Monday, April 16, 2012

Guernsey North Show - Animals made from Vegetables

The North Show is still four months away but while B2, B3 and I were planting out the vegetable garden on the weekend it made me think of the ‘Animal made from Fruit and Vegetables’ section. Each year I leave organising their entries until the last minute. This year it will be different; I will be organised and we will hopefully be able to use our own, home grown produce for the Bumble Bee’rs entries.

These photos are not in 'historical' order but rather the order I stumbled across them while I was looking through our ridiculous number of digital photos.

B1 made the Rabbit (which he won third prize for). B2 made the Turtle and B3 made the Cat (with the help of her Nan.) These were our entries in 2009.

These were a few entries that caught my eye at the 2008 North Show. I like the Crab best.

2009 West Show - Carmen Miranda Monkey. I took a few photos at this show for ideas. We live in the incorrect parish to enter this show.

2009 West Show - Cinderella's Carriage was fabulous; it should have placed.

2009 North Show - I loved the fish tank and was surprised that they didn't receive a prize. They used corn kernels for the rocks in the bottom of the tank.

2009 North Show - Owl

2011 North Show - Hatching Chick

2011 North Show  - Fruit Bat; I wised-up during this show and took a photo of the winning entries for each age group to see what the judges were looking for; for future reference.

2011 North Show - Lobster

2011 North Show - Owl

2011 North Show - Puppy

2010 North Show - B2's long-haired Unicorn.

2010 North Show - B3's Giraffe.

2010 North Show - B1's Tiger, complete with stripes.

Now at least I have all the inspirational photos in one place so the Bumble Bee'rs can peruse at leisure and hopefully get ideas of their own for individual and original animals.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

No 'Poo

Well I have taken the plunge and announced to Mr Bee that I am trying No 'Poo. When I told him he literally did a double take, as if he were Elmer Fudd looking for that wascally wabbit. He thought he had misheard me and was looking rather concerned until I explained.

I read about No 'Poo several months ago on Julie’s blog and was intrigued. It just took me a little while try it myself. For those friends and family who are wondering if I am now constantly jiggling on the spot with my butt cheeks firmly clenched together I will elaborate on what No 'Poo actually is.

It means to stop using commercial shampoos and conditioners when you wash your hair; replacing the shampoo with bi-carbonate of soda and conditioner with a vinegar rinse. After reading Julie’s experiences I did not use a paste of bi-carb but rather put a large teaspoon into a cup of water and used it as a rinse. I massaged it into my hair for a few minutes, rinsed it well and then added about half a cup of apple cider vinegar to ‘condition’.

I deliberately had not washed my hair for four days so it was as dirty as I could stand, in order to put the technique to the test. I am really pleased with the results. My hair is soft and clean. I asked Mr Bee to sniff my head and he told me he wanted fish and chips – cheeky monkey! He then went on to say that he couldn’t really smell anything; that it just smelt clean. I have been sniffing my hair all day and I can smell a faint vinegary aroma so I think I will try Julie’s trick of adding a spring of fresh rosemary to the vinegar. Although the vinegar smell is only very faint and people would have to stick their nose into my hair to smell it I think I would prefer the occasional whiff of rosemary instead.

For years I have been searching for a commercial shampoo and conditioning treatment that I react well to, but as yet they have remained elusive. Every time I wash my hair my entire head peels. If it is a particularly bad reaction, if I am trialling a new product for example, my head can peel on a daily basis. Although this is only day one and is probably too soon to call this a definite success I can say that I have had no reaction yet.

I am having friends over for morning tea on Wednesday so I will ask them all to sniff my head then (lucky them!) and see what they say. I already have a reputation as that Mad Australian so fanning the flames always adds to the fun! I will hopefully have organised my herb scented conditioner by then. I’ll let you know the sniff test results.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Climate Change - James Hansen

Through my interest in Peak Oil, self-sufficiency and leaving the planet in a habitable state for my children I have also been looking into climate change.

The first recollections I have of taking an interest in environmental issues was in Brisbane, where I grew up, in the 1980s. There was a BIG environmental furior in Australia about the CFCs in fridges and freezers and the damage they were doing to the ozone layer. This was a major issue in Australia as the largest hole in the ozone layer was directly above Tasmania; nothing like something happening in your own backyard to spark a reaction. This issue whipped consumers into a frenzy and pressure was brought to bear on the manufacturers to change their method of production. For more information on this topic visit Green Choices for information about makes of fridges and freezers and stockists of the best environmentally friendly choices.

