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:)


Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Summer meals?

Dear Family & Friends

As summer goes by, the garden is producing more and more food to harvest, but with the summer heat, our appetite for food is lost somewhere too. We eat lesser on summer's day. Nothing seems to be as attractive as when cooler weather is here. Even the idea of BBQ fails to entice most of us.

BBQ meat with fresh garden greens

I feel like eating soup but I will let it cool before consuming it. I suppose, we get more dehydrated with the summer's heat that we like food that contains more liquid to replenish the body.

cold grain congee with herbs and a salted boiled egg 

Some of us tend to go for more vegetarian meals comes summertime. Pulses and grains with lots of fresh green herbs and drizzled with lots of extra virgin olive oil too! Salads and more salads!

seed, grains, beans and lots of herbs salad

That goes without saying that our grocery shopping bill drops a lot comes summertime. Grocery list only consist of ice cream and snack food!! For dinner tonight, I might just have a couple of figs from the garden and I'm sure it's sweetness will take me through till the morrow.

Hope you have a lovely day where you are.


Friday, 30 August 2019

Fruits and more fruits

Dear Family & Friends

Look at my tomato harvest this morning, aren't they pretty? We have been eating tomatoes fresh and incorporated with cooked dishes almost everyday. There's just so many tomatoes popping out of our garden during summer time. I have to start preserving them for the winter season as it's just too much for us to eat.

my tomato harvest this morning

Tomatoes are fruits. So, this adds up to the variety of fruits, one after another, that we can get from our garden during Spring all the way to autumn. Some of our autumn fruit harvest like apples can be kept  fresh all throughout the winter. So, we can easily have fruit supply all year without having to buy any from shops.

mini snackable tomatoes - but reaching to the point of having 'one too many'

This year, we will be able to gather even more fruits and nuts from the adjacent property we just acquired. We discovered a purple plum tree that's ready to be harvested. So pleased with this because it's a good sweet variety. There's also a lot more grapes dotted around the property and it's getting ready too.

an additional purple plum fruit harvested from the garden

It's been an unusual very humid day today and I was so relief when a sudden burst of rain poured down. I supposed my garden plants all shared my same joy....with that, I can foresee more fruits coming up! Wish you're all here to share the abundance....


Sunday, 25 August 2019

Summer is whizzing by

Dear Family & Friends

Summer days are going by so quickly, specially for us with many endless matters going on around us for which I believe will all work  'for good'.

Days goes by faster when you are having fun they say...that I missed a lot of my gooseberry harvest - they ripened far too fast before I managed to gather them all! and so with the red plums!!

one tub of gooseberries were harvested for today

We're also working on so many other project simultaneously as part of our daily life living responsibility as a family unit. Grateful for these two daughters who are very much a part of everything we do, with the same views as we go forward in life. Unity in a family is utmost important, and that's where we get our strength, joy and success:)

My pomagranate tree looks happy:)
I've learned to keep an eye with my more delicate fruit trees this year, specially those young ones, after losing a peach and almond nut tree that became unhappy for some reason:( So, I'm guarding my pomagranate trees steadfastly this time.

I always wish I'm more organized and prepared for everything, but sometimes I don't always win in the game set before me! Tomorrow will be better. Wishing you a great day.


Tuesday, 20 August 2019

The old outdoor kitchen

Dear Family & Friends

Let me show you some of the very old features of the House of Petko before things get changed. At this point, we still haven't completely made up our mind how we will make use of this place. 

At the far end of the property next to the little house is an old outdoor kitchen. I was told that years ago, the whole community in the village shared this place to bake their bread and even roast in a whole lamb. 

the outdoor room with an old outdoor kitchen and a door that leads to a cool storage room

This is exactly the sight of it when we got the place. There's a lot of clearing, cleaning and plans to do on how we will proceed with it. It could easily be turned into a nice house feature:)

the old out door kitchen area

It's an old wood fire oven. I'm not sure I would know how to use it. It's a remnant of how olden days living was like, wherein the community bake their bread together in this oven on certain day and every family would have freshly baked bread for that day:)

the stone wood fire oven with it's removable wooden lid cover/door

I understand that a log fire is burned inside this oven to heat it up and then the ashes is cleared afterwards to put their goods to bake with the stored heat. We have seen some specialized pizza restaurant who cooks their goods this way as they say it's an authentic way of a true pizza taste. 

this is the entrance of the stone oven where wood fire is lit and later bread and food is baked

Next to this big stone oven...there's a small door that leads to an underground room. We'll take a look at that next time. I guess it's a storage system - sort of refrigeration area to keep their food.

