Thursday, 26 March 2020

All as usual in our village

Dear Family & Friends

We sense so much insecurities with the people around us as they share with us their current situation around the globe with health and economic instabilities. Hopefully each one of us can find a way for better as we work our way through hope and positive outlook.

sun still shines .... everything are growing in the garden:)

In our little family unit in the village, life is unaffected and we remain grateful as always. I wake up and the promises of a bright new day is still there. So I check out the garden and everything still insist on growing and blooming beautifully. The bees are still busy working as always and so we do the same too.

anchovy fish cake 

Today I thought I would do something that I don't often prepare..tiny anchovy fish cakes. I like it but not much for the two girls, yet, they always eat their share:) Our garden is very busy as spring time always brings forth new I'm off to do what I need to do: Grow food to keep us fed, and grow flowers to keep us happy:)

Hope you are all staying healthy and moving on with high hopes.


Saturday, 21 March 2020

Lockdown in cities

Dear Family & Friends

While the virus situation is causing chaos around the world, we noticed a difference in the city scenario - quiet and empty. I call it peaceful except that this is not normal for such place.

people are staying home and cities seems empty these days

The lockdown situation forced employees to work from home and school children suddenly have unscheduled school break. I can only imagine how much this affects family situations specially when they are not used to be at home.

it seems strange to find city roads so quiet

Since our family unit had always worked from home and our children had always been homeschooled since the beginning, it's not a shocking situation for us. In fact we prefer this lifestyle but of course it is not for everyone.  

but life is still beautiful, flowers still blooms in it's season:)

Nonetheless, this particular time could also be a good opportunity to try to make some growth and changes. With more time at home, it's time to enjoy each other's presence, perhaps learn a skill and staying home could also mean - an occasion to save money:)

Keep your hopes up and always try to see the bright side in everything pertaining to life.


Monday, 16 March 2020

Should I worry about food in crisis time?

Dear Family & Friends

All over the newspaper there's nothing but news on pandemic virus and falling stock market that brings about panic along with fear. Supermarket shelves are stripped of supplies as people start hoarding for fear of the worst. With this situation around me, I wonder if I should also start worrying on running out of food?

Jerusalem artichoke are alternative for potatoes at this time of the year

My garden tells me that I shouldn't worry about food shortage. Just this morning, I gathered quite a lot of healthy food to feed my family. I can't grow everything but we do have food security just within our perimeter.

a bit of leafy greens and herbs gathered for today's meal

It's still early in the year to have food abundance as we are just entering our spring season where plants are starting to come back to provide food for us....but I can tell you that there's already plenty of herbs and edible weeds for soup ingredients - exactly what we need at this time to combat all virus that is circulating around us.

herbs are back - all fresh and new

In the garden, you can see how nature is so clever to provide us just the right food and medicine for the season. Whatever comes first as food source is exactly the portion that is right for us. This is God's perfect design plan for us:)

sting nettle is the most hated weed there is but we love them

So we don't worry about pandemic diseases or food shortage and would not allow unnecessary stress  to affect our lives. I do encourage everyone to grow food - be it just a few herbs for everyday use, or go for as many things as you could afford to grow for your need. - it's all a win-win thing to do.

very nutricious an delicious sting nettle soup

I never had any background nor knowledge on gardening till I took the interest and just by doing it thru trial and error. The benefit is immense - one of the most enjoying thing to do in life.

Hope you are all staying safe and protected, unaffected by the 'not so good news' happening all around us these days. 


Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Free materials to use and recycle

Dear Family & Friends

When we realized how much our society waste and throw away resources, it gives us great alarming thoughts. It just doesn't feel right no matter how much money we have and could afford to do this - simply because we could - for this is just not a sustainable thing to do.

Materials to be reused for various projects around our home and garden
In our barn, we store collection of materials like old paving slabs, used roof tiles, old windows and even old mud bricks that people in our village wants to throw in the rubbish tip.

stacks of old roof tiles given by our next door neighbour
 Fortunate for us, we have big barns to store these neatly till the time we can incorporate and put these into good use within our property. This means that we have to use our creativity and it also mean we won't have the need to buy new materials.

beside the roof tiles, we also got big stones and boulders for re-use
We have a lot of project plans for this year and we will definitely make use and recycle all our material stash.

As perfect weather persist for us this week, we will be enjoying some outside works too. Hope you have a good week as well.


Friday, 6 March 2020

Village project development

Dear Family & Friends

With a mild winter this year, we also have sunny bright blue sky most days:) Just the perfect time for our village to start a big road and infrastructure upgrade project since they received an EU funding for this. We are pleased with this development:)

lorries and tractors ready for the big project
Sidewalk pavements were dug up to bury some large pipes for water and probably other cables underneath the ground. This project will take three months to finish.

roads and pavements are dug for some infrustrature installment
Eventually, all main roads will be redone too. It was about time because we endured a few pot holes last year which weren't filled, making it dangerous specially when driving thru at night.

village roads and pavements are upgraded
All villagers are feeling happy and encouraged with this new development. Our village will certainly be a much more attractive place once this project is done.

