It's hard to believe that June, and now July, have flown by, leaving us with just over a month of official summer left (before it continues being summer in Florida...). Summer classes are wrapping up, and while being in a crazy hardcore-over-my-head stats class can sometimes make me feel like singing the blues, I instead opted for study breaks that brought me closer to the wondrous blue waters that inspire me and have become my second home...
July started with red, white, and blue celebrations on the 3rd and 4th. Val and Austin were in town the night of the 3rd, so we enjoyed some fireworks with them at Flavet Field (and some delicious Karma Kreme afterwards to celebrate their short and sweet visit to Gainesville). We began the next day with a walk/run at Millhopper, which inevitably (to go along with the theme) ended with lots of blue falling from the sky... aka it poured half way through our outdoor adventure, which wasn't ideal. Although once we were soaked, it wasn't so bad, so we embraced it and stayed for a while as the rain drove from the skies, waterfall-ed down the steep, muddy walls of the sinkhole, and percolated into the ground, destined for the aquifer beneath our feet.
Of course the rain stopped just as we arrived home, so we dried off, had some lunch, and continued our park adventure by going over to the La Chua trail, where we caught a few glimpses of blue skies and sunshine. The alligators, butterflies, a whole assortment of fun insects (thankfully not the biting/stinging kind) and beautiful passion flowers were also enjoying a break in the rain and served as perfect subjects for taking some photos along the way.
To celebrate the 4th, we went up to Andy and Kathleen's farm for a potluck celebration that included lots of food, beautiful sunflowers, cute piglets and goats, loud fireworks, fantastic company, and so much more :)
|My favorite flowers... high in the sky.|
|Andy starting the fireworks early - awesome!|
Our next adventure was blueberry picking. Usually strawberry picking is one of my favorite activities of the summer (just as apple picking is one of my favorite fall activities). I have many fond memories of picking with my grandmother at home, but in Florida, the picking seasons are shifted so that strawberries come before summer even has a chance to begin and blueberries are gone by the time the August picking season starts in New England. Danielle was able to do some research and track down what I'm pretty sure was the last farm open for the season - a beautiful, organic farm up on the Santa Fe River.
|Slim pickings (but still some left!).|
|Peaceful weekday morning - well worth getting up early!|
|Danielle taking one of many fantastic photos of the day (the one she is taking here is a neat shot of the visible boil at the surface... the flow has been very strong due to all of the summer rain!).|
|Reflections in the side spring run.|
|Brilliant blue below... a freediving dream spot :)|
|A view of Naked Spring from above. There are easily 20+ turtles just below the surface.|
|Coming up from freediving in Naked Spring (NOT freediving naked in the spring... note subtle difference ;).|
|St. Augustine Beach.|
|My new favorite lunch spot. Basically everything on the menu has a name that's a play on words using lyrics or names from Bob Marley's songs!|
|Pink flowers galore. These and many others lined the little cobblestone streets of St. Augustine.|
|Greg and I by a pretty fountain outside the Lightner Museum.|
|Beautiful shell and tile artwork (above) at Flagler College, as well as a brilliant gold ceiling in one of their historic campus buildings.|
|We ended the very hot summer day with some delicious homemade popsicles from The Hyppo.|
Photos from all of these July adventures are in my Facebook album The Blues :)