06:22 (eek!) Saturday 20 June, Sydney
This little spider has been busy! I haven’t noticed any activity (the duranta tree is on my balcony), but this morning, with the early sun at the right angle, I clearly saw her/his handiwork. The spider itself is tiny (you can see it right in the centre, glowing in the sunshine), and by the same token the web is not as large as a dinner plate. What I love about this shot is how clear the web pattern is. You can easily imagine this little creature patiently crawling one way, turning, crawling another, turning … That’s a lot of effort to catch your dinner.
What I don’t understand is how spiders set those anchoring strands. Do they just shoot out some silk and hope it latches on to something?
The experiment of growing tomatoes in a Sydney winter using seeds scraped from a store-bought tomato continues. On 23 May I ruthlessly discarded all but the sturdiest 8 seedlings and put the winners into four small pots.
Above on 23 May, after repotting. Below on 6 June, after two weeks of growing.
Despite the less than ideal conditions, they are growing. Daytime highs now are 15-20C (59-68F) and they get only about five hours of morning sun — and that’s with me moving them four times to try to avoid shade as the low winter sun passes behind trees. Of course, many days are overcast and wet. Not what you’d call optimal!
Yesterday I ventured to a garden centre for soil and stakes, being very optimistic that the plants will grow high enough to need staking! Some of you may be wondering why I bought “seed raising and cutting” mix. The answer is that I don’t have a car. Not following that logic? I had to buy soil in a bag small enough to fit into my backpack and of a weight I could carry. All that was available in this bag size was mixes for seedlings, cacti or orchids; this seemed the least-bad choice. I do have about the same amount of regular potting mix so when the times comes I’ll combine the two.
Tune in later for Tomato Diary 3. (Tomato Dairy 1 here)
Amongst the overwhelming green of the jungle that blocks the view to the left of my apartment, this tree with its red autumn leaves is a lone splash of colour.
So, you know how gardening has taken off in lockdown? (Along with baking and cooking, but I’m too lazy for that much effort.) I read or heard, I forget which, something about how to grow veg even if you are a total newbie. One of the comments was that you don’t need seeds: plant a potato, carrot tops, the seeds from a tomato or cucumber. So I scraped the seeds out of a medium sized tomato — all the seeds — into a small pot of soil, chucked more soil on top (and as you can see, we’re not talking specialist seedling soil here), watered them … and mere days later, much to my astonishment, green things began to appear.
Oh dear, a LOT of green things! I never expected such a freakishly high germination rate! When I counted 30 seedlings, it was time for action.
I’ve pulled out a number of little noodle-y seedlings, and am down to about 15. It’s survival of the fittest now! I plan to get the number down to under ten. Then when they’re bigger, I’ll move them into their own small pots and see how they go. (note: the photos above are so awful because they’re from my phone)
Will they actually produce tomatoes? I doubt it. It’s autumn now, winter is looming, and my balcony gets sun only from 7:30am to about 1pm. The sun is so low now that nearby trees cast shade as the sun no longer passes above them — while I’m working from home I can nip outside and move the pots, but I’m not sure how much that will help!
Tune in later for Tomato Diary 2.
I took these photos yesterday. Sometimes, there are advantages to waking early. 😉 And yes, I did indeed have my morning coffee on the balcony.
Nadia from ‘A Photo a Week Challenge’ is asking us “to share a photo or two of a change you’ve experienced during the covid19 crisis”. I’ve actually been extraordinarily fortunate: no job loss or salary reduction, and the work I used to do in the office I now do at home. I’m not especially sociable at the best of times, so the absence of other people is no hardship at all.
I took this photo at 9.20am today — ordinarily, I’d be in the office by then, not exactly ecstatic at the prospect of another week of work surrounded by noisy (sometimes irritating) colleagues, just starting on my cup of coffee. But on sunny mornings while working at home, I cheekily postpone the start of the work day and enjoy my coffee outside. 🙂
On Sunday I ventured out of my immediate neighbourhood for the first time in weeks. I took the ferry from my local wharf (I’ve never seen more than a handful of people of that route, so social distancing was absurdly easy) to Circular Quay, where I stepped into an alternative universe: the buildings were all there, but the vast majority of people had been stripped away. My goal was the botanic garden (still open in the lockdown, although all its buildings and cafes are closed) and the easiest route is to walk along the quay and past the opera house. All so unthinkingly familiar — but this time, also so very strange.
I generally scurry along this stretch, dodging dawdlers and tourists. No need for that now.
The next shock was the forlorn, stripped-down Opera Bar. This place I avoid like the plague — so noisy, so crowded!
Looking back at Opera Bar from the other end. I’ve never taken a photo with all the people; the one on the right, below, is from https://www.sydney.com.au/images/circular-quay-restaurants1.jpg.
I then walked around the opera house, rather than crossing in front. At the harbour end, I encountered one other person; there are usually dozens here.
It was time to head for the gardens. My ferry is only hourly, and this eerie ghost town with its memories of happier times was not somewhere I wanted to have to kill time if I carelessly missed my return. I took one look at the hordes on the main path that runs along the water and chose another route.
And indeed, away from the harbour, the gardens were fairly deserted, and as lovely as ever.
Usually, after a stroll around the gardens I’d finish off with a glass of bubbly at Portside, another venue at the opera house but much quieter and more civilised than Opera Bar.
So it was back on the ferry and home again.
Posted as part of Jo’s Monday Walk. (I see she has a cheese fest this week, oh yes!)
You just know he’s bellowing at the top of his lungs, don’t you? I spotted this at Sculpture by the Sea 2018.
Becky is back with her squares, and for April the theme is “top“.
Sydney’s Hyde Park Barracks — heritage-listed former barracks, hospital, convict accommodation, mint and courthouse — has reopened after extensive renovations and renewal. One room is set up as a dormitory with reproduction convict hammocks; audio brings alive the experience of trying to sleep in a room crowded with men talking, snoring, shouting, singing, fighting, etc.
The very rough texture of the rope used to hang the hammocks looks as if it would play havoc with soft modern hands and I hope the workers who tied those knots wore sturdy gloves!
Posted Posted as part of Jude’s 2020 Photo Challenge, specifically: Texture; and also Debbie’s One Word Sunday Challenge, specifically: Knot.