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 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.