spock.   The exhibit is fun, the museum interesting, so go have a look if you are near Country Club and Lake Mary Blvd.  Call them for their hours, they have odd opening times.   These are really old.  

Now to wildlife, lots this morning, maybe because the storms are coming in later today. So many blackbirds, crows, cardinals. It sounds beautiful out there with the doors open.
Here’s a view:
The crow up on the branch was all alone until another joined it up there, they kissed   Then stood together looking south.   Then went to separate branches
then parted, hopefully on friendly terms.
The male heron was busy getting branches again, I enjoy watching his ability of manuvering them around the big branches up in the tree. He brings them to his wife and she shapes them in the nest.     He them moves upward again and again.   

He passes it off and she in true female genetic glue, makes the nest a home.   Look how large it has become.
So that’s it for the am, gotta go before it gets stormy. Kids are coming for weekend.
Here’s a few more pics.   
And this ballsy little grackle who walked right in the porch despite the cat and ate cat food as if to laugh right in Frankie’s face.
What a sense of humor these birds have!  That’s why I have to take their pictures…

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…

I can’t stand feeling so cold, but this am when I woke it was in mid thirties – I am a person who needs hibernation from the cold, (anything below 70 degrees) – but I guess that equates to wearing a short sleeved shirt under a turtle neck, under a sweater and my bathrobe, and panty hose under jeans and thick socks, and I am still cold with heat cranked to 74 degrees!  I should have on my gloves as my hands are cold too. Actually I need to move and make energy, but sometimes it’s easier to sit and bitch.
I was standing in the kitchen and saw many shadows falling across the driveway. I grabbed my jacket over my bathrobe, sweater, turtleneck and t-shirt  and ran out the back — crows were everywhere.  Big big numbers of crows were settling in trees and then something would spook them and they would move.  I enjoyed watching them and at one point they were over my head and I could hear splats of bird crap falling around me, my camera took a hit, but it was for a worthy cause, and yet, I really don’t think I got a photo  to use for my crow exhibition in April.
After a while, I went back in and crawled back under the electric blanket and went into dreamsville set on high. so here’s a flavor of crows-

The crows were around for several hours.  I would go out in short bursts taking in their huge numbers, snapping pics then retreating back to the heat inside. I enjoyed all the cawing coming from the sky and trees.
I did notice on the porch I had a bird, so I got my flea market net and tried to get it, but it was too bulky for what I needed to do.    My hand worked better.    
Soon it was on it’s way to find it’s friends and I am glad that Ringo missed it.
He was looking the wrong way!
When I went to get the mail, my mailbox mockingbird was there sunning.  It really is the best ‘poser’ — 

There were also lots of oleander caterpillers, so I am hoping we get lots of oleaner moths!

Did look up at the heron as she looked down at me   And there were a few vultures near the crows just soaring around the lake on the wind currents.   

The first one had beautiful white tipped wings  —  So I leave now with a photo of Ringo who was enjoying the dying sunlight of late afternoon.  As for me, the darkness has swallowed the light and the void is cold, damn cold.  I think I will make some soup and hot tea, and watch the telly –  tomorrow I will take pics at the Gateway.  P/S , the fox hurried on through today. The humane society gave me the number for animal control for a trap, BUT, they did not know what the Animal Control does with the animal once they trap it, must know that answer. I am hoping it could be treated, and released somewhere it would have a chance to thrive…

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….   

okay, the title is a lie, I can’t take night pics yet, even though I keep pressing buttons, moving settings, and get sucked dry by mosquitos, for all that, I am useless at night photography. The second lie, there was no visible moon tonight, that’s from the night before, whatever day it is now. We were supposed to get all this horrid weather and it passed on by with just a short period of rain and alot of tv hoopla.
I went to Gateway Photo group last night and got the names of good printing sites, and Danielle was kind and patient as she tried showing me how to work my camera settings, but I have to look at more tutorials and find the way to keep this shutter open, my cameras play tricks on me at night, I think they are actually tried of being molested and want the mosquitos to kill me off.
Today I did some holiday shopping and came home, and as I rounded the corner and got on Country Club, I noticed lots of waterfowl at the Mayfair CC, so I had my camera and parked the truck and walked over to the golf course hoping not to get whacked in the head – though maybe it would default my head settings and I could go to bed)
I saw woodstorks, 
A woodstork who thought he was a commorant.  
Lots of crows flying all over,  cranes of course. what would a golf course around here be with out cranes?  And then I went home before my luck ran out.  The heron has progressed a bit with the nest, though I did not see the male all day.   She sits and sits and waits, but I think he has been seeing someone else and twigging up her nest!
She looks quite forlorn.  My fat mockingbird was posing as always by the mailbox, she has such bright eyes.
No eggs in her nest though.  There was an elephant  on my mantle. 

