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Archive for the ‘Close to Nature’ Category


One of my favorite shots of a favorite subject....clouds.

One of my favorite shots of a favorite subject….clouds.

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It’s another “it’s been a while” post that you would probably get from me from time to time.  It was a busy weekend and another busy day for gardening. I am taking advantage of the cloudy afternoon skies and the cool early morning breeze.  We have occasional thunderstorms lately but PAGASA says it is not yet the official start of the rainy season.  It has become even more humid in fact so the afternoon showers are welcome.

Gardening is hard, who says it is not? I have to dig and uproot stubborn and unwanted weeds, trim the Green dust plants, do a perfectly imperfect round shape of  my several Fukien Tea plants and dig, dig some more. I am getting good at it…haha!  To think I haven’t even started  trimming our carabao grass but at least the concrete stepping-stones are now  clear of unwanted  overgrown carabao grass. It is hard to maintain a garden no matter how small it is. One has to invest one’s time  and extra effort to make everything grow. If the weather permits, I’ll be harvesting Calamansi  (Philippine lime) this afternoon.

One thing good about gardening is the time you spend  by yourself, alone in your thoughts. You let your mind wander and you can even create a nice story while looking at your fingers full of dirt and stain.  It is all worth it though, gardening is a job that you have to do and happens to enjoy (not all the time).

I’ve switched back to another reading genre.

I’ve been reading so much chick lit the last few days, funny and sad stories of women from wonderful authors that I’ve  seen on Goodreads. This time though, I found two books by Michael Palmer, an American author who is also a doctor. I’ve read one or two books of him before  when I was searching for ways to cope with the boredom of being bedridden for half a year. I love medical thrillers and the jargon is quite familiar. There was a time when I was obsessed collecting all the books by Robin Cook, another American novelist and doctor whose writings deal with medicine and  other such topics affecting public health. If you have seen the movie Outbreak,  he is the author of the book where it was lifted from. It’s nice to read fast-paced stories again. I haven’t taken a single picture lately but I found a lovely shot which I took several years ago while traveling North to our hometown. would love to share it in another post. By the way, thank you for continuously visiting my blog, reading old posts that I have somehow forgotten. I was thrilled to find that my stats have reached an amazing 335,461 at the moment. Thank you, thank you so much.

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There are moments when we want to reminisce about those things we enjoyed doing in the past. It’s not exactly a different world, just simple reminders of how life should be.  Life is a continuous struggle but then amidst such pain and suffering we see the light and still enjoy whatever life deals us along the way.

Last night, I woke up to this ungodly hour of 1 am and it was hard to go back to sleep. My mind was full of images of places I’ve been to not long ago. I can’t even recall if they were just snippets of dreams I had earlier.  I had this fear of going back to the hospital even for a simple check-up. I had phobia of  those people lined up outside a doctor’s clinic  waiting endlessly and patiently for the doctor to arrive.That feeling of being treated for a simple allergy then they find something more serious than those red marks on your skin.  Fifteen  years ago, I was hospitalized  for almost a week because of allergy and then one of my doctors  (my OB-Gyn) suggested that I undergo TVS ultrasound since I was already there.  After two years of treatment, there was no option but to undergo a first major operation …total hysterectomy because of endemetriosis.  My second major operation was in July 2009. They had to cut a portion of my sigmoid colon and remove the affected parts.  A few months after my last chemotherapy, I underwent a kidney bypass and had to be hospitalized again. For almost six years now, I am in remission from colon cancer. I thank God for second chances at life, I thank God that He let me see the beauty of life despite all the setbacks.

Three weeks  after my so-called “graduation” from chemotherapy, our friendly neighbors invited us to join them to visit a place in Tanay, Rizal, a two-hour trip by car from our place. I was even hesitant to go, I was thinking I would not be able to endure that trek down the place and the climb back later to civilization but it was one of those trips that I would remember vividly.  We brought along my then six-year old niece who stayed with us during the Christmas break.  The log cabin where we stayed was still in the middle of construction so we fetched a tent and enjoyed the cold breeze of the countryside. All you can see was the long-range of the Sierra Madre mountains from afar.

Sierra Madre Mountains

Sierra Madre Mountains

Simple life, simple joys...

Simple life, simple joys…

We roasted marshmallows, grilled hotdogs and milkfish and brought along a big pot of adobo and a pan of pancit. Everything tasted so good but the company was even better.

the best place to commune with nature...

the best place to commune with nature…

And the best sharing about life was done inside that tent with Jane, our neighbor and Nissa, my daughter while the two younger kids were looking for ants and other insects just outside the tent  and the men in our group explored the place. Looking back, I felt so happy that I was able to endure  the 15-minute walk, a kind of litmus test after six  months of treatment/chemotherapy. I felt so good that it was nice again  to go back to being normal, if normal means there were no more pain of the IV and the effects of the drug, if normal means going out  and bonding with friends and family, if normal means you could forget the endless laboratory  tests and the hospital and seeing your oncologists.

the trek back to the top

the trek back to the top

Chasing dreams and remembering the good old days, an escape from the ugly realities of life. Sometimes, life is full of angst and broken dreams but it’s nice to reminisce about something that would put a smile on your face again and you could face the world one more time with more dreams to pursue and happy memories to recall.

