Monday, 30 June 2014


 Brownie checking out the veggie/herb  garden.
We finally had a little rain....started about 2.30pm on Friday afternoon and continued throughout the night.....the plants loved did the weeds.
Then yesterday ended up being a rainy day too, but today the sun and the rain fought for dominion over the sky.....not one of the two wanted to throw in the towel...hence we had a mixed day of cloudy weather and some sunshine.
 I love running my weekly errands on Saturdays because they fall in line with my jaunt day schedule.
Throughout last week I received quite a few calls from friends who gave me the details to a few sales that I may have been interested in....thanks guys.
With my summer projects coming on stream from next week, they all knew that I was going to need all kinds of stuff to get the jobs done.
It's been ages since I last purchased a newspaper, and it's always easier to check what's happening online, and even better to peruse the classifieds for sales on my computer screen.
I love when I can save tons of money on my projects, and that is exactly what happened this weekend.
I am as happy as a bug in a rug....paints on special, wooden door on special and painting supplies at a ridiculously low price....boy am I a happy bug.
Next week will be the start of a busy summer maintenance season. Our hurricane season has officially started on June 1st, and from here on in, it's going to be living on the alert for any weather systems and working around the rain and the wind.
 Kale seedlings coming along well.
My gardening buddies and I are all delighted with the rainfall we have had so far.
The grass is beginning to look green again, and many plants that were having a peaceful slumber during the drought are now raising their heads from their dormancy.
Alas, this wave of renewed activity means that I will be cutting grass every two weeks again, and the shrubs will need to be trimmed more regularly.

Oh well, I guess we can't have it all.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Pancakes all around

This morning, breakfast was a sit down affair at the kitchen table.  Usually I have my breakfast of juice and fruit while sitting at my computer clearing emails and reading my favourite blogs from all over the world.
Today was different however, I had a hankering for problem.....there is always some kind of quick pancake mix and syrup in the pantry for times like these.

A couple of minutes later breakfast was coming along nicely.

Apparently Brownie had a hankering for pancakes too.

The small one was made specially for him........

....cut into several pieces and placed in his breakfast bowl.

No looking up until it's all gone and the bowl is licked amazingly clean.
If I didn't know any better, that mournful look would certainly fool me.

"I can't believe all I'm getting is one small measly pancake."
"Maybe if I nudge her foot, she'll send some more my way."

Just then the vet called to check in on Mr. BrownBerts.....medication is finished and he has only had a few episodes (maybe two or three times a day) since.
"I am giving him an internal cleansing," I tell the vet.
"What does that entail?" he asks me.
"Just a small dose of cleansing herb tea every morning....I don't want him to be on drugs....I do believe his body needs a good cleansing," I reply.
"So what has he been eating?" he asks.
"Oh know......stuff he loves....."

Tuesday, 24 June 2014


Well it's here....the dreaded Chikungunya....the latest disease to come a -calling in the Caribbean, with 14 deaths already recorded in the region.

Chikungunya fever is a viral disease which is transmitted by mosquitoes.

Once upon a time we only had to worry about dengue fever being spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, but now we have to be wary of Chikungunya as well, another mosquito-borne disease.
Chikungunya means "that which bends up" which describes the stance of sufferers who stoop over with joint pain (arthralgia).
The word itself is derived from Kimakonde, a language spoken by an African tribe from the eastern border between Mozambique and Tanzania.

The disease was first recorded back in 1952 and has affected millions of people in Africa and Asia but now it can be found almost worldwide.

Chikungunya is transmitted by both the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus  mosquitoes.
These mosquitoes bite mostly during the day, with peak hours two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset.

The symptoms usually kick in 3-7 days after being bitten by the mosquito.  Sudden high fevers, severe headaches, muscle pain, pain behind the eyes, stiff painful joints especially wrists, knuckles and ankles, loss of appetite, measle like rash on chest and upper limbs, and nausea and vomiting.

