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Archive for the ‘gardening’ Category


Happy Epiphany Sunday.

It’s the last time I  am going to say  “Merry Christmas”, until next December.  Catholics used to celebrate Epiphany during January 6 of the year but it was later changed to the first Sunday which may fall any time from January 2  to January  8.  Why was it changed? After Vatican II, some local episcopal conferences decided that it wasn’t advisable to  mandate people to attend mass every January 6  of the year. Hence, it is now celebrated the  first Sunday of January.

We attended mass at 6:30 am then later gardened for a while after breakfast.  I have to remove the old sweet potato vines and plant new ones. I added some okra beside the  new ones.   We have to trim the bleeding hearts too since they invaded some branches of our jackfruit trees.  Josef removed the African rose altogether since it is so invasive. I love its orange flowers though. I used to grow it in pots but lately, it even broke the  container pot where it was planted.  Gardening at 9 am with the sun on one’s back is  quite difficult but I have to take advantage of Josef’s free time. We were done after two hours.

Found a small guava growing near the perimeter fence.  The old tree is almost dying but Josef picked two guava fruits earlier.  What a nice surprise!

I am into my second book  this year, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.  It’s Goodreads’ Choice Award for Best Fiction  2017.  It’s my first book of Celeste Ng. I am still trying to find copies of more classic books that I haven’t read yet.  I love this quote from the book:

“It came, over and over, down to this: What made someone a mother? Was it biology alone, or was it love?” 

I think motherhood is more about love. It is  a privilege. a glorious blessing.

Happy Sunday everyone.

 

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This morning, I spent a little time at the garden inspecting new blooms and trimming  some more. We have these berry trees behind the house.  A friend gave them as seeds  some years back and I planted at least six.  They are all bearing fruits now. Some branches are so close to the cloth line at the back so I have to trim them too. I thought of arranging them in a vase. I just added two palm leaves and bingo, they look great.

 

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It’s been a busy week so far. Weekends are  here again. Time to relax a little and enjoy what is in store.

I gardened for three straight hours yesterday then today I went to the mall to buy Christmas gifts for the family.  Two loads off my shoulder. It’s a good thing their  customer service is still not that busy. I was able to have them gift-wrapped. I won’t have to buy  Christmas gift-wrapping papers. I need a few more but I already have an idea what to buy.  A month ago. I also bought my birthday gift for Nate who’ll be having his 5th birthday next month.

I  window-shopped for Christmas decor but most of them are so costly. We have lots here but some of them are already old.  Hoping for something new for a change.  I want to put up a  Christmas tree. We use the plastic ones here since they are more practical to use.  Our Christmas tree though is seven feet high. It is so time-consuming to fill  it with  Christmas lights and decorations. I want a smaller one  with dancing lights.  Every year, they innovate  the Christmas lights. We used to have the Christmas parol  which is truly unique in the Philippines  The word parol is derived from the  Spanish  word farol, meaning “lantern”.  They are quite expensive now and they have gone a long way in terms of designs and lighting. I remember my brother who at one time hand-carried one when they came over for vacation a long time ago. He said their house in Tulsa is the only one with  parol come  Christmas time.

Despite the busy days, I was able to read more books. I am now in the middle of reading Philippa Gregory’s The Constant Princess. If you love the story of the Tudors, you would  admire the story of Katherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII. I love the story of The Other Boleyn Girl  more than this one though. I love historical novels.  Speaking of reading, I am on my 175th read for this year, twenty  five more books than I have set myself to finish until December.

Have a nice and blessed weekend.

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What’s it about Monday that makes one lazy sometimes or bold enough to tackle another difficult job?

I am half-way through trimming our carabao grass again. I bought a new grass cutter several days ago so it is easier to do the job now.  The weather is just fine for gardening with a gentle morning breeze to enjoy.

Gosh, the noise of the vehicles passing by our street. The main road in Ortigas Avenue Ext. is being repaired so some commuters pass through  our subdivision to avoid the heavy traffic. I hate it  when some use their car horns inside the subdivision. They are not supposed to do that since the subdivision only allows  a lower speed limit compared to the main roads. It is annoying. Yesterday afternoon, two cars bumped into each other right in front of the house causing a traffic jam for a while. Those drivers get so impatient.

I harvested about a kilo of kalamansi  after gardening and made some into juice. The fresh, delicious taste of freshly picked kalamansi…heaven.

 

There are plenty more where they come from.  It’s time Nate visits us again so he could bring some home.  Speaking of  food, yesterday I  cooked  pancit bihon for lunch. It is a Filipino noodle stir fry so popular for everyday meals and on special occasions too.  Since it is a complete meal in itself one does not need to add rice to the dish.  You would need about a half kilo of pork, 500 grams of vermicelli noodles, carrots, chayote, Baguio beans and two stalks of celery.

 

There is still a little left inside the ref with two pieces of longganisa to boot. Perfect for another meal later.  Left-over meals for  Monday…haha!

Have a nice week ahead friends!

 

 

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Honestly, I didn’t know there is such a thing as this. a special day celebrated for book lovers. All these years I was not aware of it until a friend on Facebook forwarded this lovely  photo from Chicken Soup for the Soul. It was celebrated yesterday. Today, in our country, it’s already August 10.

How nice to celebrate a special day for books and readers alike. I love this photo. it shows the beauty of having books around with maybe a hot cup of coffee or tea on a rainy day.

