India: Adventures in Jaipur

Jaipur is a very lively city in India. On the must see list of Jaipur is Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds. It looks interesting from the outside but we were told there is not much to see inside. We stopped briefly to take a picture of the building that was used for women of the court to get some air and see the street below; while being shielded from the outside.


One of the infamous emporiums they try to trap tourists in


Orange Man

Street Vendor

Huts on the side of the road
Random palace ruins

Street Vendor

Colorful truck

Spring Harvest

Spring is here and the garden has come alive. Our winter was mild so all the plants I had started in the fall did fairly well. It is getting hot quickly but we are able to harvest some goodies before the major heat, mold and bugs arrive.
I wasn’t sure because it started off slow but it looks like we had a good year from the blueberries and tomatoes.
We started picking the blueberries one by one as they ripened. I thought we could beat the birds this year. I guess the area birds are not a fan this year. They left plenty for us.

They are almost all gone. In retrospect I think the new drip irrigation that I added for them has helped them this year. I always thought they had plenty of irrigation where they were but I guess I was wrong. With consistent irrigation and the right schedule of acid, next year should be even better!
While we soon say goodbye to the blueberries, the tomatoes are thriving.

Tomatoes growing out of control. I need to secure them.

In other news….
Grape vine is fully grown for the season.

Broccoli has bolted. We never really took advantage of harvesting it this year.

Chive flowering.

It might be a good year for the citrus. I started a new fertilizing routine last year. None of the other disease control measures were working and the trees still seemed to be dying off. The new fertilizer sits on the leaves and provides nutrients. The idea is that the plant will remain strong and fight off the diseases its self. They seem to be holding on for now and producing fruit. I won’t know for a while if this routine will work long term




St Pete Breweries Day 1

Last fall I went on a brewery road trip with some friends from the Orlando Lady Crafters to St. Petersburg, Florida. St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay area in general is a burgeoning location for the craft beer scene in Florida. There are a number of breweries in a short distance.
My friends have had craft beer road trips before but this is the first one I was able to attend.
Only a few of our events are opening to the men behind the ladies; this is one of them.
Our first stop on our brewery road trip was the Green Bench Brewing Co. Green Bench hosted a one year anniversary party. We stuck around a while to try some of their beers.

It was very crowded so they decided to discontinue beer flights for the day. I was disappointed I was unable to try more of their selections.
However we did get a free can of their anniversary beer.

They had the brewery open to visitors. We took a tour around.

They even had food trucks and live music outside.

When I cashed out I was happy to discover that they give you one additional anniversary beer for every pint you purchased. We almost had enough for a six pack!

Second stop on our brewery tour was St. Pete Brewing Company.

We were happy to discover that flights were available here.

We passed the time with games while we enjoyed our samples.

After touring the breweries we grabbed dinner at Engine No 9. The Saganaki burger was probably one of the best burgers I have ever had. The restaurant is small and has limited seating. We got lucky out and spread our large group across the bar; we only had to wait around 40 minutes.
Not quite wanting the evening to end we visited the The Ale & The Witch to keep the night going on. They had a great beer selection and live music. However we all got tired quickly and called it a night after one drink. We planned to meet up the next day for more beer-ploring St. Pete.

What a fun day in the city!

Jaipur: Palace City

One more must see in Jaipur is Amber Fort and Palace. The most popular way to get up the hill is by elephant. Otherwise you will walk up the incline to the palace yourself while dodging elephant poop.
Our tour included the elephant ride and we waited in this long line for our turn.
In retrospect the whole experience made me uncomfortable. They told us that the elephants only go up the hill maximum of 3 times a day (thus why you can only catch a ride until 11:00 am), but my gut feeling is that it isn’t a great life for the elephants. The ride was awkward and uncomfortable and I emotionally felt bad about it the whole time. Between all that and the time we wasted in line for the ride I wish we would have just walked up the hill.

Oh course while we were in line we were harrassed to buy everything.

These cheaply made umbrellas were popular to block the sun during the elephant ride. It does make a charming photo opportunity.

Elephants on the incline.

Getting on. The elephants are decorated in paints.

Great views on the top.

Once up top it was worth the wait. The palace is beautiful.

Turkish Baths
Turkish Bath

Seesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors)
Most impressive is the mirror decor in the palace of mirrors. Little pieces of mirrors glisten with the natural light. It is almost majestic. Quite a sight to see with your eyes but not as easy to capture the intensity with the camera.

Even we are part of the decor….

From the terraces you have views that are fit for a king.

Overlooking the nearby gardens.

And gardens within the fort.

One can see Jaigarh Fort off in the distance.

On our way back to the hotel we stopped for a photo opportunity with this palace in the water. I am not sure one is able to visit the palace but it is nice to look at from afar. It was a nice end to our sightseeing day.