Archive | Nature & Health RSS feed for this section

Happy Ants

7 Aug

It is often said whatever that has been planted and cared for without using pesticides will be evident in the harvest; there will be worms enjoying the fruits of the labor.

This round, mostly green ones

Our scotch bonnet pepper plants have been very healthy and we have had non-stop supplies. And sometimes worms included. On and off, I’d find tiny worms in the container holding the basket of peppers. And I’d just wash the icky worms down the sink.

Bumper supply of worms too! Five altogether

One morning, I saw a worm on the kitchen counter top instead! Eeek… it had somehow escaped from the container. Before I could do anything, the ants got to it first! They were quickly maneuvering the worm to their nest for the rest of the colony as food. I didn’t have the heart to thwart them. It would be too vicious.

One, two, three… heave! One, two, three… go!

So I simply took a picture of the action but missed the rest of their journey to their lair when I turned away. Dang! They sure are fast but they sure are happy ants with the unexpected bounty.

Too Spicy to Handle

4 Aug

The Habanero plant in our garden may not be the Habanero that we initially thought. Hubby says what we have is the scotch bonnet peppers instead, which are slightly sweet in the overall taste. If you’re not a pepper expert, it’s hard to tell them apart because these peppers are cousins. The only difference being the Habanero is about an inch bigger.

The spiciness or heat level of all peppers is measured according to the Scoville Scale in Scoville Heat Units (SHU) and both these species are right up there on the chart. But there seem to be contradicting readings I see on the internet.

One site listed our scotch bonnet pepper at 445,000 SHU and the Habanero at 260,000 SHU only while another site says both are on the same level at 100,000–350,000 SHU. Well, it doesn’t matter which exact reading, our scotch bonnet certainly burns the tongue and even fingers if we are not cutting them carefully! Sometimes even the green ones are enough to numb the senses, what more eating the ripe red ones.

Scotch bonnet peppers are an excellent source of phytochemicals and vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), iron, vitamin B, carotenoids, niacin, riboflavin, dietary fiber, flavonoids, and magnesium but I don’t eat them all the time. Too spicy to handle and too much to consume.

Puny green peppers towards the end, so plant #1 had to be cut down.

Hubby had to trim the first plant because it has grown too tall. At more than eight feet, it’s too taxing to produce plump healthy peppers. The puny harvest, evident in its loss in strength. Eventually, the plant was removed.

Plant #2 is out of control, growing tall and wide!

Now we get our supplies from the second and third plants. And the second plant has grown to become such a monstrous blob, it’s rather unsightly. It is now six feet tall, but its yield has been superb. We have had an abundance of scotch bonnet peppers and have been giving them away to friends because they’re too spicy for us to handle.

A Makeover

28 Jul
Chop… chop… and the grass below are no longer shaded!

The two trees in the front garden of the house were pruned a few days ago, together with all the other big trees along our road. Hubby had requested the contractor to do the honors as the trees were getting too tall for his reach.

And in order for them to get the job done, hubby had to remove several of his prized staghorn ferns as a precautionary measure, in case the pruned branches accidentally fell on the ferns and damaged them. Luckily no mishaps occurred.

The ugly gaping hole

But one fern has been permanently damaged by the darn woodpecker, some time back in February. The gaping hole is such a heartache to look at. We don’t think the woodpecker will return to it anymore as it’s rather damaged and unlivable, and most unlikely to provide any comfort. So hubby intends to nurture the fern to a more presentable shape before putting it back on the pruned tree.

Pesky Intruders Again

24 Jul

Last weekend when we were away, we had some pesky four-legged intruders. They were making themselves at home in the wet kitchen area. How did we know? Put it this way, they left evidence here and there: droppings or should I say, poop. Ugh.

So we had to trap them, otherwise, they’d get too daring and cause a lot of problems. On the first night, however, an unlikely intruder was nabbed! A squirrel. Eeesh… Not the culprit we were hoping for, and hubby lets it go.

Then for two nights in a row, the trap that was set up was successful in trapping a young rat each night. Let’s hope this puts an end to unwanted pesky intruders.

First Road Trip Post-MCO, Part 2

20 Jul

The weekend’s post-MCO road trip was nice. The drive up North was pleasant and didn’t take too long. As always, going away is about food. Our first stop was in Ipoh for lunch; we had Chicken Rice and bean sprouts.

The must-eat choice when in Ipoh

After lunch, it was smooth sailing all the way and we arrived by mid-afternoon. The folks are fine and doing good. But weather-wise, it rained a lot so we couldn’t go out. Anyway, with social distancing still in practice, we didn’t want to and was contented just to laze at home.

Before we knew it, it was dinner time! We decided to have Thai food at the restaurant that we visited the last time and discovered the restaurant has changed its name! Despite the change, the food quality was still good.

Previously it was called Khun de Thai

Saturday was our customary golf day. We make it a point, every trip to play at Darulaman Golf Club, which is a short drive away. And I am pleased that this round, I played so much better than all previous games.

After the game, we got boba teas!

The weekend quickly passed with another sumptuous dinner on Saturday night with the parents and an Aunty before we left on Sunday morning. On the way home, we opted for noodles instead of the usual crab porridge at Nibong Tebal and I must say, they were good choices.

