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.


Friday, 8 November 2019

Seasonal autumn menu - dictated by our garden

Dear Family & Friends

As soon as cool autumn air arrives, I immediately started our most favourite seasonal soup to match the atmosphere. I ran my kitchen and cook our meals according to what I can get out of our garden. In my fridge, there's not a single vegetable, I have to get them from the garden on a daily basis - just the amount that I need for that day. The garden produces veggies in season as dictated by the abundance thereof, which sets my menu for the week.

creamy delicious pumpkin soup with a piece of bread - pure bliss on a bright cool autumn day

For this week, I am inundated with crates and crates of potatoes dug up by the two young ladies. Then, I see so many pumpkins lying everywhere in my garden. They are ripe by now and ready for consumption. My walking onions are literally growing everywhere by the hundreds and there seems to be no end to it even as we eat them on daily basis! Since autumn is my pruning time for my rosemary bushes to keep their shape, there's just abundance of herb cuttings that I can use to make tasty soup too.

chopped up pumpkin, potatoes and rosemary sprigs eventually makes a delicious pumpkin soup

We are expecting lots of different pumpkin meals to come and grace our kitchen table. So far, the two girls who loves to snack on crisps have been doing endless chips in various ways, shapes and flavour from all the potatoes they dig out of the garden. Oh! I let them have a great time eating as much potato snacks as they want, afterall, they also work and burn so much calories from digging and harvesting potatoes out of the garden.

Happy sunshiny day to you all:)


Sunday, 3 November 2019

We struck gold - I mean potatoes!

Dear Family & Friends

A couple of neighbors were telling us that we've got a lot of potatoes in our new garden. We didn't really believe them and the only way to find out if it is true, is to dig up the soil. The neglected ground is hard solid and full of weeds, so we waited for chances of heavy rain to soften it up a bit.

It looks like it's covered with weeds but there's potatoes for harvest waiting for us to dig up

Then, the day came and we dug a portion of the garden and discovered treasures of potatoes! It's like finding gold because we love potatoes and it's all there for free!! There's a massive area to keep digging but we'll do it bit by bit - hopefully the job will be done before winter arrives!

all this space we reckon is filled with potatoes underneath - somebody planted them and we're here to harvest it

I don't know how many crates of potatoes we will eventually unearth ... one thing I know is that, if we work, we will have plenty to eat:)

Hope you have a blessed day too:)


Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Little green frog rescued his friend

Dear Family & Friends

The garden is full of life. I've even noticed that this year's garden remained full and green all summer. Normally some plants dries up and dies out leaving bare patches here and there with our intense summer. Perhaps, I've been doing well in my gardening skill by leaving nature to do the work for me as much as possible:) because the ecology in our garden has greatly improved!

Can you see a tiny green frog peeping into the mouth of this big water bottle? - his other friend fell inside and is trapped!!

Planting and allowing plants to grow naturally have filled and created a micro-climate within my garden environment. Thus, more insects and predators have started to live in my garden and they naturally eats the pest and brings an ecological balance without human intervention!

After the rescue operation, both went into the shady bush of the lavender. Can you see it?

While I was in the garden, I noticed a beautiful tiny bright green frog. I've never seen this kind of frog before. So, I took a camera to take a photo of this cute creature, only to realize that this little frog insisted on focusing on something inside this big water bottle. 

When I took a closer look, I realized that it was looking out for another little green frog who fell and is trapped inside the deep bottle. So, I came to intervene and tipped the water bottle on it's side, enabling the frog to safety! The other frog waited for his friend all this time. What a great friendship I just witnessed:)

There's so many wonderful things I see within our garden and they even bring about beautiful story to remember. Hope you have a nice day too:)


Thursday, 24 October 2019

Happy busy

Dear Family & Friends

It's been a long day for all of us. Work, lots of work. We are all tired but happy. When there's lots of work, it just mean that we are blessed. At the start of the day, I quickly watered my garden, as much as I could. Then I cleared up some weeds in my veggie plot to make space for direct seed sowing of some leafy greens and root crops that we could have in winter and or in spring.

my veggie garden still filled with flowers, herbs and food veggie plants

There's still a lot of daily harvest that I get here and there for our day's meal and extra ones I keep on preserving or store in freezer for the winter. What kept me on my toes all day is the washing and sorting out buckets and buckets of grapes, potatoes, and figs.

