Monday, December 30, 2013

Last Harvest Monday 2013

 Yesterday, I decided to do a last posting for Harvest Monday 2013 since it has been a while we joined in at Daphne's Dandelions. Usually it is raining on the afternoon here as we are in the Monsoon season. Therefore limited time to get a lot of the 'task to do' be ticked off on the list. We rarely get to take pictures of the harvest now as it has always been a rush or me harvesting while cooking dashing in and out from the kitchen to the kebun. Here is an overview of some goods that we were able to harvest yesterday. Malabar spinaches, winged bean, various long-yard beans, and lemons. We also have cotton bolls to harvest from the garden. Instead of using tissues we can used organic cotton bolls as wipers.
 Sapodilla (ciku), and canistel fruit trees are always so generous producing all year round. In the land below the wind, Sabah state, there are many fans of canistel fruit which makes the market price at the moment according to our mother surveys RM8.00 per-kilogram (If you are interested you are welcome to contact us, too many for our small family). Occasionally we get pamelo or guava fruits from the backyard. The tree that produce tangerine-like fruit which my mother sowed from seeds from her hometown has also started it fruiting season.
 The native fruit tree called nam nam (fruit looks like brain), also never stopped producing. Many first-timers told us that the ripe ones tasted a bit like pear when we shared some.
 The passion fruit are ripening on the tree. 
 November and December months are rambutan season every year in our place. This year most of the rambutan trees bear fruits a lot. We have more than 5 rambutan trees fruiting happily.
 Cempedak is also very generous this month. 'Cempedak' is a relative to jackfruit but a smaller version of it. People like to make cempedak fritters like banana fritters from the yellow flesh that covers the seeds, a popular tea snack.
 We also have some Pulasan fruits to enjoy (a squirrel left a mark on the pulasan fruit in above photo). Pulasan is a relative to 'Rambutan'. Can you notice the difference of the hairstyle between 'Pulasan' and 'Rambutan'. 'Rambut' in Malay Language is 'hair', while 'Pulas' in Malay Language is 'twist'.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas and King Tut in a Merry Mood

 Wishing that everyone is having a wonderful time creating beautiful memories with their love ones during this festive season from us here in Kebun Malay-Kadazan Girls/Boys. A beautiful memory was made in our kebun (garden) this week, it was the first time that King Tut sweet pea bestowed the first bloom for us in this tropical lowland garden of ours. Well, for beginners in spring colder region it is easy to grow sweet peas. However, not in this hot humid garden of us, very rare to get them survive and blooming unlike the Butterfly pea which grows out of control here. I was not planning of having a trial growing sweet pea this year with juggling a lot of priorities. However, I can't resist when I can get my hands on the legendary King Tut Pea (Lathyrus sativus) seeds due to my deep interest to any related with archaeology especially ancient civilisation. The fact/myth that this strain of sweet pea seeds is said to be found in Tutankhamun's pharoah tomb was enough to tantalize me to grow them. Of course I am still daydreaming of one day to step on the ground where once those pharoah spend their lives. Surprisingly our 4 and 6 years old boys showing much interest in Egypt ancient civilisation as well. It is really interesting to listen to their conversation interpreting the hieroglyphics, usually 4 years old Rayyan is the storyteller to his 6 years old brother. The mother receiving difficult question to think of an answer suitable for their age. The brothers are even trying to save money so they can visit Egypt as soon as possible by keeping all the money gifts from festive season given by their elder relatives. Then asking frequently to the mother, do we have enough now??? Dear boys, the land is so faraway compare to Adelaide.
I thought my eyes was playing trick on me when I suddenly saw a flower bud.
 The King Tut seeds germinate easily and fast in par with radish seeds germination rate which was unexpected because I just sow the seeds in the soil and did nothing. The nature did all the work. All I did was observe and learn. The first time I sowed the seeds in partial shade under the durian tree canopy on a raised bed. I have a hunched that the monsoon heavy downpour will not make the pea happy.  So I was kind of thought that the canopy will somehow protect the seedlings and the raised bed will be well-drained in this wet season because peas relative don't like wet feet that much. Well there was one week when the downpour was heavy and made the stems here and there broke under the heavy ran. Moreover, I suspect not enough light to satisfy King Tut on that location. Ok now is just to troubleshoot the 'light' aspect. So I decided the second attempt was to sow the seed close to a sunny location next to the arch brought back from Adelaide once upon a time happened to be the reliable trellis for sweet peas flowering profusely. The arch looks familiar right? The garden arch must have brought us luck with the sweet pea, the spirit is there. Actually it was growing with neglect I totally forgot about it until one fine day I was collecting cypress vine seeds on the other side of the garden arch, I finally noticed that the plant is actually still growing on the spot full of weeds.
  In colder region, the King Tut pea must have been bluer compare to warmer region. Hopefully the second bud close behind to the blooming one will also show itself soon. Wonder if it will develop seed pod, that will make be very joyous, a chance to get a strain which will be more adaptable in our 'kebun' climate.
 Some of the ducks and geese at our backyard.

