Saturday, 26 October 2013

Beauty not our own (2)

I stepped outside for some cool fresh air at about 6:15 p.m. today (26th October 2013) to find that right on cue (after yesterday's blog entry) a Sandhill Crane had decided to stand in my driveway.

We looked at each other for a full five minutes.  I did not want to go inside to get my camera, I simply wanted to admire the stately beauty of this bird.

Sandhill Cranes mate for life and are often seen in threes - mother, father and chick.  Today's bird was alone  -   he/she has been around the area for two or three days, and our best guess is that, judging by the "calls", she/he is looking for a mate.

These two photo's were taken using my zoom lens when she/he had wandered away a bit.

Soon afterwards I set out for an evening walk with Penne and with my neighbour Dawn. We were rewarded with the sight of a Great Blue Heron.

Sandhill Crane 1

Sandhill Crane 2

Great Blue Heron


The following is from the South West Florida Water Management Website

Sandhill Cranes

Florida sandhill cranes are long-legged, long-necked, gray, heron-like birds with a patch of bald, red skin on top of their heads. Sandhill cranes fly with their necks outstretched with powerful, rhythmic wing beats. Florida's sandhill cranes are a threatened species that are found in inland shallow freshwater marshes, prairies, pastures and farmlands. Sometimes they can be seen on lawns throughout Florida. They are sensitive birds that do not adjust well to changed environments and high human populations. Sandhill cranes are usually seen in small family groups or pairs. However, during the winter, Florida's sandhill crane population increases as cranes from northern states spend the winter in Florida. Sandhill cranes are omnivorous, meaning they eat a variety of plant and animal matter. Some of their favorite meal items include seeds, plant tubers, grains, berries, insects, earthworms, mice, snakes, lizards, frogs and crayfish. Unlike other wading birds, such as herons, sandhill cranes do not "fish." The voice of the sandhill crane is one of the most distinctive bird sounds in Florida. This "call of the wild" has been described as a bugling or trumpeting sound, and can be heard for several miles. Florida sandhill cranes stay with the same mate for several years and young sandhills stay with their parents until they are about 10 months old. Like their endangered relatives the whooping cranes, sandhills live to be older than most birds. In fact, some sandhill cranes live up to 20 years.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Beauty not our own

May I never take for granted the beauty of Earth's/God's/Evolution's (take your choice) creatures which I frequently see here in South West Florida.
All of these photo's were taken in Florida (but none by me).

Sandhill Crane

Red tailed Hawk

Bald Eagle

Nesting Ospreys

Anhinga ("Snake Bird" in Mexico) with fish for dinner.

Anhinga with wings outstretched to dry. I call this the "Christ-Bird" - with wings outstretched to embrace the entire creation.


Perchance I could also learn to appreciate my least favoured  neighbours the crows and the squirrels

Wretched creatures.
Crows:  Collective Noun -  A Colony, or a Dray, or a Scurry  (but in my lexicon a "murder" of  crows)


Thursday, 24 October 2013

F.P.L., Judge Judy and other ramblings

It must have been my blog entry yesterday wot dun it.

F.P.L. sent a man and a truck to our street today and all the street lights are now working.

(On the negative side, this leaves me with nothing about which to complain).

Speaking of complaining, there is also non-complaining.  I was reminded of this at yesterday's Resurrection House prayer service.  One of the homeless men prayed for those who are less fortunate than us.

Most days in the late afternoon I encounter an amiable old duffer who takes his constitutional around the pond. I keep a few yards between us since he claims to be allergic to dogs.

The man always wears a short sleeved shirt, and sweat pants which are held in place by braces/suspenders.  That's a wise choice for a skinny and waist less older person.

He also carries what we used to call a "walking stick", but since his is modern and metal I am not sure what it is called.

The other day the man paused.  Then he used his "walking stick" to scratch his back.  For some reason I found that to be very funny.

Why do people say "a short period of time", or "a long period of time" when "a short time", or "a long time" is utterly clear.

Even the redoubtable Judge Judy said "a short period of time" on her show broadcast on Oct 23rd. 


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Florida Power and Light and other Capitalist Failures

The Tories in the U.K (with their hapless and gelded allies - the Liberal Democrats),

and The Coalition in Australia (see )

and The Republicans in the U.S.A.

and The Conservatives in Canada

all subscribe to the myth of the free market (a.k.a. "unfettered capitalism")

The free market (they say) will bring:  the best benefits, the lowest prices, the most efficient services to we the consumers.

Oh yeah? (1)  

 I protest -  the American "free market" is skewed in favour of so many businesses by taxing zoning, "anti-green", and de-regulation policies.

These policies are certainly in favour of business , but they are  against the best interests of the consumer.

In the U.S.A. we describe this as "Of the people, by the people, for the oligarchs.

Oh yeah? (2)
 Here is an unfettered  account of how  capitalism works for the "hoi polloi" or the "average Joe", or the "common man" in Sarasota FL. and especially at Glen Oaks Ridge in Sarasota FL where I live.
1.  Our Electricity is supplied  by a monopolistic business which has no competition viz "Florida Power and Light" (FPL)
2. Our Cable service is from a locally monopolistic business known as "Comcast",
Comcast and FPL have no competition in my area. I must use their services or go without  electricity or cable. 
I could live without cable.   It's useful but not essential.
But I truly need electricity.  
And my community needs electric light and power. 
That need is not unreasonable since we are not a "Third World Backwater"
And yet  FPL treats us as if we were of no account.
You see, Glen Oaks Ridge recently paid for new underground cables and lanterns for our street lamps.
But the lamps cannot be activated until the aforesaid  FPL hooks them up to the local transformers.
This they have done for most of the street lamps in our community.
This they have not done for the four street lamps on my street, and for one around the corner.
Despite many letters, e-mails, and 'phone calls  FPL has adopted a Laissez-faire  position which says:  'Damn you peons, we'll get your street lights working when it is convenient for us (but not for you).
Such is the nature of the free market.  It serves us so well eh?

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Oh dear

League bowling today.  I did not shine.

My scores

Game 1 -83
Game 2 -83
Game 3- 79

Utterly dismal!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Clean, so clean.

I cleaned my bathroom today.

I mean cleaned it. 

Down on my knees to scrub the floor.

Scrubbing the shower stall.

Making the sliding glass doors sparkle.

And the vanity is ultra-clean;   the "throne" immaculate enough for a Queen.

SO NOW I DO NOT WISH TO USE IT.  It's simply too clean for use.

It's a bit like the new shirts, trousers or shoes which I buy, and then do not wear  for month after month -  'cause once they have been worn they are no longer new.

Is this a male thing, or a human thing?

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Now I lay me down to sleep.

So, as I was trying to settle down to sleep last night (Oct 19th) I heard rain.

That caused me to get up to shut some windows.

Before I could do that, I discovered Junior cat Ada in the very act of stealing the dog's food in the un-lighted  house.

Just as soon as I turn on a light she scurried away, guilt writ large on her face. "Cats love darkness rather than light because their deed are evil"  (or naturally feline).

I went outside for a moment.  We've not had rain for about a month, so the smell of the gentle rain on the parched earth was simply delicious.

And the rain  dripping off the roof made for a lovely sight, and for gentle sounds.