Slugs & Sprouts

The unpruned Guelder rose will be quite a sight when it blooms this season! (I like to call it the snowball tree)

I think I have to confess to going slightly stir crazy. Starting to feel very whingy & whiny about the constant miserable weather!
The potatoes should have gone in, but I don’t think it will hurt waiting a few days more – you know… for an actual warm spring day!
Finding motivation to leave the house is becoming a lot harder.

Pretty much forced myself into cleaning up this mess… put most of it through the mulcher for the compost along with some whizzed-up kitchen scraps and a few lucky worms

Yesterday I found about four good sized slugs living under some of the pots in the hothouse… and one decapitated cucumber 🙁

I must admit I was excited to see the first of the tomato seedlings popping up

There were two yesterday, but today I saw a lot more – so ‘Yay’

Yesterday one pumpkin almost there

Today – two!

Zucchini also put in an appearance today:

The silverbeet seedlings are going along really well:

And I have a number of fennel too – I have never actually tried to grow it. It just appears. Its the first time I have seen what the seedling looks like!

Lettuce seedlings a LOT less dead looking:

I put a couple in the dirt in the hothouse – just because I could. The space is for the cucumbers but I reckon I might be able to get a feed off the lettuce before the cucumbers get big enough to be planted and take over.

The lettuce outside under their little lids seem to be doing quite well on the whole…

If we had of had some nice days I would have taken their covers off during the day… but its been hopeless so I have left them alone.

I think the tomatoes are bigger?

And all of a sudden all these pots of cucumbers started looking successful!

Snowpeas (sprouted) & beans (not sprouted yet) sprinkled with blossom leaves! These are destined for my market stall…

Happy with my outside snow peas – both patches are looking good.

Somehow out of the gone-to-seed celery I have a nice new plant ready for use! Sometimes the garden does things by magic!

I have been contemplating on this raised bed. Its the one I layered with newspaper before dumping all the seaweed onto it. Seems like its done a fabulous job of keeping the weeds at bay!
Now I just have to decide what I want growing in here.

Well… fingers crossed for a decent day tomorrow. Who knows? We might get lucky!
Hope your day was great!

Cheers

Hiking The Bright Angel Trail

Hi there! I am jumping back in time a few months to share with you the hike that my friend Wendy & I did down the Bright Angel Trail at the Grand Canyon.
Unusually for me, we were up and on the trail at 7am. It was the sensible thing to do… temperatures were bound to get into the 40s (100+) so starting in the cooler earlier part of the day was a good start.

Mules getting ready to take a group of visitors down to the Phantom Ranch

We packed our bags with lunch, snacks, sunscreen and filled our camelback drink pouches with ice & water. We were so excited to leave the majority of the tourists behind and really get down into the Canyon.

Patient Neddies

The morning light altered the views of the canyon again.

The path surface was very manageable (not like the sometimes rocky horrors of the Overland!) I loved the way it often disappeared around corners like this with oblivion over the edge!

Slowly we had cliff faces to look up to instead of down upon!

On a couple of occasions the trail went right through the cliff! Naturally its a good spot for a quick tourist snap!

It was great looking down to see the track snaking in and around the cliffs and trying to work out where we were going.

We were full of optimism… but we hadn’t actually decided how far we were going to go. I had visions of getting down as far as Indian Gardens (which is about 7km/4.5m) But talking to people and about the difficulty and the heat, we were re adjusting our thoughts to go down to the 3 mile hut

Anyway – we had no other pressing engagements so we didn’t have to decide until we found out how we felt once we got there.

Early in the day is clearly a good time to catch some of these beautiful feathered creatures!

As you know… I love rocks. And this place was stunning for layers, colours and textures.

Sometimes we would come across flowers and other odd (to me) plants

The cliffs started looming over us a lot more as time went on.

Going down for me was easy! You know I love the down parts of hikes! Wendy on the other hand was finding this really challenging – it does put a lot of pressure on your joints and her knee was telling her all about it.

But she kept smiling (and she does have a lovely new hiking shirt!)

The views kept changing and were always so breathtaking.

