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Posts Tagged ‘Close to Nature’


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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A few days ago, I posted a blog at Gardens and Empty Spaces, some shots of my garden blooms.  I was excited to see my Amazon Lily in all its white glory. Here it is finally :)

It belongs to the family of Amaryllidaceae.

It belongs to the family of Amaryllidaceae.

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I guess my hands still smell of paint and varnish.

Ah, it was a long weekend but our scheduled painting job for the roof is finally finished. They were also able to paint our concrete fence the other day.  I love the “gentle peach” look of the latter.  The roof was done in Spanish red. Next weekend, when it’s my son’s days off again, we will retouch the  steel grills attached to it.  I repainted our grotto and the surrounding wall and had a grand time retouching our concrete garden chairs and table as well. Mom is amazed that I could also use a  paint brush…haha.  She hasn’t seen me before on my knees doing some hard job of repainting. She is always appreciative of everything saying “wow, ang ganda”. Josef retouched our two gates and made finishing touches on our dining set. I still have another DIY project to do. I have three rattan baskets that I need to clean. I am thinking of applying the same clear varnish to make it presentable. I do occasionally use them as fruit  and bread baskets. These remind me of those times that we used to visit Dapitan Arcade and tried searching for some home decor which are locally made but are export overruns.  When one is lucky enough, you can find cheap rattan accessories, table accent pieces and cute catch-all boxes which you could embellish with ribbons and such.

I have missed reading other blogs for the past four days, still trying to catch up and finish a book I have started a few days ago.  It’s the 29th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution today and they only declared no classes. Poor commuters and office workers are stuck in heavy traffic right now because of a few people joining  a rally  occupying the southbound lane of EDSA. They used to declare this day as a special non-working holiday, I wonder why it’s only classes which were suspended. The kids now don’t even know the meaning of the EDSA revolution.  They could never duplicate what happened in February  1986, they could never replicate the millions of people who went to EDSA  with one common goal – to oust a tyrant leader. It seems today, each has her/his own personal agenda.  Gone are  the  times when commemorating such event was a happy affair.

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I haven’t blogged for…let me see….almost a week.  And sometimes when you haven’t expressed your thoughts in words for quite a while, it is quite hard to write again.  I am trying to catch up on reading while having coughing fits late at night.  The nights are long and cold while the days are sunny and bright, perfect chances of having runny nose and headache. I am feeling okay now but I have gone lazy blogging. I am grateful though that readers continue to visit my blog  even without a new post.

I miss the shouts and laughter of my grandson who spent a long weekend with us. Hearing his voice asking about this and that, being so curious about everything he see are quite welcome changes to an otherwise silent and quiet household. I am just amazed of the things Nate learned for a month that we haven’t seen him.  He has a favorite word now. He would say “later” when he is not inclined to take his milk, when he is not yet sleepy and when you ask a question that he thinks would be okay for later. Hahaha, funny how you can learn something from a two-year old child. Time is of the essence of course and sometimes you think time is running out  and you do your bit of everything in a hurry. That word later made me realize that I might have done it wrong,trying to do everything in one go  but you can enjoy the moment and do things later. He would just say I want milk when he is hungry and water please when he wants a drink. Learning to relax I think is one luxury that we have somehow forgotten and the smile, warm hugs and embraces of a child reminds you to take time out from this so-called busy life and just enjoy the moment.

I told my kids that the feeling was like celebrating Christmas Eve and looking forward to Christmas day. Imagine having midnight snack of a crispy bagnet (pork belly which is the Ilocano version of lechon kawali) with steamed rice at 1am, precious moments sharing a meal at an ungodly hour and having the time of your life listening to their stories. Waking up late and enjoying a  sumptuous  breakfast accompanied by Nate’s shouts of “yummy, yummy”, what more could you ask for?

Every year, Nissa gives me a copy of Bank of PI’s planner/journal featuring selected artworks from the BPI Art Collection. This year, they have Contemporary Realism. There is a featured contemporary artist for every month along with the original picture of the paintings and enlarged copies in another page. It’s almost too good to use as a planner. The cover is a painting from my favorite artist, Manuel Baldemor.

Precious moments, unhurried time enjoying the beauty of the now, making memories, finding treasures in simple things, I guess these more than make up for the days we haven’t seen each other,  just hearing each other’s voices on the line.

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To feel the soft breeze

to   see the gentle unfolding of the morning

to listen to the silence all around

priceless gifts that another day brings.

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♪♫have yourself a merry little Christmas. let your heart be light♪♫♪

Do I hear the music playing? Gosh, the days are definitely chasing each other. Josef and I have finally put up our minimal  Christmas decor and I love the look of our home now. Mind you, these are recycled  decorations that we have accumulated over the years and lovingly restored just for this occasion. I know some of you don’t celebrate Christmas the way we do here in our country, three long months of celebration.  Shopping malls are truly alive during this season because they usually put up their larger than life Christmas trees, trimmings and twinkling LED lights as early as September. Where can you find Christmas songs being played all day long? An  advertising gimmick to lure more shoppers of course. We are vulnerable that way because we love Christmas.  I’ve done shopping for some gifts for the family but I haven’t completed  my list yet. This is the first time that we did the decorating this early. I took advantage of Josef’s vacation leave to sort what to put up. I bought something new of course and it was the first time I did it – a set of pillow cases in Christmas prints.

Christmas 2014 - 2

Christmas 2014 -1I bought those empty rattan carts a year ago and embellished them with Christmas balls and flowers. That white porcelain nativity set was a gift from a friend many years ago and I just love it.

Our town is participating in a Christmas tree contest in the whole province of Rizal. The large Christmas tree displayed at the grounds of our municipal hall is made from recycled soft drink bottles. I hope we win :)

Don’t look now but I’ve finally been able to find some pictures of the Ayala Triangle gardens. The tradition continues with the  Festival of Lights happening  every 30 minutes from 6pm to 10 pm every night starting today and will continue till January 04, 2015. I got these two pictures from the timeline of JAZA (Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala), one of the big bosses of Ayala Group of Companies, Bank of PI included. I am sure he wouldn’t mind if I post them here :) He has a page on FB which most former unibankers like me follow.

Courtesy of JAZA. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ayala Corp.

Courtesy of JAZA. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ayala Corp.

Photo courtesy of Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala.

Photo courtesy of Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala.

I hope I would be able to visit this and watch musicians/composers sing Christmas carols of old. This is right in front of Nissa’s office building.

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