Raising families on Barrancas Canal….What a Wild Life!

June 24, 2013 at 11:03 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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Here’s updated pictures.  Family life on the Barrancas Canal is progressing!  The Night Heron young are growing nicely and quickly.  They’re almost as big as mom and pop in eight weeks!

Mom and babies - how quickly they grow!

Mom and babies – how quickly they grow!

On the nest that's so difficult to see people pass within feet of it and don't know its there.

On the nest that’s so difficult to see people pass within feet of it and don’t know its there.

If you look closely at the second picture you’ll see two of the babies that are so well disguised by their surroundings you have to strain to see them. Below are some pictures of a relatively new-born manatee a few feet from our dock. Some were taken from our porch, but Matilda and baby did a quick disappearing act when Mrs. G tried to get close.

Matilda and new baby.

Matilda and new baby.

Scratching on the pilings feels SO good!

Scratching on the pilings feels SO good!

Trying for a close up created a crash dive.

Trying for a close up created a crash dive.

If you haven’t looked at my previous post, check out the video clips on it — particularly the “Gator Call” video!  I also have some pictures on my humans blog.  Visit   http://www.dlhavlin.wordpress.com  for some pics of the herons when they were a few weeks younger.   And don’t forget to visit  http://www.dlhavlin.com  to keep up with the Geezer.

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Spring has sprung! Love is in the air…and water…and living room!

June 4, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments
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Ain’t spring grand?

It’s THAT time of year!  Ahhhhhhhhhh. romance!  I’ve put together some pics and clips to illustrate what spring brings to southwest Florida.  Above you’ll find Matilda and Matt the manatees dining out.  Yep, dating.  Below is a pic of them swimming off in the sunset?  Well, swimming off anyway.

And they lived happily ever-after?

And they lived happily ever-after?

Then there are those who are looking for a mate.  At the slightest hint of the opposite sex, those horny rascals are on the hunt.  Take Arturo the alligator.  Even imitating the warbling of a winsome gator lass will bring him right to your feet.  Watch him be a sucker for a gator call.

Feel sorry for poor Arturo, he’s having trouble finding just that right piece of tail.  He’s asked me to help him by putting his best photo forward. It’s below.

Ain't I boootiful --- chomp, chomp?

Ain’t I boootiful — chomp, chomp?

Then there’s our bird friends.  They get right with the program!  They’re in love, they’re on the nest, then — WHAM, BAM, CRACK — and look what’s in the nest.  Examine the second pic carefully to see all three night heron babies.

Natalia night heron egg sitting

Natalia night heron egg sitting

How quickly they grow - if you can see them

How quickly they grow – if you can see them

Even my friend Trooper is in an amorous way.  How do you say NO without hurting a guy’s feelings?  I’m silent and just stay sitting.

Sorry Trooper

Sorry Trooper

Ain’t Spring Grand?

To learn about my human visit his blog    http://www.dlhavlin.wordpress.com

Or his web site   http://www.dlhavlin.com

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Trying to stay above the fray….Damn it’s hard!

May 23, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Posted in Current events, Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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There are a few things that come to mind, triggered by current events, that I asked the Geezer to comment on.  Some of the things are questions I don’t like to ask, hate in fact, however, things have gotten ridiculous.   The Q and A follows:

1.  Q…..”What can you humans do about the terrible tornadoes that kill so many of you and destroy so much property?”  A…..(after a lengthy hesitation) “Not much, if you choose to live in a spot that is subject to natural calamities. It’s a risk you have to be willing to take. The brave people in Oklahoma and other places in the tornado belt have made that choice. We have in Florida where hurricanes pose a similar threat. There are earthquakes in California, super storms like Sandy, no offense old girl, in the Northeast, floods in Illinois and the whole Midwest. If one lives where tornadoes are bad and frequent, one must accept the risk or build their homes underground.”

2.  Q…..”When a vicious dog from a strange neighborhood tries come into our community and wants kill and beat up on us, we form a pack and keep them out. Seems to me terrorists do the same thing. Why don’t humans keep them out?”  A…..(no hesitation) “Because dogs have better sense than bureaucrats and politicians.”