At one point, the advance mule party caught up to us. It was nice to stand aside and watch them plod confidently on by. Its a trek I would love to do one day.

Wendy was marvelously patient with my constant photo taking! Its really a wonder we got any distance at all!

The camelback drink packs were so handy. It was easy to stay hydrated as we walked along. We didn’t feel hungry much or tired, so we skipped stopping at the first rest point.

Always good to stop and look back up

I can’t help thinking of this as a giants jigsaw puzzle!

We were coming up on the three mile rest house. You can just see the roof on the right side.

And so – choices choices…

The three mile rest house. Time to top up water, sit and decide what to do. Since it was only about 9am, we were feeling pretty much on top of the world (despite having gone down) and were pretty keen to head down to Indian Gardens. A fellow hiker recommended we also walk out along the plateau where we would get a great view of the Colorado River.

Decision made… we were on our merry way again

It was such a great experience getting down into the canyon. On the Rim Trail you feel very much the tourist. An observer. When you are on the trail, you are a participant. It seems more real (if that makes sense)

As we got closer to the Indian Gardens, the vegetation changed quite quickly.

We got overtaken by the main mule party

I felt lucky to see a variety of flowering plants

Indian Gardens was a very pleasant rest spot. There was a place to refill on water, some toilets, seats and shade

My poor shoes! Not looking so spiffy now!

The best thing in the Gardens? The little creek! Bliss

oh – and another squirrel that I wasn’t allowed to pat.

However, a prolonged stop wasn’t on the cards for us just then. We pushed on to the Plateau track as advised. I mean… we had come this far so what’s another few miles?

This part of the trail is hot and exposed and not recommended at this time of year… meh.
Funnily we met a couple of girls who were on their way back from the lookout that acted so unimpressed about the value of the walk and view. (we dubbed them the ‘boob-girls’ due to their insanely scant attire… seriously. Hasn’t anyone heard of skin cancer or at the very least, heatstroke?? Clearly I am getting old and boring)
We continued nevertheless

(Looking back)

Well… I am going to go out on a limb here (or in our case, a rock) and say that Boob-Girls were wrong. Really wrong

The views were spectacular

I was excited to see the Colorado River so much closer. I really wished we were going to continue our hike down!

We stayed here for quite some time, taking it all in & chatting to other hikers that strolled on up.

Eventually we had to return to the gardens. It was now the hottest part of the day and we intended having lunch and a good rest before tackling the very very daunting climb back to the top!

Spot the Squirrel

I spent most of that time like this:

Eventually it was time to go. We decided to leave earlier than the recommended time. We knew we would be slow, but just intended to take it super easy and stop as much as we needed.
I think we were unprepared for the effort it took. I also think we kinda psyched ourselves out a little bit about it.
It was purely hard work and the heat sucked you dry into the bargain!

I put the camera away for the most part of the uphill slog. We worked out a way of aiming for a point, then finding shady rock to sit on. We just did it in bite sized chunks

I think we got better at it as the afternoon wore on.
We had the added distraction of meeting a few nice people and a really nice young ranger who we crossed paths with several times. He was stopping people who were hiking down to find out where they were aiming for and gently getting them turned around to go back. He was really good at it. He didn’t suggest they go straight back, but walk on a bit to have a look before returning but also letting them know that at 4pm, its not giving you a lot of time to get back UP again.
A distressing number of these people had on the most extraordinary footwear too!
It was really interesting to hear how the rangers handled emergencies and other situations. Apparently being choppered out was the last resort. Sadly my blisters didn’t quite make the grade of super emergency chopper ride out.
They have emergency kits stashed at the huts. Most problems are dehydration and exhaustion. Rangers will go to hikers in trouble and set them up to sleep for the night, rehydrate them and walk them out in the morning.
I think this fellow had a pretty wonderful job!

When you’ve been walking for 10 hours and you look up… sigh. Still had to get to the top of that!

Look at this face!! Still smiling but you can see she is exhausted! We were both having the time of our lives, but also quite ready to collapse into our sleeping bags!

