Monthly Archives: January 2016

Clothes Closet Clean Out!

Project 50: Clean out my Clothes Closet

clothes closet clean out

Not all my Project 50 activities are adventurous out of the box epic journeys. This time I just dove into the darkness of two very messy closets. Time for a clothes closet clean out.

This has been a long time coming. Observe my TWO clothes closets.  I have a closet in my office room (former bedroom area) and I have the double rack in the guest bedroom.

closet3 closet2

I’m not a clothes horse! I don’t really follow fashion! I dress pretty much for comfort. So why do I have two closets full of clothes? And other junk?

Obviously this is something that needed to be done. I know there are clothes in these closets that have not been worn in over five years.  The office jacket for instance.  The size eight jeans. Yes I would like to get back to that size, but it’s been a long time.

I’ve read about the Konmari method but have not read the book.  I guess I could hold up each clothes item and see if it gives me joy, but I don’t have that much time.  The first round is going to be an evaluation of:

1) When is the last time I wore it? Over one year ago? Pitch it

2) Do I like wearing it?  If no, pitch it. Even if brand new. I can’t be responsible for what other people gift me.

The outcome:

clothes

Each closet took about one hour. It was a no brainer on about 99% of the clothes. It was either “yes, I still wear it-still like it” or “don’t like it-pitch” “haven’t worn in over a year (more like more than two or three years for some items!”  I wavered on only a few pieces. There are four clothing items Christmas gifts which are getting a bye-but if I don’t wear them this year, they’re gone!

Why on earth did I wait so long to do this? Ennui, laziness.  I’ve made it a point of wearing clothes to work this week that I haven’t worn in the last six months.

I also got rid of about ten purses and six pairs of shoes that have not been used in over three to four years.

I made sure I took all the clothing to a donation box so they were swiftly out of the house. Voila! Another Project 50 goal done!

When’s the last time you’ve cleaned out your clothes closets?

It’s Garden Thinking Time!

It’s Time to Think of your Garden!

garden

Is this your year to grow a garden? Even a few plants?  Having fresh produce right off your kitchen is awesome.  I can walk out my front door in season and have cherry tomatoes, green peppers, basil, thyme, zucchini at my fingertips, ready to eat.

Now is the time to start thinking about what you would like to eat this spring and summer.  Even if you have limited space, such as just containers, you can still grow a little kitchen garden.

Plants for a kitchen garden:

Cherry tomatoes-if these bad boys get going you will have cherry tomatoes out the wazoo. You can freeze them. Yes, they will be mushy, but if you make couscous, or rice, you can throw these right into the grain.  To freeze them, all we do is wash them and throw them in a freezer bag.

Basil-if you have tomatoes and basil, you have two thirds of caprese salad.  How cool is that? (You could also make your own mozzarella too)  Basil is super easy to start from seed. Short cut-buy a plant from the store. Repot it. Cut leaves off daily and use in everything. The plant will keep going and going.

Thyme-also easy to grow from seed and ditto on buying from the grocery store. Thyme is another herb you can clip and cut and it keeps growing.

Rosemary-I recommend buying a little rosemary from the store.  We have a rosemary shrub.  It’s over five years old. Having this much rosemary to throw around has added rosemary to many dishes in our cooking, when you can just cut and clip.

Zucchini is a super easy plant to grow from seed. It requires a bit of space, but one or two plants are prolific. You can plant a zucchini plant in a container to grow.

You don’t want to start seeds? Check out popular seed web catalogs. Many sites now offer plants along with seeds. I sometimes buy hot pepper plants instead of starting from seed.

Isn’t it nice to thinking of spring and fresh vegetables now?

 

Outside my comfort zone: first trip in the sea in a kayak

project50kayak

 

Go Kayaking was one of my Project 50 Goals. I wanted to go exploring the shorelines of Grenada, in a part of the island that I was not familiar with.

Conservation Kayak is located at Whisper Cove Marina, in Woburn Bay, on the southwest side of the island of Grenada.

Lexi and Mustafa were our guides. Lexi went over the orientation, going over safety, strokes, and the course we would follow.  The other people on the Hog Island trip was a family of five with much more kayaking experience than I did. I’ve kayaked less than five times (I think).

Hog Island Map

We started out slowly, around the mangrove roots in Woburn Bay.  The family whizzed by me, probably due to their experience (and much longer arms).  Lexi stayed to the back, near me, pretty much her position through out the trip.

kayak on the sea

I was out of my comfort zone when we hit the open water away from the shoreline. I was a bit nervous out there, and did not want to fall out of my kayak! I had never dealt with waves before, having only kayaked on a calm river. I had my feet firmly braced in the kayak, applying a lot of pressure to my feet.  I would start to relax, breath a bit better, then a larger swell would come by and I’d tighten up again!

