About antandowl

Ant and Owl are two best friends residing in metropolitan Sydney, Australia. They are also housemates and enjoy everything from playing computer games and guitar to checking out exhibitions, concerts and tasting the best of what’s around.

A solution to try for Spider Mites on your plants!

For the last four or so years we’ve maintained two greenhouses on our balcony – growing chilli, oregano, mint and parsley. We also used to have basil (which Spider Mites destroyed), a single coriander shoot called “Dolly Parton” – because it was heavy and flopped over and Rosemary, which never took off. Most of the plants did reasonably well until they were hit with a double whammy infestation (against the odds of being elevated on a balcony and inside a greenhouse)!

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The first infestation was a moth, which led to caterpillars – those fat green juicy ones like in A Bug’s Life. The caterpillars required patience and picking them off one by one to remove the infestation. Needless to say, these came back a few times as you always miss one. Once those bite mark like holes start showing, you know it’s too late and you’ve already got a family chowing down on your plants.

The second infestation, which was much harder to get rid of and literally sucked the life out of all my beloved basil plants (three separate bushes) – was due to the difficult and dreaded Spider Mite! The first Basil plant was the weakest and succumbed to the fact the Mites drained the nutrients out of its stalks. The other two were better established and lasted a little longer, but since I didn’t want to use chemicals as I wanted to eat from the plants, I resorted to meekly trimming the plants – which only delayed the inevitable. In hindsight, I should have tried the method below earlier!

My Parsley was the only plant left after the initial Spider Mite infestation so they naturally migrated onto it and started to kill it too. A few weeks back, I trimmed off all the leaves and left pretty much just the stalks – but I knew this likely wouldn’t work. So I decided with nothing to lose, I would try the combination of Garlic and Chili sprayed over the plant and surrounding greenhouse. Boy am I glad I at least tried, it worked a treat! I sprayed the area only twice in a period of a week and the Parsley seems to be Spider Mite free. I was able to pick and eat the Parsley for the first time last night since this all started a couple of months ago. It no longer has the off colour of looming death, and the leaves look nice and healthy as you can see in the pictures of the leaves below. I unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for you) did not take any pictures of the infestation/Spider Mites – but if they come back I will update this post with pictures.

parsley2 parsley3parsley4

So if you have Spider Mites – you’ll be able to see by the reddish/orange leaves and the webbing they weave on the leaves.

Try this very natural and chemical free solution!

  • 1 Chilli (preferable a hot one)
  • 1 clove of Garlic
  • Boiling Water
  • A jar
  • A spray bottle

bottle Home grown chilli - helping out fellow plants

Method:

Chop and crush the Garlic, you want the garlic juice to infuse the water and likewise do the same with the Chilli – just don’t touch your face after handling it. Put them into a small Jar and pour hot water from a kettle into the jar – so you get about a cup of hot water. Leave this to sit and cool down. Once this is cool pour the water into a spray bottle that you don’t mind smelling of Garlic from now on and add water if it’s not enough to get a good spray – just don’t dilute it too much. If you don’t have enough you can just re-boil what is in the jar. Try to strain out any chunks of Garlic or Chilli when transferring to the bottle so it doesn’t clog the spray nozzle.

Use:

Spray all over the plant so it’s saturated – under the leaves and stalk and into the soil too as the Spider Mites can sometimes hide there. Spray the surrounding area if it’s enclosed or the nearby vicinity just to make sure the mites go away completely (read that as die).

Repeat this a couple of times and check your plant in a week or so.

Note: don’t keep the solution too long in the spray bottle as it’ll start to smell/rot.

Leave a comment if it ends up helping your plants at all! We’d love to hear of more victories against these little buggers.

owl

Summer is for festivals

I read two wordFlying pigs today that made my heart stop.

Bacon. Festival.

Bacon festival!!!

Yes, I know bacon stopped trending and, yes, I know it is no longer the cover child of foodie fascists fashionistas. But it’s just so darn tasty! Bacon is a flavour that pervades even the ficklest heart and has made all manners of breakfast (and other mealtime) foods infinitely better.

