Saturday, February 28, 2009

Just So Damned Annoying - Pictures



I've just lost the text to this entry .....

So sod it - I'm NOT trying to write all that again ...

1st march - autumn ... Weather agrees

Cola the now 'not so fat' beagle is still with us and quite active - actively eating all the cicadas she can find at the moment

Garden very happy with the rain ....

Cucumbers fruiting very well even if they are smaller in the hanging baskets I tried some in

Tomatoes are ripening well now

Egg plants growing - very ribbed variety !! wonder if they will grow large enough through autumn .....

Something like that ...

Oh and back is sore as heck but improving ......































































































































































































































Thursday, February 26, 2009

POP POP POP

It just gets worse ....My back pain just kept getting more and more painful.. .Then early Wednesday morning I just couldn't walk, Couldn't straighten up and pain spasms had me yelling out and cursing big time........



So That was it - Wednesday afternoon McD had me booked in to a Chiropractor...Off I hobble. .. Hang around while they show a intro to chiropractics on the TV .... In I go to the Drs office ..A few twists and "what happens when you do this" and "what happens when you do that " and its off to another room and I'm being told to put on some supplied shorts or gown..... MADE FOR SKINNY UNDER DEVELOPED HOBBITS !!!!!



The sleeves of the gown wouldn't go beyond my biceps ... Shorts barely above my thighs ...



What to do ......



Don the shorts



So there I am naked apart from an overly tight pair of shorts scrunching everything into the density of a black hole and everything else bulging out like a balloon animal....a very large balloon animal ...



"All dressed up and nowhere to go eh " she remarks as she enters the room ....



"@##$@#@#$ !!!!!" says me under my breath ....After all you don't want to upset someone about to snap your back in half ....



After a very painful x-ray session. "stand here" ... "Arms here".... "Push your hip into the wall" .....



"you're just doing this for the fun of it aren't you!!"



"Now not at all.."



Well - finally told to get dressed... Such a relief to extricate my self from the 'budgie smugglers' as tight shorts are referred to over here .....



But that was it !!!



No treatment that day - told to come back tomorrow !!!!



Another night ...Another morning of no movement ..can't straighten up and when I do and try to walk the worst, Absolute worst of pain ........



McD trying to help me to the toilet... But I'm 6 foot and 300lbs and she's 4 foot 11 and 3/4 s and I just can't put my weight on her or we'll both have wrecked backs .....



Next day next session...1/2hr wait in a chair watching Chiropractor II 'spinal manipulation' ...Can't walk to the office but have too...Face contorted in pain....



"Your neck is out of alignment and into stage 2 degeneration at the base here.... Your spine is curved as it should be but is out of alignment laterally here ." (showing me all of this in the x-rays) .... "Your lower back has two vertebrae that have compressed here ... probably pushing on the nerve..."



"Oh it's pushing all right" I mumble ..



"And it looks like you have a leg that's shorter than the other !!..." She does a few lines on the x-ray and then measures ..."9mm shorter in fact" she tells me .........



"You what !!!!"



So she puts me on a bench that starts off vertical then lowers you down to the horizontal ...



"I won't do anything sneaky" she informs me "but I'm going to find the right spots and push down..Now relax ..."



Oh that's easy to do!!!!.....



"We have just two rules at this point" She tells me ...."No Screaming and you are not allowed to hit me !!!"



"POP !!!!" she finds the spot and then pushes down hard ...



"AAHee hhha ha" and rule #1 is broken already ...McD can hear me in the reception area .....



I'm still crying when she locates another spot between my shoulder blades ..



"now just relax" ..



"!!!!! "



"ugh" as she pushes down ..



Then "POP POP POP" .... as she drives home even harder a 2nd time ...



"AAHee hhha ha" Sod rule #1



Now contemplating breaking rule #2



"No I'm not a professional wrestler" she quips in what must be Chiropractor humour.. "would like to learn though" ..



"Not on me sunshine"



After a bit of a rub along my spine and a bit more pushing I'm set vertical again and told to walk on the spot ...