3.  Q…..”After listening to folks like Chris Mathews, Bill O’Reilly, Lois Lerner, Dick Shulman, John Boehner, Heinrich, sorry I mean Eric Holder, and Barack Obama, do any of the media folks, bureaucrats, and politicians have anything in common?”  A…..(after a moment of thought) “Yes, they do.  In fact, four things. Contempt for the intelligence of the people they claim to represent. Unfettered, unlimited arrogance that allows them to be dismissive and to disregard others. They’re unmitigated liars with no consciences. And in most cases you cited, they’re perfectly willing to try to impose their ideals on others without thought to law or the constitution. That’s their commonality, but like Satchel Paige said, A man can’t help being born average, but he don’t have to be common.”

4.  Q…..”After hearing about all the government spying and coersion, aren’t you concerned about the IRS or the Attorney General’s office going after you?”  A…..”No. the American people and military will put up with just so much before the advocates of the totalitarian state end up in an honest court, are tried and have their necks stretched.

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Delivering Bad News? Some Suggestions!

May 10, 2013 at 10:55 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Have you ever been faced with the dilema of feeling obligated to deliver “bad” news?   To a friend?  To an associate at work or at another organization?  A relative?  It’s not a fun experience.

I’ve recently been faced with delivering some not so nice facts in common situations.  After a lot of ear scratching, I’ve come up with a few suggestions you might want to try if “forced” to be the harbinger of doom.

Upon having to tell someone they’ve gained a little too much weight–

“Gosh, you need to take pictures with your old camera.  The pictures taken with your new cell phone (I-pad, etc.) make your clothes look tight.”

Upon having to tell someone they didn’t make the team–

“You’re lucky.  You’ll be able hang-out every afternoon, drinking soda (beer, or whatever) and watch TV while I’m sweating my boobs (balls) off with the team.

Upon having to tell someone their cooking leaves room for improvement–

“Aaaaaa, Aaaaaa, Aaaaaa…Next time we eat, let’s not have you work so hard.  Let’s go to MacDonalds.”

Upon having to tell someone a trip to the shower is in order–

“Wow!  All that stuff about danger to our environment is true.  Did you notice that a skunk and three buzzards died as you passed by?”

The Geezer at a Book Club.

The Geezer at a Book Club.

Waterfall

Any suggestions for what I should wear on my NC trip?

Any suggestions for what I should wear on my NC trip?

More news!  I’m going on the Geezer’s and Mrs. G’s trip!  They’ll be at the Blue Ridge Bookfest in Hendersonville, NC on Friday, May 17th and Saturday May 18th.  It’s held on the Blue Ridge Community College campus.  He’ll be introducing his new book Blue Water, Red Blood that was just released May 1st.  We’ll also be stopping at some book clubs (like the Lake Sinclair Book Club) and book stores (Malaprops, B&N, etc.) on the way up and back.  I could use a suggestion as to what a flat lands, semi-tropical canine should wear in the mountains this time of year.  A waterfall close to where I’m going, is shown at the left.  You folks who live in or are visiting the area be sure to come see us “a spell.”

Visit  http://www.dlhavlin.com  and http://www.dlhavlin.wordpress.com  for additional info about the Geezer.

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Yes, JM there is……..

May 6, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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This is a special pic for one of my human bloggin’  friends.  Yes, JM, there is a Santa and a Sawfish.

Yes JM there is a sawfish!

Yes JM there is a sawfish!

I loved your Narwhale post, Accidental Stepmom!  Here is the answer to your question.  My human says that when he was young (wheels were square and made of stone then) these critters weren’t that rare.  He almost stepped on one that was eight feet give or take a foot.  This is what can be called a pants soiling experience.

visit the Geezer’s blog  at http://www.dlhavlin.wordpress.com

and his website at  http://www.dlhavlin.com

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One letter can make a big difference !! But, is the meaning the same??

April 30, 2013 at 8:38 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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The Geezer and I were watching TV this morning.  As usual, the Geezer was tuned to the news in the off chance that someone in government…or in major corporations… or even within the media, did something to give us a little faith things would be alright.

