Lady Bugs, Plastic Bottles and China!

Hello to the blog sphere!

Trip to China 2014 223

Bruce and I being introduced to the Warrior Clan


I am sitting inside, cowering from a 39 degree day. I’ve cleaned the house, washed the clothes and potted in the garden, so now I think it is the perfect time to sit on my derriere and put some photos and words into a new blog post.

The South Gate of the Xi'an City Wall.

The South Gate of the Xi’an City Wall.

On the 6th of October my husband and I boarded a plane to fly to Hong Kong. This was our stop over on the way to Xi’an, China. I have always had a fascination with China. I love to watch the movies, eat the food and admire the art of calligraphy. I have also read some wonderful fiction books based in China, back in the days of Emperors.

On the top of the Xi'an Wall

On the top of the Xi’an Wall

Anyway I digress, sorry. So we arrived in Xi’an in the afternoon of the 7th and were soon ferried to our hotel. We had 36 people in our group, and over the 14 days we got to know them very well, and what a lovely bunch they were. ย The accommodation was great, like a junior suite, with separate lounge, bathroom and powder room. Plus a bar area in the lounge room. My husband is tall, 6’4 in the old measure, (for aussies), and was relieved to have a shower head high enough for him to get under.

The only way to get around the wall, bugger the bikes lol

The only way to get around the wall, bugger the bikes lol

In Xi’an they still have the wall and gates that protected the old city from attack. We got to walk on the top of this wall and it was great to see how huge it was and imagine what it was like back 1000 years or so… that’s the thing with China, they talk in thousands of years, mind blowing to an Aussie who only has barely 250 yrs of settlement history. At least we do have Aboriginal history, but it’s not as easy to see like in ย China. Everywhere you look there are historic buildings mixing with modern.

Inside Pit No 1 of the Terracotta Warriors

Inside Pit No 1 of the Terracotta Warriors

Side view of the same pit

Side view of the same pit. Those little black clusters on the other side are people walking down the sides

We also got to see the Terracotta Warriors, one of the things on the top of my to do list. You can’t imagine the scale of the area until you are actually standing in there looking at this vast building, full of ditches revealing what lay beneath the ground for 100’s of years. Was a highlight of my trip ๐Ÿ™‚

Some horses in Pit No 3. These are full size horses too

Some horses in Pit No 3. These are full size horses too

Trip to China 2014 343

An Archer, fully restored

After Xi’an it was an overnight sleeper train to Beijing. We were in Beijing for 5 days and could have stayed longer! So much to see. The place is enormous, 22 million people live here. That is all of Australia in one city, just mind boggling. We went on the Wall, number 2 on my to do list, tick. ย OMG the stairs… need I say more lol. In fact China is full of bloody stairs. By the end of our trip we were all saying on no not more stairs… no wonder they are all so fit.

This was on the ceiling of a shopping centre in Xi'an. It changed several times and was very popular with the kids and adults

This was on the ceiling of a shopping centre in Xi’an. It changed several times and was very popular with both tourists and locals

Trip to China 2014 162

Another change of scenery on the ceiling

We went to the Summer Palace, just beautiful, the Forbidden City, enormous, The Temple of Heaven, where we participated in a Thai Chi lesson, and went to the Olympic Park with the Bird’s Nest and Ice Cube buildings. So much to see….

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These were the first steps we encountered on the Wall, easy…

Then we went around the corner and this is what met us.. lots of stairs, disappearing up into the fog...

Then we went around the corner and this is what met us.. lots of stairs, disappearing up into the fog/smog…

After Beijing we then flew to Yichang to board a cruise ship and spend 5 days on the Yangtze River. We went through 5 locks that took us up 122 feet, that was quite an amazing thing to experience, very clever. Just think of Jurassic Park when you imagine the ginormous doors that opened at the end of each lock. ย Anyone who knows me will know that I am not a water baby. I get sick in a spa, I know you can stop laughing now… anyway this part of the tour was a bit nerve wracking for me as I was petrified of being ill the whole way. I used some pressure point bands on my wrists and took a quell morning and night. I am relieved to say that I didn’t get sick! Not once, not even a little ๐Ÿ˜€

We got into some period dress, that headpiece got bloody heavy

We got into some period dress, that headpiece got bloody heavy

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I don’t know what that concubine is up to but she is about to feel the wrath of my fan… lol

Our trip finished in the city of Chongqing, where 32 million people reside… yes not a typo, 32 million. It was mind boggling to see row upon row of 30 story high buildings as far as the eye could see, in all directions. An amazing experience and one I could do again just so I could linger a little longer to see more …. Some of the group went on to Shanghai and we have had emails from them to say it is well worth a visit. So this is still on my to do list…

We purchased this trip through Scoupons at an amazing price. The travel agency was SNA and we were a little worried it would be cheap and not so cheerful but it wasn’t. The whole trip was excellent and, apart from the smog which can’t be controlled, was well worth the trip.

