A trip down south (south Florida)

Every year in the winter Brett and I head down to the Miami area for a long weekend to visit some relatives before it gets too hot. This past February we were looking for something to do with his aunt and uncle and were going to be close to Homestead one afternoon so we stopped at the Fruit and Spice Park.  We were way down south of Miami right before heading to the Keys. Lots of farmland down there. The park is a farm that grows different exotic spices and fruits that you can tour. We took a long tram ride with a guide who explained all of the different plants that are farmed there. We got to taste and smell some of them. It was a nice way to relax and spend the afternoon outdoors and I took a ton of pictures.

The above Rainbow Gum tree was very cool. As the bark peels off, it exposes different colors. It can only be grown in frost-free areas of the country.

There were lots of critters crawling around from the pretty green lizard to the big iguanas. The kids on the tram went crazy over them and we stopped and were allowed to get pretty close.

More to come on this trip down “south”.

SkyWatch Friday

In the backyard

A house sparrow on our dock. They nest in the hole on the side of the dock.

A hawk sitting on our fence.

An anhinga getting a snack on our neighbor’s dock.

A woodpecker getting a snack on our palm tree.

A blue jay giving me a funny look while sitting on our neighbor’s boat.

Things on our muhly grass.

The moon in the backyard in the morning.

Just a few things in our backyard in the past couple of weeks.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

The usual suspects at Lettuce Lake Park


The parks are full of white eyed vireos and phoebes right now.

“Common” yellowthroats are pretty common as well.

Doves get no respect even though they have pretty pink feet.

Limpkin eating a snail.

These are actually pretty cool bees, although I wouldn’t want to disturb that nest.

Gators and lizards.

Muhly grass in bloom.

Linking to Wednesday Around the World

Getting up close with Florida critters.

Up close with a ruddy duck.

And black bellied whistling ducks.  One was missing an eye

A pretty lady wood duck.

A very important sign.  Even the night heron standing in front of it should not be fed.

“Hooo’s there?” said the burrowing owl.

Crawling critters behind glass.

Growing inside the aquarium, the beauty berry can be see in the many of the parks around Tampa. The birds and critters eat the berries.

On the wall in the aquarium, this would make cool wallpaper.

A few things from a recent trip to the Florida Aquarium in Tampa.  When it’s too hot to see the fishies from the beach, it’s time to head inside at the aquarium.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Random fun at the Lowry Park Zoo

Residents at the zoo, these macaws get to fly around from the entrance to the stage area for the bird show. I caught them flying around one morning and they stopped for a break.

Residents of the zoo. The stork (middle picture) was born this spring at the zoo.

A few wild things visiting the zoo. A northern parula and mallard.

Pretty green and pink.

Fun animals.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

Fun morning at Fort Desoto

“Don’t go in there” said the lizard. “I had beans for lunch.”

Even the cactus were looking crispy from lack of rain.

On the fishing pier, the pelican stole the fish from the cormorant.

Flyby on the pier.

Cormorant with an itch.

Rush hour traffic in the gulf.

It was a windy morning so the kiteboarders were out.

SkyWatch Friday