Thought you might like to see them since they are so beautiful.
We picked three kg of gooseberries and got a shittonne of jam from that, then R decided to go crazy and pick the other currants, which we usually leave for the birds because laziness. The hot month before xmas has turned them into something worth bothering about so we rounded up every remaining Ribes for committal to jars.
Thought you might like to see them since they are so beautiful.
R was trimming the weedy vines coming through the ivy in the front yard, and an hour or so later noticed this fucking monstrous stick insect hanging from one of my tree aloes. Stick insect doesn't really cut it- it's more of a log beast. It's the biggest one we've seen and after consulting the literature, about as big as these things actually get. They are utterly harmless, but life in the tropics has left me with a lasting reluctance to tangle with anything larger than my hand possessing more than four legs.
It's a lady Argosarchus, because the males are far less impressive and, in some populations, entirely absent; parthenogenesis renders them obsolete. Lady Argosarchus have it sorted- if a male tried any shit with this big bitch, she'd just stamp him into a paste and go back to munching leaves. Sounds awesome, doesn't it?
The detail and accuracy of their mimicry is astonishing. This is just one of the rewards of going spray-free, so please consider it in your own horticultural practise. We returned her to the remaining vines, and found another species wandering the yard a wee while later, so perhaps we should all be a bit more circumspect when we're hacking away at something.
I personally burn to crayfish red in about five minutes in this kind of UV, so Felix gets the best of it.
R's not really a beach guy. He won't take his shoes off, which I find both pitiable and disturbing.
Brilliant silver Mullet, like shards of lustre glass, surf the glossy little breakers about 5m from shore.
The dunes manage to both erode and stubbornly persist, but no one knows for how much longer, realistically.
They are clothed in spiky grass and feral flowers.
Millions of snails gave their lives for this pointless tableau. The fine sand buffs the pastel crust from their outer whorls, revealing their flayed, roseate nacre. I could shoot them all day.
This sort of stuff is xmas for us down here. Northern tourists seem to forget the season and slide back into summer sloth, which must be nice. Cooking a full roast on a day that might have fallen out of Satan's arsecrack, complete with fully-operational blowflies and beer bloat isn't my idea of festive. Lots of people just chuck formality and get pissed at the beach with some ham and salad.
On one of the new pieces I've scattered around the lower garden.
This is our most prolific clematis as far as producing vegetable material is concerned. Warsaw Nike has morphed into a protean lateral monster despite the numerous unceremonious moves I've subjected it to. In fact, dragging its arse around the garden has seen it boil outward at the base to provide a shit tonne of splittable pieces; since these plants retail at around fifty fucking dollars, I'm not complaining. The new, thinned starts produce longer, more adventurous vines while the mother plant sits stubbornly at about 1.5m, generating root cuttings like it has nothing better to do.
W Nike is a really beautiful, non-bouffant variety for the kind of nastily hot situations that would crisp the shit out of other dark flowers. I've never seen it suffer clematis wilt and that dreaded fuckery can be a problem here with our hot summers, funky soil and high humidity. This pic is pretty accurate on my monitor if you've been baffled by the mad-looking blown-out shots floating around the internet. The interior stripe is a deep cardinal red and the margins of the petals graduate to velvety red-violet. Overall, the impression is quite a bit more red than purple. I have a Clematis Etoile Violette on the same fence and that's a true deep purple; the contrast is quite marked.
Very plush and luxe and no hint of frou.
Yes, I know we haven't posted much recently- we've been super-busy trying to get shit sorted in the garden and developing new areas before building of the new studio finally gets underway for real. That, and houseguests have kept us from blogular greatness but we have a lot of images to share and that will be happening some time this week.
Personally, I'm wishing this year would jump into a tyre fire and spare us all the xmas horror.
At least Felix is still with us. He's back to being a 24 hour party person, so that's positive for now.
This lovely ginger felid didn't like our selection of dog, but is otherwise one of those largely smoochie but slightly conflicted creatures who likes to miaow at you to join it underneath the hedge.
Felix has always been a beautiful dog with elegant proportions which amplified the already janky dissonance between the necessity of the procedure and the potential psychosomatic fallout (for everyone involved). If that sounds like vanity, it really isn't; all animals rejoice in the power and efficacy of their own symmetry and taking that away from another beast is no small consideration. Taking him in to the clinic on the day of the operation was one of the hardest things I've had to do. It goes without saying that seeing him in a piteous daze on a mass of blankets in his vet cage post-op was a horrible, chest-crunching impact, and I didn't consider myself squeamish. But Alison at Humanimals Dunedin did a thorough, careful job of this awkward, late-stage procedure and the result is neat and utile, for which we are very thankful. Thanks also to our friends who ferried us back and forth from the vets, and to everyone who gave a shit and wished him luck.
This pathology was able to sneak up on two relatively well-informed people who were very engaged with their dog, so don't be like us and dismiss the warning signs I will enumerate in a forthcoming post. Seek a medical opinion of any change to your animal's condition that persists for more than a week. Just fucking do it. We didn't, and all of us paid for that dismissive attitude, especially Felix. We feel a lot of shame and anger at ourselves for that.
To anyone trying to decide between subjecting their furred friend to such a major procedure vs euthanasia- don't let your own negative presumptions get in the way of a good decision. Keep your head where it needs to be- in your knowledge and best interests of your animal instead of buried up the arse of your own speculative fears. Sometimes you have to let your friend go because it is best for them. Sometimes they aren't a good candidate for a change in their physical status and you must weigh the pros and cons. Felix is intensely physical, lives for his motility and we were deeply concerned about his post-quadrupedal morale. Would his new condition be enough for him?