The dinner spread for six
Lunch at Nibong Tebal

The journey home was peppered with rain now and then, but not too heavy until it made the drive tiring. It was a good weekend away.

To Walk or Not to Walk

13 Jul

To walk or not to walk 18-holes for a round of golf, that is the question. I thought most in our golf group may not be willing to do so now that the buggy ruling, post-RMCO has been relaxed for twin-sharing but I was wrong.

The Tuesday and Thursday games, played at the Lakes course were on the buggy, twin-share basis, and we had lovely weather which made both outings enjoyable. But the weekend was a different story.

Saturday was again at the Lakes course on the buggy at a snail’s pace because the golf course was packed and the flight in front of us was just terribly slow. We gave up after 15 holes. The wait was unbearable, not just at every hole; it was every shot.

On Sunday, our group’s super-fit elderly asked me (a few days prior) if I would like to join him to walk 18-holes, carrying our bags while our other two flight mates opted for the buggy. He is 78 years old! Amazing… I guess I’m not the only one wanting to do this.

The amazing 78-year-old with his bag and a bucket of sand

We were the first flight out and I certainly enjoyed the company and exercise to keep up my stamina and strength. Moreover, I wanted to do this (walk 18-holes) because I have gained a little weight last week. With restrictions having eased at this recovery stage of the pandemic, and we find ourselves eating out a little more, and it has shown.

So the question to walk or not to walk shouldn’t be raised now that I have another golfer willing to accompany me and I have a reason to do so.



10 Jul

There has been no further progress with the DIY 3-story and 2-story houses. Work has stalled because both M2 and I have been very discouraged and aggravated when we have to deal with gluing fabric on wood.

So, we have channeled our energy to focus on hubby’s DIY set instead. It’s not a house like ours, but more of a cafe with lots of plants. And progress on this set has been so much more encouraging because we don’t have to deal with fabrics. None of the parts to assemble the 2-story cafe had any fabrics for us to work with.

Tiny… tiny… tiny!!!

The difference between this cafe and the other two houses is the choice of material. There are lots of paper to fold and glue for the props and these are tinier than the props of the other two houses! Skills to deftly handle them is a must. But the tiniest prop is not paper-based. The coffee grinder had very delicate parts to it and I managed to glue them together.

Smallest coffee grinder EVER!

It has been a good diversion and I guess once the cafe is completed, I will revert to my 3-story bungalow.

Left section of ground level

The Vomiting Chicken

7 Jul

Online shopping is fun. Buying kitchen appliances online is even more fun, although I don’t use these purchases myself. During the MCO since March, I’ve made several online purchases for kitchen stuff for hubby to use and activity items for myself.

The latest purchases are again kitchen gadgets. Purchase #1: two rolling pins that I thought their bright, fun colors would be nice to add to the kitchen, but more because of their sizes especially the mini one that I thought was very cute.

Purchase #2 was more whimsical yet practical: the vomiting chicken.

The what?!

It’s an egg separator, that’s what the vomiting chicken is. When you crack an egg into its body and tilt it, the egg white comes out of the beak, hence vomiting, while the yolk stays put. And it works much better than the conventional egg separators that we already have.

Works even with two eggs! Our other useless separators

It’s fun to play with it. I guess I will assist hubby with his baking endeavors when it comes to separating the egg whites from the yolks.


A Recovering Situation

6 Jul

There has been much progress in containing the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Malaysia. Statistics tracking new cases and deaths have been very positive with very little or no big breakouts; it looks like the country is well on the road to recovery. As such, various restrictions are easing up and many sectors are reopening. Health guidelines are also being relaxed for life to be back to normal.

Last week the SOP for golf has been revised and golfers are now allowed to twin-share a buggy for a round of 18-holes. No more single-player, single-buggy rule.

With this update, it looks like our weekend (and weekday) games from now on will be with the use of buggy, twin-sharing, and less if not, no more walking with a golf trolley for our group.

So we shall see how it goes as we took a break from golf over the weekend to spend some quality time with M2.

Goodbye TomTom

30 Jun

Last weekend my golf watch, TomTom Golfer died. Sniffles… I’ve had the watch for almost six years and it has served me well. But like all electronic gadgets and devices, there’s a shelf life and an end to their usefulness.

Goodbye TomTom, you’ve been a good companion

The TomTom Golfer watch had been very easy to use on the golf course. Unlike most other golf watches, it has only one button to press for reading distances, hazards, and greens.

Having used it so much over the years, the spring in the button has eventually lost its sensitivity. Whilst I can press it to move up, down, and left, it does not respond when I need it to go right, the most important function.

So I asked hubby to see if he could fix it for me. Unfortunately, when he opened up the watch, not only couldn’t he find the problem, the watch decided to die on him whilst under surgery. Oops.

Now I don’t have a golf watch for my golf games. Although I did search for a replacement, I’ve decided to hold off buying one for now. Instead I have been using my AppleWatch Series 5 for the subsequent games (yes, I have an AppleWatch since Thanksgiving last year).

As of last week, I’ve downloaded several free golf GPS apps, trying out their functionality without having to pay for any premium bundles yet to see which app is best to use with ease. And if I am not too concerned about hazard indications as these free versions do not include this, I must say Hole19 holds a slight edge over Golfshot and Hello Birdie.