Some beautiful gardens in China

Some beautiful gardens in China

Another garden. As you can see, they love red and yellow

Another garden. As you can see, they love red and yellow

Trying to look like I'm holding this large basket of flowers

Trying to look like I’m holding this large basket of flowers

Now it’s back to sleepy little old (Ha! only 150 years) Norseman, population now 803. ย Just how I like it ๐Ÿ™‚


The Thai Basil in it's bottle

The Thai Basil in it’s bottle

Mint in a bottle

Mint in a bottle

I could have done a separate blog on my plastic bottle recycling but I don’t think it would come out before 2015 (yikes that’s too soon already) so I’m throwing it in with China.

So what do we call a group of lady bugs?

So what do we call a group of lady bugs?

Passionfruit futures

Passionfruit futures


Unfortunately Norseman doesn’t do recycling. When I first got here it was the most disappointing thing about the town. It hurts me throw, what I know is recyclable, away. So in an effort to salvage some of our recyclable goods, I have been trying to use what I can for my little garden. I saw a terrific tip about cutting out a piece in the side of drink bottles and using them for plants. I like to drink sparkling water and as a result have some bottles… the first one I made has some Thai Basil in, I have had recipes with this in, so now I can happily go and pick some. Norseman is fairly remote and doesn’t always have what you need for recipes. The second one I have put some mint in. These popped up in my grass so I have repurposed them into a bottle garden. I also use egg cartons to grow seeds in. Once they get to a good size you can rip each little cell apart and bury it in the ground with the seedling.

Well hello there Mr Bug

Well hello there Mr Bug

When I was taking pictures of my bottles I spotted some little lady bugs and thought I would throw them in with the blog too. I am fortunate enough to have heaps of these crawling over our passionfruit vines. Hopefully munching naughty bugs for breakfast, lunch and tea ๐Ÿ™‚ Wish they ate mozzies… and flies for that matter. They are in mega abundant supply this year.

Hmm time for the garlic and cayenne pepper spray. Something is munching my rose leaves

Hmm time for the garlic and cayenne pepper spray. Something is munching my rose leaves

I hope you enjoy my ramble through China and some gardening shares as well.

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10 thoughts on “Lady Bugs, Plastic Bottles and China!

  1. 39C!No wonder you are cowering! I think that you should have 4 air conditioners all pointing from 4 directions at you with that kind of heat in spring. I shudder to think what summer is going to bring :(. You two make very sexy warriors but I wouldn’t wear that armour in the 39C heat ;). That’s the thing that blew my mind in the U.K. The age of everything. Steve took us to see his old school and visit the little church that was nearby that he had to attend (Stevie-boy attended a Catholic school where church was compulsory) and it was ancient! They had a chest from the Crimean war inside and I was gobsmacked by the age of everything where Steve was just “yeah, that’s my school…that’s the church…that’s a museum”. I guess when it was your “everyday” you just stop noticing? I know that I spent my bit of time in London with my neck craned up at the top of the amazing ancient old buildings looking at the awesome stone carvings and many times Steve was laughing as people would walk by on their way to work or to the shops and see me looking up and would look up like something was about to fall on their head ;).

    I LOVE those Terracotta warriors. You must have had an absolutely awesome time in China Kym. That’s the thing about travelling, I would love to see all of these amazing places but the “travelling” bit makes me twitch. Thank goodness for social media and mates that travel I say so that I can live vicariously through their experiences and blog posts without having to leave the comfort of my computer chair ;).

    The mind boggles at the scope of those warriors and the skill of the craftsmen that carved them. What an amazing feat and how incredible that they are still there for us all to see and marvel at.