There are no antiviral medicines available to treat Chikungunya, and any treatment used is to counteract the symptoms only, and may include mandatory rest, fluids and medication for fever and pain, however aspirin should be avoided at all costs.

A visit to the doctor for a blood test will confirm the presence of Chikungunya in the body.

In the meanwhile, it is imperative to keep your surroundings clean, and check your premises both inside and outside for any areas of standing water where the mosquitoes may breed.
Empty and cover all water containers, throw out old tires, bottles, cans and coconut shells where water may collect, clean dishes and bowls used by domestic animals regularly, empty water in plant saucers, change water in vases, clean roof gutters and drains, use mosquito dunk tablets or large larva eating fish in ponds, spread a film of kerosene oil on pools of stagnant water, cover and seal wells, septic tanks, soak-aways and water storage tanks.

As always dress appropriately for outdoor activities by using mosquito repellents on skin, and wearing long pants and long sleeve shirts when outside during the peak biting times at dusk and dawn.
Window screens and mosquito nets will also aid in keeping the mosquitoes away.

I will be spraying the property today, and I guess the Ministry of Health will step up its fogging program in the coming weeks.

Here is a link.
Another news story here and here.
*All images above are from Google Images.

Sunday, 22 June 2014


I awoke suddenly a couple of hours after I had turned in.  I rolled over and looked at my clock on the bedside table.....1.27am.  It was still the middle of the night and nowhere near to my regular 4.30am rising time.
So what had made my body come awake as if ready for combat....I wasn't sure.
I kept still and unusual sounds or movements.  My daughter's key was not turning in the door after a good night out with her friends, nor was it Brownie jumping up at the side of my bed wanting to go out.
No raindrops, no crazy wind, no dripping faucets....nothing at all.
Then that still inner voice (the one that always puts me on the right path and keeps me out of trouble) piped up loud and clear....."It's time to check outside for the bok choy munchers!"
That's what it was, before bed, I had more or less programmed my body to awake later in the night to check for the critters, and it had complied.
There is nothing like wandering around outside your house at night while you seek out potential thrilling.
Brownie was at my side, he was more than happy to go on a night patrol.
I armed myself with my combat gear for the task.
Old honey bottle filled with salt and my bright 7 LED bulb torch.
I was ready.

By the time I reached my veggie garden bed, I had a terrible feeling....a warranted feeling too, since when I shone the torch on the bed, I saw that I only had 11 kale plants left.

See that poor little decimated stalk?
There it is on the bottom right.

Then I swore I heard munching...chomp....chomp....chomp....

Turning the beam of the torch over to the bok choy area, I saw two huge slugs on the ground near my one and only horehound plant.
Need I say more?
Those two critters are dead under that salted mess ....I made sure of last rites were said.
They had already had their last meal.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

A day of sales

Usually on Saturdays, I have my jaunt path all planned out, so that I can move out early and bob and weave to each venue in a chronological time frame, and make it back home by lunchtime.
Today however, several events coincided with each other time wise and I had to compute times and navigate routes just like an airplane pilot to make sure I was where I should be at the correct I still had to run my regular errands in between.   

My first stop was an hotel sale with quite a few items to choose from.  A quick scout around and I was able to get away and make it to my next stop in a  timely manner.
At the garden centre of the hardware store, I bought some romaine lettuce seedlings and some Demon pesticide which I was out of.  I needed to spray the property since we now have not only dengue to worry about but also the dreaded chikungunya which is another mosquito-borne illness that has just raised its ugly head in the Caribbean.

Car Boot and Tent Sale
Moving right along, my next stop was a car boot and tent sale on the grounds of the Ursuline Convent School. My girlfriend had a stall for the day with lots of lovely items.  She gave me a great discount, and I came away happy after chatting with her for a while in between her many customers.

