Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Small Minivet in the Native Place Garden

Hi All,

For the last few weekends we have been noticing this elusive brightly colored bird flitting about in the tops of the Umbar tree but have been unable to identify it or capture it on camera. We have been spotting them in pairs or more in the late afternoon, flitting about and then moving on.  They were easy to spot because of their bright colors yet not so easy to capture because of their restless habits. But finally we got lucky last weekend.

We were able to identify it after taking the above picture. The weather was dull and the picture is not sharp but it was enough for us to identify it.

The Small Minivet is said to be a widespread resident in our area and prefers open wooded areas. Has it started to visit the Native Place garden recently or is it that we have never noticed them before. Whatever may be the case – Welcome Small Minivet.

Astrid Rao

Monday, September 5, 2011

A New Discovery

Black Winged Cuckoo Shrike - Our first sighting at Native Place

We spent the latter part of last week at Kamshet. It was my Birthday on Thursday and I was keen to spend it at Native Place. Sanjay wanted to throw me a party in Mumbai but I insisted I wanted to spend my birthday with my trees at Native Place a wish that elicited a rolling of the eyes from him.

Bex sent me birthday wishes hoping my dreams would come true and this made me reflect - a lot of my dreams have come true we have to say. And I have so much to be grateful and joyous about.
Building Native Place was one such dream, growing a garden was another, having my family enjoy the space with us was still another. I often tell people about how I grew up in a little village in Mumbai and then the city grew leaving us with no open spaces or trees to climb. It was a dream to build a home where my kids and family could continue to enjoy the wild unbridled freedom of running barefoot exploring nature around us.

Well here I was in Kamshet with husband, son and nephews Dwane and Daniel on my birthday, enjoying a walk in the pouring rain, listening to the birds call and feeling at home in nature. My dream surely has come true and I wish the same to all of you

Peace Bliss & Happy Landings

Astrid Rao

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Food Gardens

It has been more than a year since my last post. I have neglected the garden choosing to paraglide, bird and butterfly watch and take long walks. During this time the native place garden has been left to its own devices. Since we did not have any delicate plants but mostly native plantings the garden took care of itself managing to go by with infrequent watering, pruning and weeding. i got used to the unkempt look. The climbers and shrubs around the house stood by us and flowered profusely wowing the guests and this only made me more complacent.

Consuelo sent me some herb seeds from Italy in December and i planted them in the new year. Now my excitement began to grow and each weekend as i approached Kamshet and Native Place all i could think about was running into the garden and checking on my seedlings. This led to a complete makeover of the garden. We had loads to do in terms of cutting back, pruning, clearing, manuring, and watering.

Today we have loads of basil, oregano, thyme, chamomile as well as some sage, tomatoes, beans and pumpkins growing well. Have also planted ginger, garlic, sweet potato and got a new rotating composter. I feel on top of the world - i have always wanted to grow my own herbs and this is a dream come true for me. My attention has now turned to growing food and using every tiny area in the garden to grow edibles. It's amazing to make the link from the garden to the kitchen and onto the table

Peace Bliss & Happy Landings

Astrid Rao