I just threw that in to see if you were paying attention.
I hope tomorrow we will get more rain. I must explore mpix.com for having photos printed, their prices and quality seem really worth it. Metallic paper is so cool if the photo is right. I am wondering if I should try a few for my crow photo exhibit in April.
Just threw that in as a tease.
Okay, I went back out and could not get anything with recognition. But as I was walking back toward the house, the moon popped out for a few seconds 
In between the thick clouds, there was an opening and the light gave me a quick shot with whatever setting I had on.  Hey, at 4:46am, I will take what I can get literally… Ah, if only I could photograph my dreams, they are amazing….

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….

You can’t give this stuff away – everyone around me is bloated, gassy, and tired of leftovers. How lucky we are when we think of those around us so less fortunate. Tomorrow, on to new food!
The day before Thanksgiving was still a subtle gray, the front went through and all the rain promised was a farce. We got very little over here.   Thanksgiving morning looked like a black and white photograph, the color drained from the landscape and sky, the lake the mirror reflecting the void of color  
Finally the sun broke through and we went away to eat our dinner.
Came back late and went to bed with a belly full! Our host and hostess, my nephew and niece did an outstanding job of keeping us loaded. Plus we all enjoy seeing Irving the tortoise.
He’s so full of contrasting lines and testure. He also follows you like a dog and his favorite food is hibiscus flowers. He weighs about 175lbs now.  He has many birthdays to go. He’s still just passing puberty and is a horny little devil, he has a flower pot he loves to hump.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrW59oLXmY0&feature=player_embedded  (cut and paste to see yourself)    Irving is in love with this hardshell!
Black Friday came and went, I did not shop, nor did I go anywhere Saturday, it was relaxing not to be spending money. That will go by the wayside soon enough. My daughter said to wait for black Monday, great buys on the internet.
Nature itself goes on, and these are shots I took today. The weather is very cold, low 60’s today, in 40’s the past nights, that is so cold Ringo slept next to me! In fact, he usually will ring the bell attached to the inside front door handle around 4:30am to go out, when I opened the door to let him out, he felt the cold and turned and went back to bed.  Also, the herons, male and female have both been coming to the lake as I fish, tonight, they were touching beaks and making noises that seems like the mating rituals are taking place.  They are nesting nearby, I suppose maybe babies will be coming near New Years????
The band of brothers were the first thing I saw outside this morning, they are still actively patrolling the lake. But an hour later, a pair of mallards came to relax.  An anhinga was next door getting ready to fly off and when he saw me, that was exactly what he did.
the spider lily was blooming.  
A baby moorhen was running away from me too.
but not the wren, he was calm.
The lily pad looked interesting, like a non conformist among the conservatives.  The day flew by and it was too cold for me to fish, but I took a few pictures before the sun went down.  The moon was soft and muted.


Have a wonderful night…

It’s been a little while, but really have been waiting for the heat to subside. The birds have been hardly coming, everything is just rather worn out by this heat. last night was supposed to be the beginning of a cold front touching down to bring some relief.  100_5643re The fishing is lousy because of the mooching turtles. The fish are not biting like they were over a year ago. The bass have retreated somewhere though Ringo and I relentless keep our eyes on all activity that stirs the surface.  100_5645-1re Today started sunny hot and humid, all week it has been high 90’s. The cranes flew in  DSC03487-1re to make their presence known
DSC03516-3re DSC03512-1re DSC03526re As usual they did
a rain dance

rain dance

The flowers seem tired too, we all need a change.  DSC03564re DSC03566re DSC03559re But they always manage to still color the yard.
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The day clouded up and got to a cool 87 degrees, so that was about 10 degrees cooler than it has been.  They said big rains were coming with this cold front, but only a short period of just droplets came and that was it. We ended up with a rainbow hardly visible.  But still nothing that remotely felt cool. So still waiting for our big Fall to fall.

