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India day 4

A real cultural experience today. Lynne and I roamed the narrow back streets of Bangalore to find the huge commodities market. We were kind of unique in the crowd and treated with wonderment and kindness in equal measure. Until FB embraces “scratch and sniff” technology I’m afraid the photos don’t really do it justice.

India Day 1

It’s been a hot day to start the adventure. A walkabout day in the center of Bangalore

From the bedroom window. Indoor sports complex in the park
Hotel gardens
Courts of Justice
Even the mad dogs didn’t want to move from the shade tree
Local Palace
State rooms
State rooms
Inner courtyard
To the manor born
Street vendor cart
Small temple
Interesting accommodation …. in both senses
The Sun goes down on the first day

More ATV fun

We tried to go for an ATV adventure on Friday but we were turned back by heavy rain. Sunday was fine so off we went. Out through the woods and down the big hill to the creek.

We came down there!

We came down there!

Alana was keen to go rock hoping and to see how far we could get down stream without getting wet. Her mantra – “never give up”. We managed to stay dry and that’s a plus.  There were challenges of course: stone skimming and biggest splash and this …….

Concentration was needed to balance those rocks

Concentration was needed to balance those rocks

Having come down the big hill meant that we had to climb it on the way back. It’s a lot of fun with the ATV at odd angles over rocks and grooves cut out by heavy rainfall. Nothing fazes the action girl and she really enjoyed to ride back up.

Not for the faint hearted

Not for the faint hearted

Once we had reached the flat stuff I jumped on the back and let Alana take the controls. She’s managing just fine and has good throttle and steering control. As she remarked “we didn’t go into a bush this time”.

Don’t look Ethel, don’t look !

As Miss Lynne was going to be busy in the home office all day, it was important that an adventure was found for Miss Alana. Another bike ride. This time around the lake at Callaway Gardens. It’s a nice safe site with plenty of bike trails and lots to see.

Butter wouldn't melt fly

Butter wouldn’t melt fly

Starting out at the discovery center to find out the time for the bird of prey show, it was then a short ride through the woods to the butterfly house. Miss Alana enjoyed the life cycle of the butterfly.

There were other creatures to spot on the way around too. Turtles, chipmunks, ducks and Alana even spotted a heron.

Turtles tag

Turtles tag

Next stop, the birds of prey. The mid-day sun was brutal so the normal show was cut short with an improvised lecture in a shady grove. It’s good to see big birds in action.

Red tailed hawk

Red tailed hawk

Great horned owl

Great horned owl

Barred owl

Barred owl

The bird theme continued over a quick cafe lunch. A couple of small brave birds would swoop in to collect any crumbs dropped. It was very amusing as Alana nearly lost her nuggets while she was away from the table 🙂

Back on the bikes, we stumbled upon what became the main event. A tree top adventure including lake crossing zip line! At the sign-up station, Alana did her best stretch to reach the minimum height requirement and showed no qualms about being high in the air. After a short conference, the staff gave the thumbs up and she was in. The next start time meant a speedy ride around the lake but someone had quite an incentive.

Kitted up and ready

Kitted up and ready

Starting with a pretty rigorous safety talk and demonstration, the 15 or so adventurers started climbing and crossing and zipping. Miss Alana was a natural. No fear, no hesitation. She was soon leading at the front with everyone racing to keep up.

High wire fun

High wire fun

Clipped into a safety wire at all times, there was a variety of challenges to overcome. The zip line  crossings looked a lot of fun from the ground.

Zipline princess

Zipline princess

The final challenge took her to a platform 70ft up a pine tree.

70ft up!

70ft up!

From there is was a series of three zip lines that crossed the lake, high in the air.

is it a bird .....

is it a bird …..

So the day ended with an unexpected, exhilarating high wire adventure  ……. oh …. and soda, ice cream and finally winning the bet with Mr Rob about staying awake all the way home.

Nanny had a hard day working and tending to the animals.


Alana’s Holiday Day 2

First jobs on the farm are feeding two young boy alpacas then the fourteen girls. Lastly we fed the six older boys.

In the other side of the barn the chickens were waiting to be let out. I let them into the paddock and threw some grain on the ground for them to peck at and the ducks waddled in with a loud quack!

When the alpacas finished eating it was time to clean up. Picking up paca poop keeps them clean and healthy.

Did you know – Picking up paca poop stops the spread of parasites.

We do this again every afternoon.

Alana and Arlo

Alana and Arlo


Panic! Miss Lynne came rushing up to the barn this morning to say that the bees were so active that she could hear them from inside the house. As I walked down to the paddock to check the hives I could hear the buzzing getting louder. As I looked up to the top of a River Birch, I could see where the noise was coming from. It was a swarm. It’s the nearest tree to the hives and I was expecting the worst when I opened up the hives to check. I don’t think they are our bees 60ft up that tree. There seems to be as many as ever in our two hives. Now ….. what to do with these guys.