AND I CAN !!!!!!



But then the chair....



"let me take control of your neck ... "



"oh god you're not going to snap my neck ..Please"



"Just close your mouth a little please"



"POP POP POP" she snaps my neck ...



"AAHee hhha ha"



"Oh dear God NO !!"



"It's all right - now can you just try and drop your shoulder "



"POP POP POP" she snaps my neck the other way ...



"AAHee hhha ha"



"That's it - we're done for this session. You're not dizzy are you?? "



"Why no I'm not and thankyou for your concern" ..I mumble



But



Oh the freedom in my shoulders !!!!... and I can walk out of the office without wincing



And I can walk albeit a little stiffly for the rest of the evening ...



But this morning I'm back to near stage one and can't walk without spasms and pain...



And now tonight I have another session ......





:O\

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The ecentric Pom and his Pumpkins - And tickling Tomato Flowers


The garden seems happy enough .. .Getting “weedy” again as our 4hr a fortnight so called gardener has been put on hold indefinitely ....Though I think we may get him back if only to keep the weeds down where I’ve worked ...


Pumpkin Hiding...Shot from Kitchen Window

Not that I’m doing anything like manual work at the moment ... Two weeks now I’ve been in trouble with a very painful and stiff Lower back. As per previous entries I slipped while carting a large bag of compost to the top of the vegetable patch ... Anyway – thought it was getting better but last night I woke up in agony and even more pain when I tried to get out of bed to go the loo.... Spasms had me crying out and hobbling like a cripple to the toilet .. And that was the end of the nights sleep of about an hour and a half. I gave up and went to the living room and watched TV and dozed a little ... McD was up around 6am worried about me and then off she went to the chemist to get me some stronger pain killers ...which worked ok really .....



So didn’t do much today ... read my gardening book McD bought me (as noted in her blog) and the newspaper and so on ........But we did visit the vegie garden !! Of course !! and McD duly measured the Pumpkin 131cm circumference – about 52 inches ......But the weather has gone mad and we are jumping around temperature wise ..really cold some days really warm others ...and now rain and humidity .... And it goes without saying – the start of the mildew on the pumpkin leaves and the cucumber leaves ..... Autumn is coming early to New Zealand..Well Wellington anyway


I’ve never seen so many cabbage white flutterbyes in the garden !! Talk about homing in on the cabbages etc .... Damn them and their greedy offspring ...


Tomatoes – now ripening .... We’re loving it eating them in sandwiches straight off the vine....But am disappointed with a number of the heirloom plants not setting fruit ...Just not a good season for them perhaps ....


McD thinks I'm a nutcase...No It's true !! Writing in her blog about the Eccentric Pom and his perversion for tickling tomato flowers etc !!!(McDinzie)


However, I’ve been proven right in some of my antics at least due to a certain book McD bought me ...... Conversations have often turned to the vegie garden between McD and Me as we travel too and from work each day... Generally all is fine and MCD often quietly listens as I plod on about having to do this or do that , or reminisce about my early days working with my father (who was a gardener himself) ... McD takes it in and then after a while you get the comments about how i’m so eccentric and “I can’t believe you want to do that !!” My recent talk on pumpkins and now almost daily measuring and feeding of said plants has shown McD another side of me perhaps .... A recent intellectual debate we had on the need for me to build shade frames over the tomatoes went something like


“Must build Some shade frames this winter for the tomatoes next spring season “

“Never!”

“This winter”

“Never!”

“This winter”

“Never!”

“This winter”

“Never!”

“This winter”


And so on – Stimulating discussions of that sort just enliven us after a hard days work being responsible managers in Highly demanding jobs ....


Such a conversation would possibly last the 40 minutes drive home, however we were already half way there so some faster thinking was called for

“Never!”

“This winter”

“Never!”

“I’m bigger than you, you know, and I’ve fought world champion Martial Artists”

Flower Tickler !!!!! “


Well...Really, there is no right response to such an accusation driven home at you with the sharpness of a javelin piercing the sternum .......