I had promised my friend who owns a nursery the polyscia cuttings, so off I headed in that direction to the interior of the island.
I took a few photos while I was there.  He too was having problems with the drought and the water restrictions.
 Very hot and humid conditions, but some plants are still thriving.

Vivid red hibiscus

Dwarf white variegated bougainvillea
One of these beauties will be coming home with me next time when they are ready for sale.
I also loved this delicate green ground cover.
You can see the midday heat appearing in these photos.
The plants are hanging on....I hope we get some decent rainfall soon.

I had originally purchased the remaining stock of polyscias from my friend last year, and I had promised him to return with some cuttings.....which he was happy to receive to replenish his stock.

On the way home, two more sales caught my eye, and I stopped off to have a look around.  A quick trip to the supermarket to purchase a few needed items was next on the agenda.  By then it was quite late, and I had to hustle my butt home to feed you know who.

Phew......what an incredible day.....I'm exhausted all over again just writing about it!!!

Friday, 20 June 2014

The Polyscias

Well guess what....we did have a decent rain shower yesterday, and seeing the garden glistening with raindrops got me all excited.
Today, I decided it was time to trim back the polyscia shrubs outside along the front wall.

With the drought that we were experiencing for the last several weeks, I was doing my darndest to keep them alive.  It's my new hedge that I'm creating, and the poor things have been suffering through, but thank goodness hanging on.
Yes, that is my brown crispy lawn, it looks terrible, but what can I do....we are under water restrictions, so no lawn watering.  I do however try to keep my shrubs and veggie garden alive.

Okay, so back to trimming the polyscias....I had already trimmed back the first four plants, but when I arrived at the fifth plant, to my surprise there was a small nest in the uppermost branches, probably a sparrow's nest.
It's amazing how I had missed seeing it before, although maybe not, since I was watering at night to avoid "the nosey eyes" of my neighbours.

I carefully inspected the nest, but no eggs could be seen, and no nearby birds hovered around either.
I decided to go ahead and trim it off as planned.

Even though the nest looked unused, I still felt guilty, so I decided to reposition it on the undergrowth of the golden palms that run alongside the front patio.
I tied it securely amidst the palm fronds where I'm sure that it will be found if needed.

The cuttings will be dropped off for my plant nursery friend tomorrow.

As for the bok choy, I still haven't found that munching critter as yet.

Look at that BIGG hole in my leaf.....what a nerve!!!
They seem to be munching my horehound herb plant as well......what a freaking nerve!!!
I hope I find that critter soon.  My other gardening buddies have all advised me to look for a worm (caterpillar or moth) in between the leaves, but I have not found any.
Woe betide when I find it.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Rain...what rain?

This morning, when I looked outside, I was so happy...there were some ominous looking rain clouds in the sky and they were headed my way....yippeeee!!!
 Yessss.....finally....rain at last...rain at last!!

I watched in total was such a long time since any raindrops had graced my garden.
This was the worst drought we had had in years, and the rain was a welcome visitor.
Then some clouds blew in from the sea and more rain fell.

The veggie garden was elated.

Then in two twos it was all over....... if it were a dream.

The sun came out bright and HOTTTTT........

........and stayed that way for the rest of the day.

Talk about a tease.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The "Rediscovered" Garrison Tunnels

With me being a history buff and loving all things from yesteryear, an interesting find recently captured my interest.
Some long forgotten underground tunnels had been rediscovered in The Garrison area.

Two Fridays ago, the local press was invited for a press briefing and a ground breaking ceremony to officially open the Garrison Tunnel Project.
Not wanting to wait for the official opening (for public viewing) which is scheduled for August, I decided it would be nice to tag along for a photo op for my blog.

The tunnel entrance is located to the right of the car park entrance of George Washington House.

Behind the security barricades was the beginning of a long-hidden tunnel system which features miles of networking shafts.