 I've found garlic sprouts growing in clumps, so I split and spread them out

I processed about two big pots of grape juice, before I called it a day. Well, I will carry on making more bottled grape juice to preserve them - till I ran out of bottles to use! The figs were placed in dehydrator to have dried figs for snacks which will keep for a while.

my tomato and grape salad - it's yum:)

Lots of work done for this lovely week, but it's fun to be kept busy too:) Hope you are having a great week too.


Saturday, 19 October 2019

Trying out bonsai hobby

Dear Family & Friends

Years ago, I received a store bought jade tree bonsai, yet, after several years it died on me. I tried my best to keep it alive but it was not good enough:(

starting my rosemary bonsai collection in pots

This time, I'm going to get some courage to start my own bonsai growing. After watching a you tube video on rosemary bonsai collection, I gained some inspiration. The fact that rosemary grows so well in my garden and I have an abundance of successfully propagated plants, I shouldn't fear failure.

hopefully in a couple of years these will all start looking like authentic bonsai

It will take a few years to make my rosemary bonsai look authentic, but that's not important. What counts more is taking a challenge to start a new venture and grow in knowledge.

It's such a beautiful day today that there's no better place to go to than out in the garden. I hope that you are having a lovely day too:)


Monday, 14 October 2019

I try to win

Dear Family  & Friends

I try everything I could think that would probably work when it comes to growing my garden. With little strength and a small battery capacity to draw my energy from, I have to find ways to work efficiently specially as we have big garden to manage.

recycled pots as barrier of direct sown seedlings in the garden

My garden is never sprayed for any pest. I let them all be because nature's ecology just balance everything out and that's how it should be. So, slugs and snails are common pest and they like eating some of my young seedlings. The need to pre-sow seeds into little pots before transplanting them into my vegetable garden helps the survival chances of the seedlings, but it's a lot of work for me!

sprouted seeds got a bit of protection from being eaten by slugs and snails

Lately, I came with thoughts of insisting direct seed sowing in my veggie patch and use the little pots to act as barrier instead. I went about cutting out the bottoms of the recycled little pots and lined them up firmly into the ground, and within I sow the seeds. Once the seeds sprout and are big enough, I'll just lift up the pot barrier and every plant would be in their respective places too.

my new method of protecting my direct seed sowing of veggies - with buried bottomless pots

Well, that's the idea. I will have to see how well this will work for me. It's sometimes a fun & game situation with my gardening chore...and I always try to win the game:) As this week promises to be cool and very sunny, I'm already winning just being out in the garden:)

Hope you have a lovely week too:)


Wednesday, 9 October 2019

There's always onions in the garden

Dear Family & Friends

I'm not going to ran out of onion ever again. Nor would have the need to buy onion bulb to plant in for many years to come. When I planted my first 10 teeny weeny walking onion bulbs five years ago, I was so tense and anxious to be successful with it. Little did I know that it is the most easiest bulb plant to grow. It produces the spring onion greens and tiny onion bulbs too:) The onion bulbs grows only to a marble size, but you can turn it into pickled whole onions:)

onion bulbs are popping out from the top

The bulb onions are also used to produce more plants. In my garden, there's spring onion popping up everywhere as I have the habit of a squirrel who hides all those little onions into any vacant soil that I can push and bury it in.

In our kitchen, we use a lot of chopped up spring onion - both the green leaves and the stem: for stew cooking, mix for egg omelet, or fresh mix with salads! Everyday, I go about pulling at least two onion plants to bring to our kitchen. We eat onion daily!

autumn clearing up of old plants and re-planting some new ones once again 

Another plus with this plant is that comes winter, when there's so limited veggies growing, onions can stand bravely despite the cold season - making it an all year food for us:)

We're now enjoying cooler weather - a perfect autumn season, full of sunshine yet not hot:) I hope you are having the same enjoyable and blessed week ahead too!


Friday, 4 October 2019

To rejoice or to cry?