The next morning or so, the conversation turned to the fact I had spent hours reading my google searches on blogs and news articles of vegetable growing and allotments and noting that I had really picked up nothing new from them. Then also noting that the sets of books I’ve bought held little as well...Mostly too basic and too geared up for the newer vegie gardener or written by wanna-bee so called master gardeners whose knowledge didn’t extend past what was learned at the local night class ......


Anyway McD again duly noted this and went off in search for a suitable book for me. And found one. Written by an old bald Kiwi with a lifetime of experience, Wally Richards, “Wally’s down to earth Gardening Guide”. The man is in the know, up to date and while the book is not specifically a vegie gardening book as it is a general gardening book he covers a heap of topics in a truly down to earth way.. And a local radio gardening expert as well .... Suddenly “tickling” tomato flowers was proven as being acceptable to McD and the need for a wider range of elements in the soils such as calcium was suddenly not only accepted but essential for our own plants ....


McD retracted just a little of her thoughts on me in her next blog entry (Mcdinzie) ........Though I have to admit that living with a Pom ..Well this pom in particular, must be one of the strangest things MCD has to endure :O) But at least she gets to have a laugh with it as well :O)


And of course we are eating the fruits of our labours daily as more and more tomatoes and cucumbers and the rest become ready for harvesting.


A Very Ugly Heirloom Tomato


Of course I have to admit that the desire to grow giant pumpkins is an eccentric activity.... At 134cm circumference they are yet to satisfy me in that the record breakers are huge monsters 666KG !! They look like huge orange alien pods ...... And of course MCD still wonders how we are to weigh them ....But she now feeds them and measures them and helps me build a platform for the one hanging by a vine on the side of the bank.....


Perhaps such eccentricities are catching :o)




I’m fed up with work ... Too much on....Too much politics.... But not likely I’ll get another job in this economic climate ..... Won’t be stopping me trying though and I’ve sent my CV to one agency and will do the same to another next week ......


Meanwhile the drugs are wearing off and this sitting at the keyboard is hurting like hell .... Time for a mug of tea, painkillers and bed perchance to dream ..............

Friday, February 13, 2009

A year in my Garden - Pumpkins and cucumbers

 


Well times yet again sped alongand here we are heading towards autumn at a rapid rate... After a few week of higher than normal temperatures, we finally received a few days of rain. And the countryside sighed in relief and soaked it up. 


 


The temperatures also dropped after a couple of days rain and we went from 30-33 degree heat (recorded at our local weather station just a couple hundred yards from where we live) down to 20-22 degrees which is great as far as i'm concerned ..... 


 The flower garden is happier for it all...The dahlias have grown noticibly and green up more and the blooms are bright and making for a much better looking front garden ....


But it has affected the vegetable garden .. Tomatoes seem to hate it - high temperatures seemed to cause flower drop...Its frustrating that whole stems of blossoms fail to take ... Not that we are without fruit altogether and will have plenty to eat and make chutneys etc. but certainly we could have had many more .... The heirloom tomatoes seem to be the worst hit ... .This sudden drop in temperature will no doubt have a similar affect .... Of all the tomatoes the Moneymaker and russian red varieties seem the less affected.. The rest have not fruited as they could have, should have .....


Sigh .......


Pumkins - Well we gave it a try growing large pumpkins ..two plants in a planter filled with compost and rotting manures etc .....



 


Both plants grew a single pumkin each ...which is what you want really for giant pumkin growing but I did expect a few more to set ...never happened ......One plant set forth a vine straight down the bank towards the house. Before we knew it a pumkin was set and we were unable to move it as it embedded itself amongst the grass and gorse and the vine set root as the vines are want to do ...... However we can now see it from the kitchen window and it aint small...I cant get to it and have no idea if its supported on the ledge that half way along the bank are if its still free hanging. If thats the case of course it cant keep that going for too much longer by the size of it ....