    Those stairs remind me of the stairs at the Salmon Holes in Albany ;). Glad it was you and not me climbing them. Would have taken me all day ;). Kudos on avoiding the dreaded sea sickness. I, too, suffer badly from wateritis and quells are amazing. I took one whenever I went out in a dinghy let alone anything bigger. Pressure point bands? Sound like a good investment to me! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Those costumes are awesome and you are right about that concubine, a good swift tappy tap with that fan of yours would remind her that your warriors exposed bits belong to YOU! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Some locals went to China and Korea at the beginning of the year and said that the smog was terrible. They loved the trip but hated the smog.

    You have managed to make a plastic bottle look stylish Kym. How did you cut out the sides so neatly? I have a problem whenever I wield a knife, in that I always invariably cut too much off my bottles. Good idea to throw your bottles in with China ;).

    I can’t find out what a collective of lady bugs is called so I am going to call it a “Galumph” of Lady bugs. Seems fitting as they are galumphing about on your passionfruit looking after any aphids that think they can invade their territory. Send a few over this way as I just spotted white fly and aphids in my glasshouse…EEK!

    What a lovely ramble through exotic China and your little garden. I had best savour it for a bit longer as I am guessing I won’t get to see another blog post till at least 2015 (note me ducking for cover there ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Hugs to you both and fingers crossed for a bit of security in where you will be next year ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yes it was quite hot. We have a good airconditioner in the house so that is a relief. I just couldnโ€™t get over the age of everything there! They were selling off 500 year old relics because they consider them to be โ€œyoungโ€ relics so you can sell those. I guess if you live with it every day it becomes the norm. I was like that in Melbourne, always craning my neck up trying to see all the amazing old architecture. I think people were wondering what the heck was up there too lol. The Terracotta Warriors were amazing. Most had been smashed by a marauding mob, but they are painstakingly putting the pieces back together again. The pressure point bands were great! They are really cheap too, I think they cost me $14 maybe. You wear them on your wrists and they have a little ball in them which presses on the spot that helps with nausea. Well worth the investment. Not sure I want to go on the high seas yet but a river I can handle ๏Š
      The costumes were fun! Most of the group did the dress ups and we had such a laugh. The woman in the photo was part of our group. With the bottles I stab a hole through with a knife and then cut the shape out with scissors (NOT the sewing scissors of course). Itโ€™s just a large rectangular shape. Not sure about galumph, they do seem a little more delicate that thatโ€ฆ will keep thinking on that one, or throw the challenge out to the bloggers to see if someone has another word. A mix of garlic and cayenne pepper with water and sprayed on your plants usually deters bugs. Aphids detest dishwashing liquid and water sprayed on them too ๏Š Happy gardening x

      • Great idea about using the sharp knife first. Steve has been drinking sarsaparilla lately (insisting on calling it “Dandelion and burdock” which it AINT Stevie-boy ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) so I have a few bottles as well. I saw some interesting ways to have them vertically in tiers and might give it a go with herbs in hanging in Sanctuary. You have given me a great idea :). I will give the garlic and cayenne mix a go as Steve says he has yellow sticky traps but if I wait for him to find them in his shed the aphids will have all grown to 100 ft tall and carried my entire garden away with them! I think I will go the garlic and chilli way as I really want to “deter” the rear end out of any pests and both white fly and aphids are a little bit too comfortable in my glasshouse at the moment. I used milk and water on some powdery mildew on my little quince tree and will keep it up till it evacuates the building. I love finding natural ways to sort things out. The ants that were running up and down the trunk of the quince were most put out that I was making a milkshake out of their delicious mould ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Yes I saw that vertical hanging idea too but we can’t drill holes into the walls so I’m improvising by using the windowsills instead ๐Ÿ™‚ I also read aphids don’t like orange nasturtiums so maybe think about growing lots of orange ones too x

