Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Melon Surprise

Dirty fingernails and nettle-stung ankles....I must be home.
I have made three visits to the garden since we came back, but today, I got a really good surprise.
It has been a baking hot day with temperatures in 30`s.
The polytunnel was like an oven. I had to have breaks from working in there.
But I was determined to sort out the melons.
 I read up about melon growing as I haven`t done it for some time.
I had to untangle the growth and choose 2 or 3 shoots and tie them to stakes.....
well, recycled gazebo poles!!
The results were a bit Heath Robinson.

As I sorted through the amazing growth, removing some side shoots, I found this....tennis ball sized.

As you can see, I have rested this precious fruit on straw.
And it`s not the only one.
The polytunnel is starting to fill out.

Even the tomatoes are beginning to ripen.

The pumpkins and courgettes have doubled in size in a week.

The gooseberries are fattening up.

Two new ladies and one new baby.

 Lots of lovely veg coming.

And a meal of our own harvested veggies (apart from the mayonnaise.)

With strawberries to follow.

Something to gladden the heart.....

......and a job for next time.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Alternative Lifestyle

I do love my current lifestyle very much, but if ever I wanted something different,
 it could possibly be this.....

The Ithacans obviously love their plants judging by the plant shops/nurseries and the way houses and streets are decked in colour.

 Pots of bright geraniums, Flaming Katy (I think), pots of basil, 
oleander (poisonous....I didn`t know). Quayside restaurants decorated
 with bright pots of petunias.
So there`s plenty of customers around.
Not sure what winter would bring.

Every time we passed, I was intrigued by this somewhat derelict nursery.
On the last day I stopped to take some photos with my imagination working overtime.

Is it closed up?
Is it abandoned?
On closer inspection, I found it couldn`t have been neglected  for that long.
These plants would be dead.

On the other hand, some evidence to the contrary....

......plants sprouting from old sacks of compost
(it could have been growing between.)

I`m just loving the stork planters....so bizarre.

I would love to get my hands on these pots.....herbs I think.

More empty pots.

I`d love to know more about the story behind this sad little nursery.
Why is it abandoned? In fact is it completely abandoned?
Does the current Greek economy have anything to do with it?

Wonder what`s in those white boxes!!

One thing`s for sure...
......it is an alternative lifestyle, if wanted.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Wildlife Odyssey

It is quite a trek to get to Ithaka, Greece.
You fly into Keffalonia (3 hours), followed by a coach trip across the island to Fiskardo (2 hours)  a boat trip across the water to Ithaka`s Polis Bay (30 minutes) and finally a car journey (30 minutes) 
to our own villa.
Still, it took Odysseus a lot longer to get back to Penelope, saving her from her 140 suitors.

It was well worth it.
Our villa was set in a beautiful garden, full of wildlife and flowers, with the sound of sheep bells tinkling and surrounded by olive groves, with views to the sea.

On our first day we saw this amazing lizard about 12 to 15 inches long. It was our only glimpse.

Butterflies were continuously fluttering by, feeding on the herbs and lavender bushes.
The most stunning one was bright yellow with splashes of orange but none of us 
managed to capture a photo.

But here is a white admiral to make up for it.

There were plenty of grasshoppers around, with their long antennae delicately feeling all around.
The close up shows the hard skin case looking just like armour plating.

Paula had this praying mantis in her bedroom on the last night, which didn`t help
with her slumber.

Down in the main town of Vathi, Paula spotted this swallow`s nest with the babies
 just about to fledge. Have a closer look at the actual nest sides....amazing.
The parent bird flew in and I just caught it.
Look at those gaping mouths.

Jasmine wafted its perfume around us, bougainvillea wowed us with its colour, against the brick red shutters, along with the geraniums which I just had to deadhead much to the amusement of the others.
They do flower so much better if they are regularly deadheaded.
Some of the geraniums were 10 feet tall.

These geraniums do not get a great deal of water so I am trying to learn from this.
I am keeping my geraniums at home a tad drier to see if they flourish.

Things I love about travelling....seeing so much that`s different, learning something new and watching the wildlife.

Friday, 19 June 2015