29 November, 2012

Welcome Back....

So it was a good ride this morning- no rain, unlike yesterday morning when the skies opened up on the way home. As I was finishing my mid-ride coffee, I could see a bit of a squally shower moving across the bay- what were the chances that I could beat the rain?? I know why I'm not a betting person- traffic and poorly timed lights conspired to make sure that I received a good drenching all the way home- right to the driveway. Felt a bit like Joe Bftslpk from the Al Capp comic strip "L'il Abner"- he was the poor bloke who always had a rain cloud over his head.

But even with rain, any ride from which one returns safely, is a good ride- and there have been many good rides since last I posted (but not much rain).

And there has been much else happening:

I have successfully pollinated a few of these:

These are vanilla beans- we have had the plant for probably at least 10 years and this is the first time I have managed to get the pollination right- it has to be done manually as there are no bees or wasps in Australia capable of pollinating the flowers. The top photo shows a spent bloom in the upper right which I failed to see  on the morning it opened and so another missed opportunity.

I'll let you know in 6 months or so how things are progressing. And now I know why real vanilla is so expensive- the pollination is the easy part- the processing and curing is a long slow process.

And then there were the dove orchids- blooming several times per year, the branches are festooned with short-lived, delicate white flowers with an interesting dusty-citrus fragrance.

Dove orchids
 And in keeping with nature's phenomena- a couple of shots of our solar eclipse on 14 November- we got 96% totality.
14 November solar eclipse

14 November solar eclipse
 Viewed with the latest in solar eclipse eyewear fashion.
Fashion eyewear (of a sort)
 The neighbour's umbrella tree (or at least a substantial portion of it) came crashing to earth on a Saturday afternoon. These things are pot plants back in the old country (no, not that kind of pot)
Well now that's something you don't see everyday
 And in the front garden, amongst the mulch, an ornate burrowing frog.
"I am not a toad!!"

 And last but not least- a zodiac moth.

Okay- I promise the next blogs will be more cycling-focused.

Cheers- ride safe