The first three items covered were:

  1. High-ranking bank officials were reengaging in the same lending practices (making housing loans to those who couldn’t afford it) that destroyed the country’s economy.  You know, those folks that are “too big to fail.”  Humans don’t seem to understand that when you reward bad behavior with a bailout or something similar it encourages more of the same.  Every mommy dog I know has better sense than to let her pups get away with manure like that.
  2. Those paragons of virtue, Congress and the President, quietly gutted the insider trader law that was passed a year ago (before the election).  You know, the one that kept them from benefiting from having government information that would effect future fortunes of a stock.  Remember, the one our President said, “Was overdue” and that, “Congress should be playing by the same rules as any other citizen.”  Well, we have bipartisanship at last – Both parties passed and the President signed the bill that effectively repealed the law.  They sneaked it through quietly, notice that?
  3. The Geezer changed channels trying to lessen his depression.  A media type was explaining why it was fine to allow government officials to eavesdrop on innocent private citizens email without the protection the constitution provides, while it wasn’t okay for law enforcement to continue to question a guilty terrorist to protect the rest of us.  And they say dogs are dumb.  We are consistent…we always bark at the postman.

The Geezer sadly shook his head, turned off the TV, and turned on the stereo.  He mumbled, “I’d say the country is going to the dogs, but I know they’d do a better job running it than the idiots of BOTH parties who run it today.”  I agree him…that’s true.

I remembered a bit of wisdom from one of the Geezer’s own books and I repeated it to him.

“It’s no coincidence that big-shot and big-shit are almost spelled the same.”

visit the Geezer’s blog at http://www.dlhavlin.wordpress.com and his web site at http://www.dlhavlin.com

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Bark less and Wag more…

April 9, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments
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Oreo prostrate from laughing

Oreo prostrate from laughing

It seems like forever since I’ve had my paws on the computer keyboard. You probably have already guessed the Geezer has been away and that precludes my access to “our” internet accounts.  Before he left he said, “Oh, I won’t be gone long. I’ll be back so quick you won’t even think about it.”  Of course, I knew those remarks were placating, not truthful.  In Doganese we classify that kind of speech under the category called, “Humanaucity Bullus Shittus.”

My buddy Oreo, eaves dropped as the Geezer and I discussed his prolonged absence.  When I asked him what took him so long to get back, about the only excuse he didn’t use was that I’d eaten his homework.  Oreo’s feline tail twitched. There were weather problems…rain, snow, hail, tornadoes, volcano eruptions, asteroid showers…and whether problems…he didn’t know whether to go to this or that event, or take this or that road, or stay at this or that hotel.  The cat rolled his eyes in disbelief.  The Geezer claimed he forgot several things and had to retrace his steps and repeat tasks.  I can believe that; he’d forget his ass if it weren’t so big and firmly attached.  My black and white friend rolled on his back, his belly heaving with repressed laughter.

After a series of apologies that fall under a similar Doganese sub-category “Humanaucity Bullus Insincereioso Shittus” Oreo and I were left alone to ponder whether the Geezer really believed we were that stupid.  Oreo looked skyward and purred, “If you’re going to lie you should at least try to be good at it.”

I was steamed.  I love the Geezer, but it infuriates me when he won’t just come out with the plain unvarnished truth.  “Damn it Oreo, I wish he’d just say… sorry. I screwed up…and let it go at that.”

“That’s just the human way.”  Oreo stretched his front legs out in front of him, pushing his rear high in the air at the same time.  He looked out the window. “Look, Sandy, the Night Herons are back building nests again this year.”  Oreo licked his chops, a feline reflex for he’d abandoned any form of hunting for a cushy inside-the-house life.

“Humans don’t seem to bother you much,” I said.

“The Geezer doesn’t.”  Oreo got a sly grin on his face.  The cat had seen some rough younger years before he came to live with us. “You have to rub a lot of legs before you find your prince.”  He looked very wise and provided some sage advice. “Sandy, when you’re warm, well taken care of and fed regularly…bark less and wag more.  You may quote me.”

"Confucius" Oreo!

“Confucius” Oreo!

I listen oh wise one.

I listen oh wise one.

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visit the Geezer at

http://www.dlhavlin.com and http://www.dlhavlin.wordpress.com

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Has the Geezer gone cannibal?

March 12, 2013 at 11:45 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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Waiting for the crowd

Waiting for the crowd

Yum-Yum!  Mullet on the grill

Yum-Yum! Mullet on the grill

Last weekend the Geezer, Bo…a close family friend… and Mrs. G disappeared early Saturday morning. They were in too much of a hurry to give me anything but a quick trip to the grass, certainly not my normal morning walk. Mrs. G tossed my breakfast in my bowl with not so much as head pat. I watched the Geezer pack a set of knives and other items one would expect to go on a picnic. “Good,” I thought, “I’ll get a romp in the woods today.”

