Tuesday, 21 January 2020

opening a passage way between two properties

Dear Family & Friends

What happened last year was beyond our expectation,. We wanted to buy this property that shares part of our boundary wall when we observed that it was unoccupied and more or less abandoned when the old grandfather passed away. We tried asking around about it but we got nowhere. So we left it there. Then one day, a man knocked on our door and said that he wanted to sell this property to us for a price that was almost like a giveaway! The rest is history!

a opening between the two properties have started by knocking a portion of the border wall
We like this property more than our existing home because it got more character to it, but I feel that the home we live in is still my home where I want to live in. Nonetheless, we are all very excited to make this new property as beautfiul as we could - afterall, this is our gift and we will look after it.
A long and narrow back passageway to the adjacent property
So far, we opened a passageway to connect our existing home to this adjacent property by opening a portion of the boundary solid wall. It will be connected with a secret garden door.

a few steps down leading to the narrow passageway
With this passageway, it's easier for me to go and work in this new extended garden too. It's slightly bigger than what I already got, but I'll take it all as another challenge:)

a secret garden door will be installed here
Hopefully my next update on this would be a finished secret garden door. I really like this idea but we got a lot more work ahead of us to do - it's wonderful that we are kept busy and we all enjoy working. It keeps us motivated, challenged and blessed.

Enjoy a lovely day:)


Thursday, 16 January 2020

No fuss cooking in our small apartment

Dear Family & Friends

From time to time, we take a family outing and sleep over in our small city apartment. My kitchen there is so small, in fact it really doesn't look like a kitchen, more like a little nook area but we can create many cozy meals to enjoy.

handy induction cooker - cook on table top and store away afterwards

Having this induction cooker, I have learned to prepare very simple warm small meals. In a small space, you don't really want to fill up the place with food smell, but it is also nice to eat in, than in a restaurant atmosphere, because it is more relaxing. 

all done - quick and easy cooking

Eating cozy little meals in a small cozy little dining/kitchen area is great fun for us. Often, we all work hard day after day, with each of us having his/her own schedule to deal with. It's always nice to have a little sit down together time to get refreshed now and again.

one simple meal we had and enjoyed

A family sharing food together, even the most simple dish makes the most delicious meal there is. It's being happy, content, and building each other up as one should, that counts the most.

I've got lots of exciting stories to share but that will be for another day. Hope you are having a lovely time too:)


Saturday, 11 January 2020

Prawn curry to warm our tummies

Dear Family & Friends

Everyone seems to have big appetite during cold winter days...so I treated them to a rare treat of prawn curry in coconut milk to go with the turmeric rice. This will warm up hungry tummies with joy. It's cold even in our kitchen these days as we're into our mid winter season now. So this explains why my photo is misty, while I was cooking!

steaming up my kitchen as I prepare our lunch for the day

If you have noticed, I also mixed in some pumpkin with this curry meal. There's still lots of pumpkins to be consumed and I'm hoping that I can use them all in time. Adding pumpkin to this curry dish makes it nice and sweet...so we all ate till we were very full:)

homecooked prawn & pumpkin in coconut milk curry

Now it's time to get back to my log burner, to maintain our heating system and keep everyone from freezing. January is the height of our winter here, not the ideal time to have one's birthday in my opinion, but I did and had a very happy one too:) 

In just a few more days, our little crew are going to have a big adventure, I'll keep you posted. For now, hope you are staying comfy where you are too.


Monday, 6 January 2020

Planning a garden design for the new garden

Dear Family & Friends

It's cold out there, so it's the best time to put some of my concept onto a piece of paper to help me out with a garden design for the adjacent property. Perhaps not all of my design concept will be able to be executed immediately, but having a written guideline will help me stick to the design concept in a more realistic way.

The home and garden sketch map

In reality, there is a lot of work waiting for this new garden - too big for little me. Yet, I must remind myself all the time that I will just do what I can, to the best of my ability and strength - a little at a time. That way, the chore will be more enjoyable. Never mind what people think but it's wise not to get carried with pressure and stress.

here's how I plan for this new garden

So far, I am already enjoying this time as I dream of how I want it to look like, gathering plants and propagating them to plant out, and sourcing other materials that I need to create the garden beds border and pathways. 

notes and more notes to keep my plan intact

At this point, I've done a few plant propagation and hopefully by spring time they will mostly be ready for me to plant out. Recently, we were also able to arrange with our next door neighbor to give us their unwanted roof tiles as they are taking down their barn - these will be materials for me to create edgings for my garden beds and pathways too. I have no budget for this project, so being creative and resourceful adds even more fun challenges for me:)

I can't wait to start this project by spring time, but for now I have to exercise the virtue of being patient as I wait for the winter season to do it's task. Wishing you a good day.


Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Not belonging got it's freedom - Let's start another great new year 2020

Dear Family & Friends

To talk like they do, think like they do, dress like they do..There's a certain security when you belong to a group, but to be an independent thinker that is not encumbered with the narrative or dictation of a group is what I call freedom.

I think it is very important that we don't put ourselves inside a box so we can decide what's best for us.

My two girls didn't have the situation of having to conform with everyone in their early growing years and we noticed that they have grown into young adults that are not easily dictated by fashion, trend, materialism.  Instead, they are very creative and has become very entreprenuerial in their ways. They have less fear or none at all, to be different. You can physically see their great joy of freedom everyday reflected in their happy disposition.

We need each other to some extend but we must also have the great freedom of how we arrange our lives. After all, we all have different inbuilt character and no two people are completely alike.

These are my deep thoughts today and I hope that this new year 2020 will be a good one for you and that you will be bold and full of courage to conquer everything ahead of you with great success:)

At this time, we're building up our excitement for a great family adventure ahead of us. Wishing you all a good day too:)


Friday, 27 December 2019

Precious gift from the heart

Dear Family & Friends

When our CEO came back from his UK trip visit, I got a wonderful surprise: a gift from our tenant! I felt so overwhelmly loved. I've never personally met our tenant in the UK but she seem to understand how much I appreciate these food gifts that she shares with me out of their food pantry!

a bottle of dried fish in olive oil and two packets of pili nuts

Food memories that I miss so much becomes so precious as it's impossible for me to get them from here. It's probably not easy for her to find them in the UK either, except when someone brings them in for her...thus, sharing them with me means that it's truly a gift of love:)

I had this all to myself and have been so happy:)

I had this bottle of dried fish preserved in olive oil all to myself because my two girls suggested that I deserved it to satisfy my full craving:) That's another wave of love expression from my girls that overwhelms me once again. The fact that they don't know what the content of that bottle taste like and it didn't mean as much to them as it does to me, I didn't argue with their proposal and I thoroughly enjoyed it all to myself! As for the pili nuts, it's to be shared because I understand that sharing is caring:)

Have a lovely day today:)


Sunday, 22 December 2019

Homemade burger weekend again

Dear Family & Friends

Winter have settled in, in fact we already saw the first winter snow fall of the season at the beginning of December but it all melted away quickly. There's no more gardening chores for me these days although I'm still grateful that I can still ran out to the garden to gather some leafy green leaves and spring onions, which has become more of a food habit thing to do.

homemade hamburger with leafy salad

Despite of the cold temperature, the sun seems to always come out to brighten up our days. Were it not because of the freezing cold air outside, we would still do some grilling of burger out door...but, it doesn't mean that we can't have homemade burger weekend as we fancy one. So, that's what we did...pan fry burger in the kitchen for a simple burger meal:)

quick meal to assemble

So far, we have been having non-stop soup meal these days, especially as we have so many potatoes and pumpkins peeping out of boxes in our hallway - that's what is in season for the winter days and no one is complaining...after all, it's exactly the food that we need to keep ourselves warm these days.

Enjoy your day and wish it's a beautiful one:)


Tuesday, 17 December 2019

New windows installed

Dear Family & Friends

We're not known to be quick with our work projects but we will do them as time and schedule permits us. Not all things in life are urgent, it's good to chill out from time to time too. There's few renovation we want to do with the house in the adjacent property. So far, we managed to replace the old windows and this will keep the house better insulated too.

all windows were replaced to new double glazed for better insulation

We've also opened up a passage way to connect our existing home to this adjacent property. Many other works will have to be done when winter season is over. I have been thinking of the big garden waiting for me to do. This winter is the best time to think about how I will design it, and I would also like to see what perennial plants will come up this spring time, for free extra plants to spread out.

then, we could do some cosmetic touch up around the frame later on

There's a long list of things we want to do for the improvement of this house but it's a project that we will take on slowly as time permits - no pressure what-so-ever:) Winter season slows us down a bit with our work plannings but we take it as our time to relax because it's what the season dictates us:)

I will post changes and work updates on this property as we go along, but for now, I wish you a beautiful day.


Thursday, 12 December 2019

Healthy raw food gathered for today

Dear Family & Friends

In some parts of the world, we hear so much of climate change, unpredictable and sometimes very harsh. It's alarming to one who is very sensitive like me. Thus, I try my best to be sustainable as best as I could, even though we're don't really feel so much of it's effect over here.

the vibrant colour of our freshly picked goji berries

Our cool autumn season had given us so much fresh leafy greens and lots of new healthy choices of food to gather from the garden. The goji berries seems to be more sweeter, and so I was out there taking stock. It's best eaten fresh, so I incorporate it with salad and even as sprinkles to add bright red color and interest to a meal.

another freshly picked bunch of argula leaves - crunchy and rich spicy taste.