Swarm, 60ft up

Swarm, 60ft up

Enlarged view of the swarm

Enlarged view of the swarm

Such a hoot

It’s been a wet month. We’ve had 3 times as much rain this September, compared to the average. Thankfully it did stay dry long enough for me to do most of the lawn seeding that I had planned. It’s doing nicely despite my worries that the earth works might get washed out.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Lynne has used the poor weather as an opportunity to put in some serious quilting and general sewing. She has been working away to finish off a lovely full sized quilt on her long-arm machine. The photo shows her proudly displaying the completed work at the Quilter Guild meeting. As if she needs any more strings to her bow, she has successfully taken on some training duties at her favourite quilt shop. There are more details of this on her crafty blog.

I was lucky to have my camera to hand early the other morning. As I sat eating my breakfast cereal and watching the morning news, I noticed that we had a very rare visitor. Not that they are rare to our garden but that they are rarely seen during daylight. They often wake us up at night! It was a very overcast early morning so it was staying up late hoping to catch a snack. This fine Barred Owl is about 20” tip to tail and stayed around just long enough for me to snap a few shots.

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We still have some colour in the garden and the bees are working hard to collect the last of nature’s goodness.

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Autun is here Somebody turned the summer switch to the off position this month. It is decidedly autumnal. But if we should be in any doubt, the trees are telling us that we are on the downhill slope to winter.

Wet and windy end to summer

We have often thought that we just don’t get into NYC very often. Given that we are only 80 miles from one of the great cities of the World, we should do it every now and then.

So off we went. Just to make the trip a little adventure we took a different train route to the one that takes us down the Hudson river. We took the “Port Jervis” line, over the Moodner Viaduct, through New Jersey and under the Hudson River into Penn Station. It’s a slow line but a very pleasant journey.

First stop was the B&H camera superstore. I could spend hours there just looking. Lynne was interested in a bag for her new Sony but the check out line just seemed too long so she gently guided me to the exit.

A new section of the High Line Park has recently opened so, as it was a lovely day, we went off to explore. The park has been constructed along a disused section of elevated rail line. Starting at 30th street and going on down to 14th, you get such a unique view of the city . We highly recommend it.

Trains ran this way Note the water towers on top of the appartments

Cross town view Art is a key feature

After a well deserved lunch we went off to explore the garment district and find Mood Fabrics of Project Runway fame. Given that I have no interest in the series it’s odd that it was me that spotted Mondo, runner up from last year, waiting at the counter, fabric in hand. The place is an Aladdin’s Cave for anyone with a creative stitching bent ……. I dutifully followed along at a distance.

The main plaza at Seacaucus Junction We strolled across town and gradually made our way back to Penn Station for the trip back to the sticks. We were quickly away on the first leg to Secaucus Junction where we discovered that we had over an hour to wait for the next train to Middletown (NY). Still, the modern waiting plaza was cool and had seats. The time seemed to pass quickly …. maybe it was the company? It was a fine day out in the big city and we will do it again. Not via that line for a while as hurricane Irene has washed out the tracks in several places.

And that brings me neatly on to the wet and windy end to the summer. Hurricane season is always well reported here but doesn’t often make as big an impression as Irene. The signs were there and people were being warned to make preparations well in advance. Low lying areas of New Jersey and New York were evacuated for the predicted storm surge and flooding. As it turned out, the main destruction came from the very heavy inland rainfall and subsequent flooding as water took any route down to overflowing rivers. Some towns had 4ft of water running down the main street. There are some crazy scenes on You Tube.

Come on Irene The weather radar pictures looked ominous and it was raining hard as we went to bed that night. Everything had been put away or tied down. We knew it would be windy but the worst was expected on the coast, 80 miles away.

We woke up at around 3am and it was raining hard but blowing harder. All the trees were trashing around, the electricity was already out and all we could do was wait for the sun to come up and the wind to calm down. When it did, we were pleased to see that there were no major trees down and apart for some very minor water in the basement, we were unscathed. I got the small generator running and we had the fridge, freezer and some lights going. Our main issue was the lack of 220v for the well pump so there was no running water although we had filled up the bath and stocked up on bottled water. We had radio but no telephone, internet or cable tv. By lunchtime we were beginning to understand how lucky we were.

Truck RV covered in debris

We took a trip out to see how the local area had been affected and to see if we could gauge how long the power was likely to be out. We soon started to see trees down and roads flooded. The river through town was raging but runs significantly lower in the valley so was not an issue there. We travelled to a number of other bridges and road crossings to see the scale of the run off. There was a lot of water!

Walkill river rages The weir is almost smoothed out

The fun started on the homeward loop. Every way we turned there was a flooded road, a tree down or power cable across the street. We were all over the place before we reached home. We eventually got power back by Wednesday.

Route home seriously underwater That should be pasture

Typical tree taking down power situation This one kept us out for more than three days

On a much lighter note. We had a great evening out this last Saturday. We went out with friends to Brian’s Back Yard BBQ for a meal and blues music. So good!

Cute critters in the collection have mainly been deer, hummingbirds and the odd snake. I also saw a skunk scurry through the trees.

Our regular family visitors Ribbon Snake

* All photos by Lynne with her new Sony SLR (except the last two)