From the 9th of February 2015, Cuckoo Callay at Newtown will be upping the bacon ante with amazing dishes like ‘What a Croque of Bacon’ (bacon, basil and vintage cheddar croquettes served with bourbon bacon, pea puree and two poached eggs) and ‘Ya Bacon Me Crazy’ (buttermilk waffles with house-made bacon, caramel and cinnamon ice cream, Black Forest Smokehouse maple bacon, maple syrup and chocolate coated bourbon bacon). They even have bacon drinks!

Best of all, the bacon is from Black Forest Smokehouse, which means that Australian farmers get a cut of this sweet deal.

Lard, have mercy on my soul!

menu

Note: Ant does not work for CC and does not get anything for this write-up but how can one resist such an amazing place which even features a little doggie menu? #hearts

Cuckoo Callay

Newtown Train Station, 324a King Street, Newtown, New South Wales 2042
Tel: +61 (02) 9557 7006
Monday – Wednesday: 6:00 am – 4:00 pm
Thursday – Friday: 6:00 am – 9:30 pm
Saturday: 8:00 am – 9:30 pm
Sunday: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Australian Open 2015

Clean and short matches so far for the Men’s Quarter Finals, but we’re in for a treat with a rematch of Djokovic and Wawrinka in the Friday 30th Semi Final match (last year’s final was a good one) and will Murray beat Berdych on Thursday night?

Thursday 29th from 11am EST we will see the Women’s Semi Finals, which should be great! Serena Williams plays the next generation in Madison Keys (USA v USA) and Ekaterina Makarova and Maria Sharapova (RUS v RUS). That’ll leave an interesting (USA v RUS) match for the finals either way. Followed by the Murray v Berdych match at 7:30pm.

All in all, the competition has been an interesting mix, with some early favourite exits, a good mix of Australians into the fourth rounds and an open door for this years champions.

You can find out more at Australian Open 2015

owl

Theme Hospital – FREE from Origin Games

Wow, it’s been a little while since we added a post to our blog. Apologies for the general lack of updates, but I’m back (or so I say) for another round since it’s a new year and you make resolutions to do those things. Happy new year by the way too, we hope 2015 is being kind to you so far!

Many moons ago I liked to play Origin games, but that sort of faded as they were bought over by the EA juggernaut. As a generous gesture though (though it is old anyway), EA is giving away its classic game – Theme Hospital for free! It’s not just the demo, but the entire game. It’s for a limited time and you will have to sign up for an Origin account if you don’t already have one. I’ve always enjoyed the simulation games and they take me back to fun times. I hope they do the same for you.

You can find it here – Theme Hospital Free

owl

Always be teachable

I was inspired recently after reading the transcript from the graduation speech given by Admiral McRaven to the class of 2014 on May 17th at the University of Texas. The speech provided great food for thought and showed the resilience of humans when it really mattered. It made me think sometimes I need to step back and realise the bigger picture through the little things. It also made me think of the characteristics and attributes that are found in those who strive for better and have character and ‘grit’.

If you don’t have the time to go through the entire transcript here are some of the great points he made.

  1. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed
  2. If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle
  3. If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers
  4. If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward
  5. If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks
  6. if you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud

Just reading those points might not make much sense, but if you see the reasons why (tied to Navy Seal training) they’ll make a lot of sense to why they matter.

If you have the time have a read of the transcript for yourself, or if you’re so inclined watched the YouTube video of the speech here at the University of Texas website.

owl

Let the Tetrad Begin!

Don’t forget tomorrow evening (April 15 2014) – the first of the four slated lunar eclipse begin. Around 17:30-18:30 AEST (or moonset) is when it will be visible…or not visible since it’s an eclipse and the moon will be darkened. If there are clear skies and you can find a good vantage points facing an Easterly/horizon aspect preferably over water, you should definitely take a look!

Visit the Sydney Observatory website for precise details on the timing of the eclipse depending on your location. Most of the Eastern Australian states will have good view of this, unfortunately not so if you’re on the West Coast of Australia. There should also be plenty of other countries that see this too with New Zealand seeing the full eclipse.

It’ll be super cool too because it’s a blood moon and there will be four of them in the series that will appear so, quite a sight and fabled event. I read somewhere that the last few significant blood moons all sat comfortably around significant Jewish holidays (Passover and Tabernacles), no matter how you cut that information it’s a little eerie or ‘coincidentally’ timed.

If you’re a photographer, these are fun to take pictures of and totally safe (unlike solar eclipses)!

Happy star and moon gazing tomorrow!

 

owl