We hoped yes, and I think that was a good decision. All of these images, bar one, are of Felix after losing a leg. Within two weeks of losing that leg. I know not every dog will (literally) bounce into their new state like he has, and he's not out of the woods by any means. But he really is a happy little fellow, far happier to be pain-free than trapped in some malfunctioning idea of 'entirety'. Our fears are not their fears.
His joy is our solace. Long live Foofie.
They're about twenty dollars a fucking kilo but we love them long time and are reminded every winter of their glorious idiosyncrasy. Their flavour is almost impossible to characterise; cool, wet, vaguest suggestion of umami, a hint of tomato, a touch of one of the whackier melons, maybe the tiniest suggestion of passionfruit with a sprinkle of the blander strains of durian. They are neither sweet nor sour and yet somehow both. There is a narrow band of optimal ripeness in between unpleasantly vegetable and soppy blandness which might account for their niche appeal but definitely try one.
Supermarkets sell out of bread. The reality is we still have soggy daisies on the shortest day.
And good blues. Luminous and saturated at the same time. I think we have some of the best blue on the planet.
Our daily walk alongside the harbour isn't the worst thing that can happen to someone. I'll trade getting rained on for these clouds and their reflections.
The big Larus Kelp/Blackbacked Gulls are starting to pair up again, loitering idly together, running through random phrases of their courting routines and ducking for crabs in the sea lettuce. You can see one floating in the lower third of the image below. A lot of people dislike them, reviling their intelligence, persistence, resourcefulness and courage. It's because Blackbacks refuse to go quietly. They are a totem and consolation, reminding us implicitly that axial tilt is a real thing and that this internal drab is in remission; I will take their word for it.
Sometimes bands of rain out of the south are split by the snaking length of the harbour and will cling to the line of the peninsula rather than dumping their shit indiscriminately. The sun rides low toward the north, so we end up with these freakish split-frame meteorological vistas. This is the first time I've caught one with a camera.
R is always impressed by the sight of these boats at Back Beach and insists that I take this shot when there is any sort of light. It might be a male thing. So blame him for this same frame as last time bullshit. Boats are just cars on water to me- sort of ugly, barely fit for purpose and vaguely transgressive. But then I can swim really well and don't fancy a propellor slicing into my backfat.
The clinker dinghy.
Occasionally I make a sweep through one of R's annoyingly numerous photo dumps, give him a hard look and ask what the fuck is this? Inevitably, some of his best images are sitting with their thumbs up their arses, utterly unshared with the wider world.
Think some of the rhododendron pics are mine- you can probably tell by the shitty exposures. R is a far, far better technician than I am but he, in common with most camera nerds, couldn't really compose his way out of a wet paper bag until I taught him the basics, so allow me a fart-huffing moment of insufferable credit-snatching while you peruse these lovely images. His eye is coming along nicely.
R sneakily posts some nice things that don't appear on my main blog so check out his page.
Flower IDs: Oriental Poppy Pictoee, unknown Azalea, Oriental Poppy Patty's Plum, Bedding Dahlia, unknown Rhododendron, Brugmansia sanguinea, unknown Rhododendron, Buttercup.
* The Lovely R * Our Photography * Photoessays * Flora *
A while ago someone made these chairs and put them in the picnic area at Back Beach.
I like them well enough. They're silly.
I keep expecting to find them busted or tagged or thrown into the sea, but neoliberal economic policy + gentrification banishes of the sort of people who didn't understand that they are worth less than things now to parts unknown. Or South Dunedin. It's not that people who can negotiate this kind of sociopathic capitalism in the midterm aren't responsible for social harm; they do it with their money rather than smashing public shit. In a housing crisis it must be very gratifying for a certain cohort to buy three properties and hike the rents by 20%.
But that's not considered vandalism.
These chairs have more friends and prospects than the people priced out of places like Port Chalmers, which used to be so ghetto it was actually called Dogtown. If we had rented instead of buying a little shitbox here, we'd be fucked and priced out too. I think about that every time we walk past this spot.
Young New Zealand Fur Seal Arctocephalus forsteri chillaxing by the 30 sign around Back Beach.
She was a wee bit skinny and this isn't a regular haul out spot so we called DOC in case she was harassed by dogs etc. They said she seemed okay and we didn't see her again. NZ Fur Seal populations are recovering which is fantastic and it's great to know they are returning to old haunts like Otago Harbour.
The best way to tell the difference between a Fur Seal and the local Sea Lion is the former's pointy dog face as opposed to the latter's stouter bear schnoz.
Mushroom season. These are Parasol Ink caps, I think.
Unidentified Amanita shrooms, possibly.
The sort of stranger who will gratuitously knee-check your fleeing arse and then stomp your hands into the concrete if I catch you ganking my spray-free business because the justice system is just a hostile farrago of flatulent, exiguous platitudes to me. Furthermore I will absolutely exploit the highly ironic misogyny of its attitude toward feminal violence and totes get away with that shit. You will lose your crap retail gig because a lack of viable phalangeal cartilage means you can no longer fold clothing and you'll be forced to move back in with that guy who gave you herpes and sniffs your friends' bike seats when he thinks no one's looking. He'll sell your painkillers to people you hate for half their reasonable value and spend the proceeds on ratchet MILF cam porn.
So buy your own fucking garlic next time.