Climate Change is a far bigger issue than CFCs (not to diminish the importance of the issue of the depletion of the ozone layer) as it encompasses all of the environment, not just one aspect, yet the majority of the general public seems not to be paying attention. I personally believe this is because it seems too scary, too big, too pervasive. The more I read the more complex climate change and its environmental impact seems. It would be very easy to squeeze my eyes shut tight, stick my fingers in my ears and bury my head in the sand, just to be extra sure I can never ever have to think about it all again.

Rather than totally freaking out and scaring myself to a stand still I try to make the changes I can within my own household. Collectively enough individual, small changes will make a difference.

This speech by James Hansen is informative and more importantly, to the point. It is well worth watching.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Guernsey's Candie Gardens

Guernsey does not have a botanical gardens as such but it does have the Candie Gardens. This public park is situated in the St Peter Port and includes the Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery and the Priaulx Library within its grounds.

The Priaulx Library is situated within Candie House; the gardens are its namesake (sorry I forgot to take a picture).

The gardens are clothed in their spring finery at the moment. My Dad said he had not seen such a lovely spring display in a very long time.

Every year we purchase a  Heritage Season ticket. Bumble Bee Cottage hosts many visitors each year so the pass more than pays for itself at £38.00 for a family as we inevitably visit at least one museum with visitors. This price covers the entry fee to nine museums spread across Guernsey, Jersey and Alderney.

The gardens are a five minute walk from the St Peter Port High Street.

The tulips were truly spectacular. They are protected from the wind by the walls which surround the lower level of the garden.

There are some wonderful displays of tulips in St Peter Port proper at this time of year; unfortunately many have been de-petalled by the sea breezes (these tulips are in Candie Gardens).

This is the view from halfway up the top level of the garden, looking towards the museum.

This is Cafe Victoria. Mr Bee walked up from town and met us for lunch. The food was very nice; basically good quality cafe fare at a reasonable price.

One of Guernsey's most famous residents presides over the gardens.

It will take approximately one hour to amble around the gardens and then you could easily spend another two hours in the Museum and Art Gallery if you go at a leisurely pace. It is a lovely way to spend a few hours and the gardens afford a fabulous view over St Peter Port.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bluebell Wood

We wandered up to Bluebell Wood this morning.

As you can see, many of the blooms are yet to open.

These are native English Bluebells and are protected i.e. you are not allowed to pick them as bluebells need to flower in order for them to multiply and if every visitor picked just one flower the wood's namesake would disappear very swiftly indeed.

This is part of the wall that runs along one side of the wood. It separates the wood from the private gardens which have the privilege of backing onto it.

The trees are just waiting to burst their buds.

All manner of treasures were found.

A few raindrops on a camera lens can add that special something, sometimes.

Native primroses are one of my favourite flowers. They smell divine.

There are scattered patches of Spanish Bluebells along the pathway that leads back down to the bathing pools. 

The Spanish Bluebells hold their blooms erect while the English Bluebells have an arching appearance.

The Wild Garlic is not to be outdone and is putting on a wonderful show as well.

They may not be the native variety but they are still spectacular.

We will come for another visit next weekend and hopefully a few more bluebells in the woods will have opened.

My Dad is staying with us over Easter. I thought we had taken him on this walk before but apparently we haven't. The Bumble Bee'rs were very excited to show Grandad all the sights.

Blue is my favourite colour which is perhaps part of the reason the beautiful blooms hold such a special  place in my heart.

Hawthorn against a grey and overcast sky. Home we go to dry off and have a mug of hot chocolate to warm us up.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Portinfer Sea Ducks

Mr Bee took the Bumble Bee'rs and Grandad for a walk on Portinfer Beach. As they were walking towards the beach he spotted a harrier hovering directly overhead.

This is what the bird of prey had his eye on; a mother duck and her thirteen little ducklings hot-footing it across the sand.

I hope none of them was the unlucky number thirteen and ended up the harrier's lunch!

It must be hard work for those tiny webbed feet to scramble over the rocks on the beach, not to mention hard work having thirteen little ones to keep watch over - and I thought I was busy :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Port Soif Common

I love this time of year; all the plants are bursting back into life. The brown of winter slowly disappears from the landscape.

The lime green of new growth is everywhere.

I have taken this opportunity to practice with my new camera.

It is not an SLR but rather a Happy Snapper that will fit in my handbag.It is iridescent blue, the camera not my handbag.

I think this photo is my favourite of the day. The bluebells in Bluebell Wood will be open soon. They tend to bloom a few weeks after the bluebells on the common as they are in the shade of the wood as opposed to the open sun drenched common.

We will start our yearly pilgrimage to the wood next weekend; just so we don't miss them.