I found a new sunflower farm closer to my home (still almost an hour away though). Up in Spring Hill, an hour north of Tampa, Jimmy MC’s farm has U-pick sunflowers during the spring. I headed up there on the final weekend of the season almost at the end of May. This is not a big farm with activities for little kids. This is just a farm that you can go and pick your own sunflowers. It’s free to get in and $5 for two handfuls of sunflowers. I parked near the barn and walked out to the sunflower field.
They do have a picturesque tub that you can climb in and take pictures.
It was the last weekend of their season but the field was still full of sunflowers. It was hard deciding which ones to pick. So many! I looked for new buds that weren’t drooping yet and covered in bees. I didn’t want to disturb the much needed honey bees.
I was inspecting each one that I was thinking of picking and found this green spider on the back of one. I didn’t want to take him home (last year I brought home a small creme colored spider and put him in the backyard).
They had a lot of cows next to the sunflower field and I was envious of the ones in the back going for a swim. It was a hot morning. Their pond had really shrunk from the drought. Once most of the good flowers were picked they let the cows in the field and eat the remaining sunflowers.
As I walked back to my car I saw this sandhill crane family in the grassy parking area. I had my camera in the car so I pulled it out and snapped a few shots of them feeding. Junior was almost fully grown but still getting food from his parents.
I loved seeing the windmill out in the cow pasture so I stopped and snapped the above with my phone.
It’s been a hot summer with little rain. Most days looked like this. Sunny with no real chance of rain (at least the rain lowers heat). I went out early for a short walk on the causeway, hoping for a breeze.
The water was so clear you could see the little bait fish swimming in between the old concrete pillars.
The north side of the causeway has never been nice but now it’s really full of dead seaweed. I wonder if this is part of that big 5,000 miles of sargassum seaweed that was floating out in the Atlantic Ocean and heading for Florida.
Walking over the bridge I was almost eye level with the terns diving for fish.
The south side of the causeway was nice and clear.
A kiteboarder goes cruising by.
After my walk I headed over to the marina to see if there were any dolphins or manatees swimming by.
A pelican sits on the corner of the pier and for a short while no one was bothering him.
I could see a dolphin fin breaking the water (just below the red sign) but I couldn’t find him again after I snapped this. He must have turned around and headed out under water.
My favorite great egret was there on the floating dock, trying to catch bait fish through the hole.
There’s a live camera on top of the restaurant next to the pier (it has a minute or two delay). I pulled it up on my phone and screen shot the above of me standing there leaning on the pier (in the blue shirt on the right). I had the pier all to myself this morning, no fishermen or joggers stopping by.
I wasn’t up and out of the house that early in the morning. But, early enough to catch the sun before it got too high in the sky. The Safety Harbor fishing pier is one of the best spots to see a sunrise in Pinellas County. There is usually a crowd but this weekday morning wasn’t too busy.
I lingered for a while on the pier watching the sun go up.
As I was leaving and driving down Main Street I realized that they had recently held the sidewalk chalk festival. I stopped and snapped a few shots before heading out.
I stopped at the Oldsmar pier before home and they were getting ready for the weekend carnival at the park. It was late March so I was assuming this was a spring break carnival. I walked out on the pier and could see the workers finishing the set up.
I turned around on the pier and saw my favorite crab trap guy out in the water. This time he was close to the pier and I could see him emptying the traps more clearly this time. I’m hoping one of these days I’ll get to meet him. I think he saw me taking his picture and he was probably thinking “What is she doing? I have a permit for these traps.” But I really just think it’s cool to be out in a small boat with tons of pelicans following him.
This was way too easy. A permanently injured eagle at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. Whoever added the flag on the back fence was a genius.
Mount Rushmore several years ago with my sister who lives in nearby Sioux Falls.
Bay Pines National Cemetery in St. Petersburg Florida where members of the Armed Forces are buried. My parents are here. My dad was in WW2.
My cousin and his family are all in the Tampa Bay Water Ski show. This is the opening from their free shows every Saturday afternoon.
Practicing fireworks before dark in the neighborhood.
I found this flag hanging on a wall in a tourist shop in Tarpon Springs. It’s made of shells and starfish.
A very young bald eagle learning to fly.
A bald eagle souring across the sky.
I was looking through some older folders of a flag picture to post for today and came across all of the above. I couldn’t decide which one to post so I added all of them. All reminders of the summer season. From Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day.
