Sunday, August 30, 2009

August in the garden

It never fails to amaze what I discover in my garden. All summer long I had be on the lookout for fruits forming on my fruit trees. The dragon fruit forming ( or so I thought) was exciting and now.... an embarrassment. Dear friends and family, in my excitement on seeing the `fruit', I totally missed the biological process of fruit formation!! What I took to be the dragon fruit was actually the formation of the flower bud. No wonder, it was elongating and not plumping out! Needless to say, my dear husband had a good laugh and did not let my faux pas go un-reminded each time he is in the garden.

Upset that my "fruit" was not plumping out!

Ops- looks like they are flower buds

Definitely - flower buds and not the fruit

Spent flower and hopefully fertilized so that I have fruit!

After a few days of my disgust and worrying that maybe I planted a regular cactus and not a Dragon fruit cactus, it dawned on me that it was starting to look like a flower. Look how how gorgeous were those flowers. Like large Christmas cactus flowers. I quickly took the pictures before dashing off on our long drive to Berkeley to settle in daughter L. Now, I worry that those flowers might not have been pollinated and I will not get any dragon fruit....Had I been home, being the Asian gardener I am, I would have assisted in pollinating the flowers, paintbrush and all. Now, I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Around the time that I had the eureka moment about the dragon fruit, I found another pleasant surprise. A bunch of bananas forming on the banana plant! This was so amazing and unexpected, as I swear not more than 3 days before the discovery, I made a concerted effort to look at the banana clump to look for banana flowers. It has been a few years since we had any banana as we had been trimming out the clump. Hopefully the bananas will ripen before the weather cools down. Looking forward to eating "Ice-Cream" banana.

The other plant that had me worried was the passion fruit vine "Frederick". It did not form fruit all of last year although it flowered. We were beginning to wonder if it was actually self fertile as advised. This year fruits formed. Early in the summer I had broken open a fruit and it was empty. Again, worried that it was the wrong plant or not pollinated. This week the fruits started turning purple. Now, they have started falling off the vines as they ripen. The fruits are small so I am thinking it needed more water than I was giving it and maybe more fertilizer. Nevertheless, I am enjoying delicious refreshing passionfruit.

All is good in the garden. Look at picture updates of the other fruit trees and vegetable garden.

Mango and Strawberry Guava

Gorgeous crimson flowers and healthy fruits

Cousins! - Beet and Swiss Chards

Onions, shallots and onion flower heads

Sprouting potatoes for the fall crop

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I pinch you and you pinch me

"I pinch you and you pinch me, okay?" Such were the words I uttered to my daughter L as we prepared to leave her at college. No tears seem to have moistured our eyes, the cold hearted women that we are. "Maybe then we will cry?" Does that mean I love you less? We watched as her roommate and her mom teared up at dinner even before they parted. No tears for us then. Outside her dorm building when we said goodbye, our friends cried again. Still no tears. Maybe, at that point we knew we still had breakfast the next morning.....

The next day, final Au revior. Finally some moisture in daughter's eyes! She regrets lining her eyes before we said Au revior. Did the eyeliner irritate her eyes or was it emotions? Me... dry as a desert. I know, I know.....Her brother- did not want a goodbye hug. She hugs him anyway and he is sad....she is sad. The Father hugs his daughter long and tight. Finally, we hug and kiss each other and tell the other," I love you". Goodbye/ Au revoir.

On the long drive back, brother does a L - sleeps to shutdown unpleasant thoughts. Husband and I talk about the whole experience and wonder how she is doing. We text her and she us. Suddenly, a pebble hits in windshield! A ping and a tiny deep dent. As we try to get a closer view of it, the crack lengthens in front of our eyes! Called insurance company and arrange for replacement windshield. Trip is costing an additional $250 for the deductible! Hidden cost of college!

Even now at home, it is surreal. I guess it will hit me when it it hits me. My baby is gone. The one who would not go to away camp is now far away. Okay, not that far. I guess it is because I am confident my girl will be able to handle most things that come her way. She will know when to ask for help. It is reassuring that she is rooming with her bestfriend and they will take care of each other. It helped that we were able to move her into her dorm and set her up. Her floormates seem nice. I am so happy she has a nice room and an even nicer view! Her dorm overlooks the sports field. While we were there , all day long there were one sport team or another practising. Such healthy living and eye candy for sure!! ha, ha- that can only be a bonus.

