Holidays…

Where does this photo look like to you?

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You see, I immediately thought of Yorkshire (there is no bias here…honest…it’s not that I compare EVERYWHERE to my beloved home, really it isn’t) but the meadows of wild flowers, both in variety and look, totally reminded me of the meadows ‘up Dale’ back home; only they are, in fact, half way up the volcano of Haleakalā in Maui Island, Hawaii, which is where we have just returned from our holidays.

I was pretty gobsmacked when we discovered a lovely lavender farm, at the foot of the volcano, especially as the landscape was a total contrast the the more dry coastal areas we were staying in (or the tropical lushness of the wetter areas of the Island), but when Yorkshire appeared, shortly followed by Scotland (gorse and pine style trees) before turning into Lanzarote (dry lava rocks), I was too busy enjoying myself with the scene changes to get car sick, winding up the mountain road.  Always a bonus.

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At the top, apart from the amazing views we discovered these beauties.  Instinct (and common sense) said to not touch them but as one was directly next to the car, C gave a nice pose to give an idea of the height.

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The flowers gave off a heavenly honey scent and on finding a sign in the observation center, we discovered they are Haleakala Silverswords, which only grow on this mountain in Maui, on the dormant volcano at heights over 7,000 ft.  (sorry about the bad photos, I only had my camera with me).

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I am positive I also read that they live for up to (and often beyond) 50 years and only flower once, then die, which seemed rather sad as quite a few of these majestic triffid-like plants were flowering on our visit.

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Our holiday in general was awesome.  We had time in San Francisco, where a visit to The Exploritorium shop had me over-excited by a book on ‘Vintage Education Charts from the 19th and 20th Centuries’ (‘The Art of Instruction’ – bet you can buy this on Amazon), 

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partly because it contains some of the charts I own myself (by Jung-Koch-Quentell), bought from the UK Etsy seller Bonnie and Bell.  I just can’t get enough of these, I had to stop myself from buying more as they are quite an investment plus they are large, so you need good wall space to display them.  The book itself has beautiful, full page illustrations.

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I also bought a box of postcards.

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We then spent some time in Yosemite, doing all the tourist stuff, including river swimming, walking in the valley and visiting the Sequoias.  We are now quite glued to the news of the wild fires threatening these beauties along with the Hetch Hetchey reservoir that provides nearly 85% of San Francisco’s water.  There is a huge emphasis on how natural wild fires are and how needed for the re-generation of the woods, but obviously this fire is now out of control and threatening homes as well as water and power supplies, so I do hope they get it contained soon.

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I always have mixed feeling when returning from a long break.  Normally I am quite pleased to see the house and sleep in my own bed etc, but I was feeling a bit glum after this one, we really did have a lovely time, especially in Hawaii.

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I was cheered this morning by my Graze box.  It is a summer holiday special and had a little pop out bear inside and the usual yummy treats.  What to eat first?  I think the boys have already claimed the flapjack and popcorn 🙂

Autumn Planting Lists 2013…

I wrote this post a few weeks ago, before we went away for a long holiday (more on that next).

I am awake on my own in the house, which is a bit of a miracle around here as the boys are normally up at 6am (they have been trained to wait until the clock shows 6, otherwise it used to be even earlier!!) but at nearly 7am, I am sitting quietly in the kitchen, drinking my coffee and watching the wildlife in the garden. Bliss.

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A little blackbird is eating the pink gooseberries, they were ripe and lovely but as mentioned in the last post, no-one but me is interested and we have no freezer space for crumbles etc so I figure the birds may as well enjoy them.  I have one final redcurrant bush, netted and ripening, and to come later my small handful of apples, the crab apples, blackberries and medlars.  I mentioned this in the last post, but there’s nothing on my family (as in different grafted varieties on one tree) pear or my damson tree, I have no idea why.

I’ve been thinking about my provisional new planting list for the garden and this is what I’ve got so far:

  • Kohl Rabi
  • Radish
  • Spinach (Perpetual & Bordeaux)
  • Turnip
  • Spring Onions
  • Pack Choi (Tatsoi)
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Fennel
  • Winter Lettuce
  • Herbs
  • Broad Beans (sown in Autumn for next Spring eating)
  • Garlic (must order soon or the best variety will sell out)

I used the great ‘Seeds to Sow Now‘ feature on the Sarah Raven website to help find some vegetable seeds for August/September.

Some of these have already gone in as any later will be too late, but the others I plan to sow when it’s not so bloomin’ hot.

That’s it – a quick post but one to keep my records straight 🙂