Promises

IMGP6142My little lime tree that I planted three years ago teased me last year with its blossoms that never came to fruition.  Soon after I saw them, we had a significant windstorm that blew them all off.  This year I have high hopes that I will see fruit, however, partly because I have been tending to the tree more, and partly because there are many more blossoms than I saw last year, along with considerable new growth showing.

IMGP6133It was wonderful to be greeted with the sight of full-blown blossoms this morning as I left the house in the rain.  White stars dotted the green leaves, promising to become limes for me to enjoy.

IMGP6139Lower down on the tree, a bud just beginning to open sticks out its tongue at those passing by, waiting for a passing bee to fertilize it.

IMGP6136The low-lying buds are still tightly closed, not quite ready to bloom and grow.  With a little bit of luck, I will have limes a little later on.  Unfortunately, I have managed to kill all my mint, so there will be no home-grown mojitos for me.

The Hunter

IMGP6091The little blue heron stands in the swampy grass, just across from WalMart, surveying his land.  He has no fear of those around him, but fixes them with his calm eye.  He struts along, seeking his next meal.

IMGP6084Suddenly, he dips his head into the water, snaps his beak, and captures a nice young frog.  The hunter is victorious!

February Flowers

IMGP6000Even when it does get cold down here in Florida, there are flowers all around.  During the cooler winter months, we actually have some very showy flowers, such as big, bright azaleas, camellias, and roses.  All of these are beautiful flowers, but I really look forward to the redbuds that bloom just before I feel summer creeping in.

IMGP5957I love the way the redbuds bloom, covering their branches with close-fitting, brightly colored blooms.

IMGP5945Along with the redbuds are an abundance of small flowers that aren’t as showy as many of the flowers around here.  Many of these flowers promise fruits later on, such as the ones on these berry brambles.

IMGP5981Or the wild plums that flower prolifically, and end up making bird food in the summer.  The wild plums here are small and black, and as far as I know, not fit for human consumption.  The birds love them, though.

IMGP5953The trees are much more beautiful while they flower than they will be covered in fruit.

IMGP5986The white buds and blossoms are a great way to cheer up an otherwise grey day.  One of the things people often don’t realize when they set out to try their hand at photography is that grey skies can produce some of the most beautifully saturated photos, so while the photos above are bright, the weather was not.

IMGP5978Although they are bright yellow, I often miss these flowers until I see them on the ground, then look up to find them high up in the trees, climbing toward the sun.

New Growth

IMGP5943When I look out my kitchen window and see my little maple tree, it always makes me happy.  Today it is covered in leaf buds that will soon push out into full-sized leaves.  Although I love winter and dream of snow, it is hard not to be joyful at the sight of tender leaves emerging from a tree.

Misty Monday Morning

IMGP5798The mist always beckons me to come out and play.  It makes things magically compelling, especially my lake, where it dampened the noise of the busy street behind my house.

IMGP5775Nobody but the birds were out on this quiet morning, hopping about busily, or searching the waters for their breakfast.  Anhingas float along the water, with bodies submerged, only their long necks and heads visible.

IMGP5779A little brown bird sits quietly, blending into the background, but if you look hard you can spot him.

IMGP5792 IMGP5805The colors along the shore are vibrant through the grey of the mist.  A maple tree flowers with red seeds, while a boat waits for it’s owner to put it afloat.

IMGP5771As proof that spring is coming, bright yellow flowers blossom along a fence.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Rule Of Thirds

IMGP5648The recent rains in Gainesville have brought some shore birds inland.  This white ibis scurries across the athletic fields at Santa Fe College, stopping occasionally to snack on a grub.

Hope

IMGP5492After seeing nothing but snow in my Facebook feed for the last several days, I knew that people were ready for something else.  While it may be a little while for the rest of the country, there is hope of spring beginning to appear here.  We will probably have a much more noticeable and beautiful spring than usual, because way back in October, the leaves all fell from the deciduous trees at the same time.  That means that they will likely come back at the same time, which is unusual for us.  In the meantime, the maples have blossomed in beautiful red seeds.  There really is hope that spring will come!

The Big Hole in the Ground

IMGP5291 IMGP5313Yesterday seemed like a good day for a small adventure, so I headed over to the Devil’s Millhopper to see the big hole in the ground.  Although there are plenty of sinkholes around, the Devil’s Millhopper is special because of both its size and age.  It’s about 150′ deep, and is believed to have formed thousands of years ago, and is always beautiful.

IMGP5378 IMGP5380 IMGP5318I always love to stomp around the Millhopper.  It is always green and cool, with the sound of water trickling down its walls.  The water today was higher in the swampy bottom than I have ever seen it before, probably at least partially due to the torrential rains the day before.

IMGP5347There used to be trails, long before I ever moved here, but because people were not respectful of the fragile ecosystem, a boardwalk and stairs were constructed to contain the visitors.  The stairs are really popular with runners and exercisers who like to run up and down them.

IMGP5361Every time I have gone, I have found tiny violets growing among the moss, which remind me of the larger violets that grew wild in our yard when I was a kid.  Violets aren’t really common in Florida, so I’m always glad to see these ones.

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The greens down at the bottom are incredibly vibrant, even in February.  Much of Florida is green, but a more muted, olive tone than this.  The brightness of this green thrills me to my soul.

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Shrouded

IMGP4585 IMGP4577IMGP4553Yesterday morning I looked out the window to see the world shrouded in fog.

IMGP4566At the lake, the dock railings were shrouded in webs.

IMGP4570 As were many of the smaller trees and bushes.

IMGP4587An eerie landscape on a quiet autumn morning awaited those who would take to the water.

Sunlight

IMGP4428Autumn afternoons in Florida are filled with exquisite light and beautiful flowers.  This one is in my mojito garden, from a bulb I missed when I prepared the soil.  The sun shone over the roof of my house and caught the bloom in perfect illumination.

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