Thursday, December 31, 2009

My new year wishes

As the year 2009 comes to an end, I am reflecting how it has changed me as a person. As I look towards 2010 I can say that I am more aware of life and that we do not have tomorrow packaged.
I am more aware of how difficult it is to change one's perception about people and things. Before the information highway was opened, we all lived in our own small worlds. Now that world has become connected and I realize that we are more alike than we are different. Many of us face the same challenges in our day to day existence, many of us share the same hopes and dreams.
Often I wonder if I can make a difference, by doing instead of talking, by giving instead of thinking. At times, I can be described the world's greatest procrastinator and it is indeed the thief of time. Time passes very quickly and before we know it is too late. So my resolution for 2010 is to just do it!

My wish for the world....... may there be some peaceful resolution to the conflicts that seem to be engulfing nations. May we all see each other as family that spans the globe ignoring race, creed and station in life. May we throw out all prejudices and start with a blank page. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?........Just do it!

Wishing a happy and healthy 2010 to all !

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Seasons Greetings

This euphorbia is locally called snow on the mountain and it only flowers at Christmas time.

The poinsettia whose humble roots began Mexico, is now a symbolic plant at Christmas

I was passing through the famous Sandy Lane Estates where I couldn't help admire this display and gardens.
Christmas is now upon us and everyone is dashing and dancing, and also shopping for the last minute presents and food. My kitchen is not finished however I am not going to loose any sleep over that. I will now take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and peaceful Christmas and a healthy and brighter 2010.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Yikes it a bloomin' Friday

My hibiscus hedge at the front consists of red, cream with a red throat and pink with a red throat (not shown). However I am now seeing variations or mutations of the red and cream on the red plants. They are quite beautiful and I wonder if this is normal? For more blooming Friday please skip over to Katerina at roses and stuff . Have a great weekend folks!

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's annuder bloomin' Friday

white mandevilla
white cane begonia
these dendrobiums are having a fun time in this sunny spot.

Hi folks it has been some time since I have posted for blooming Friday. I have been a bit subdued and in deep thoughts on two of my friends who passed away last month. Work on the kitchen is progressing amidst all the dust and confusion. For more blooming Friday blooms please scoot on over to Katerina from roses and stuff. Have a great weekend !

Friday, November 27, 2009

Blooming Saturday

Dwarf Alamanda
white dendrobium orchid

I have been very busy lately, been on the road looking at materials and supplies for the kitchen that I hadn't the time to make the post today Friday. So I have decided to do it for Saturday. We have been getting some frequent showers this month so the plants are loving it. The grass is growing by the second so every weekend now I am mowing it.
On Monday my island will be celebrating its 43rd year of independence. Prior to that the island was under British rule like most of the other English speaking islands.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Kitchen renovations

We found a sandy earth tone tile for the back wall of the arch/hearth. This is where the stove and refrigerator will remain. I hope to find a hood/extractor fan for the chimney.
I have been thinking of redoing the kitchen for sometime, so hubby just decided recently that we better get it done asap. Termites were eating away at the base cabinets and when they were removed, we found a huge colony. The walls will have to be treated before any work is done. My kitchen was 13 years old so that is not too bad. Now my house is a few hundred years old, made of cut limestone and field stone and had many surprises when we peeled away the old and recent plaster off the walls. After closer examination the roof has to be replaced and a new ring beam had to be built. It is a small kitchen 10 ft by 14 ft so we hope to have it finished by Christmas. There is dust everywhere. We had chosen a sandy coloured quartzite counter top with a stacked slate back splash. For the cabinets I planned to reuse the oak ones that were hung above the base since they are in good condition and I will also reuse the doors from the base cabinets. I will have two more storage units built and I am looking at quotes from the cabinet makers. I plan to put two skylights in the roof since the kitchen is quite dark (my mother's in law recommendation) . The floors will be tiled with a limestone coloured porcelain tiles with royal blue inserts like the rest of the house. I hope to get a country look/farmhouse kitchen when I am finished or something near that.
Happy thanksgiving to my fellow bloggers around the world.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Drama in my garden