Cicero surely was thinking of me  🙂  when he said these words.  Garden and books, two things I both love.  How I wish I really have a small room for a library but all I have are several shelves for our accumulated books over the years. My daughter is a book nerd, she used to buy series of publications when she was here. I remember a complete set of the Harry Potter series, all hardbound copies which she reserved  at National Book Store when they were out in the market. I remember watching the movie adaptations with my kids.  Remember  Hunger Games, a trilogy of young adult dystopian novels written by the novelist Suzanne Collins? She also has hard-bound copies of  Stephanie Meyer’s books  Twilight. I haven’t read them, I am not fond of vampire stories and werewolves.

By the way, I am done with 145 books for my Goodreads’ 2017 Reading Challenge.  Five more books to go,  yahoo 🙂 I lately finished another memoir by Frances Mayes, author of the lovely book Under the Tuscan Sun . Under Magnolia is all about her coming of age, her growing up years in  Fitzgerald, Georgia. I love the photos inside the book.  It made me think of how she looked like when she was younger.

Though it’s late, I want to wish you all Happy Book Lovers Day.

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It’s cold.

I was hoping I will be able to finish trimming the carabao grass this morning but the garden  is wet from the rain. It rained so early  and according to news report, it is because of ITCZ (Inter Tropical  Convergence Zone). It would probably drizzle the whole day, that kind which we call tigatik or ambon in Tagalog. It’s that kind of weather that makes you long to go back to bed or either stay in a corner and read.  I just ate a cup of Banana and Honey instant oatmeal.  So lazy to cook breakfast. Or maybe, it the perfect time to drink that cup of instant coffee I’ve longed for all week.

Are you a tea or coffee drinker?

How many times have you heard this frequently asked question, “tea or coffee?”, be it in some obscure diners or  some  extravagant restaurants in town. During the past few years, many coffee shops have sprouted like mushrooms in the metropolis which only proves that there is money in coffee. Coffee drinking is synonymous to bonding with friends, closing deals with business associates and simply relaxing in the comfort of your  home while watching a good TV program or curled up in a corner reading your favorite book.

I used to be a coffee drinker, but now I have limited my coffee intake for just once  or twice a week, or when I feel I have the craving for caffeine early in the morning. Just can’t resist the aroma of freshly brewed coffee or a cup of the instant variety. Those of us who drink coffee know about caffeine and its effects. Though tea and hot chocolate have caffeine too, apparently, it is lesser. They say that three cups of coffee is considered an average or moderate dose, but what about the add-on  like cream, sugar and other kinds of sweetener put in a cup to make it more flavorful? There are various creamer mixes like Bavarian mint, Cinnamon spice, Irish cream, Hazel nut, mocha, Amaretto and other flavored creamers. And there are many ways of brewing coffee. Drip coffee makers have a fairly simple, quick and easy way to prepare a cup. Coffee grounds are placed in a filter basket inside the machine which is filled with water. The hot water drips through the ground into a glass carafe to produce brewed coffee.

When I was in college, I met a Japanese friend who taught me how to prepare Japanese green tea. Tried to teach her some  common English words so  she sent me packs of green tea complete with instructions on how to enjoy a cup. That pretty much started my love affair with the beverage. Green tea is dried, not fermented so it produces a lighter flavor. It’s good for colon cleansing.  There are several varieties of tea in the market today – black tea, Earl Gray, Oolong tea, Orange Pekoe and there are varied flavors too just like coffee.There is also bubble tea which are pearl shakes made of Tapioca (sago in our Filipino language). The tea is usually served with a gigantic straw which is just the right size for slurping. Hot tea drinks may come in the flavor of almond , lemon, vanilla, orange, spearmint, peppermint and chocolate mint. I love the brand Celestial Seasonings, Twinings in different flavors and Lipton Green Tea.  There are so many locally produced tea flavors here  too like ampalaya, malunggay tea, banaba and the like. They are all medicinal. Years ago, I bought a tea set, those dainty cups which are so cute and chic and I have been using them until now.

Tea or coffee, anyone?

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Sometimes there is an advantage in attending anticipated mass. As Josef was free last Saturday night, we decided to go to mass at 6:30 pm.  It made my Sunday free.

For the past two mornings, I’ve been in the garden digging, replanting and weeding . Getting ready for the rainy days.  The satisfaction one gets from gardening….priceless. I know some won’t agree with me.   Sometimes I don’t wear gloves at all.  It’s nice to feel the rough and coarse earth in your hands once in a while. And it’s nice to see recently trimmed plants lining the garden wall.  One of my friends who visited me last Thursday brought  a pot of pink shrimp plant for my garden. I have the yellow variety so this pink one would add to the beauty of the yellow flowers. I hope I could propagate it later.

Pretty in pink. Can’t wait to see this in full bloom. My pink shrimp plant.

 

A Celosia bloom

I bought a seed packet of this Celosia and planted  it  a few months  back. I wonder if it would produce another color.

Gardening is one relaxing activity that I could not give up.  Yesterday, I transferred some Portulaca plants and they are now flowering nicely in different colors. They are so easy to propagate and very good ground covers. If it does not rain this afternoon, will be able to finish uprooting the weeds outside.  Gardening is hard but the happiness and satisfaction it gives are priceless.

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