Welcome to my "Florida" blog

Being a third generation Florida native, I'm completely enamored with the diverse beauty of this gorgeous peninsula. For most of the year the weather is divine which makes exploring its unlimited nooks and crannies fun and easy.

Wherever I go I appreciate nature and the world around me. Come along with me as I share the places I visit and perhaps a few other amusements I find interesting along the way.

(FYI: Every post prior to January 1, 2009 was previously published and imported from my garden blog)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Week in St. Simon's Island

Our family has congregated to St. Simon's Island, Ga for Thanksgiving week.

Our three grown children with their spouses and their children are all staying in the same house at the beach.

No time for writing much. We've been very busy having great family time.

It's going to be really strange to cook in a partially equipped kitchen but we'll manage.

Yesterday a photographer met us at this 1700's church to take family photos.
Here's to wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving Day and week.

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Florida: Blue Skies and Crystal Clear Waters

There is nothing like the drive northward up the West Coast of Florida. So many miles of untouched and preserved nature coast to be experienced just a quick hop from the main highway. It's very different from the white sandy beach coast southward.

Bald cypress stands border so many waterways and help to preserve the very "old Florida" appeal if you take the time to breathe it all in.

The rain came through on Saturday and brought with it a drop in temperature to the thirties that night. We were sitting in a stadium in North Florida for a college football game with blankets wrapped around us. I liked it. Cold weather is always a refreshing change after the long hot summer.

The rain cleared the way for Sunday's stunning, autumnal, sunny skies of crystal clear blue and temps in the low 60's. Perfect.

Perfect for an afternoon detour on our drive home from N. Florida. Hubby and I took a stroll through Manatee Springs State Park in Levy County. We started out our little adventure on this walkway that followed ...

... along side the springs (the water is crystal clear and very cold) that feed into...

... the beautitul Suwannee River.

Back at the springs I decided to take a dive to see what was in some of the underground caves. HA! Did you fall for that little bit of mischievous information? Actually, I decided to take a picture of the brave souls that were diving in those freezing waters. There are caves very deep beneath the surface.

About 50 yards out from the walkway I heard the repetitive, cackling-like rattle of a Belted Kingfisher and then caught sight of the blue fellow diving in the water and perching back up on the brush. It was so far away and there were so many trees in between it and me, I didn't think the photo would turn out at all. But these people-shy birds are such a challenge to photograph and I've only had one other sighting in a year, I'm including this rather blurry photo anyway. They are most unique in appearance, and unmistakable in their call.

Lots of green slimy algae growing on the limestone that has piled up next to the springs. According to the stats November and December have recorded the most sightings of manatee right there in the springs where they can be touched and petted by visitors.

In the end this is the only manatee we saw. I guess we didn't time that one very well.

Turtles sunning on the fallen tree will have to take the place of the manatees for us this trip.

We continued on through some natural pathways into wooded hammock areas for more of a reminder of the natural Florida I love.

Fallen trees with an abundance of lichen and mosses are indicators of healthy air and a healthy ecosystem. Every living thing serving its purpose in the understory of the hammocks.

Even though there have been freezing temps in North Florida already there were still wildflowers surviving nicely.

Even some butterflies (it's brown too- so look closely) still fluttering about in the grasses...

We don't get this kind of color generally in my part of Florida but "up north" there were reds and yellows mostly to be seen from the affects of much colder temps they experience.
This is a beautiful time of year down here in the south. These mild autumn/winter months are my favorite to get out and explore our beautiful state.
Thanks for coming along. Now it's time to get out and pick the beans.