We stopped and donned our life jackets when we got the point where we crossed the open bay. Lexi and Mustafa were very good at stopping and outlining where we were crossing.  Basically, it was to stay in a straight line of kayaks behind Mustafa, just paddle where he was paddling.

Open sea! Yikes! To our left was Calivigny Island, a privately owned gated island for the rich.  I wanted to take a picture of the island and catamaran anchored out front, but I didn’t want to stop paddling either! I wanted to get across that bay!

kayak in the sea

 

We crossed the open bay, then to land on Hog Island, for lunch!  Conservation Kayak provided a great lunch with local fish, tomato salad, local fruit, and a nice cold Carib. That was nice refreshment after the crossing of the open waters.

kayaks on Hog Island

After we spent a bit of time eating and refreshing-and a chance to swim in the waters, we were poised to head back out to the open waters.  I looked out to the open waters-and put my life vest back on again.

This was a much shorter open water paddle, then we were in the bay, now following the shoreline. This is where the agave cacti were.  We paddled along here given the spot to rally at the concrete Cuban boats.

kayak group

There was no romantic story about the Cuban Boats; they were removed from  the Carenage because they were garbage and this seemed to be the best spot to leave them.

concrete boat

We continued along the shoreline, passing under the bridge and huge stacks of conch shells on the shore!

under bridge

Then, we were back to Whisper Cove Marina and the end of my adventure.

kayak2

Despite being a bit out of my league, I had a great time kayaking. It really was an exciting trip for me.

It was fun to see the island from a different perspective. You should definitely check out Kayak Conservation for a very different tour of Grenada.

Fun and Success at my First Time Stand up Paddleboarding

Fun and Success at my First Time Stand up Paddleboarding

I finally got a chance to try stand up paddleboarding! Or SUP as it is known. It took a thousand mile trip to achieve this goal, but hey, what better place to start out, in a tropical bay?

stand up sign

I noticed, via the ever handy TripAdvisor, that there was a SUP Company in Grenada, called SUP Grenada.  Even better, it was located on Morne Rouge Bay, right next to the Gem, where we always reside at on our vacations.

La Plywood Bar

I inquired at La Plywood Bar (it’s real name) and was directed to the owner of SUP Grenada, Derek, just a few feet away on the beach. I made an appointment for Friday morning.

Derek went over the basics on the beach, explaining where to place my feet on the board, how to get up from the kneeling position.  I asked how to get back on the board after falling, and he showed me two positions. He also said if I was about to fall, just jump off the board rather than hit the board on the way down.

With no further ado, we waded out and he told me to get on the board, on my knees, and start paddling out! Gulp! Just like that! Derek went off to get his board and I kept paddling.

on knees SUP

I felt a bit wobbly.

Derek came by on his board and said it was time to stand up! Okay! Carefully I got one foot on the board, then the other one, then, slowly I WAS UP!

stand up paddleboard

I felt a bit wobbly, but we started paddling around the bay. Derek explained turning, and back paddling, and holding the board steady as a big wave would approach. I concentrated on my paddling technique, and we were across the bay! I did keep focusing on balancing, and my technique, and had to keep telling myself to relax a bit. I’m in Morne Rouge Bay, this IS fun, what’s the worse that could happen, I could fall in the water?

SPLASH! In a split second I could feel myself shifting and hopped off the board! Okay, I still had the paddle and was attached at the ankle to the board.  I first tried getting on the board from the side. Ugh. Not working. Derek suggested trying from the back.  I managed to flop my way back on the board. (That had to look really graceful.)  Okay, time to get up again!

paddleboardbackonshore

I actually felt more confident on the board after falling off.  I mean, what was the worse thing that could happen? We paddled around the bay a bit more.  I was a bit tired after this lesson.  I thought about taking the board out for more paddling, but didn’t need to overextend myself.

I was really pleased to SUP. celebrating at Sur La Mer Bar I can’t wait to try it again, on a local lake, next summer. This was an activity I’ve been wanting to try for a few years, and I  made it happen!

If you are in Grenada,  SUP Grenada is located at La Plywood Bar, which is at the near end of Morne Rouge Beach (also called BBC Beach), right next to the Sur la Mar Bar, at the Gem Holiday Resort.   I was very pleased with my first paddleboard lesson with Derek and SUP Grenada.

paddleboard rental

Have you SUP’d? Is that a term?

