Saturday, 21 February 2009

First Day in the Garden



At last a day warm enough to work in the garden. Firstly I cleared up the front garden. This always picks up a lot of litter from the road and I had a few leaves to pick up too. It's not looking too bad with plenty of crocus already flowering and the daffodils pushing up too.

In the new back garden - which in fact is a guerilla garden as the land doesn't belong to us - I completed the edging and the pathways. I've planted a small orchard here with 2 plums, 2 apples, 1 pear and 1 peach as well as 2 crab-apples. In-between I've also planted some soft-fruit. That's 6 currants; 2 red , 2 white and 2 black, 4 gooseberries; 2 green and 2 pink. 6 Myrtle bushes and 12 cranberries. These latter are planted at the base of the fruit trees each of which is in it's own small bed. these are also under planted with 100 crocus and 50 daffodils each. These are just coming through.

The ground around the orchard I intend to be a wild meadow. So I rake over the soil and will think about when the time to sow is. I'll look at a book tonight.

Later I put some manure around all the fruit trees. This is dried cow shit pellets, so I watered it in too.

My next door neighbour has been making a lot of noise today, but I can see he is building a greenhouse. This reminds me that I still have to prepare my raised beds. When I saw my neighbour later he told me that he intends to grow tomatoes and stuff. He also told me that he's going to try raising chickens too!

This Time Last Year

Another layover day in San Jose. I did some errands. Posted some stuf to Kristine; coffee and rum! Read in the afternoon and got all my stuff ready for tomorrow.

This Time in 2007

Up fairly early and enjoyed the luxury of a hot shower. Not something I can have in Santa Ana. after an American Breakfast I decided to walk up to the Butterfly Gardens.


First, however, I located the Tourist Information Office. I booked my ride to Fortuna on Friday - the quickest way is to take a 4x4 to the shore of Lake Arenal, then a boat across the lake and then a local bus! Otherwise its a 6 hour ride. I also booked a night walk tonight and a walk in the cloud forest tomorrow morning.


The day turned out hot and dusty and quite blowy as well. Apparently it was the tail end of a hurricane. The days before I had arrived had been characterised by torrential rain.


It was a long walk to the Butterfly Garden but I amused myself by photographing a couple of species along the way. The staff at the Butterfly garden were mostly students from the USA either on sabbatical or on a volunteer holiday. They were very helpful too as I had some photographs of some species to identify. They had DeVries Volume 2, which I don't have, which describes the Metalmarks. My exotic blue turned out to be a skipper though! Amazing. All out skippers at home are small and brown!


I wandered around all four of the Butterfly Houses and spent a good four hours there. They claimed to have about 50 species, but I could only see about half that and managed to photograph 17 and I didn't bother with Siproeta or Hamadryas. Also the Sulphurs were flying too high for me to shoot.


Whilst I was back at reception I got chatting to a couple of students who were just about to leave on a field-trip - to the meadows just across the road. They invited me to join them which I did. The first time I've ever been netting with others!


It was hot out in the field and I didn't have much luck - I caught one small blue. They had more luck capturing a couple of swallowtails. These were P. thoas a black and yellow species.


I then walked back to my hotel for an afternoon siesta. At 5pm I was picked up for my night walk When I arrived it turned out I was on the wrong night-walk and should have gone with another group. Oops. But they didn't seem that bothered and I joined them anyway. I was amazed by what we saw. Some Coatis, a red and black tarantula, some bats and four types of sleeping birds. The guide was interesting too and we had a very enjoyable two hours in the forest.