Two weeks ago Sunday, I was up very early around 05.30 am and decided to take a walk in the garden. I made a cup of tea and walked towards my gazebo. I placed the tea on the table and took a stroll toward the west side of my property . As I got along the side of my shade house near my flamboyant tree, I saw someone walking towards me. I froze in my spot to prevent detection. As the figure approached, I suddenly recognized the person, it was a lady who lived a few houses away. I would often give her a lift to town, chat with her and share any bounty from my garden. She entered my shade house from the back with a large garbage bag in her hand . I was very mad at myself for not walking with my camera that morning. She took a quick look around at the plants I had on the floor and then made a beeline to my orchid stand. She lifted her hand and took a pot , it was at that moment I silently approached her from the rear. I stood about five feet from her back and exclaimed "well, well, well, I heard that you were the one stealing my plants but did not believe it". She replied aggressively that she was not stealing. So I asked her what was she doing in my shade house, on my property, with my orchid in her hand and a garbage bag in the other. She replied that she was not stealing that she had gone to empty some stuff that was in the garbage bag. So I asked her again what was she doing there. I shouted in a loud voice that if this was the manner in which she treated people who have been kind to her. By stealing from them, and she again shouted back she was not stealing. I asked what if I call the police, she shouted back to me, to call them. I told her that this was not the first time she has been here stealing, because she had been seen before by my helpers. Now I have a voice that can be heard miles off, I told her that she was nothing but a common thief, to get off my property at once and that I will be calling the police. As she was walking off she called me a thief. I couldn't believe what I had heard. So I told her that it is she who was on my property stealing so she had it all wrong. Now this woman is in her late sixties and I wanted to push her or cuff her, for the attitude she had. Instead of apologizing she was behaving as if I was in the wrong. So I called the police and made a report. They went to her house later that morning and gave her a warning not to trespass on my property. When the police left, she and her common class family started cussing me and she shouted out that she can come and get any plant she wanted anytime I am not there. Well I called back the police and told them what she had said. The next day they came and warned her again. On Friday, my helper was potting up some plants when she heard some voices. She stood up and looked straight across at the faces of the thief and her niece looking in on my property. They left when they saw her. Now my property is not enclosed, so when the police came to speak to me about the incident they told me that I should put up a fence. I told them that it will be too costly to enclose the whole property, however they suggested I fence the area that the thief has access to. I have now moved all of my orchids nearer to the house and have re potted them . I had really neglected them and I hope that they will make it.

So this weekend gone I had my helpers erect some poles in the ground to later fence the area. The poles were cemented into the ground and I am trying to find the most economical way to fence it. I am also looking into some wireless surveillance cameras.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Goodbye my friend

Claudia above in deep conversation with Chuck my hubby in our garden.

Thursday last week I lost my buddy, a good friend for about 10 years, and a wonderful human being. She had not been too well and suffered from heart disease that was diagnosed 2 years ago. She was a determined lady who never complained. She left in October to visit her family and friends in the USA where she had fallen ill and had to be hospitalized. I spoke to her twice and on each occasion as ill as she was, she wanted to know how I was doing . She told me that her hubby Floyd turned seventy and I said that we will celebrate when she came home. She said that she can't wait to come home to celebrate and harass my hubby Chuck.

On Friday I went by "Shifting sands" her house where she and hubby Floyd lived, and I mowed the lawn. I wanted to be close to her, feel her spirit and her presence. I
caressed her cat patches and told him that his mummy was not coming
back. Claudia had touched many lives and was loved by so many. Her
easy going and generous spirit made her an easy target to love.
Richard and Jenny her friends from the UK stopped by when they saw me at "Shifting sands". As we
walked around her garden, tears welled up in Jenny's eyes as we were
speaking about her. My eyes welled up too, and I felt good that I had
mowed her lawn.

Too many times I would drop by unannounced, she and Floyd would
welcome me and we would sit at the back patio and chat. Once when I was going
through a difficult and frightening time with my husband who was ill
and was away in the USA getting medical treatment, Claudia would call me up to
check in on me. One weekend she called and told me not to cook she was
bringing some food. Not only did she bring the food , she brought the
drinks, dessert and even the glasses as well as some friends. I was
moved by this, no one had ever done this for me I told her. Now how
many friends would have gone out of their way to do something like
that? Claudia would!
Claudia at my house where we would often meet for a meal and enjoy a social get together.