It's another very beautiful day today, so I'm certainly be out and about in the garden. Hope you enjoy your day today too.


Sunday, 1 March 2020

Food bonding with the family

Dear Family & Friends

There are certain joy that we experience in the kitchen as a family unit. One of them is preparing food together. Certain food takes a long process to do and many helping hands makes work lighter. That's the food that I am referring to.

spring rolls are delicious but it's takes time to do this 
We all love vegetable spring rolls, yet ingredients are to be prepared ahead of time. First there's the washing, cleaning and chopping of various vegetables to stir fry, then the process of cooking it and letting it cool down, after which, wrapping each in a prepared crepe wrapper - one at a time.

preparing food with patience

Many helping hands makes the wrapping process goes quicker. Here's where we can all gather around the table, working and chatting at the same time.

many hands make work lighter
Fresh vegetable spring rolls is certainly made with much love and so it is delicious. Yes, it doesn't take long for it to leave the table, into our mouth and filling our tummies with satisfaction. Ah the joy of eating indeed:)

a yummy selection of food to bind the family unit

Sometimes food preparation takes a long time but eating is done in just a minute... well, for as long as everyone enjoys it, that's all that matters:)

Have a lovely day today.


Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Holiday mode of transport

Dear Family & Friends

Continuing on with our recent holiday fun memories, we've enjoyed going places in various mode of transportation mainly to experience and gain a more widen perspective in life. We all loved it and we all had good fun.

noisy and rickety tricycle ride

Sometimes we see them as not so comfortable: cramp, rickety, noisy and perhaps not too safe (that is if we don't exercise common sense). It might not be the top of the range transportation there is, but  we experienced the most friendly and hospitable treatment ride, truly unbeatable and most memorable experience:)

a motorized boat that took us across the white sand beach island

As with travelling, we also did endless good for our physical well-being too:) Fortunately for us, the weather at this time of the year was not too hot and humid.

walking on white sand beach where no sundeck is allowed - bliss and clean

So here ends some of the joy that we will always remember as part of our holiday break. All the unusual things we did. Now that we're back to our routine home and work life, it is also nice to get back to what daily living is really made of.

Wishing you a good day.


Thursday, 20 February 2020

Holiday eating

Dear Family & Friends

Part of our family culture is feeding each other non-stop, basically a love language:) Every family gathering means food sharing. Every time we sit down to catch up with each other's news means - eating:) Yes, we have to be experts in eating and talking at the same time:)

typical rice breakfast meal that we enjoyed a lot

There's endless home cooking and eating out sessions. Our gatherings normally means a big crowd - it's all good fun, no one bickering, with every one just accepting each other's flaw - after all, we all got our own imperfections too.

a nice local hearty breakfast

Food binds up our family. Even hourly snacking keeps us all going with good time:) So, there's endless snacks passed around that we don't normally eat proper food as we eat so many times a day. Don't worry, it's because we're on holiday:)

this was an unexpected free buffet meal from a hotel :)

Now that we're back home, it's back to my homecooked meals, and that means: once a day hot balance meal's a lot of work to keep me in the kitchen - and that's my excuse and everyone has to remain contended:)

All for today - have a nice week ahead.


Saturday, 15 February 2020

Chilling out on holiday break

Dear Family & Friends

It was nice to have a short but very long overdue visit to see family on the other side of the world. An eye opening for the now grown up ladies and they immediately fell in love with the families - most of whom they have never met in their life time.

most ideal place to just chill all day long

Besides meeting the families, we all enjoyed a wonderful time full of laughter, news updates, never ending fun time going sightseeing, and eating every hour of the day and night!

Island beach life

We also had a great escape from winter discomfort to summer discomfort - all in a good way. Life is good:)

sunset at the end of the day

As with everything, even good fun comes to an end - all too soon:( We are so grateful for everything and we will forever cherish this memorable holiday.

Till my next post, I wish you a good day today.


Monday, 10 February 2020

Roof gutters installed to collect rain and snow water

Dear family & Friends

We don't usually experience heavy rain over here but winter and spring time usually send us water from heaven in form of light rain or snow to sustain our land to compensate a normally dry summer.

Our fruit trees have now gone to hibernation mode and all leaves have been shed
Thus in our village it is a common sight to see homes without gutters to deviate water off their immediate home area. As for us, we want to collect the water off our roof and re-direct it to our garden for better use of the natural resource...little or much, every resource counts:)

property borders lined with solid mud brick walls all around

This week, our CEO managed to hang gutters to the house in the adjacent property. Winter is not really bleaked over here as sunshine always comes out to cheer our cold days. So, we managed to meet our next door neighbour as they are home for the winter holiday break whilst working outside. As a handy man, he gave us helpful ideas on how to deal and resolve with some of the little works around our property too.

gutters are invisibly installed just under the roof edges to collect snow and rain water

It's strange how works here and there can inspires each of us to look forward to tomorrow. We all believe that this new year, the start of a new decade has a lot of good things ahead, and that makes us all very excited. We just celebrated the Chinese new year, certainly in a very special and unexpected way this year. I will share it on my coming post. 