However the one we've nurtured has now reach 125 centimetres in circumference and in no risk of falling anywhere. Thats 50 Inches in Boomer metrics by the by :O)  I've never grown pumkins like this before so no idea how much more it can grow or how long it's got to keep growing ... It won't win any records but will be a good starting point for my own personal records over the following years .... 



 


 I'll never be happy with the green telegraph type cucumbers again ..Below are the heirloom cucumbers we grew ... DELICIOUS !!!! YUM... almost like a crisp melon ... We also grew some round 'apple' ones...My only critism would be the skins very tough ... but that won't be stopping us growing them again next season ...... Keen to flower and fruit no issue or problems with them .... and pretty large too :O) Now wheres a pickle cucumber recipe .....  



 


 


 



 


 


 


 



 


 



 



 


Sunday, February 08, 2009

a long and very warm weekend

Not really in a writing mood ...We have a long weekend ...Last Friday was Waitangi Day. A public holiday here to celebrate the signing of the treaty between the Maoris and the Poms ....It has a great deal of significance over here. Especially to the Maoris due to the inneficiencies of the Pommy lawyers who left huge tracts of the treaty open to 'grey areas' and 'open interpretation'...


Still we all get a public holiday and to make it even better McD and I booked Today, Monday, off as well...


 


So thats good then ...


 


Except it's in the 30-34C heat range (high 80s-low 90sF for those baby boomers out there) ...I spend most of my week in an air conditioned office ... So these temps are pretty much like climbing into a medium oven for the day .... 


 


So Friday I thought I would do a bit of work around the garden ..The vegie plot in the main... Heaved up a bag of compost and trudged up the hill to the plot... The spuds are now all dug out so its time to add compost and then the autumn/winter cabbages and broccoli ... 


 


So having carted said large bag up the path to the back of the house then along the back of the house and up the pathway through the copse to the vegie plot I then carefully plodded my way up the vegie plot to the bare soil bed ....


 


Except, almost there, I slipped on some rubbish and spent a small slow motion lifetime trying to keep my balance, not do the spilts in both directions at the same time and keep a 30kg bag of compost from crashing on top of me or the occupied borders !!!..... 


 


Which I did manage successfully albeit very un-gracefully... Not much swearing !! As I was also working hard after that climb to get oxygen into lungs and blood stream .....


 


I did pay for it on Saturday though when my back seized up with muscle strain .... 


 


But we had already planned to go over the hill to the Wairappa and look at the antique shops and do a couple of 'Geocaching' hunts (hide and seek using a GPS system to find the treasure left by others )


 


Turned out the two 'hunts' we chose were in areas we wouldn't have visited other wise which is great..treasure hunting and exploring at the same time:O) ... The first was a general council park for dog walking etc ...There was sposed to be a large pond in the middle of it but with high temperatues and no rain ..No pond ..Just a white wooden bridge over a dip in the ground ..... We found the treasure under the second bridge a small bottle crammed with little treasures such as small toys , a marble, a dice (die?) etc and a note book where past finders log there successes ...people from around there world had been there .....As per the rules we left a small plastic bear (from a previous find) and took a dark coloured marble ....Left a note that the dinzies had found it ; hid the treasure again exactly as we found it and happily went off to find the next one ....


 


 



 


The next one was hidden at the back of a small Forest and Bird reserve ... The reserve is significant as it holds a colony of brown mudfish within its wetlands ...If they can survive the drought we are having.... We had to do a bit of a trudge up hill through the reserve in the heat ..Like mad dogs and Englishmen we just can't seem to help ourselves ...Mad Dog McKenzie leading the way as usual .... 


 


It was fun though and we got to see some fine vistas of the wairappa valley ...And then in the forest we were visited by a family of Fantails eager to catch any insects and small moths we put up with our feet as we walked by. Flitting around they would often sit on a branch close to us and chatter back to by quiet whistling through my teeth at them ..... Just too fast to photograph properly ......


 



 


 



 


 



 


 



 


 



 


 


 


 


 


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