When they headed for the door, I accompanied them, expecting a nice long ride to the Florida wild. Instead, the Geezer stopped me short at the door. “Sorry girl, you can’t go on this one.”

“Why not?” I asked, shocked that I wasn’t welcome to accompany them. They usually want me to go everywhere. Humans depend on our superior canine intellect and tend to become bumbling incompetents without our guidance.

“We’re doing a Calusa tasting today. I’ll be too busy swinging these knives and serving people who are there to experiment with something different.” The Geezer grinned, “This is one of those rare times you can’t come with us.”

Now that shocked me! A Calusa tasting? The Calusa were an Indian tribe I thought had disappeared hundreds of years ago. I knew better, but it just came out. “You aren’t going cannibal on me, are you?”

All three of them laughed as they exited. “I’ll fill you in latter, Sandy,” the Geezer said.”  With that, they left like a Mexican hairless who backed up to close to a prickly-pear cactus to do his job.

When they returned, the Geezer told me that Calusa Tastings were part of Calusa Heritage Day. Calusa Heritage Day is held by the University of Florida’s Randell Research Center on Pine Island, Florida. Yep, I know there are multiple Pine Islands in the Sunshine State. This one is located near Fort Myers and Sanibel. The event derives its name from the Indian tribe that dominated the southern portion of Florida for nearly 2000 years. It’s a celebration of their civilization. The Geezer said, “Today’s humans living in the US often overlook the complexity and achievements of our native American fore-bearers. The Randell Research Center, a fifty-four acre archaeological site, provides ample proof that discounting those people’s achievements is a major error. The Randell family donated the land and the public at large owes this family a large thank you. It takes far-sighted, generous individuals to donate bay-front property in the center of one of the most desirable retirement and playground areas in the state.”

I knew how special this site is from talking about it with the Geezer previously. The dig is unique in that it is right on the water and the sandy soil permits salt water intrusion. This results in the preservation of materials that would normally succumb to oxidation and other forces time exerts on wood, seeds, etc. For example, it was widely believed the Spanish imported the papaya to Florida. Thanks to the conditions at Randell, 1900 year old papaya seeds have been found in the middens (mounds). There weren’t  any Conquistidores spreading seeds back then. The Calusa were sea-faring, mound-building folk that lived by fishing and gathering. For this reason, they kept their villages in close proximity to the water. Because the Gulf of Mexico’s level has changed six feet in the last 2000 years, the settlements yo-yoed back and forth. Dropped and buried items were preserved. (The Gulf of Mexico has been four feet higher and two feet lower than it is today during that time period.)

The Calusa had a highly efficient military establishment, very evolved spiritual beliefs, and were first-class engineers. Their engineering prowess is exemplified by a two-and-a-half mile canal they constructed across the island that was eight feet deep, thirty feet wide and featured recharge ponds… built so they didn’t have to paddle their canoes around the eighteen mile long island. They did this with shell tools!

He told me Calusa Heritage Day celebrates this society. Speakers led by UF’s Dr. Bill Marquardt, the sites director, Dr. Karen Walker, and many other noted historians and scientists that share their knowledge with the people that attend. The Geezer said, “My small part in the celebration is the “Calusa Tastings.” We prepare the foods that the Calusa ate over open fires. Those attending get the opportunity to slurp an oyster, savor a clam, munch on a mullet, pop in a mouthful of papaya, chomp on chili peppers, or enjoy some heart of palm.”

You can visit the Randell Research Center all year round, enjoying artifacts displayed there and tours either guided… or by making the site path’s circuit, reading the explanations on display podiums. It’s a “do not miss” for all visitors to southwest Florida and all that’s required to enjoy this is a small donation that makes it affordable to everyone.

For more info Google “Randell Research Center” or visit  http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/rrc/.

visit my web site at  http://www.dlhavlin.com

AND come visit me in person at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival this Saturday, March 16th from 10 AM until 4 PM at the Riverside Event Center in downtown Ft. Myers.

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These are the times that I’m glad I’m a dog!

March 1, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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I asked my human, “What are you working on, Geezer?”

He chuckled, “I’m thinking of going back into business.”

“Doing what?”

“Custom tee shirts.  I’m thinking of taking advantage of all the political mud-slinging.  I’ll sell them on the Internet.”  He held up three fingers. “One web site for liberals, one for conservatives, and one for folks with common sense that are sick of both of them.  Of course, that last site will be large.  Unfortunately, the slime bag politicians have been successful in transforming our country.  We’re now the Divided States of America. Hate and stupidity, now the norm, are quite a combination.”  He shook his head sadly.  “I think there are a lot of folks out there that want to scream.  I’ll give them a way to do it.”