Dear Family & friends

I definitely want a productive and abundant garden but this week I felt a bit confused. By the garden washbasin area, there's several buckets of various fruits and nuts waiting for my attention. Should I rejoice or cry over the non-stop autumn harvest that we got?

daily snack from the garden
The grapes harvested by bucket loads were attracting a lot of wasp and bees. Some of the apples harvest still waiting in the buckets were slowly rotting as they desperately need to be sorted out. The plums were ripening fast too! Although the bucket of walnuts just sat there, yet the fact that more of those are coming in torrent just reminds me that it needs to be done too!

productive garden that is more or less looking after itself these days

Besides those fruits and nuts, I also have to continue on harvesting the tomatoes, peppers, courgette and figs almost everyday as is! You can just imagine my stress building up as I lose my battle in coping with them all.

It's unbelievable how much we have and it feels wrong to just waste them as there's no one around our village who could share them with us:( So I try my best to preserve as much as I know and could do.  I can't help but be overwhelmed. Next year, I should have a better plan to find where I could share our yearly abundance.

I still work to keep on filling every vacant space with plant cover

Despite all these, I have no regret planting so many fruit trees and shrubs, and will continue on doing so just because we got the land to fill and everything seems to grow well without much care. I see the importance of growing all sorts of plant variety to maintain a happy ecology within our environment and capacity. So, I just have to march on with my head held high.

Hope you're always aiming for a good day:)


Sunday, 29 September 2019

Courgette spaghetti with prawns

Dear Family & Friends

I'm still unrepentant as to why I planted so many courgette this year. For it wasn't a problem to have a glut of courgette. I easily learned how to be creative with it. We have it almost every day of the week but in so many different forms and variation of cooking:) and I froze some for the months to come when we would start missing it once again too.

A pot of courgette spaghetti with prawns

With the abundance of courgette, we had them as fritters for afternoon snack, courgette fillers for crepes/spring rolls, as dips, baked with bread etc... I also use it with stew, with soup, fried tempura, countless other ways and I never get a single complain from the family, but just a smile of big contentment.

a simple and complete lunch meal for us:)

One dish that they want to have every week, if at all possible, is the courgette spaghetti. I don't have the kitchen gadget that cuts the courgette into spaghetti-like strands, but with a knife I could still do long thin strands of it. I cook it with spaghetti pasta and top up with prawns and mini tomatoes and olive oil, chopped cooked garlic plus salt and pepper. A quick, complete and very satisfying meal for every one:)

With a full tummy and a hot summer...we all feel like a short nap is to follow afterwards too. Sometimes life can be like that;P  Enjoy your day too. 


Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Racing with time in preserving all our fruits from the garden

Dear Family & Friends

I'm getting frantic. Our CEO came back from the garden with 4 of ten-litre-buckets, full of grapes harvest and he said: 'I haven't even made a dent, there's a lot more out there!'. Now, this set me on a panic mode! Normally, he just brings back one bucket at a time because it takes us a while to finish eating it. But as time goes on, and the grapes hanging on the vines are getting too ripe that it attracts lots of wasp and some of them are literally drying up under the sun.

just some of the grapes harvested from the garden - and there's more to come

Quickly I search on how to preserve all those grapes without wasting the effort and time of our CEO who diligently did the harvesting.  It will take me a few days to process it all. I decided to dehydrate them and turn them into raisins. Some I will freeze as I only have one dehydrator. I'm glad that washing them won't take much time as it's all organic with no residue of chemicals coated on each grapes. It's just a matter of rinsing the dust off the bunches of grapes.

purple grapes to be dehydrated as raisins

My dehydrator has been on constantly. One of the girls also goes to the garden and delivers me  buckets of figs harvest every week. We can only eat so much fresh fruits in a day, so the urgency of preservation is constantly at my back. It's feels like I'm racing with time everyday.

summer fruits from the garden comes by bucketful

Our summer brings on these abundance from the garden, but once it's over, it will all wind down for the winter season, only to restart again in spring next year. All is just but for a season.

I sometimes find life overwhelming, but it's important to remember to chill out and take everything a day at a time. Let's go and have a good day today!


