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)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Back Roads

You'd hardly know it living in a largely populated bay area like we do but Florida still has plenty of wide open spaces to explore. And it is our habit to drive the back roads to find them as often as possible when we travel ... especially on our "quest to see Florida" adventures.

Seems I'm constantly shouting out, "stop the car... I need to take a picture". Poor Mr. Meems. He's getting used to it now and doesn't think something awful has happened. Bless his understanding soul, he is always having to slam on brakes or turn around or pull off the side of the road and just let me have my moments with my camera these days.
Traveling up 301 in Hawthorne, FL it was the rows and rows of cows at the hay troughs that intrigued me. We had to make a u-turn after passing them by too fast the first time. Thinking it was best not to get shot trespassing on someone's dairy farm, I didn't get quite as close as I was first inclined to.
Oh, still close enough to have to get some attention from one staring cow and couple more giving me side glances. What a sweet face.
I'm definitely fascinated by cows. These in Myakka City. It must have something to do with their habit of roaming about in very large, carefree pastures I think. It could very well have something to do with memories so fondly etched in my mind of my grandparents' home.
They raised some cattle on their land in Brandon, FL. As a child, my siblings and I played in every inch of those fields with such abandon. It was important to try to dodge the cow patties but other than that the cows were completely harmless.
There were several cow pastures flanking the side roads where we live until the last ten years. They've mostly been sold out for housing projects and retail stores now. It still makes me sad when I think of wide open spaces turning into cement structures.

Wide open spaces.
Fields of brown grasses. Lakes and rivers. Pine trees, palm trees, and palmettos. Orange groves and horse farms. I love them all.
Landmarked by detail so subtle, yet so telling.

Peaceful and calming vistas. Supplying habitats for wildlife of every kind.

Places that calm the soul when we connect with land that doesn't stop as far as one can see. Away from the ordinary. This is the extraordinary. Breathing in the moments. Reminding us to be grateful for the beauty around us.

Shutting out the noise of everyday life. Here, only the sounds of birds, and frogs, and water, and the gentle rustle of the grass can be heard.
Fresh air and sunshine on a briskly cool Florida winter day is the perfect time for an outdoor excursion. There is so much to see and appreciate.
And if you go, be sure to take the back roads.


Patricia said...

Love this post, Meems. This is the Florida I know best.

Another place you might want to explore is the sugarcane fields south of Lake O.

Louis has learned to be helpful with my photography desires, as well. He has even started looking for opportunities for me because my distance vision is not good -- even with contacts. Now my teenager daughter is another story. She's not quite as patient, so I'm inclined to take photos through the window without stopping when she is with us.

marmee said...

this is wonderful, love the image of the cows too. i am a cow lover, they have the most intriguing expressions. i do think it comes from the fond memories as a child at grandma and papa's house. something in us just innately loves to see wide open spaces whether over a lake, ocean, grassy plain or mountains. just to breathe it all in and see the beauty is so rejuvenating.
glad mr meems is helping you in your photography adventures. my crew sometimes is and sometimes just wants to move on.

Susan said...

Great shot of those cows, Meems. They definitely seemed interested in you. My favorite though, is the shot looking down the road with the beautiful canopy of trees. That is so Florida!

ChrisC and JonJ said...

I love back-roads.I'm the one always yelling,"Turn here.I wanna go down that road and see what's there."It's amazing what you find.

groovy lisa said...

if happy cows come from california and real cows come from iowa, what kind of cows come from florida?

Gail said...

Hi Meems, You make me miss the Spanish Moss and the adventures driving back roads when ever we visit Florida.


Aunty Belle said...

Lovely "other" blog.

I has a brother in Hawthorne area...and me an' Uncle was raised in Gainesville...lots of familiar "ole florida" near them parts.

N.T. said...

Love the wide open spaces and the cows. Makes me yearn for a good horse and a long ride with nothing but the solitude and view to keep me company.

Gerri Beckerman said...

You have a beautiful blog here. I love the photos. I have been working on the same sort of project myself. My husband and I and sometimes the kids ride along have been taking a lot of day trips to various state parks, off the beaten path type places. Love the ride down 301 also!