“Give me some examples,” I said.

“I’ll give you a couple for each one.  For the liberals how about a picture of Bush being held on a water board with the caption, How do you like it George?  Or how about a tee saying, Big Business or Big Government, which can you vote for? The conservatives would like a poker hand printed on the tee’s front.  It would be four aces with the faces of Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Obama where the suit logo goes in the card’s center. The caption, Four of a kind.  Or, try one with a picture of Barack on one side of the shirt with his nose extending across the chest and around the side to the back with a sign hanging from it saying, The new Pinocchio.”

“I’d say you better issue a statement with each sale that you’re not responsible for the riots they’ll cause if anybody wore those in public.”  I thought for a second.  “Hey!  You could introduce a premium shirt with a Kevlar liner inside.” I paused for another second.  “You know the whole thing is…well…kind of stupid…you’re pulling my tail aren’t you?  You aren’t really going into business.”

“Of course you’re right on both counts, Sandy.  That would just be stirring the pot.  I can’t think of anything dumber… with the exception of the whole Washington mess.”  The Geezer shook his head sadly.

“Amen,” I said.  “Things like today’s politics make me glad I’m a canine.”  After a few seconds of thought I asked, “Just for giggles…what were the ones you were making for folks like you?

He grinned.  “My two favorites.  The first one shows a cow’s rear end and on the ground under it is a big soupy pile of manure.  An arrow points to it with a one word caption.  Washington.  The second is Bush and Obama, tied to a stake in the middle of a bonfire with devils poking them with pitchforks.  A sign on the stake says HELL.  Under it the caption reads, A dream now, but just wait a while.”

“Gosh, Geezer those would be million sellers!”

visit the Geezer’s web site at   http://www.dlhavlin.com   and his blog at http://www.dlhavlin.wordpress.com

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Here, there, and everywhere…I’ve been roaming.

February 13, 2013 at 11:01 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments
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It’s been a busy few weeks.  The Geezer, Mrs. G and I have traveled around the state of Florida going to events, meeting some of you and generally having a good time.  I’ve been to the Friends of the Library in Bonita Springs, the bluegrass music festival in Yeehaw Junction, the Whiskey Women’s Club in Fort Myers and the Florida State Fair in Tampa.

The Geezer spoke at these events.  I pretty much did as I pleased.  At Bonita Springs I had a chance to hob-nob with some of Southwest Florida’s nicest folks.  I want to thank Frank and Fran Gallo for making us feel so welcome.  Though I’ve heard the Geezer’s speech on the historical background behind his book, “Blue Water, Red Blood,” a few times, I pick up something new each time mainly due to the questions the audience asks.

Yeehaw and KD Bass’s Bluegrass Festival was a wonderful three days of paw tapping to the banjos, mandolins, fiddles and guitars.  There were so many fine people and canines there, getting to know them was a blast.  The Geezer and I met readers from all over the state.  And, a lot of visitors from around the US.

Whiskey Creek Country Club was the site of the Geezer’s chance to “show-off” is knowledge of Fort Myers history.  What a lovely, friendly bunch of ladies attended.  They were interested in his mumblings and slide show.  I have to admit the old boy’s mind was functioning on all three cylinders, the ones not rusted up.

Finally, the STATE FAIR!  Wow!  Double WOW!  I got to visit the frontier village built as a permanent part of the Florida State Fair Grounds.  It’s called Cracker Country.  How cool it was to see the human’s dressed up like their ancestors and performing tasks like bull-whip making, carving, forging, and candle making the same as humans did 100 years ago.  The Geezer was in his glory, talking to hundreds of people about Florida history and his books.  By the way, the fair continues through Sunday, February 17.  Visit if you get a chance.

I’ve asked Mrs. G to put some pictures in this post.  They’re below.

Visit  http://www.dlhavlin.com  to see what the Geezer’s doing.

Whiskey Creek Ladies Club, Thank You!

Whiskey Creek Ladies Club, Thank You!

Great time at the "Fair"

Great time at the “Fair”

Florida State Fair Cracker Country Store

Florida State Fair Cracker Country Store

Thank you Friends of the Library Bonita Springs

Thank you Friends of the Library Bonita Springs

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