Across from Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City is Heritage Park. We stopped by for a quick walk around the park but did not go into the historic village (there was a fee to get in and we didn’t have enough time since we would have to leave for the airport soon).
It was beautiful here and you can go horseback riding in the summer. It’s amazing it’s only 15 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City.
I found a frozen pond and thought that was cool. Wasn’t sure how far down it was frozen so I wasn’t risking walking across although it was tempting.
The monument tells the story of how the Mormons settled in the area. The view from it was amazing, surrounded by snow covered mountains. Back home we have been in the 80’s since the beginning of March so the cold is only a distant memory.
I was out early one morning right before Christmas. My first stop was the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular but thought I would do a quick lap around the gardens. The gardens were decorated for Christmas and you could see the lights all over the bushes and trees. I thought this owl statue was cool and would have loved to see it all lit up but I didn’t make it here for the night holiday lights this year.
The usual birds were in the main pond. A green heron at attention, a wood duck (the entire family was floating around the pond) and there were lots of moorhens.
After the botanical gardens, I stopped at nearby Largo Nature Preserve to see if there was anything new. A grebe spent some time preening close to the boardwalk and there have been some northern shovelers there for several weeks now but nothing new or different.
My last stop before heading home wasn’t really a park but the Dunedin marina. I was hoping to see dolphins or manatees hanging around the marina but I didn’t see any on this trip so after walking around for a while it was time to go home for lunch.
On our dolphin tour during the week of Thanksgiving, we headed out to a small spoil island to walk around and look for shells. It’s a tiny oasis in the middle of all of these tall buildings.
The flag on the island was starting to look a little weathered.
We could see a kiteboarded across the waterway.
There were small sailboats all around the area. It was a windy morning and perfect to be out on the water.
I was looking the other way and heard my sister yell “Oh no, they went over.” I looked around and saw that the boat had flipped on it’s side. The 2 guys were working on pulling it back up. At first I thought they would need to be rescued but our captain said it happens fairly often and the guys on these small boats are good at getting them back upright. That has to take a lot of upper body strength to get that sail out of the water. (That big white complex in the background is Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater).
The guys in another boat nearby were leaning pretty hard to keep theirs from going over.
It was a two waterfront kind of day in late October. I went for a walk along the waterfront on the bay in downtown St. Pete early in the morning and then went to the Dunedin marina on the gulf side for a sunset walk.
I got to the marina late in the day right as the moon was coming up.
Fun boat at the marina.
This little spot is one of my favorites to catch a sunset. I think it’s also a lot of other people’s spot as well because it can get pretty crowded on the weekends.
Maybe it’s because watching the sunset here makes you feel like you are on vacation. Until you drive home and have to cook dinner and do the dishes. Then back to work the next morning.
More pictures from the Veteran’s Memorial Park in east Tampa. I took so many pictures and had to post most of them. You can see my first post here. The above were taken in the WW2 section.
You can see the cool helicopters from all over the park. Once I got into the Vietnam section, I could really see the details. You could see into the bottom of this one and it had a camera in the floor. I tried to imagine someone flying this and taking pictures over enemy territory.
The one with the teeth across the front was also impressive. I wonder if it was painted this way when it was in use?
There was also a memorial to the dogs used in the military.
The park is in a beautiful setting and was a perfect way to spend a morning walking around under the trees learning about the history.
The park sits on the Bypass Canal and of course I spent some time walking along the water looking for birds. The only ones I found were two limpkins. One was a juvenile, still yelling at Mom to feed it.
There were a lot of hibiscus bushes in the park, which are are my Dad’s favorite.
Speaking of my Dad, here he is going into boot camp. He was over in Germany in 44 and 45.
He had a camera permit while he was overseas. He had a photo album full of pictures taken overseas that I didn’t even know existed until we found it after he died. I still have his camera pass. He would have been 97 years old last week.
I found a park on the other side of Tampa that I had never been before. Veterans Memorial Park is on the other side of downtown Tampa from me and I had read about it on a walking club site. There are several other parks in the area called Veterans Memorial Park but this one is different. It recognizes all the wars starting with the Spanish War. There are many monuments and there’s a museum although it was closed when I was there in late August.
I think one of my favorite monuments is the World War 1 statue.
Big army tanks are always cool to see up close.
Many of the displays honor Hillsborough county residents.
It was a quiet morning with not many people here. I felt like I almost had the place to myself. I walked around under the trees for a while and took a ton of pictures. More to come on those.