Monthly Archives: May 2012

The glowing colours of late autumn

Our largest flowering cherry tree is later to blossom and later to shed its leaves compared with the other two in our garden. But the frosty nights and colder days now, plus the decreasing number of daylight hours have meant we are offered this glowing, warming display right now.

Sky lines and the softness of the sky

Today was a “D” day for me. I have been waiting for some considerable time to get a decision that had rather important implications in several areas of my life.

In typically human fashion my mind had turned over endless options, outcomes and scenarios despite my efforts to quell unnecessary mulling and musing.

The result of the appointment was totally unexpected but a real bonus in many ways right now. The key issue still needs a lot of attention and focus but that seems a lot easier than the decision I was expecting.

I returned home feeling a real mix of emotions and decided that the rest of the day was mine as a sort of “down day” away from chores and demands or decisions.

I had some photos to upload to my computer and here is one in particular that I just love.

This sunset earlier in the week was brilliant in its colours in the western sky.

But it was the first photo above which was taken looking more to the south that stood out for me in its soft, soft tones. The sort of softness I needed today.

Making the bed

With a storm full of rain predicted to hit our area tomorrow I decided to get out and make the bed in preparation for this year’s garlic crop.

Garlic crop 2011

I had forked the soil over a day or so ago while the sun shone on my back. Today I dug through a generous quantity of sheep pellets and added this sweet smelling, no cost maple leaf hummus and some stinky half rotted sea weed out of my seaweed tea bucket.

Once it has rained and soaked all these goodies deep into the soil I have some lime to add plus a sprinkling of bulb food. I will plant the garlic at the time of the shortest day.

Perhaps it will be consistently cold by then which assists in the growth of garlic cloves. Many of our spring bulbs are leaping out of the ground as the mix of warm days and some chillier ones continues.

While out in the garden before the storm force winds hit we gathered up a large plastic bag full of maple tree leaves to begin the slow break down process to provide us with even more leafy hummus next year. This year I added a good quantity of sheep pellets to ensure better decomposition.

Nature has provided well for the garlic bed this year.

Kiwi ingenuity

I have become accustomed to extra noise in the neighbourhood with the fibre optic installers still being around with their various diggers, vehicles, equipment, cables and gangs of people.

However yesterday a new cacophony came closer and closer to my home.

Here on the intersection was this machine and two men.

One was operating the machine and the other was putting out signs, directing pedestrians, keeping notes on a clipboard and sweeping up debris.

Apparently our city council has contracted a company to go about the city footpaths and grind down any uneven joins in the path and also to reduce the angle on corner kerbs.

The machine they are using here is one of only two in New Zealand currently. The machine is technically a small excavator but has been modified significantly to now sport a grinding device on the front. The device can move back and forth across concrete and grind it down. This, of course, creates an extremely loud noise.

It would seem that negotiating sharply angled kerbs can cause prams, strollers and wheelchairs to lurch violently enough to tip out the person on to the road. The work I witnessed yesterday is being done in order to prevent this happening.

I hope it is successful and I hope someone has patented the design of the machine. We Kiwis are known for our ingenuity but we are not always as good at protecting our intellectual property and seeking out broader markets for useful inventions.

An expansive little word

I’ve been thinking about a three letter word this week and realise just how much I use it, often at the end of a sentence.

I find it helpful in quieting the negative voice/s in my head.

The little word is “yet”, used as an adverb. “I haven’t written that blog post……..pause and insert “yet.”

Yet can mean “up to the present time, thus far” and I think this offers a great sense of hope, possibility, potential, choice and opportunity. It can relieve pressure, increase a sense of empowerment, capability and capacity, encourage wider thinking or creativity and let our clever brains get to work in a way that supports us instead of beating us down.

A photo of “yet” seemed a little trickier to capture but maybe this pile of wind gathered autumn leaves says “it is autumn here but not yet winter” and thus far the temperature here today bears that out.

Kindergarten can teach us much

Recently I reread the original edition of Robert Fulghum’s book “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten”.

I first heard one of the stories from this book when it was read to me in an Accelerated Learning course. The story was called “Where do the mermaids stand?”

It was a story which spoke to me and it was one I often read to women in self awareness and self esteem courses I ran.

So what is it about Robert Fulghum’s writing that appeals to me, that speaks at times profoundly to me and which can cause me to nod slowly in agreement with him or to laugh out loud with him?

He is interested in quirky things; he comments on the ordinary things in life; he laughs at his own quirks, idiosyncrasies, habits, beliefs and behaviours and in some way makes allowances for the reader to have the same bumbling, complex humanness.

He finds value and enjoyment in the great diversity amongst us all. He reminds us that we are all simply trying to get on with life in the best way we know how; he is keen on opening and easing the mind and in so doing expands the heart.

He offers some very simple observations around what makes us extraordinary people and some really simple guidelines that help make life work.

I really like his style, approach and attitude and it is with interest that I learnt from his website that in 2003 the 15th anniversary edition of this book was released. Fulghum has revised and expanded the original essays. The preface is new and there are 25 new stories in it, all of which tell us that ordinary events can hold universal insights.

Sunday reflection

When you hear the splash of the water drops that fall into the stone bowl,
you will feel that all the dust of your mind is washed away.
—Sen-No-Rikyu

I visited a nearby lagoon area today to capture a photo or two of this delightful water feature. It is easy to gaze on this and feel relaxed and refreshed. After a week of the common cold laying us all flat and some very wintery weather it was a tonic to be out in the clear, sunny conditions and to listen to this gentle water moving.

Better beets

Gardening is a mysterious occupation and the mystery often remains unsolved despite our best human efforts.

These baby beetroot are part of my third attempt at growing a small crop of beetroot.

The first crop was a dismal failure which I shrugged off as “one of those things that happen when gardening”. I had no prior experience with this particular plant so I figured I hadn’t got something right.

I optimistically planted a second crop and gave the plants a lot more attention. I made sure the plants were watered, had plenty of sunshine and fed but again I was very disappointed to find that the beets were very small at harvest.

Not to be beaten, although my spirits were low, I went on to the internet to see what I could find about growing beetroot. I was fully expecting to find that I had missed a critical factor or two. But information I found reassured me that I was doing everything right.

With this determined attitude I planted baby beets in mid March this year with intentions to harvest them in early May. Lo and behold I have a good sized crop of baby beetroot.

What made the difference? I would have to suspect it was the sudden and prolonged period of warm weather we experienced and then some wonderfully, soaking rain that saw the beets swell up in size within a day or two. But I can’t be sure.

I have been a gardener for long enough to know I can’t beat nature, but like many gardeners I return to planting in the hope that the crops will eventuate if I care for them appropriately. I also know that every so often I manage to catch perfect growing conditions and magic happens alongside the mystery of it all.