Having as much raw food from our garden is much preferred for it's optimal health benefit for us. I pick them just before we are to consume them. This way, the crunch and the juice of the veggies are so intense in its best flavour:) In our home, we don't have problem eating just veggies from time to time. In fact we don't really eat much meat, which is good for our health and for the sustainability of our environment too.

my simple lunch - all quickly fixed, and eaten:)

The less I cook, the better the food is. There's nothing better than a meal that is simple and quick to prepare:) The garden is not as inviting now that the 'cool to cold' weather is here, but I still have to go and pick our food each day...yes, there's always something to gather:) 

Hope you are staying happy with a nice day to enjoy too:)


Saturday, 7 December 2019

It's raining walnuts

Dear Family & Friends

Walnuts are great healthy snack for snack loving family. Since we acquired a new garden with a matured walnut tree in it...it comes as a real blessing:) Nothing is simplier than to go out there and collect walnuts on the ground that has fallen off the tall tree, all peeled cleanly of it's first layer of outer green husk, done by nature!

ready to eat raw walnuts

Since nothing grows under the enormous walnut tree, it's so easy to find the fallen walnuts on the ground. At this time, we collect half a bucket of walnuts every other day:)

The enormous walnut tree in the corner of the garden

Once I receive the buckets of walnut, I simply wipe the nut shell with cloth to get rid of dust, then I crack them open with my trusty little smooth stone that my little girl picked up from a riverbank for me some years ago:)

today's walnut that was picked off the ground - just dry wipe it and it's ready to be cracked open

My little family are spoiled having me keeping them well supplied of walnut snacks, although it's them who goes and get the harvest for me to work on! We are a happy team indeed:)

all the walnut shells collected to be used as log fire lighter for this winter

As for the nut shells, it's all collected and I think we can make use of it as a fire lighter for the log burner to keep us warm and toasty this winter season:)

It's getting cold these days as we enter our winter season. Hope you have a nice day too.


Monday, 2 December 2019

Last minute garden scene before winter arrives

Dear Family & Friends

Here's what I see in the autumn garden before most of my plants and garden creatures take a couple of months break to rest and hibernate for the winter season. All year long, the garden has been supplying us with good food and lots of enjoyment as each of the four seasons passes by.

I think this is a watermelon hanging onto the grape trellis

This year I've watch a strange fruit of which I've never planted. I think it is a watermelon and it's hanging bravely along the grapevine trellis. I'm still not sure if it is really a watermelon or some sort of a squash...it grew late and so I allow for it to carry on growing till the very last minute of the season.

The grapevine trellis is still got lots og grapes we left for the wild birds to eat

There's a lot of grapes still hanging in the trellis, but since we have so much grapes for ourselves already, we are leaving them there for the wild birds to come and enjoy them as the weather is now turning a bit cool for them to find extra food.

a bumble bee enjoying the last few zinnias before winter arrives

The bees are likewise given the last minute foraging to source food. The zinnias are brave and faithful to the end. Despite getting very tall and lanky, it insist on giving it's last minute bloom as much as possible, till frost comes to tell them it's time to let go.

Season comes and season goes, each got it's own story to tell. Such is life in the garden. Hope you are enjoying your garden too.


Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Time to plant more strawberry

Dear Family & friends,

With a beautiful weather forecast, my mind start planning all that last minute garden chores that I could still pack in. Every member in our little family are all very busy, each with own individual responsibilities. Despite inundated with lots of work, everyone is tackling each task one by one, calmly and without complain - except me! I seem to always complain that I'm so tired as I go about the day, to which they all got used to by now and simply ignores my whining:(

A box full of strawberry plants to plant in my garden

I thought for today, I will carry on with my potato harvest washing and processing them to eat some and freeze some, make some more sauerkraut before cabbages rots, and crack another bucket of walnuts harvest to top up our snack supply etc... but while I was cooking our lunch meal, our next door neighbor came bearing a box full of strawberry plants for me to plant out as I've requested for some yesterday:) We have rich and very generous village folks around us. We are so blessed indeed:)

Time to plant them up in our garden, soon there will be strawberries to eat:)

At the end of the day, I didn't manage to make the sauerkraut, yet I finished the unexpected task of planting lots of strawberry plants, weeded and watered the strawberry bed area - the dream of harvesting and eating lots of strawberry next year was enough to compensate me and I told myself not to complain of being tired but just look forward to an early bedtime.

