Tours to Ulva Island

Staying at Sails Ashore on Stewart Island includes a guided discovery tour of Ulva Island with Peter … your host. The changing seasons and attendant flowers, ferns and birds is the focus of many of my posts.

Orchid Season draws to a close

Easter Orchid, Earina autumnalis

Easter Orchid, Earina autumnalis

Yesterday I found a clump of Autumn (Easter) Orchids just opened. These delicate and highly scented blooms are the last of our seasons display and one of very few species to have any detectable scent. Although its cousins E aestivalis & E. mucronata do have a very faint scent. Actually the Easter orchid is a little earlier than I would have expected.

Onion Orchid. Microtis unifolia

Onion Orchid. Microtis unifolia

Ladies Slipper Orchid, Winika cunninghamii

Ladies Slipper Orchid,
Winika cunninghamii

Still out are Onion Orchids…..our smallest orchid….and also the very last of the Ladies Slipper Orchids. The Onion Orchids have had an especially long season this year, as I noticed the first blooms in late October, and by the look of the ones on the Ulva tracks are good for another couple of weeks at least


Ruru wondering why it's nap was disturbed.

MorePork (Ruru) wondering why it’s nap was disturbed.

While showing my guests a rata vine I inadvertently bumped a large tree fern and out flew a morepork which had been sleeping behind it. It landed in a nearby tree and looked at us somewhat “owlishly” for several minutes. Understandable I guess. Within a couple of minutes it had been discovered by a Bellbird who promptly set up a terrific din, scolding it….. morepork are of course the enemy….. This drew in several of its mates who added to the cacophony, at which point the morepork flew back to its hidy hole to escape from all the attention.

Galley Slave

Preserved apricots and assorted relishes & chutneys

18 bottles of preserved apricots and assorted relishes & chutneys

Summer time is fruit time, and although Stewart Islands climate does not lend itself to fruit trees, Central Otago is not far away, and produces wonderful stone fruit. So when I see a day off coming up on my diary I order fruit for bottling or jam. I quite enjoy making preserves, chutneys and jams and of course they are a welcome addition to our guests breakfast table at Sails Ashore.

The down side of all this is that occasionally I am faced with fruit to do on a fine sunny day. As it was today, so after I returned from Ulva and had carted up from the wharf the pea straw Iris had ordered for winterising her garden I set to and bottled 12kg of lovely apricots, with a further 8 kg pulped and frozen. I must say a cupboard full of preserves makes me feel quite virtuous, although some of our male guests seem to think I’m somehow letting the side down.