Monday, March 12, 2012

I love sunsets

I walked out to the car park after evening Church service. And I saw the sunset. Wow. Simply wow.

The horizon was a beautiful blue, grey, and pinkish red hue. It took my breath away. And I sat and watched it, mesmerized by its beauty.

A day is like a living person. It was conceived in darkness and it will perish in darkness.

I was the only one gazing at the sunset. The others weren't interested, preferring the comfort of the building. Even those people who came outside to get into their cars did not give it a glance.

No point telling the people inside about the beautiful sunset - they wouldn't care. Or complain about the cold and then stare at me oddly.

I think its sometimes a curse to not enjoy the things that they enjoy, to like the things that they see - but I cannot help being what I am.

And so I stood outside watching the sunset alone.

It was so beautiful.

(This is the 2nd time I'm writing this blog out-  thanks to a RSS script error)

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Ranunculus 2012 - Planting Time

OK so I purchased 1,200 Ranunculus corms off Garden Express to plant in the garden. Note: this garden is in the Southern Hemisphere so planting conditions/months are different than USA and UK.

They corms came in January but they have to get a cold start if you wish to have them flowering in June/July and not in September (Spring).

I placed them in the fridge for 4 weeks as recommended by one New Zealand website. Another site recommended 8 weeks minimum. I chose the former.

I thought that by planting early in mid February - the ranunculus would have the benefit of the extra sunny conditions . On 2nd thoughts this is probably a mistake because mid-Feb is still Summer and the days can approach the high 30Cs. Apparently if the weather gets too hot, the corms fall backwards into dormancy.

I pulled them out of the fridge on 16th Feb and planted 200 of them in the garden bed opposite my study room. During that week the temperature rose to the high 30s for a few days. (Its roughly 2+weeks, 20 days, and I can see two of them sprouting.)

Because the weather was so hot, I decided to return the rest of the remaining ranunculus corms (1,000 of them) back into the fridge.

The hesitancy to plant may have had more fatal consequences for the rest of the stock.

When I took them out on the 28th Feb, they had a slightly pungent odor. I noticed that white moss (like cotton wool threads) was wrapped around some of the corms.

I placed them in a bucket of water to "plump" them up before planting. Some advice 14 hours - so I kept them overnight. I did not drown them in water - but did give them a good soaking.

The next day they were all fat like bananas. I planted half of them but didn't have time to do the rest.

When I checked them the day after they stank and a thick layer of white moss covered the top layer.

I suspect it was the hot and humid conditions - plus the fact that they were all wet that encouraged the fungus to thrive.


I soaked them in a white vinegar solution - half vinegar, half water - to try and kill that damn white fungus. And dried them out for a day.

They might be all dead. But might as well give it a try. What do I have to lose now?

By now, I'm running out of garden space to plant them - they only like sunny positions, sloped positions in the garden. They do not like shade so that excludes a large portion of the garden nearer the house which gets a fair bit of shade.

I planted the rest on the top garden bed - which was the original site where I first planted the ranunculus way back in 2002.

The fact that some of the 1st batch have sprouted - despite the appalling hot conditions - does give me some hope.

I don't know whether the white mold has killed the rest - only time can tell, ie. 2 to 3 weeks.

(Postscript - yes, I think virtually all of them didn't make it)

At the moment, we are getting plenty of rain so that's good. But we need to have more sunny days to encourage growth.

In the future, it will be much safer if I plant the corms on the 1st week of March - after storing them for 1+ month in the fridge (Jan-Feb). Planting them in mid-Feb was too risky due to the very hot days.

And it might be better to store than in a bar fridge or a fridge which I'm not using for daily use. The constant opening and closing is bound to affect the poor buggers.

Soaking them in water does help - but I'll be more careful to only soak the ones that I intend to plant on that day only. No point soaking the entire batch if only 200 can be planted at one time.


Sun, dawn, Sky, rain
Bring my friend back to me again

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Cradle Mountain Hike 2002

(damnit this is the 2nd time I've got to re-do this long blog thanks to a RSS script error)

Can't think of any wonderful to write about today so I'll just jot down some of my experiences hiking in Tasmania's Overland (Cradle Mountain) track with my friends. There was this girl LC, her brother MC, another dude SW. All three were medical doctors who had studied together. I was friends with LC and MC but I didn't know SW.

I liked LC, a fair bit. I told her so. I thought going on this hike with her will help us to get together, or at the very least help me to get to know her better.

Before the hike, I asked the girl- r u seeing the dude? No, of course not. We're all friends, like you and me. Hmmm, I need to check cos I didn't want to be the 3rd wheel.

The Overland track is about 80km that takes you thru some of the most beautiful scenery in Tasmania. But it could end up that you'll spend most of your time starring at tree roots, or your fellow hiker's ass. Its a hard hike no doubt about it and will take you over a week to do. However, elite athletes have completed the entire stretch in a single day. Needless to say, they did it without carrying fullpacks, food rations, tents etc..

Oh, for the Lord of the Rings fans- you get to pass Fangorn Forest. Its of course not Tolken's FF. Just some hippies who decided to nickname it as such. (Go to the middle of Australia and you'll also find a desert called Mordor.) FF certainly fits the bill - its dense, forbidding, meandering, and you get the feeling that if you sat that long enough the trees would consume you whole. But apart from that, it seemed a cool and surreal place.  

Some lessons- 1. never totally depend on your friend's "expertise" without finding out what exactly the dude plans to do first. One of my ex-flatmates - lets call him MORON - was this apparently seasoned hiker. He kept on yapping about his trip to such and such. And I assumed he was one hell of a hiker. Turned out to be one hell of a wanker. I assigned him to go get the food supplies. He showed up on the day of the hike with a packload of tin cans. TIN CANS FOR FRACK SAKE???? WE GOTTA CARRY TIN CANS FOR 8 DAYS???

2. never (totally) trust your friends and be too obliging to help. On the 2nd day of the hike, I got really fed up with my two friends who were chatting to each other like lovebirds. They were walking oh so agonisingly slow in the hot sun. I just wanted to get into the shade and take in the scenery. They just wanted to talk to each other. So I hooked up with this group of girls - one of them was sweet- and left them behind. Then MORON claimed he injured his leg and asked me to carry some of his stuff, ie his hiking tent and sleeping bag and tincan supply. Being the friendly fool I am, I said yes. I still managed to keep up with the girls which didn't seem to please moron. However, I was totally exhausted by the end of the day cos I was carrying his crap as well as mine.

Turns out the moron was faking it. Near the end of the trip, I was absolutely shocked to see him sprinting up a small mountain with my other flatmate. Ya, I figured out by now that they were "a couple". She assured me later its something that "just happened".

I was totally furious by now and had the hard word with moron. I passed him all his stuff back when he came down from the mountain. Things went downhill after that. My two flatmates, moron and his (now) girlfriend, basically ignored me for the rest of the trip. I suspect in their previous incarnation they were cats; worse part was waking up in the morning and finding the girl cuddling up to moron in the tent. Geez, she had her own tent ffs.

One other thing- bring along "Fruit Pastilles" when you go hiking. They're small blackcurrent (or assorted fruit) jelly-jam sort of soft sweets produced by Rowentree. They will keep your mouth moist and will not stick to your teeth like other sweets. And they're high in Vitamin C. Unfortunately, my supply ran out by day 2. And all I had to eat was dried almonds and chocolate for snacks. Chocs aren't so good- they're a bit heaty- not good when you're warm and sweaty.

Cradle Mountain Walk