For now, I'll have to discover some more interesting things and try to enjoy most of the day. Hope you enjoy your day too:)


Thursday, 15 August 2019

Went to buy another property

Dear Family & Friends

It was Sunday night, a property seller called to say that a meeting with a lawyer for the sale of the property is arranged for the following day. Talk about 'Impromptu'!! and all we need was to take our personal identification documents and some money to buy the property - of course! So, we got to my drawer, scraped and counted some money out - perfect! just exactly the amount we needed! Isn't that amazing? This isn't your normal transaction but it happens here:)

the little house looks nice and with few more work, it will be much better later:)

In between work schedules of the following work day, the meeting was slotted in between all parties and at the end of the day, documents were signed and transaction finalized. We just bought another property:) It was one long and very busy day! Not much different from doing our monthly grocery shopping, except that we need lawyer and licensed translator along with us to do the transaction.

our new garden looks very fertile because the annual weeds are almost 6 feet tall!

We don't do this often nor does it happens often, but it's one memorable experience to put in this journal. So many things are happening around us...our life has always been an exciting one, we just don't know what tomorrow brings but we are to be ready at all times:) Mind you, the layback character of our CEO sometimes comes very handy in times like this... for everyone's sake:)

More to come on this but for now...let's enjoy our day!


Saturday, 10 August 2019

Keeping on top with the summer garden

Dear Family & Friends

The summer garden is packed with all sorts of plants: layered with trees, bushes, undercover plants, and that includes weeds - my secret gardening strategy is simple:  I only pull out those in-edible weeds out from time to time:) That means there's not that much to weed:) One annual weeds that covers our garden is purslane, but we eat them and if we can't manage to consume as much, they remain there to act as a living mulch and eventually it will die back to incorporate nutrients to our soil when summer is over .

the ground is covered with various plants to keep moisture and shade
At some point of time, I need to make some space to plant some veggies for autumn! So this week, I tackled one spot in our garden that I haven't done any work for a long time. So, I ended up with one big mount of evil weeds - the creeping perennial couch grass!!

my pile of uprooted couch grasses left to dry on pavement before using it as mulch

Glad it wasn't a big space to work on. I pulled and dug till the hand trowel made a small dent on the palm of my hand - OUCH!...but in the end I managed to have a big enough clear space to grow more than a hundred onion bulbs. That will come handy for winter to spring season. Happy:)

I found some clear space to grow more onions:)

When the garden gets so dense, I always think I'm running out of space...but it's not the case, so I've got to work some more while I'm onto it:) Hope you are enjoying your day too.


Monday, 5 August 2019

How will I start with Petko's home and garden?

Dear Family & Friends

We feel so blessed to be given an opportunity to extend our property. It is a great blessing from Above:) God is good to us. The price was quoted:) and we shook hands on the very first meeting. I have photos from mobile phone but I don't know how to download it that way. So, no photos of it  for now. Sometimes new technical things just throws me out due to Old Age Dilemma!!

one day at a time

For now, I'm mentally preparing myself with lots of ideas and inspiration to put it into good use. It will be another project to look forward to without pressure and stress. I'm keeping my excitement because I don't really know how and where I should start. What I know is that there's always a beginning and from there we carry on one day at a time.

another exciting journey - let's go:)

I will try to journal this new journey and we'll see how things will unfold. Are you coming along with us on this journey? Let's go!


Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Lavender Blues

Dear Family & Friends

It wasn't long ago when my garden was extremely busy with various bees and butterflies because my lavender bushes were in full bloom. I've planted around 40+ lavender bushes within our garden and this created a dominating lavender blue color when in full bloom.

my long lavender row pathway
During the period when the lavender was at it's peak, the noise of the buzzing bees were intense. The fragrance in the garden is overpowering too:) I had to be careful when watering my garden because the bees were everywhere and I don't really want to blast them off with my watering.

Notice the most enormous visitor on the bloom? It's as big as my thumb - a new bee specie??

Once the lavender blooms faded, the bees and butterflies all left as the job is done. At this point, we cut all the grey looking lavender blooms with it's fragrance still so strong. Many of our neighbors shared the dried lavender cuttings to put in their homes to deter mosquitoes and moth from the wardrobe. It was a great joy to share them as we have so much! I still ended with lots of them laid in my garden patch as mulch and to deter mossy when I'm in the garden too:)

There will be a tiny portion of re-blooms to come later, after that, the lavender season will be over till next year again. Then by autumn, we will do a drastic pruning to get a robust bush to develop for next year. Oh, the joy of lavender in our garden: Hope you are having a great day too!


