In 2002 we ran away from Illinois where we were born and raised, and started a new life in SW Florida. This blog is about me (an eccentric old artist), ROM (my Real Old Man), Isabella (our neurotic Standard Poodle) and Emmy (our crazy snake killing Jack Russell Terrier). Oh- and the neighborhood old people. Life is good in Florida!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Nature Has An Ugly Side- Horror of Duck Rape- Part 1

While chatting on Twitter recently, someone asked about Danielle the Prostitution Duck Whore.  Some of you may remember my turf war with her a couple of years ago. I wrote about our epic battle over my flower beds in my other blog because I hadn't yet moved my personal stories to this blog. You can read about her here if you missed it.

Anyway, while we were Twitter chatting about Danielle the duck, I mentioned the two summers I spent protecting some mallard girls from rape. People thought I was crazy until they Googled "duck rape". Be prepared for some gruesome images if you decide to Google this. Seriously! It ain't pretty, not pretty at all.  Of course I knew nature is often brutal, the survival of the fittest thing.  Animals eat each other as a food supply and kill to protect their territory. But rape? Gang rape, no less! No, never entered my mind anything like that went on in nature. I thought only humans were capable of such brutality. My involvement with the ducks started quite innocently...

Prior to moving to Florida, Real Old Man and I lived in rural Midwest. Our house was way out in the country on a 4 acre lot. The house was surrounded on 3 sides by a heavily wooded ravine with a creek at the bottom of it. Just down the road was a small lake which attracted mallard ducks and geese during the summer. Occasionally a few ducks would wander into our yard to pick through the seed droppings  from the bird feeders but they were just a few of many critters that frequented our lot- foxes, opossums, snakes, rabbits, coyotes and raccoons. The war with the raccoons is another story- that ended with ROM shooting me.  True story, but I leave the telling of that tale for another time. Back to the ducks...

The duck story started one spring when a couple of mama ducks nested and hatched their babies in our yard. I was thrilled when I discovered the nests and eggs- is there anything cuter than newly hatched ducklings?   Darling bundles of yellow fluff. My love for these adorable ducklings was the beginning of my downfall into duck madness. I was so tickled that the mama ducks were nesting in our yard, I began to feed them. First it was just bread crumbs but it wasn't long before I was buying bags of  nutritious duck pellets for them. The nests hatched and soon after the mamas took their babes to the lake down the road. I was delighted when the mama and babies would return every evening looking for the duck pellets they'd come to love. It was so much fun watching the babies grow and soon they became as big as their mama. Autumn came and they all went south. That was the last of the ducks until the following spring...

The following spring a couple dozen ducks, both male and female started visiting our yard on daily basis. I assumed they were the two mama ducks and their babies from the previous year. So instead of occasionally having a couple ducks wander through our yard, we became the popular hangout for more and more ducks daily. I suspected the mamas  had blabbed to their friends about the delicious duck pellets we tossed out into the yard every morning and again in the evenings. It seemed the crowd of ducks grew daily. And they were getting quite brazen and demanding...

If I was late feeding them in the mornings, they'd actually climb the steps to the glass siding door and tap their bills against it. I should have realized then that I was losing control of the situation and the ducks were taking over. Instead, I just marveled at how smart they were and thought it was cute. Little did I know I was setting the stage for a total take over by the ducks. I would soon learn things about the life of ducks that I really didn't want to know. The first scrimmage of my long war with some of the very ducks I was feeding was about to begin.

This story is going to be longer than I first thought so I'll break it down into several parts, and post them as I write them.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bev McClellan Rocks Village of the Arts-

If you're into music and love the Blues, then you've heard of Blues Revue Magazine. One of the most exciting things to happen recently in Bradenton (at least Real Old Man and I think it's exciting) was when Blues Revue relocated their office to a cottage in The Village of the Arts in downtown Bradenton. I'll write more about the Village of the Arts in my next post because this entry is all about Blues Revue and Beverly McClellan.

New Blues Revue Office

This past Friday night was the ritual First Friday Art Walk in the Village and what made it special was a performance by Bev McClellan. Many of you may remember her from the first season of The Voice when she made it into the top four. If you haven't watched The Voice, you must. It blows American Idol out of the water! 

Bev performed in the side yard of the Blues Revue office and put on a fantastic show. Lordy, but that woman has one helluva voice!  It's obvious how much she loves performing, she started earlier than scheduled and went on for hours. Luckily we got there early when the crowd was small and were able to be right up front. 

As you can see, as the night went on the crowd got bigger and bigger.

I video taped the beginning of her concert and have edited it into 6 videos, which I will post below. Next time I'll take my tripod for my Flip. As you can tell from the videos, it's impossible for me to listen to such great music and stand still- my foot kept wanting to tap and even my old lady hips wanted to sway to the music. It's impossible to listen to Bev and not move your body! 

You can follow Bev on Twitter here: @beverlyshane

Here are some videos to give you just a sample of the kick ass performance Bev put on Friday night....
(If any of the videos stop while your watching, click the pause button and give it time to load before starting it again)