      • I have heaps of nasturtiums all around the outside of the garden beds. I pulled them out of the garden beds but they have invaded Poland eveywhere else and I am leaving them in the surrounding area (much better than weeds ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and watering them to keep them happy. Lots of colour at the moment, like a sea of flowers and very pretty where not much is going on in the actual garden beds. We got a thornless youngberry and a thornless loganberry yesterday from Bunnings and my friend dropped around and gave me another thornless youngberry she got given (she can’t grow them as the native animals just hoover them down) as well as cuttings for a thornless blackberry and a very VERY thorny berry that she has been growing for years that I might just plant along the fenceline to disuade the stinky little possums from using it as a conduit to mischief ;). I am getting a kefir lime next week and will be planting that inside Sanctuary as well and soon to follow will be kiwiberries, a passionfruit fine (GOT to have one of those ๐Ÿ™‚ ), kiwi fruit (even though I am allergic to them) and who knows what else. I want to make the area very productive and using vines makes it a lot easier to go vertical with food/fruit production. Most of the berries already have fruit on them. I am very excited about my berry futures as I already have raspberries (red and yellow) my friend dug up from her garden as they are going gangbusters there, blueberries from another friend and it looks like a “berry tasty future” on Serendipity Farm ;). I am thinking about getting a broomstick handle, drilling holes into it to knot cord onto and stringing up some softdrink bottles like you made in a row (like one of those old bead curtains) and hanging it from a branch inside Sanctuary and using it for herbs. What do you think? I love the idea of recycling Steve’s sarsaparilla bottles to make it :). I made some narf napalm yesterday for the aphids and the white fly but none of my spray bottles wanted to play ball (especially the one that broke when I fell upsteps on the way to spray the little buggers!) so they got another day to frolic in my glasshouse but I triple sieved the mix, Steve got me another spray bottle and he also fished out a bottle of Eco oil from the shed so guess which glasshouse is getting neemed up the wazoo today! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • I am green with envy! Your sanctuary will indeed live up to it’s name ๐Ÿ™‚ Passionfruit vines will pretty much grow anywhere, but will ramble best if they are on a north/south running wall. If you can get hold of the Panama Gold type they have huge juicy fruit, Bruce loved them. I read about your spray bottle escapades and I have to confess I did giggle when you tripped up the stairs, but I felt sorry for your quest too… I don’t know about you but I find it hard to buy a spray bottle that will actually work straight away or for any length of time. Can’t be that hard can it?? Maybe the oil is gummying things up? I don’t use oil in my sprays, just water. I boil up my ingredients and then sieve. I buy a large can of white oil from Bunnings and it lasts for ages. White oil is natural too ๐Ÿ™‚
        I hope you manage to napalm those buggers today x and yes I love the idea of the broom handle. Even an old stick from your block would work too.

      • Maybe I could use the old stick and flail away at the white flies? If anything it would be good exercise ;). Don’t be green, just think of all of that digging and all of those rocks…(eek!) We are off to collect 3 trailer loads of grass clippings from Glad’s next door and then we have to create a structure around the blueberries to prevent the sodding native animals and blackbirds from scoffing them (and the chooks from scratching their roots clean ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ). Wish me luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. What an wonderful experience that must have been Kym – China! Except for the smog of course! I cannot get my head around the perfection and the mass of the buried warriors – it boggles my mind to such an extent! I always wonder about the ego of the emperor who ordered them made. I wonder if it helped ease his way……

    You look like you had fun despite the smog, the steps and the millions of people. It doesn’t appeal to me, but would certainly be a good experience, opening your eyes to a different culture and a totally different way of living!

    I haven’t seen lady bugs for a while and could do with some here. I’m hoping some wild life of the positive kind will return to my wee patch still, but haven’t spotted anything more than slugs and snails and some whitefly.

  3. Yes it was definitely an experience we will remember for a long time. The emperor was 14 yrs old when he started the warriors and it was finished 4 years after he died! Took about 45 years if I remember. That’s what you did in those days. You couldn’t go to the after life without your necessary things could you ๐Ÿ™‚ The smog was quite bad. Bruce ended up with a sore throat in Beijing. We had some beautiful days in between the smog. Getting used to the people… hmm would take a while, and they were very good at being pushy when it came to getting the best spot to see! I’m not one to push but by the end of it we had all mastered the push back lol. Wish I could send you some of my lady bugs. I try crushed egg shells for snails and slugs, plus a jar buried in the ground with some beer in catches them well. Or you could try turning over a piece of cardboard and in the morning when you turn it back over, you will see lots of the little buggers there. Just a matter of picking them off and throwing them over the fence ๐Ÿ™‚ err joke of course… If you use natural sprays in the garden you should soon see the lady bugs. The chemical ones kill the good with the bad..

  4. That takes me back! We visited China in 1987 and I remember looking down on that huge pit with the terracotta warriors in absolute awe. Those horses!! And being buried for so long. Just unreal.

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