Seeing that tunnel was looking at the home stretch!

Back up to the top! 7pm, 12 hours, 20km (12miles) and we were done!
I am so glad we did this incredible hike – it was one of the best days ever!
Mind you we couldn’t actually move the next day, but it was worth every ache & pain!

Hope you enjoyed sharing a little of our day!

Cheers

Strawberry Patch Cleanup

It was a slightly warmer day today and I didn’t get rained on at all!! Got totally confident and pulled on the gardening pants to get out and tackle the woebegone strawberry patch

A bit of weeding, but mostly pulling off dead leaves and digging up runners that were trying to grow in the lawn or between the rocks.
I relocated what I could fit in… the rest will go into pots and maybe get sold.

Then to dig in a bit of mushroom compost around the plants and job just about done.

I’ll have to get some netting over it ASAP as I am positive our adventurous chook will find it in short order and dig everything up quite happily. (she needs a wing clipped!) I will also need to get over to one of the local pine forests and collect a few bags of needles for mulching. (Strawberries enjoy a soil that is slightly more acidic if you are wondering why pine needles)

Anyway – getting late. Time to jump the fence and liberate a few more daffodils

Still plenty in the paddock

Finally home and inside and showered. I was quite disappointed to learn it was Sunday! I had been working all day on the assumption it was Saturday. Ruined all my plans of hitting the markets tomorrow. Hmmmm

Well… apparently that’s my weekend done and dusted!! How was yours??

Cheers!

Green Manure

Hi – my cold has developed. Losing my voice now. Jeff must find it nice and peaceful!
Despite the continued rain and cold, I did get outside for a short time to do something useful in the main garden.

Future corn plot

I won’t be able to plant the corn for a while – just not warm enough. So I thought I might plant some wheat and use it as green manure. Hopefully there will be time for it to reach a nice little height to dig in again before I have to plant the corn.

I figured it would be easier to cover the seeds over if I just did some rows instead of scattering them about willy-nilly.

It started raining again before I had finished covering them over… so at least they got a bit of a watering!

Meanwhile in the hothouse – cucumber babies!!

The silverbeet is doing really well… lots of sprouts up in all three pots

And hopefully tomorrow a cousin is popping by to take a few excess seedlings off my hands!
Hope your weekend is going along great!

Cheers

Lettuce needing homes!

 

First Tulip

Hello Friday! Ended the week with the first tulip appearing! How nice!

Not a lot fabulously exciting happening at Norwich House today -except had a friend in this morning to talk photography (and eat cake of course with a cuppa) which was really lovely! Apart from that it was all shopping, bank, post office, watering seeds & dishes!!

Hope everyone has a super weekend planned!

Cheers!

Oh, and this black lily thingy…

And in a few days…?

 

 

More Rainbows & Rain

The weather each day is being rather predictable! I seem to have caught a cold – mind you its the most pathetic thing ever. It has taken me about a week to convince myself it even IS a cold! (Kind of on the opposite spectrum to a Man-Cold) !!
Weird sore throat – an occasional unconvincing cough and a slight sniffle.
All in all I don’t feel sick and its really nuisance value.

There are the three fully complete shawls. Now I am only in the middle of two more.

Since I was happier inside today, I did some baking. Some fresh bread and a tea cake (Great grandmothers recipe) for us.

And a couple of loaf cakes for the chooks! I whizzed up some leftover broccoli stems, added the bacon rinds/fat also some old dates as well as two eggs & their shells, some rolled oats & flour. Oh, and molasses.

Cake with a side order of wheat sprouts!

Much appreciated I think!
One of the shyer girls picked up a chunk and ran off with it so she could eat it in peace!

Eggs in return!

The first planting of snow peas going well!

We are nearly in Friday again!! Weeks are just flying by!
Hope you have a great day!
Cheers!

Cherry blossoms will be the next to appear!

 

Sprouts & Flowers

Hello! How is everyones week travelling along so far?
Ours is still soggy! (With bursts of sun & rainbows!)
I finished up three shawls today! Wove in those evil tail ends!