Friday, 26 July 2019

Our daily harvest portion

Dear Family & Friends

I was so tired the other day that I spend most of the time resting. While it is essential to rest, it is not OK for me to be lazy. I can say summer's heat cost me sleepless nights and sluggish mental  state during the day, but sometimes I do take resting too far. If I procrastinate too much, I realize that no one was going to make our dinner. So, I had to get the courage to do the work.

the most freshest harvest I picked for today from our garden

We all get tired. We all suffer from aches and pains, some more than others. It is important to rest and take breaks, but we must also overcome to face our responsibilities. I always remind myself not to baby myself too much. 

one of our favorite - stir fry garden vegetables and flowers that's in season:)

After a sufficient rest, I got to the kitchen to prepare our simple main meal for the day. This gave me the strength and energy to get back to normal. I was happy having done some work:)

the next day's harvest - looks almost the same as yesterday - still yummy choice!

One thing good with summer season is that we all tend to just want to eat something light - like veggie meals which are quick to prepare:). Having vegetables to harvest from the garden seems to be the right thing as well :)

Hope you are not too busy always, for there's also time to rest and relax too:) Enjoy your day.


Sunday, 21 July 2019

Living in a real world

Dear Family & Friends

We live in a very fast pace, noisy and material driven world, and people nowadays are feeling more anxious and stressed more than ever before. The anti-dote is to live a simple life. We are only temporary inhabitant in this land, and it is not ours to own. The only reason why we're here - is because of God's grace and I live in peace with this knowledge:)

my fig illustration using ballpoint writing pen

Lately, I have been inspired to do some botanical drawings. It  never occurred to me to express the joy that I see everyday from our garden into a piece of paper. I still don't have the right drawing pen nor paper to get going with this activity, instead I just use what I have on hand. All an amateur job but I am enjoying what I do and grateful for my Maker who gave me the skill to learn new things in life.

lemons illustration done just using ballpoint writing pen
I probably have a very simple thoughts and aspiration in life but there's just so many exciting things to look forward to as I develop gratefulness and patience in everything I do.

Have a slow living and enjoy each minute.


Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Weed edible - amaranth greens

Dear Family & Friends

One beautiful morning I checked my garden, armed with a bucket and a secateur. It's time to gather food for the day. I saw lots of red leaf amaranth but they started flowering. These are too old and tough as vegetable, so I avoided them...but I can harvest their seeds for later use.

edible red amaranth, marigold and kale

Amaranth self seed itself in our garden like weeds...but they are definitely edible. I saw many green leaf variety, so I started to nip their new young top growth. They are delicious for quick stir fry, just like fact, they are sometimes known as 'chinese spinach'.

Here's how to prepare it:
  • Wash and trim the green leaves Amaranth - about a 1 pound.
  • Prepare 3 tbsp oil, 5 cloves of garlic, 1/4 tsp sesame oil, salt to taste and a pinch of sugar. 
  • Heat the wok until smoking. Add the oil and quickly add the garlic and the veggie Amaranth.
  • Stir constantly for a minute, then add salt, sugar and sesame oil. Cook till leaves are just wilted.
  • That's it. Serve it along with other dishes you've prepared for the day.
various veggies and herbs from the garden for my day's use

I might go back to check my so dense garden and see what else I could find to plan for tomorrow's meal again. We are enjoying the abundance of food from the garden - both purposely planted and self seeded's great chaos out there but a joyful one:) Life of a gardener is good!

Enjoy a beautiful day.


Thursday, 11 July 2019

This is what summer means in our garden

Dear Family & Friends

This year, our summer is warm as usual, but we also have many thunderstorm which is not usual. I really don't mind thunderstorm even though it creates a lot of humidity before the downpour. Once it rained, everything gets cool which makes a nice summer for me:) and it also mean that my garden gets watered too:) I have so much to be thankful for this great blessing from Above:)

our sky are full of clouds these days

At this time, flowers bloom here and there and seed heads develop. I always let plant seeds ripen so I can collect and have seeds to plant again next year. Sometimes, I just let them fall where they are. It will self seed when the right time comes again for them to start growing.

This is a carrot seed head - beautiful and bees loves it too.

There's a lot of fruits in our garden to collect but since our mulberry tree is not matured enough to give us it's fruit, our two girls still loves to go around the village where there are Mulberry trees. It's sad when we see mulberries just going to waste, if left unpicked, because mulberries are very delicious fruit.

mulberry picked from our village tree

Summer also mean that we get to grill fish or sausages out in the garden. Grilled food is ideal for outdoor and from time to time we enjoy them this way.

grilling fish and sweet pepper outside

The bees in the garden is just as happy with all the work they get during the summer season. It seems like the busier they get, the happier they are with all the noise they do.

bees are happy with summer abundance

Summer is a season to be outside in the garden. With all the trees and seems cooler out there. We count our blessings everyday and I hope you are enjoying your summer days too.