Daughter, if you are reading this. I love you even though there are no tears. I am excited for you. I am here for you. I am crying somewhere inside.... really I have to be.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Love Books!

Ha, ha. GOT YOU !!!

Aren't these books darling ??? On a quick little trip ( you know how a little trip becomes a huge one) to Costco the other day, I discovered amazing little books/ journal and fell in love immediately.They are so whimsy and full of possibilities. Beautifully illustrated, they have lined pages, graph pages and just plain pretty ones. I immediately thought of what I can record in them- once my creative juices get going. I can write on one page and when then graph my design on another. Perfect. Despite my best intentions with the blog, I still fail to record my cooking experiments until too late.......and I still continue to lose recipe I collect. I am thinking I could be writing these down in these darling love books. Ha, ha- do you know what has been happening? I think about writing in the book, then I don't!! What if I mess it up? Right - what if there is mess up - that is what I would tell daughter L? Just cannot take my own advice it seems..... So decided I will USE THE BOOKS and write and draw in them. Hmm- then I need to go buy more. Help!! More doing and less buying. Hopefully, I will follow through with my good intention and then be able to blog better. Here's to my Love(ly) Books.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Warrior Army

Been busy making my warrior army. A little something to go out into the world, to college with daughter L and some of her friends. I really had a great time making them. Making the heads and bodies took no time at all. It is joining of the head to the body- I am never satisfied with how it looks. In particular when I am joining a head to a different colored body. Most of the instructions on the blogs say a good join involved visible stitches that will blend into the stitches. Not when they are two different colors! I have yet to perfect it ( to my standard) ... I like strong invisible stitches in joining.

The most work is in the clothing and accessories. That seems to take forever to perfect. I have to work a better system or get better scissors to cut those felt weapons. So in the past week I have in my spare time i.e. while watching telly made 6 completed warriors and 7 naked bodies wanting to be transformed!

I think they turned out quite nicely. Don't you?? :)

Morning roll call with Captain Frasier
The Line up:-

Trojan and the Blue Knight

Spartan and Ninja

Cleric and the Brown Knight

Garden Duty

The Horrible Mother and Wounded Daughter

Watching my daughter L getting ready to strike out on her own in college has been strange. She is all grown up but has so much more growing to do.......Maybe I have been a little hard on her, wanting her to make those adult decisions and just be totally responsible, focus and efficient. Just getting the packing done already!!! These weeks have been stressful and we have been in a number of fights, more than ever in our lives, more than during college application season. I grumble and yell and she with her stony stare :( Yeh, that is how we fight- one sided fights. Me- the horrible grumpy mommy and L, the angry daughter yelling at the top of her mental lungs! (Oh, what bloody wounds have you inflicted upon me???) Ha, ha....I guess I can be a bit intimidating and at the bottom of her rotten behavior is my sweetest darling daughter.

I know she wants to be spoiled just a little while more. Me? - I look and wonder how is she going to cope when she is on her own? Certainly, not if she procrastinate all the time and thinks that things will just work out.....I see my little girl looking at me and saying "Mommy fix it. Mommy make it better." This time, I will not be there to help to make it work........ That scares me.

I see her rushing around and making and spending time with her friends before she leaves for college. She makes time for her brother, plays guitar hero with him and talks about how much she will miss him and all the milestones in his life. Reminds him to keep her updated all the time. He in turn is always asking where she is, when is she coming home, as she moves like a tornado through our house in her whirlwind of activities. He cooks for her..... He loves her. At least I have that part right- encourage a sibling bond that is beautiful and strong. I know that they will always be there for one another.

How's the daddy? He will miss her too much......but he is stronger than I am. He is sad she is not actually spending time with him but is around him. He is dealing with it. Ha, ha it must be the male bonding advice he got at his class reunion - how to handle child leaving for college. At least he in not enrolled in her college as he has threatened all these years! He laughs when she tells him he is her sugar daddy. He buys her what she needs, what she wants and just spoils her rotten. He wants her to come home every month and for now, she wants to! Ha, ha... we'll see.