Claudia was from Boston in the United States and came to live in Barbados 23 years ago. She loved her garden, her cats lovey and patches, the beach and the multitude of
friends she had collected over the years living in Barbados. Yet she
made each of us feel that we were her best friend. Claudia managed her
friends well, giving each of them the attention they sought yet still
having time for everyone.
Jenny Claudia and Diana her beach buddies

We are all trying to come to grips that she has gone and it is very
difficult to accept. Claudia has left a big void in our lives and
hearts that we can never fill. Claudia was a rare and beautiful
flower who would give the shirt off her back to you. A fantastic cook
and fabulous baker. Every Christmas she would bake a present for
my husband Chuck
and would send little goodies for him whenever she baked.
All we have now are memories of how this great woman touched our
lives, these memories would live on forever in our hearts.

My profound condolences to her husband Floyd and her sisters in the USA and her many friends who loved her dearly.
Floyd do not be surprised if you see me sitting in your back patio! I
am keeping Claudia's company and watching over her garden!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Orion (historis odius)

Good news! I was using the new editor in blogger and that wasn't working, so I went back to the old editor and am back in action. As they say new brooms sweep clean...but old ones know the corners.
The Orion butterfly caterpillar (historis odius)
A few weeks ago my husband spotted an Orion butterfly near the house and mentioned it to me. I replied that they must be laying their eggs on the Cercropia trees I had planted for that purpose hoping one day that would happen. So I quickly ran into the garden and looked up in the tree. Ha there were these little caterpillars munching away on the leaves. We had never seen the caterpillars before, so to make sure these were the Orion caterpillars, we clipped a leaf and placed it in a container for observation.

Like most butterfly caterpillars they tend to take on the colouring of their immediate surroundings for protection against predators.
I was rather surprised when this caterpillar turned a bright yellow, hubby thought that something was wrong.
It was getting ready to go into the chrysalis stage.
This is when it goes into the J shape and hangs. It will remain like this for 24 hrs.
The next day the chrysalis was formed. It looked like a dried leaf or a piece of twig.

The chrysalis hung there for 8 days and on the 9th day it darkened. This is usually a sign that the butterfly will soon be born. You can actually see the wings through the casing.
The next day around 9.00 am we became the proud parents of a newly born Orion !
I found this one in my garden under the cordyline leaf.
Orion butterflies feed on rotted fruit, they are also nicknamed stinky wings. To attract them we placed old bananas , plantain, carambola and guava outside on a table.
As if by magic one soon appeared. I was elated. Notice the proboscis taking up all the sweet juices from the fruit.
I thought I had seen two butterflies in the area but wasn't sure if it were the same one. So I told my husband that there might be two butterflies. He said that he wasn't believing anything until he had seen it himself and that he had read somewhere that these butterflies were not sociable creatures. He probably though that I was hallucinating but I knew deep down that there were two I had seen.
A while later I heard a shout from my doubting hubby to come quickly! I ran with my camera in hand and ha ha ha....there were two butterflies feeding. I wasn't seeing doubles after all!
Cercropia peltata the larval food for the Orion (historis odius) These are beautiful trees found growing in gullies and hillsides.

It is very difficult to get a shot of the Orion with their wings open. This is one of the few I have managed to take so far .
I've got the whole world
in my hands
I've go the O----RION
in my hands
I've got the whole world
in my hands
I've got the O-----RION
in my hands

The Orion ranges from Cuba to the Greater and Lesser Antilles, Mexico to Argentina. Its wing span is 110 - 130 mm or 4½ to 5½ inches. Larval food is Cercropia peltata trees, also known as Bois canoe in creole. The Orion is a large butterfly with velvety dark brown and orange on the upper wings and dark brown with white bars on the underneath. When closed the wings resemble a dry leaf or a piece of bark, which allows the Orion to blend in with its surroundings without being seen. It feeds on rotting fruit and is a high flier.