My New Favorite Trail in Grenada

My New Favorite Trail in Grenada

Mount Qua Qua to Concord Falls-The Cross Country Trail

I was browsing through Trip Advisor to see if there were any new adventures for me to experience in Grenada. The Cross Country Trail hike-advertised by Tropical Adventure caught my eye.  Seeing who the owner of the business was-our old friend Vaughan Francis, made me sign up right away for this hike.

I decided to do this on my birthday. What else would I want to do besides muck around in the jungle on my 50th birthday?

The first part of the hike begins from the trail head at Crater Lake in the Grand Etang Forest. You follow the Mt Qua Qua trail for 1.14 miles uphill, and then take a left onto the Concord Falls Trail, which is downhill.

There had been some recent rains so the trail was a bit slick in spots on the Mt Qua Qua Climb up. I was soon pretty muddy, but remembered our goal was a waterfall, so it really didn’t matter.

The trail meanders around Crater Lake Crater Lake Grenada before climbing to the intersection where the Concord Falls Trail starts downhill. Cross Country TrailThe CF Trail is much more technical-meaning rocky and rooting and not as cleared as the Mt Qua Qua Trail.  In fact, the Concord Falls Trail reminded me somewhat of the Massanutten Trail if the MMT rocks were covered in a slick moss and the trees were always green and lush.rockytrail

I took care over all the rocks. The last thing I wanted to do was bust my butt or ankle out here. Vaughan still thought I was very sure footed, and I told him that this was “my kind of trail”.    There were lots of water crossings, which didn’t concern me in the slightest.

The CF trail was full of rocks, streams,concord trail grenada some shoe sucking mud, tree trunks to clamber over, and a few sections of easily walkable trail.  Vaughan led on the CF Trail as he wanted to point out any dangerous sections.

There were a few parts of the trail that you had to step very carefully, as you were going around the side of a hill with a steep drop off. Luckily, this is the jungle; there would usually be a good handhold.

Toward the end of the by Concord Falls were two areas that could be fairly sketchy. Vaughan turned the first into “non-sketchy” as he had come prepared with a rope. ropetwo The original trail through this very steep hillside had wooden steps built. Yes, wooden steps in the rain forest.  They had long since rotted away, leaving the rebar poking up out of the ground!  I basically “rappelled” down this about 45 degree slope. It was very easy and nice having that rope! It could have been a bit dicey and slick without it.

The next section was nearby, where an avalanche, or landslide had just occurred a few weeks before. Vaughan led through this section. There are actually steps cut into the rock through here, but it is very exposed. I made sure I just descended from step to step, slowly. mudslidesection mudslidetwo

The Cross Country trail intersected the main Concord Falls Trail which started in a parking lot at Lower Concord Falls and ended at Upper Concord Falls. We took the right to walk a few hundred feet to the Upper Concord Falls.

We passed a family on their way back from the falls.  Here Vaughan and I were, sweating, muddy, with some scratches.  The mom of the family looked at me and gave me, a little patronizing “You’re almost there” statement.  Later, Vaughan told me how funny he thought this was! This family thought we must have come from the parking lot like they did (no mud on them!) but we must have been the clumsiest people around , to be so muddy and scratched up on a less than one mile trail. They had no idea we had hiked across the interior of the island.  I finally caught onto the funniness later myself.

Upper Concord Falls

We were finally at Concord Falls!  It was beautiful! I sat in the water for awhile and scrubbed the mud off myself, just marveling at the site. How lucky Vaughan is that he lives here and sees wonderment like this on a daily basis!

upperconcordfalls

We then followed the “tourist trail” which leads down to lower Concord Falls. lowerconcordfall I had been here in the past.  There are several shops here, DSCN4469 so it was nice to have a Carib and a snack at the end of our hike.

DSCN4468

The Cross Country Trail is the most strenuous and technical trail I’ve hiked in Grenada. You should be in good physical shape to take this on.  This will take you between five and six or so hours to hike. You need to bring water and a few snacks for this.  You do need your hands free, so make sure to bring a pack of some sort so you are not holding onto your water bottle for six hours.

I would also recommend a guide for this hike.  The Cross Country trail is fairly evident for maybe 75%.  But you do go up some creek beds as part of the trail and I would not have known what direction to go. Likewise, with the landslide area, I didn’t see the steps, where you pop out of the jungle you don’t see them.  This was an extremely steep slope and was good to have guidance through this section.

If you do want to hike this trail, look up Vaughan at Travel Adventure Grenada.  I have no affiliate link with TA Grenada; I have booked hikes with Vaughan for the last seven years.  He is also a good friend of ours now!  Vaughan is experienced, with a great sense of humor, and very knowledgeable about the countryside.  If you are a bird watcher, Vaughan also does bird watching tours.

Anyone have a favorite hike in Grenada I need to hike on my next visit?