That's all in a day's work for me, I hope yours is a lot better than mine:)


Friday, 22 November 2019

Pumpkin this year

Dear family & Friends

Early in the year, I planted a few of my saved butternut pumpkin seeds from previous year's harvest...but since I also throw and compost old spent fruits, it's expected that a few seeds will volunteer to grow wherever they land in. Knowing me, I seldom pull out volunteer plants, I think it's their right to grow where nature gets them established, so who am I to pull it out?

some of the pumpkins I harvested this morning

For several months since spring time, pumpkin plants rambles and ran along my garden. I have been very patient with them, for some of them just want to ran in my pathway and climb wherever their tendrils manages a grip! 

some butternut pumpkin grew that long:)

Soon after, the pumpkin flowers developed and the bees pollinates and visit every bloom. Some of them start ballooning into various fruit shapes and sizes.

it comes in all shapes and sizes

So far, I've harvested a few and already made it as part of our weekly meal menu. There's still more harvest to come and the abundance is great! Generally, pumpkin can be stored for months in the corner of a cool room. It's also one fruit that can be turned into savory and sweet dishes, besides being nutricious and beneficially healthy for us.

pumpkin is very versatile when it comes to cooking it up too:)

The pumpkin plants by now have slowed down in their growth but a few blooms seem to insist on coming up. These will not come into fruits anymore as cold season has now arrived, but I let them carry on because the bees are still making it as a few of their year end food foraging resource.

Hope you are enjoying the abundance of a beautiful day where you are too:)


Sunday, 17 November 2019

With the help of my garden friends

Dear Family & Friends

Every day I cook a meal for my little family. It's like running a restaurant: plan the menu, do the prepping, cook the meals, wash the dishes etc... Although I don't get financial payment for it, yet I never ran out of happy customers;P

a plate of lunch

Some people think I've been jobless for years as I'm not in anybody's payroll, yet I can prove that I'm always at work:) People's approval or opinion on how one should be employed doesn't make sense most of the time, because I can see that even my garden friends are constantly working without pay, yet, they are faithfully helping me in providing food to sustain my family with success:) Not everything is about money - because abundance and rich life is worth much more.

just one of my little garden helper and best friend

For this reason, I try to maintain my garden by letting it be as natural for the benefit of my unpaid helpers too. In my autumn garden, pumpkin vines are still rambling around and I try not to pull them up as they are still giving flowers which the bees love. I know that none of these flowers will come to be full fruit potential as cold is settling in already, but at least the blooms are there as foraging resources for nectar and pollen before winter arrives. 

my autumn garden with pumpkin vine rambling over a lavender bush

At this time, we have already harvested more than enough matured and nutricious looking pumpkins to keep and enjoy for the whole autumn and winter season, all done with the help of my garden friends.

that pumpkin bloom can turn into a pumpkin nugget after a couple of months:)

There's never ending things of interest that we work on daily basis. We're all keeping busy and keeping happy. Hope you are all doing the same too:)


Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Beautiful and special day to remember

Dear Family & Friends

It's a very special day for one of the two girls - her birthday. Having it on an autumn season just adds up to a bright lovely day:) We're not really into partying nor our girls expects materials gifts or keen on the usual traditional practices... but they love and enjoy being together as a family on special days like this. Sharing meals together, be it simple snack or home cooked meal preparations, seems to be the thing that tickles them the most, even though we have family meals together everyday!

one very special day....

On this particular special day, with a very nice cool and sunny morning, we started out for an early morning leisurely walk at the rowing canal near us. It was calm and peaceful just to watch the vast expanse of the manmade lake. Many other people enjoyed the joy of being outside that morning too!

with an equally beautiful bright cool sunny morning...

Our intention was to have a brunch at home immediately after the morning stroll. It's not far away to reach home, a mere 10 minutes walk and part of the way home is crossing this little peaceful forest. So, when we reached home our tummies were all very excited.

a happy walk through a peaceful forest

No banquet awaits us, just our appetite for a simply prepared meal. Then a little special cake treat in the end:)

arriving home to be greeted with a lovely simple but well thought and prepared meal

Perhaps, we're just easy to please people, but even just a bag of chips or a cone of ice cream is enough to bring on the smile - for as long as we're with a happy and contented company, as always:)

yes! it is time to celebrate ...a special day for a very special girl:)

A birthday is just a reminder that a year has passed on and with another added year, it's a blessing and we always hope for each other that for the coming months more wisdom and knowledge will be gained to achieve a happy and contented success in life.

Hope you have a nice day today too.