For now, I wish you a lovely day and week ahead:)


Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Rebuilding the broken down wall

Dear Family & Friends

We are blessed with thick mud brick walls all around our property boundary. Having this gives us a sense of security and privacy. We can be sure that no stray animals can come into the garden and likewise, our free roaming pets are safe in our garden perimeters too.

our mud brick boundary wall is finished with roof tile cover on top

In our adjacent property, a corner of the boundary wall have broken down and was left unrepaired by previous owners.  If left for a little bit longer, more damaged will be done. So, it was a priority thing to do.

building wall - layer by layer

We like the aesthetic look of the organic mudbrick wall. In the olden days, people invest on making such bricks with mud and straw - and it must have been very time consuming too. Mudbricks are very sturdy and long lasting than the present day mass produced red bricks. Unfortunately, nobody does mudbrick anymore these days.

the width of the wall is at least two feet thick

Fortunate for us, our next door neighbour is knocking down his mudbrick wall barnhouse in preference of re-building a modern day red brick outbuilding. So, we became the happiest recipient of the precious mudbricks which we can reuse to rebuild our broken corner of the boundary wall. 

mudbricks are binded with more mud 

The foundation of the surrounding mudbrick walls is supported with solid big rock boulders to about a metre high, before the mudbricks is piled on top. Once we reached the desired wall height, the mudbrick wall is protected with clay roof tile covering for further weather protection.

beyond this wall far ahead is a glimpse of our existing home

So, our brilliant CEO is so proud of his wall project and it is indeed very beautiful end result. There's more project he is looking forward to complete and it's keeping him on his toes and can't wait to get it all going. He enjoys what he does and it keeps him very fit and happy too:)

More updates as we get on with this house and garden development, but for now, we hope you have a wonderful day too.


Friday, 31 January 2020

Our quiet lifestyle in the village

Dear Family & Friends

A friend who owns a company in the big city that supplies and install windows and doors came to our village to look at the house that we are working on right now. Like most people who live and work in big cities, they find it puzzling as to why we choose to live in a quiet village. He made a funny remark that a village is a place you go to when you have already given up on life!?

we get wisier as we grow older - hopefullly;P
As for us, we find it very puzzling how come people would want to live and tolerate life in a stressful, crowded and noisy city homes? In the past, we had lived in a city that never sleeps, and big capital city that got it all. It was thrilling and fun at that time, but once I experienced a quiet village living, I don't think a city life is a choice anymore.

fresh air, greenery, a melody of farm animal noises are just what you can find in a village

Perhaps it's old age or maturity outlook....but both of our young ladies enjoy our village life too. Yet, we don't deprive ourselves with the convinience that a city offers and thus we have the city apartment as an option to go to now and again. The two young girls enjoy shopping at the mall, eating out when we pay a visit to our apartment, but their heart's preference is always for a calm village home life:)

daily farm to table healthy fresh meals are expected - always delicious

In the village, that's where we put our creativity to work. We've got fast modern internet facilities and both girls are very entreprenuer in their ways, taking challenges, very independent in their works and able to earn a living in a most responsible way. We create our own jobs without fully relaying on big companies for meager salaries - right where we are, in our quiet little village:)

real food for snacks - without colours and preservatives, yet it never fails to attract foodies

It's a complete misconception that there's no life nor future in a village compared to a city - but that's not what we see and experience:) Just an encouragement for others I hope! and have a lovely day too:)


Sunday, 26 January 2020

Non-stop risotto these days

Dear Family & Friends

Our little family loves rice meals, especially little me as I love to gain weight, if I could. So, lately I got stuck with rice risotto - simply because we just have so many pumpkins to use up. Pumpkins are deliciously creamy and a very healthy food too.

rice risotto or a paella - my translation for this type of meal:)

Rice risotto topped with fresh argula salad leaves and perhaps a side dish of egg omelet makes a complete balanced meal for us.

leafy greens gives the additional freshness to it

After a couple of days my brain fizzled out - just couldn't think of new meal creation - so back to pumpkin rice risotto but this time I added shitake mushroom and dried sausage - well, it turns out more of an Asian tasting rice risotto - so yummy too:)

I add sausages or other meat along with root vegetables plus herbs for variation

As always, I take the advantage of pairing some fresh green salad leaves, simply because it's in season and abundant in our garden these days. Nothing beats a freshly picked veggie as the flavour is so full and intensely delicious!

a comfort food specially when it's cold and I need more body fuel to burn up

It's winter and warm food - high carb meals - seems a good option for us as it brings comfort, lots of energy fuel to burn and keep us warm and toasty specially for this season. In the next few days, we're taking a break in a warmer location, it's something that we are looking forward too:)

For now, I wish you a lovely day.


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:)