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When the sun shines longer each day, it’s summer.

When the wind blows early in the afternoon  diffusing the heat of the morning, it’s summer.

Many of us look forward to summer despite the fact that a day could really become a scorcher. Summer for school kids means a long, long vacation. Summer gives you that perfect excuse to stay longer under the shower, find a nearby place that has a private pool to visit,  go to a beach and soak under the sun or if you just want to stay at home you can join your little kids  in their inflatable pool.  My son loves  to wear the most tattered and frayed t-shirts during the summer months, you could almost see several little holes in them. He says it becomes more comfortable with frequent washing.

What I love about  summer is  the profusion of different kinds of flowers. Sometimes, when you are lucky, those  few annuals show their heads and surprise you with lovely blooms.  Fruits are also something to look forward to.  Mangoes are the best fruits you can find in our neck of the woods. I haven’t visited Pasig market yet but I am sure there are plenty of star apples now, honeydew melons, mangoes, water melons, pineapples, papaya and many, many more.  I am looking forward to tasting sineguelas (Spanish plum)again.  Don’t you just wish you could enjoy drinking fresh buko juice everyday which is so healthy and beneficial to your health? Fresh young coconuts  are available in almost every corner of the neighborhood.  Singkamas (Jicama) as we usually call it  here are  aplenty  during the hot summer months. I know some call them turnips but it is not the variety of turnips that you usually find in other countries. Although it taste bland to some people who are not used to it, it is one of my favorite root crops.  They are best eaten cold with a little salt and vinegar used as dip. They are also mixed with other vegetables to make spring rolls. I haven’t tasted lomboy (we call it duhat in Tagalog and Java plum in English) for quite sometime now but I remember the days of old when my cousins and I would pick these juicy fruits when school is out. Armed with bayong or baskets, we would climb trees  even under the heat of the sun and gorge on the plum, juicy fruits.

There is a fresh mango smoothie cooling in the fridge. It’s definitely summer.

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Gosh,  how time flies!  I can’t believe that it’ll be summer in a week or two. Here comes the sun and probably a series of brownouts that the Department of Energy is warning the public since last year. And it is not a case of I hope we have enough supply because it will definitely happen (according to news reports). I am thinking of buying a rechargeable fan to beat the summer heat.  Despite these setbacks though, summer would always be welcome, never mind the heat, we are used to it. What I love about the summer are the varieties of local fruits you’ll find only during the season, mangoes (we produce the sweetest mangoes), star apples, santol (wild mangosteen) siniguelas (Spanish plum) rambutan, avocado, duhat (Java plum) and many more.  My annuals bear flowers during the summer months and I love the surprise I always see in my tiny garden during this season. I could now see a growing  kamantigue with its dark violet flowers.

This has been a productive week for me. I finished painting two spans of our fence grills, three more to go. I bought garden soil and did some repotting  and replanting of my prayer plants. I have three varieties of them. I found a white vinca growing outside and replanted it too in one corner together with the pink ones. Mom said I should take a rest because every day I am outside trying to refurbish our small garden. We have this old lampshade made of ceramics and  when the electrical wiring was not working anymore, I made it into a garden accessory and repainted it in black together with a water fountain that we no longer use but still a lovely accent piece in one corner. It’s hard work I know but the fulfillment one gets seeing a new look is priceless.

Of course the day would not be complete without taking a few shots.   Here’s a picture of my Shanghai Beauty.

Pretty in pink...

Pretty in pink…

 

It's called Mexican Firereplant or  Wild Poinsettia

It’s called Mexican Fireplant or Wild Poinsettia

 

How was your week?  Happy weekend to all!

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My first experiment on color splash.

My first experiment with color splash.

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Woke up at 3am. Son left for work at 5am. I  watered the plants and  swept the yard a few minutes ago. It seems the clock’s hands are moving too slow, it’s not even 6am.  I wanted to go back to bed but I love the feel of the cold February morning on my face. Maybe it is another perfect time to write a few words here.

I’m cleaning my document files of unwanted downloads and pictures that I have already saved to my hard drive, then I saw this, a shot I took of our place the last time I went home more than four years ago.  A nostalgic longing, a trip down memory lane. It’s actually a narrow  road leading to our place in the province, a single lane for cars.

canvasI miss this place.  Several years ago, this was just a dirt road which was not  accessible to cars but it is now cemented. We live in a higher place than the town proper. It is actually overlooking the whole town but what I love most about it is the vast expanse of  green, bamboos gently swaying on the roadside and when you reach the top, the green rice fields are a feast for the eyes. I grew up here and it was my home until I graduated from grade school. The house is old and small but the garden is vast.

The countryside brings you back to old but not forgotten days of childhood. You smile at the thought of visiting it again, once more to commune with nature, to see old folks at home  and to renew acquaintance with the place where the sun rises early and bright and the night holds a certain magic because back there, the stars are brighter. If only for the quiet and peaceful feel of the place, I would love to go back.

I am having   a second cup of coffee while watching our three dogs frolicking in the garden. It’s a simple life but happiness abounds.

 

 

 

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