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Back to nature! Today was a slow day of wildlife. It was hot, sauna like 90’s, a quick burn if you go out for any length of time. Last night my neighbor Sonja and I went to go see the art walk in Sanford, they had terrific art at several locations, it was nice and crowded and made you feel that Sanford is pulling together the community for these great venues. I had nothing on display, but Sanford is having monthly Juried shows so when they have one that is related to nature, I’ll enter.
This morning outside there were very few birds, but a lot of dragon flies and butterflies. From my desk I saw a few and ran outside to take a few pics.  DSC02005re This zebra longwings was extremely beat up and shredded. It actually flew very slowly from all the rips and tears in it’s wings, but flew with a purpose.  DSC02010-1res It was actually interesting to watch as it seemed to be moving in slow motion.  I saw lots of different butterflies, but they were too quick. I did see a dragonfly that landed on a branch near the back door, but the Sony could not focus on it with the wind blowing the branch, so I went in and got the old Kodak. It is a sure bet with that camera.  100_5139-1re Though the quality of the Sony DSLR is better.
Flowers were wilting all over, I did get a canna lily,  DSC01995re and crepe myrtle is just beginning to bud and bloom, DSC01998re My lemons are huge and I am going to have a nice little harvest when they finally ripen.  DSC01999-3res DSC02000re
The blue jays came out later and this one was especially beautiful.
Of course later I came out to go fishing, the water was dead calm and of course, the damn turtles were everywhere I went from one end of the property to the other, they love that bread on the hook.  000_0350res 000_0359re at one point I looked down and it almost looked like a turtle was swimming through the clouds.  I counted six turtles, four softshells and two sliders.  I did catch one bream, threw it back. And looked up and noticed that the heron was on an island in the middle of lake,  000_0353-1 He was big. like the male that has been building the nests for the past 4 years, so I assumed it was him. And when I threw the bream back and the heron flew over to the yard next door, that signaled to me that this was the male who will eventually come over and stand beside me when I do catch fish. I didn’t catch anything else, but the sky was gorgeous, there was just one large cloud in the sky that changed colors and had such a beautiful shape to it.  000_0370re The planes flew too close over head,   000_0351re and there were many woodpeckers all over trying to contact each other.  000_0354re The weather will change and soon the herons will be back building their nests.  I am hoping this heron will be coming back each night now.  ringos blues-2re Ringo did not fish with me tonight, he stayed in the garage, I am wondering if he too thinks there is a squirrel or rat or mouse in the attic after hearing footsteps near my desk. I put the ladder down to the attic so Ringo could go on a hunt if he feels like it. I am confident if something is there, Ringo is my pet removal service.
Right now as I write this we are having a nice little thunderstorm which is much needed as my poor plants were wilting today.  DSC02011moonre Earlier the half moon was out and I marked on the calendar that October 3,4,5,6 should be all harvest moons, you know I will be taking photos and I so hope it will be over the lake when it rises next week.
I hope it will cool off enough that more wildlife will be coming out to capture on film. The marina is devoid of much diversity, and as for Carbs the muscovy duck, have not seen him in weeks. The BOBs were here earlier, but have not seen Pekin ducks in a while. And that’s Saturday around here, for now, I am enjoying the storm, hoping for more water in the lake as soon it will be our dryer season, so it’s good to have the lake up.
Have not heard any footsteps above my head, so maybe Ringo got whatever it was, might have to do a check tomorrow and if anything is dead in the attic, will let ya know… Sleep tight.
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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

It’s been another hot humid inferno. Loved seeing so many bees and dragonflys and flying things.
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The butterflies, like yesterday are all over the place.  So are the red ants, they have ant piles all over. Some people take gas and kill them. I use borax and sugar, but they still pop up somewhere else. I need some of that stuff that kills the queen. I did purchase some vinyl boots for $6.24 at Target  DSC00558res They have anchors all over them. I wore them tonight while fishing, I didn’t catch anything and didn’t get bitten once either! Then, as the turtles were chasing my fake frog toward the shore, they stopped to mock me.
100_3431res Carbs was close by, but the baby crane chased him in the lake. You could tell the baby was very proud of himself. he even walked down toward the lake to make sure that Carbs didn’t come back on shore.  He did after the cranes left.
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Then the clouds gathered overhead,  100_3437res they came up fast, and I figured I better head on in.  A few minutes after I came in, the lightning was crazy. It was all over the place.  I turned off the computer and unplugged it for a while. But almost 2 hours have passed with lots and lots of flashes. Here’s the thunderstorm at night, thunder and crickets and frogs and beautiful flashes of lightning near beginning and at the end –  you can pause it to look at the electric bolts! ANd you can even see how light it becomes during the flashes.

As of now, the storm has moved over toward Daytona and left probably at least an inch or more of water. We have to keep adding rain water now so when winter comes and rain is rare, the lake is still up and people don’t need to dig a new well like a few of the neighbors have had to do in the past when we had droughts.  But with more and more people leaving Florida as evidenced by articles in the paper yesterday, maybe we will have enough to sustain the rest of us without draining some of our rivers for wasteful lawn watering.
The fat possum stopped by for a minute to eat the rest of the left over catfood, then rambled back out in the storm.  100_3443res The mosquitos are absolutely horrible, when I was filming the storm, they were draining me.  And that’s it for tonight. One day I will figure out how to do night shots, and maybe it’s better for now I don’t, I might never go to bed…

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