A few more sprouts have broken through the surface of the soil in the hothouse!! I get excited over these little wins! I hate this part of the season when I think nothing is going to grow for me! Waiting waiting!
The above sprout is a silverbeet seedling. (rainbow chard)

Some of the transplanted lettuce seedlings are looking less dead. Others… well… they are looking mostly dead! Not sure about the outside ones!! Will go look tomorrow

This was encouraging! The portulaca seeds have germinated! I had no idea what to expect with those. My sister Rosemary introduced me to this great little plant and showed me how to collect its seeds. I might add they are SUPER tiny seeds!

But hopefully they will survive and turn out like the ones above!

Nearly time to make a decision about where to transplant the rocket to!

Baby onions!
A few more thyme sprouts to keep the first one company
Marigolds!

And then a speedy trip around the garden to enjoy some colour before the rain started up and I went back inside to my cosy fire!

A lot of granny bonnet plants springing up

Onion weed – pesty but pretty
Lots of liliums showing
Protea

Enjoy your day!
Cheers

Herding Cats, Aliens & Stormy Skies

Road trip stop for sandwiches!

Hello! So – where does the herding cats thing come in? Try organising a schedule to fit in a considerable amount of people and too many sighseeing spots in an international country in a limited time!
Yes – working on our Japan trip as it has to be locked in at some point! I have so many great places I want to show my parents and lots of people to meet – they may come home to Australia slightly ruined.

Anyway – it rained today a lot, so a good day for messaging people and researching trip particulars.
And I did a few photos from the US!

I love taking long drives – I love the scenery out the window, stopping for random picnics (now Wendy knows how essential and wonderful it is to add cucumbers to your sandwiches)

Peaceful roadside stop

I was rapt to stop in Roswell – I love all that tacky alien stuff! I would have liked to have stayed longer to look, but we had a loooong way to go.

We stopped long enough for some silly selfies and a bit of a look and be proper tourists by buying t-shirts and bumper stickers!

I should have bought the alien coke…

Mysterious footsteps

Every which way you turned there was an alien something!

Down the road we found a couple of enormous cowboys! (The photo above looks a bit surreal doesn’t it?)

After the hustle and bustle of the wedding I was stuck in a car for two days with this mad woman –

Its ok – I let her stop frequently for coffee and all was good!
Actually it was just great the two of us – only had about 37 years of life to catch up on!!
Luckily as I mentioned before, we got along like a house on fire and didn’t need to pull over at any stage for time outs! Snicker…

I didn’t get a long way though photos today, but I will leave you with this set of fabulous skies in the middle of Texas somewhere!

The colour and flatness reminded me of parts of Australia too!

Wendy pulled over and I got out of the car here… nearly got blown over! Certainly not hurricane level, but impressive nonetheless!
Cheers!

Monday…

I went down the street.
I managed to talk to a LOT of people while in town.
It rained a fair bit.
I fed the chickens and watered the seedlings.
I cut up 46 days worth of meat for Pip’s dinners.
I am over cutting up meat and now want to go to bed.
The End.

haha – sorry. Nothing of note to report! Have a lovely week everyone!

Cheers

Lettuce Begin… (haha??)

G’day! A rather nice spring day! Even reasonably warm out there!
So back to the garden it was… this time it was the lettuce seedlings turn to go out.

I had to rake all the seaweed off, dig up the twitch that was determinedly growing and dig in a couple of bags of mushroom compost

I managed to dump the whole tray out on its head… oops! Such a klutz! Happily didn’t squash/kill many

They always look so limp and pathetic when they first go out

Hopefully they will perk up in a few days (the broccoli are already sitting up beautifully!)
I gave them a watering and covered them with the rest of my saved recycling bottles.

I still have a LOT of seedlings. Some I potted up with the intent to sell out the front if they grow nicely and look good

Right now they are not at their best!!!

Keeping the passionfruit company!

I am thinking it is about time to feed, weed and mulch the garlic.

The girls enjoyed the weather today – and we got three cackleberries!

Hope your weekend has been great and stay safe all those in the path of Irma!! She’s a bit frightening!

Take care