Monthly Archives: July 2012

Saturday stats

The most significant statistic for today is that it is Day 6 of fine, mild weather… enjoyable day after the next, which is stunning for July in my part of the winter world.

37 new garlic shoots are reaching skywards.

The pretty assortment of lettuces is enjoying this strange climate. I picked fresh leaves for our lunch.

The fruit and vegetable shopping has been done.

The roses are all pruned, bar a large white carpet rose. Nothing low growing or “carpety” with this giant.

The lawns have all been mowed and the scattered, dying leaves munched up by the mower.

Weeds have been pulled out.

I had a cup of tea sitting outdoors in the sun and snapped Mrs Blackbird.

An overdue thank you letter has been written and posted.

Two closets have been decluttered.

And I have posted to my blogs.

Now I am going to do the Anacross in today’s paper to give the word puzzle part of my brain a workout.

Rare, exceptional, beautiful

The work camera was grabbed this morning when a very rare Kotuku, White Heron, was seen in a car park in Porirua.

This website: gives you a lot more detail about this very special visitor.

Perhaps it was en route to Okarito, the only place in New Zealand where these birds breed. The breeding season begins in August.

Maori (New Zealand’s indigenous people) have this saying:

He Kotuku rerenga tahi.
A Kotuku’s flight is seen but once.

And this paragraph off the above website describes beautifully how exceptional this lovely, lovely bird is to us.

“In Maori oratory, the most telling compliment is to liken someone to Kotuku. It symbolizes everything rare and beautiful. It was said that Kotuku is an inhabitant of the nether world, the spirit land of Reinga, and that an old funeral chant ends with these words to the departed: “Ko to kotuku to tapui, e Tama e – Kotuku is now thy sole companion, O my son!”
So seldom does Kotuku appear in any locality that “rare as the Kotuku” has passed into a proverb among Maori.”

And this sunset completed a lovely day, which had offered a significant event.

What is there to like about Lichens?

Winter strips the branches bare, alters the light and provides a view into things easily missed in the growth and abundance of the other seasons.

Lichens have caught my “winter eye” this past week as the sun has shone warmly, drawing me outdoors.

Here are a few facts that I have learnt about these amazing life forms, which if left undisturbed can live for centuries.

15,000 lichens have been described and all are formed by, at least, 2 or 3 organisms – fungus, algae and sometimes blue/green algae.

These organisms ensure each survives thanks to a symbiotic relationship. Algae provide nutrients through photosynthesis which nourishes the fungi while fungi provide shelter to the algae.

Lichens can exist in all environments from hot, dry, wet, frozen but are not aquatic. They can grow on many surfaces. My photos show lichens on trees, terracotta pots and concrete. But do look out for them on soil, leaves, animal bones, desert sand, woody debris and on other lichens.

Most grow less than a millimeter in a year and can shut down metabolically when conditions become very unfavourable.

They come in a wide range of colour, shape and size (from 1 mm to 3 metres). They are non-poisonous and considered edible. Have I tried eating any? Well, no…

But the fact about Lichens that really struck me is their ability to produce more than 500 unique biochemical compounds that can control light exposure, kill attacking microbes and discourage competition from other plants.

What more could be learnt from these unique compounds that might be of sustainable use to us on the planet I wonder?

And what do the photos of lichen remind you of? Coral formations? Space stations on far away planets? I’d be interested to know.

Source –

Tipping point

I see on my blog stats that over 1000 comments have been made on my blog.

Thank you to all the people who follow my blog and to those who have left comments over time.

I read this comment by another blogger recently and it really tickled my sense of humour.

It went something like this: “Thanks for reading my blog and leaving a comment. At least I know that I am not constantly talking to myself.”

I appreciate hearing from you. Take care out there.

Sopping wet

We have had two and a half days of continual rain. Our local weather website tells me that 51.7mm of rain has fallen in July to date. 20.2 mm fell yesterday.

The rain has been heavy at times but in the main it has been thick, heavy drizzle. The drizzle drops are as fine as pin pricks but soak things thoroughly and quickly. Around here we call it “very wetting rain”. It is impossible to run between the drops…:-))

Everything feels damp and the grass is sodden and best avoided. Paths have little streams draining over them or large puddles sitting on them.

When the rain eased a little this morning I went outdoors for some welcome fresh air and took some photos of drips which glistened everywhere in the calm conditions.

I also rescued the first daffodil from drowning. The daffodils are early this year but very welcome as we hope for some drying conditions very soon.