The almost forgotten tunnels had practically disappeared into "folklore" but old timers were telling their stories handed down through generations....the tunnels were secret passageways that may have been used as escape routes.
Located roughly 12-17 ft beneath the historic Garrison area they were accidentally rediscovered during the restoration of George Washington House in June 2011.
The tunnels are over 150 years old, and were originally built around the1820's during the British military period on the island, and may have been utilized to drain the once marshy Garrison Savannah, moving storm water out to sea, (even though they don't follow drainage principles)...they may have also served as secret escape routes for soldiers.

After a half hour presentation in the cinema of George Washington House followed by several questions and many revealing answers, it was time to visit the entrance that was being prepared for the public.

The Barbados Garrison Historical Consortium Inc, is spearheading this project in conjunction with the Bush Hill Tourism Trust Inc, and is largely funded by the Tourism Development Corporation.
The project is estimated to cost Bds$100,000.00 (US$50,000.00).
Peter Stevens, Vice President of the Barbados Garrison Historical Consortium Inc., with Stephen Lashley,  Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth.

The excavated area which will become the public entrance....some of the steps are already installed for this purpose.

Minister Lashley descending the ladder to explore the tunnel for himself.

A closer look at the limestone coral bedrock which makes up  the island.

The ground breaking ceremony.
Fourteen feet below, and with pickaxe in hand, Minister Lashley "opens" the tunnel.

And in he goes.

This portion of the tunnel travels all the way across the car park.
It travels 207 feet across the car park, and the exit shaft is just outside of the Visitor's Centre via a secure gated enclosure.

It must be noted however that this particular tunnel under George Washington House runs approximately 3,200 feet in its entirety.

Long forgotten passageways from the past.
Most of the tunnels are two feet wide and range from 8 feet to 12 feet amazing construction.
Accurately built as a "non-maintenance construction" was how the engineer on the project described the tunnels.
Miles and miles of networking tunnels lined with quarried blocks which form perfect arches for the roofs all built by hand...a spectacular engineering feat for the day, considering there were no power tools.

At the press conference.
Peter Stevens, Vice President of the Barbados Garrison Historical Consortium Inc., Dr. Karl Watson,  Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, and an officer from the Bush Hill Tourism Trust Inc.
Not pictured is James Blades, President of the Barbados Garrison Historical Consortium.

As further exploration continues, more tunnels, T-junctions and more access points have been discovered under the Garrison Savannah.

On the southern side of the Garrison Savannah, the  tunnels create a central hub in a bicycle spoke pattern with five tunnels which radiate outwards to several access points like the Barbados Defence Force's St.Ann's Fort, some seem to travel as far as Dalkeith Hill and even maybe to the gully behind George Washington House and perhaps even to outlying caves. 
Apparently, the bicycle spoke pattern of the tunnels under the Garrison Savannah,  can be clearly seen during the dry season if looked at closely.
It's a well laid out network with tunnels running to beach exits  like Pebbles Beach, Pavilion Court, Needhams Point and Coconut Court Hotel.
As the explorers continue with this project they are finding some of the tunnels silted with about 3 - 4 feet of silt, some closed off with iron grates, some collapsed areas and some totally blocked doorways that may lead to caves in the area.  
There are stories of children long ago getting lost in the caves so it is believed that may be the reason for the closed off areas.
More exploration is ongoing but in order to do so, more passageways and access points would require permission from property owners in the area.

At present the tunnels are not open to the public, but the explored section is outfitted at strategic points with lighting and  live feed cameras and live audio commentary to the cinema at George Washington House.

Health and safety requirements are still being worked out and after all inspections have been carried out, guided tours will be available after the official opening to the public in August 2014.
Hopefully in the future there will be tram rides into the tunnels, of which there is still 7,500 feet of unexplored and inaccessible tunnels.

It's so very exciting, and I can't wait for the entire network to be "rediscovered." 
These tunnels are definitely a reconnection with our colourful past.....wonder what else will be discovered.

Here are some other incredible photos of these tunnels.
The timeline project photos are here.

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