Hibiscus Sabdariffa

Remember my Roselle drink? Well we dried some of the pods for use later and also tried planting some of the seeds - with great success. Now I have half a dozen Hibiscus Sabdariffa plants that are yielding enough fruit to make the occasional jug of that delicious tropical cranberry like juice.

The plants are tall now about six feet and continue to send out buds which begs the question, for how much longer? It's a different world here without a cold season and quite frankly gets me a little confused. Will plants like this roselle and fruiting vegetables like beans and eggplants just keep producing ad infinitum?

Well I got the answer about the Roselle last week when I visited an organic farm about a half hour outside the city. It's a no. The plants will slow down and eventually need to be recropped. I did learn however how the farm maximimizes the yield from these plants and that is to prune them at around two feet tall. This triggers the plant to send out four or five branches. So at the farm, each plant was the same height but with five stems and five times the yield.

The plants are relatively trouble free, good looking with their pink hibiscus like blossoms and dark burgundy stems and fruit pods, pretty enough to be in a flower border. Right now the sweet potato vine nestles at its feet but, next go around I might try something taller. A little research shows that the leaves are also edible but I've yet to try this out. What I have tried is finely slicing the pods to add to a salad and that works well as a tangy accent.

To my great surprise, I discovered that the farm I visited, sells its produce at the night market that I regularly go to, in fact, serendipitously, the seeds planted came from fruit purchased from them.

Garden of Content

Managing this blog is much like gardening, you move things around, you plant some new things, some things you cut back or they die of their own accord, some things flourish unexpectedly and you, the gardener, gets a little more skilled and experienced over time. Then there's the environment which of late in the rapid changing tech world, could be described as - intense climate change - rapidly changing technology- both hardware and software. Not to mention an evolving culture around social media of facebooking and twittering.

As befits the times I changed things up a little bit here on the blog. I was motivated in part by reading this piece about how news - or it could apply to the design of any kind of information is too cluttered. As we move more into mobile and tablet forms of content - leaner more edited pages just work better - and that includes optimization for a whichever gadget you are using to consume it.

I agree. As a content user - I use an imac an ipad and an android phone I know that the experience on all three is different. There are limitations and feature differences - some things on The OG I just can't see on an ipad (flash based video, slideshows, flipbooks) although I can on my android phone. Some things I'm less inclined to consume on my phone like long form writing but I like to read books  and casually catch up with some blogs on my ipad and do serious web surfing and watch videos when I'm on my computer.

Cutting to the chase, the changes revolve mainly on a slightly leaner look with more definition between original content and aggregated or curated content ie homegrown and foraged and I think the real shift -  more gallery space to images. I continue to want to solve to what I'm doing with reference to ease of publishing. I do two things- take photos with my phone -which is more impromptu as I always have it with me and the more purposeful- I'm going to the botanic garden with my 'good' camera.  Incidentally, I recently upgraded to a better, good camera that quite effortlessy takes beautiful images. Does this mean less processed images? Maybe for the time being. In the meantime I will be moving over my sets on flickr to view here.

Videos, I'm still tinkering with,. After using blip and trying vimeo - I like how youtube has evolved quite rapidly with more privacy controls and ease of use- can upload a video shot on my phone straight into youtube, not to mention channel customization and the fact that it is owned by google as is blogger, which is the platform this blog is on. Connectivity between technologies is an important issue now, with google+  emerging as another possible platform to easily upload and share media - this might be the subject of the next 'content' update. Also, do I want to share regular short clips or more thoughtful edited pieces. Not sure how this will play out yet.

Flipbooks - I love the aesthetics, and was inspired to make quite a few, but they need some effort to put together and now I hate how that you can't see them on an ipad. So they have slipped a little to the back burner. Twitter  on the other hand is offering direct uploads and I love the look of the new photo page - no longer a link to a photo upload service but a cool framed pic.  I'm a little more motivated now to stream random pics on a more regular basis. If you visit this site now- the most likely updated content is the twitter feed on the top right hand side.

Too much information here for the casual blog reader, maybe interesting to fellow bloggers dealing with similar challenges but the point of this post is selfishly for me to keep track of the changes myself - check out previous posts about content and you'll see how this changes over time. Sorry about the confusion as I'm still tidying up around here - and enjoy the images that hopefully will be more prolific and more easily accesible.


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