Me. I want to be spoiled too. I want my little girl to spend time with want to spend time with me like she has always done so in the past. It hurts when I see her making time for others because it is "my last chance to see them" but not me :( That is the horrible kind of mother I am!!!! It is not letting go. I can but the ridiculous (I hope!) feeling of not being important to her anymore.

I know you need to say your goodbyes because it is "my last chance" and that you will miss me and we will still be close. I need to spoil you more because you need to feel that nothing has changed and Mommy will be here always for you (not the Horrible One but the one with the halo). I need not to worry so much because you are my daughter- you will prevail. You will do what need to be done when the time comes. You have a lots of me and your dad in you (too bad you cannot choose your genes). You are after all, our warrior princess.

But would it hurt you to spend a little more time with you family (me!!!)?? You need to remember being at home in your room does not mean you are spending time with us.

The Horrible Grumpy Mommy

PS We cannot fit everything in the trunk

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How's does my garden grow?

I know it has been awhile since I blogged about my garden. By no means have I forgotten it although I have neglected it a fair bit. This is an unknown price for college education.....This summer we have been getting ready for daughter L to leave for UC Berkeley. We have so far visit Berkeley twice this year and will be moving her into the dorms in 10 days time!!! These trips and the pace of getting things together with her has taken its toll on my garden. I have not been able to create the bountiful garden I had envisioned in early spring. My kitchen garden in particular has suffered the most. We were away at Calso during the hottest week and that utterly killed my tomato plants. I know, the irony- heat and tomatoes! There was just not enough watering during those critical scorching days. I nursed them back to unproductive living dead status... Today, in an act of tough love, I yanked them out and started again with left over seedlings I started earlier. They are a bit stunted but maybe now that they have been elevated to Kitchen Garden status, they will take off. I can only hope.

This is not to say that I have not worked on my garden at all. I did so in drips and drabs. I did fertilize my trees and they have rewarded me with delicious fruits.This past 2 weeks had me waking up early and taking advantage of the cool mornings to spruce up my garden. The days were killer hot until this week. I also worked the evenings from about 5 pm to close to 9 pm if the children's activities did not interfere with these zen moments.

My rewards? The glorious sweet smelling blooms of the kumquats- heavenly. And now the trees are loaded with little kumquats, a promise of delicious pleasures to come. Three pomelo slowing getting bigger. It took a longer time to adjust to the transplant. It is a fragrant pomelo- cannot remember if it was the `green tea' variety. Sweet, juicy,not pulpy and unlike the flavor you get with market bought pomelo.

The mango tree is doing well with a fair amount of fruit. I am so glad it survive the transplant into the ground last year. It is quite an achievement to get Mango to fruit in our area.

June 29 2009 - flowers set and little mango form.

August 11, 2009 - after fruit drops. Remaining fruits almost palm sized.

Not to be outdone, three new plantings last year are flowering and seem to be setting fruit- the Ciku,the Nona and the Passionfruit. Whoa! Amazing. Just 2 days ago I was rewarded with yet another first in my garden- the Dragon Fruit plant is finally fruiting!! I am so excited.

August 11, 2009- just spotted dragon fruit ! (talk about being busy)

August 15 2009- how the fruits have lengthen!

Nona / Sugar Apple - flowering hopefully some fruit will set before the cold!

Ciku /Sapote flowers

Persimmon- reliable yearly delight!

Passionfruit grown on a arch trellis

Good old faithful Fig tree which we transplanted last year from the pot into the ground has really taken off. The fruits are large, purple and utterly delicious. As you can see from the pictures, the birds think so too!! We have been fighting them for the fruits. They cleverly eat out the fig on one side, leaving it hanging, so from certain angles you think you still have delicious fruits. The figs are the fruit in season now and it is GOOD.

August 11 2009-Figs swelling up to large palm sized and turning deep purple.

We have enjoyed blueberries, blackberries, peaches and now figs. Oh before I forget we did also enjoy the oranges- Valencia and the Navels, the Clementines and lots and lots of Calamasi (limau kasturi). So all is not lost in my garden....:)