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Vagina Bulbophyllum

 Hope the first word in this plant name will kind of alert that after a long break from this blog that I have finally write a posting after almost 6 months. Sean the author of 'Half a pound of treacle' helped me identified this orchid species when he visited our place last Wednesday with Bob who came all the way from South Australia. The flower picture is not clear because it was drizzling when I noticed that some weird looking thing pop out from the bark of my mother favourite red bottlebrush tree when the rain season started again in Klang valley.
 I will leave it to your imagination why this orchid is called 'Vagina bulbophyllum'. Before it flowered, with the leaves condition or physical attributes I thought it was some kind of a parasitic plants. Lucky, I did not get rid of it. According to my mother, the plants were taken back from her hometown (forest) in Borneo island. When Sean visited these plants were not flowering, but he is really an orchid expert, he knew exactly what kind of species it is by just looking at the plants without its flower.
 One of the main reason, Sean and Bob came to visit us was to give a home for 2 fig plants (Double Happiness never thought of receiving 2 plants). Surprised me they did and we are very happy. Especially that these plant cuttings came all the way from Adelaide giving more a special feeling because I gave birth to 2 babies in Adelaide. I did not expect the plants were already this big after looking at the pictures in Sean ' A Long Figgy Tale'.  Furthermore, after I came back did not realised that 'Growing Fig' has a become boom in Malaysia. If you a newbie in the fig world and want to grow fig in Malaysia I would advise reading Sean thorough review first.
 At the moment I am thinking of planting one of the fig plant between the Murraya paniculata and the outdoor chair (What do you think Sean, Bob?)
 I kept on forgetting that my husband had brought me a White Genoa fig from his business trip to Japan last month. I planted the White Genoa fig near a night blooming jasmine plant. Then I realised those 2 fig plants will be facing each other, planned unconsciously. 
 The main reason I had a long break from this blog is that I could not make myself open my email account which is the same with this blog until today. I still have problem with panic attacks connected with my 'PhD' related things. I stop contacting my supervisor since last June and lost the courage to reply his last email to me. A few days ago, I was sorting some mail, I found one mail for me got mixed up with my parents, posted all the way from Bulgaria. The seeds and the wonderful hand-drawings from Annie and her family made me so happy that almost made me drop tears of happiness. So sweet of you Annie. It gave me the courage to finally get in contact with my supervisor again today. Reminded me to keep pursuing my childhood dream. Thank you to Liz at suburbantomato.com also has kindly shared some of my favourite seeds that I used to grow in Adelaide. This year I was also happy that seeds that the Aquilegia we grown before bloom in Mark's Veg Plot. When I opened my working email, I had email from Sue 'Our Plot at Green Lane Allotment' giving me more support to try my best to get in contact with my supervisor again.
 So after I replied Sue email. I tried my best the overcome that not nice feeling of having panic attack, feeling the red flush on my face, labor breathing and so on. Took me almost an hour to write just a few sentences to my supervisor and clicked send. Then I had my dinner. Checked my email again, yes my supervisor has replied :) . 
 The kids are growing up very fast and made me busy. It has been a year since we came back. Abby had straight hair when in Adelaide, but after we returned her hair slowly became natural curly. I had few strangers approached me and asked which saloon I went to get her hair perm. How time fly fast. Next year Ilhan will start going to primary school.
 Thank you very much for the warm supports. I hope I will be able to push myself to get that 'thing' underway soon and some progress.




Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sabah Honey Pineapple (Nanas Madu Sabah)


 We enjoyed the pineapple fruit above yesterday and it was very sweet like honey. Much much much sweeter than the pineapple slice syrup liquid in can. So much different than the common variety ones sold in the market to this honey pineapple from Sabah state the original plant came from my aunt. If you visit Sabah, don't forget to ask the farmers whether they are selling Nanas madu or the common one. 'Nanas' is pineapple and 'Madu' is honey in the national language of Malaysia. The Nanas Madu Sabah will be more expensive than the common one but worth it. I asked some middleman in one  of the farmer market I went looking for some pineapple, they said they can't afford to sell them as it is expensive, a luxury item.
Pineapple flower.
 Anticipation for the coming harvest. Ours are actually growing in partial shade and they seem to be doing fine even lack of full sunlight. The fruits takes more than 2 months to ripe from flowering stage. You spent time to peel the skin and take our the 'eyes'. Then finished eating it faster than peeling the skin. However, the sweetness of Sabah Honey Pineapples lingers in the mouth.
 Sideshoot underneath the ripening pineapple fruit can be used to grow a new plant which gives you much faster harvest compared recycling the pineapple fruit crown top.
 One of the funniest Sabah Honey pineapple fruit I found in my aunt's small pineapple farm in front of the house. I planted some Sabah Honey pineapple plant last month before I went to Sabah and they are doing well without any care or watering. Also, planted a few plants this week too.

Have a lovely weekend.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hazy Harvest

 Haze condition in some of the places in Peninsular Malaysia is really bad. Schools has been closed now until the haze level goes down. The kids are now limited indoors and fortunately has not get bored yet on the activities they focusing on at the moment. The television has not been switched  on at all for more than a week at least. Gardeners too need to avoid not spending too much time outdoors. Hope the plants will be strong and fare well in this kind of predicament. Tuberose plants has been producing flower stalks one by one this month, I think this bulbous plant has respond the need to create offspring in giving flowers due to the drought and hot weather. It nice to get to snip some tuberose flower stalks starting to bloom bringing them inside the house for their strong alluring fragrance. Because we have haze now, harvesting the butterfly pea flowers task came back to the parents instead of the kids. The haze has kind of effected the duck and eggs production in our place too. We also harvested a tiny squash last week. Readily available to harvest last week and this week are also lemons, pea eggplants and chillies.
 Some of the fresh traditional raw salads available in our garden to eat with sambal belacan.
 We also harvested some roselles, Surinam spinaches, and a guava last week.
 Papaya fruits also some of the main harvest last week from our garden. Why are they in the plastic? This is for my next door neighbour portions.
 I just realised that the okras has already started producing yesterday and I harvested all the fruits regardless some are still small because I knew I won't be able to go into the garden in this bad haze condition today or probably tomorrow. I skipped the garden for 2 days locked up after some late night ruckus that is why I did not realised they started flowering. This is the first time I harvested 'Mammoth Spineless' heirloom okra. Quite surprised this variety okra fruit size are fatter than the other varieties that I usually grow. We also harvested some Marjerine fruits. Almost seven year old male cat 'Jack' having a nap. Jack is always a good boy towards me since I'm his adopted mom, so this is not his doing but unfortunately mine. I am sorry I am kind of slow replying comments or visiting as I am still suffering from my postnatal depression from time to time. But it does make me cheer up reading your comments or receiving your emails. I do know I need to seek professional help but I guess I got tired or couldn't be bothered anymore for trying to think how I am going to drag myself there with kids while having some session with the expert. I am still kind of lost as well where to seek the closest help I can. Enough of the rambling today and I try to keep my mind quiet, hush hush hush.