Thursday, 19 September 2019

The before and after works done this week

Dear Family & Friends

We finally took our summer holiday by the sea for the year - as soon as school holiday ended - it's perfect time for us as everything is not as busy and manic anymore:)

Nonetheless, we also managed to finish some little jobs here and there- at home, in the adjacent property. Work was done slowly, taking each day at a time as there's no pressure to do so otherwise. In the garden, the weeds were flatten out and thus we're able to see the extend of the area:)

in the garden - before

There's a dozen of different fruit trees and long lines of grapes of various sorts. Despite being neglected for a couple of years, we still managed to harvest a lot of fruits, and more to come. As for the grapes, we noticed that a lot of wasp has been feasting on it for it is so sweet. So, it's a bit competitive market out there. We let them have some and we have some too. Enough for everyone:)

in the garden - after

As for the existing house, we found out that it was left uncleared with lots of personal belongings, including photos etc... So many clothes laying on the bed and the cupboards were full too! We have to clear and place them in bags and we hope that the previous owner's family will come and collect it, otherwise...what shall we do with it?

in the house - before

It was not a pleasant job to clear those personal items of other people, but the family team were very game to work as a unit. We will use this house for some business venture we have in mind, but first, there's new windows to put in and other upgrading renovations to do....but all in due time.

in the house - after

This weekend, we still managed to pop into the city for a bit of shopping. The ladies got a couple of pretty summer dresses on sales:) they're happy with that too. For midday meal, we usually just buy take away food and enjoy them in the comfort of our cozy little it's a relaxing time for everyone while we are out and about. 

a plate of fresh tomato salad,fried cheese,aubergine in tomato sauce,creamy chicken and mushroom

It's important to have a balance of work and relaxing time together too. That's how our week ended last week. Hope you had a good week and a better one ahead of you too:)


Saturday, 14 September 2019

The House is now visible

Dear Family & Friends

Someone in our home always disappear towards the end of our home garden wall to get to our adjacent property, by climbing a temporary ladder up the wall - the shortcut way:) He does this whenever he got a free slot in his work schedule - his new habit at the moment:)

the before picture of the grapevine pathway leading to the house

Just doing little odd jobs here and there and discovering and getting to know more about the property layout. He gets a lot of joy and is so pleased with this purchase.

the after photo. just knocking down those tall weeds now reveals the sight of the house!

No major thing has been done yet, except quick clearing of the overgrown weeds to see the extend of the property.

Same pathway but going towards the entrance gate direction

More or less we know how we want to make use of this property. We have some business plan but it's a waiting moment before we get things a bit clearer.

we can now see the house clearer

Just as daughter 1 went flattening down those 5 foot tall annual weeds around the property, we then start to see the size and potential of what the property has to offer. Yes, slowly, everything will be clearer soon.

The house No. 4 and a glimpse of the roof of house No. 2 :)

We are always very grateful for all the blessings that comes our way...for we know nothing is within our power unless a more powerful One is showering His grace upon us.

Hope you have a blessed day and week too:)


Monday, 9 September 2019

Reasons why we need bees

Dear Family & Friends

It is a fact that all living things need bees to survive. For some of us, bees are simply annoying: they buzz around and sometimes even sting. If you're unlucky enough to be allergic, it can even be a lethal threat.

bee on zinnia flower

No matter how much you hate bees, we humans need them. They are responsible for much of the food that we get  on our plate. Bees performs a task that is vital to the survival of our agriculture by pollinating our plants - our global food supply. In a much simple translation, bees keep our plants and crops alive. Without them, we wouldn't have very much to eat.

harvesting nectar from each flowerlet to make honey

We can enjoy almonds, apples, apricots, avocados, blueberries, melons, cashew, coffee, cucumbers, eggplant, grapes, kiwis, mangoes, okra, peaches, pears, peppers, strawberries, oranges, walnuts and watermelon etc.... all because of the bees:)

prior to that she has been collecting pollens, now stacked all over her body

For this simple reason, encouraging and caring for bees in our garden is very important aspect in our gardening. Bees are friends!

a closeup of how the bee attach pollen to her body to be carried back to their hive

Hope you enjoyed the enclosed photos of one bee in our garden who is covered from head to toe with pollen, yet, still carry on foraging for more. Amazing hard working creatures indeed:)