The husband and I just returned from a pretty amazing 9 days in Iceland. We packed as much into that time as possible and drove around the entire perimeter of the country as well as spent a few days in the capital city, Reykjavik. The drive was amazing and really drives home how immense the landscape is (even living in Alaska I was pretty blown away). We saw tons of sheep (they are everywhere! I mean, it. Everywhere!!) and I tried my hardest to name many of them…Millecent, Harold, Rupert, Miles, Dot, etc.
What people don’t tell you about Iceland is that most of the country smells like sulphur. I’m not saying it’s bad, but don’t expect your shower water to smell any better than a few eggs, and your silver just might turn colors. All of the thermal hot spots and sulphur fields which are constantly ‘oozing’ also give the air itself a nice “Iceland” smell. Food is also quite expensive and may or may not be worth the price. We did however fall head over heels for their hot dogs, which are cheap are run about 380 krona ($3 give or take). They are made from lamb and garnished with their version of ketchup and mustard as well as fresh and fried onions. We definitely bought these 2 at a time.
Waterfalls are everywhere (if you took a picture of each you would never be able to leave – and this is just traveling highway 1 around the island) and are amazing. We took a short hike to Svartifoss and were rewarding with a fabulous waterfall heading over some naturally occurring basalt columns. Though I was being a turd (we had a hard time working the travel/blood sugar/food thing out) it was well worth it.
One of the last stops on the Golden Circle tour (which includes a geysir and another huge multi-step waterfall) was a very cool site which most people miss: the rising edge of the North American plate. And by plate, I mean the moving tectonic plate which forms the crust of the entire globe. Wow. Mind blown. Despite a lot of wind and rain (I renamed it Windland) it was well worth it.
I have yet to process the photos taken from the actual legit camera, but will report with a link to my flickr page soon. It was a great trip and I am so glad we went (we will definitely be back!), but for now, it’s so great to be home.
And the view of Greenland on the way home wasn’t too bad either…
As the season has gone on and already seems to be coming to an end, we have learned even more lessons. Namely:
Lesson 9: An article I read told me to trim some of my tomato branches, starting with the little guy that sprouts in the ‘crotch’ of 2 branches. This is totally incorrect as the little crotch sprout (it’s funny to say, right?) is where the future blossoms and thus, tomatoes, will come from. One does need to trim excess greenage from the plants though as they take away growing power and water from the little growing fruits, so look for the giant leafy branches without a connection to fruit or flowers.
Lesson 10: If you see that a particular branch is heavily laden with fruit (in our case one of the Topsy Turveys with the most direct sun), keep an eye on how that fruit is dangling. One of our branches snapped with 8 or 9 large tomatoes hanging from it, as it was just too heavy to be supported. Had I been paying closer attention (or known?) I could have secured the branch and allowed the tomatoes to naturally ripen on the vine. Between that accident and a drunken intruder’s murder of a full plant off the side rail, we had quite a few little green guys evicted from their bushes too soon, but they are starting to ripen as they sit next to other ripe fruits.
Lesson 11: It’s funny – the tomato cans we used as planters have weathered elements very well, while the coffee cans used have gotten rusty on the outside and pretty ugly. I’ll be ditching most of the coffee cans after this season and continuing to save the whole tomato cans that we use for tomato soup.
Lesson 12: While the summer squash have gone totally crazy in the larger containers, they did not do nearly as well in the cans as hoped. The lack of root space inhibited fruit growth to the point where we only got 2 or 3 squash total from the cans as opposed 2-3 per week in the larger bins. Next year, no squash in cans.
Regardless it’s been a lot of fun and we’re really excited to work out more of the kinks next year to have a totally kick ass garden. Hooray!
If you haven’t caught on by now that I’m a little (ok, a lot) obsessed with my garden, you’re living in space or perhaps under a rock. I have been having so much fun playing in the plants, making massive salads with the never ending supply of greens and poking my tiny tomatoes and asking if they’re ready yet. Sitting on the deck in the midst of all the green just makes me happy.
And the view from our living room window isn’t too bad either….
I love our little green space right in the middle of the city! High five urban gardening!
Many moons ago, before Christmas, I ordered a Grow-A-Frog kit for my husband as well as one for my retail storefront (twice the fun, right?). Thankfully the folks who ship the tadpoles watch the weather to make sure they don’t freeze and die in transit, thus our tadpoles arrived only yesterday. They were totally worth the wait as I’m completely enamored. The little guy at the house has yet to be named (we’ve been trying out different combos but nothing is sticking yet. Hubert Cumberbund? Engleburt Humperdink?), but my little guy at the shop was immediately Herbert Thunderdome. I don’t know why, but he looks like a Herbert (and who doesn’t want to be a badass in the Thunderdome family?). Herbert could of course turn out to be Herberta but we won’t know until the legs come in.
The Grow-A-Frog thing is pretty cool. These frogs are actually African clawed frogs and I’m told with proper care can live for years (5 is average – but some people are quoting 20!) and get rather large. In the tadpole stage they have see through skin so you can see their little hearts pumping as well as food digesting. So cool! I’ll be sure to update on progress – we’re about 3 weeks out from appendage growth. At this point Herbert measures in at a little over an inch long (with a constantly moving tail) and 1/2 inch wide.