Friday, December 31, 2010

Never Take Them For Granted

You know you loved her deeply
you know you cannot live without her
till death would you only willingly part
you know you have dedicated your entire life to her 
you know she meant everything to you
you appreciate the things she had done
what she had brought into your life
deep in your heart you know
 despite her shortcomings, 
she's a million times better than most
Why didn't you let her know
why didn't you shower her with your love
and affection every single day, every single moment

why, oh why?

You don't really miss someone so badly until she is actually gone.

Once she's gone you will suffer the pain as your heart breaks into a million pieces. You are overwhelmed with the pain of loneliness, as all your dreams fade away into oblivion.

There's only emptiness.

You would hope then, that it is just a bad dream.

You wished you can start over. Do things better.

Once she's gone you can cry a million tears, it'll make little difference, except to make you cry even more.

Pain will now take over other emotions. Your spine will weaken and you'd rather sit than stand.

Fear, anxiety overwhelm you.

The bitter taste in your mouth makes you despise food. Any food you touch will not be processed in the usual manner anyway. It'll be constant diarrhea.

It is the beginning of your bodily decay.

You will lose any and every sense of pleasure. Being alive itself hurts.

Nights will seem extra long, as you lay awake hoping and praying, and trying hard to find a reason to go on.

The sunrise and sunset mean little now, as days will not be glorious anymore.

Before long the weeds will be overgrown, and the vines will start to climb and strangle the trees, as the vines of depression starts to fix itself onto you, eating you away with a life of its own.

Why, oh God, why...

It is hopeless of course crying over spilled milk. You can only pray. And hope.

Take care of your loved ones.

You may think you are a smart ass. Or you may even actually be a smart ass. The brightest kid on the block. You may be rich. You may be the big boss in the office. You may work your butt out on a daily basis so your family can have everything.

But all those don't mean a thing without your love, and, more importantly, without you showing them in as many ways as you can that you love them dearly.

Please, please, please  don't take those you love for granted.

They are not mind-readers. Some things just need to be shown and demonstrated. Do it. Don't learn the hard way. Don't wait until it is too late.

Happy New Year Mum
Where ever you are
I'm sorry
I love you - before, now, and forever
God Bless

Saturday, December 18, 2010

How My Canon Shot A Dove

To snap this photo I stood on a higher ground at The Farm. You
can see the top of a durian tree. This is when the afternoon sun
shines the forest and hills on the eastern side of The Farm.

I continue to explore possibilities with my Canon 550D.

Here I want to share with you some photos of birds that I have taken on The Farm recently. My narration will be completely in layman's terms. No technical or professional photography jargon will be used, only because I don't know any of them (well actually I know aperture and shutter speed, but that's about all, and they are hardly technical).

I really believe in experience being the best teacher. I find that as I continue to use my camera I learn more and more on how to take better photos. I'm talking here about taking photos with my basic camera, not after spending a fortune to buy attachments which would make your camera look like one of those used by the paparazis. After all I am a farmer, not a professional photographer.

Using a basic camera will force you to be more creative too. For example I have to stalk and move stealthily around so that the birds will not know of my presence and will stay long enough for me to take the shots.

I'm also thinking of getting a pair of army uniform. If I wear them and cover myself all over with leaves the birds might think I am a durian tree.

Oh dear..this always happens to me: all I wanted to do was show a couple of pictures of doves I shot. But I rambled on and on first. I hope I am not turning readers away by doing this. Now you know why I cannot be a micro-fiction writer like Akelamalu. Or write a drabble of exactly 100 words like Rayna M. Iyer does.

Without further ado here are the photos...

This was the easy one

The first shot from behind a tree 30 feet away
Here's the more challenging and interesting one: I had followed this one from tree to tree using the stalking method described above, when she finally landed on this branch.

I actually hid behind another tree 30 feet away and - this is the clever part - through the branches and twigs and leaves of this tree I was able to create a telescopic path and took a shot up the other tree. How cool is that?

2nd Shot
Next, I moved closer to about twenty feet away to get a closer shot, and hoping of course she won't fly away.

She's twenty feet up the tree. Can you help me to calculate the straight line distance between me and the bird? (assuming the path from where I was crouching to the tree is straight and level, and the tree trunk is completely straight and rises perpendicular to the ground - which they were more or less).

Please provide answers with your comments. Thanks.

Hint: you either do it the hard way by using the longest tape measure you have, go out to your front yard, ask your hubby or boyfriend to climb a tree or pole 20 feet high, and measure the distance between him and you, who should be crouching 20 feet away;

Or you can consult Mr Pythagoras for help (recall your fifth grade or ninth grade - depending where you are - algebra).

3rd shot

4th shot

The last shot as she flew away

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

At The Border Out of Boredom

As comments to my last post stopped trickling in I found myself twiddling at the keybored (that's not a typo).

When I'm bored I become child-like and naughty.

When I'm naughty I may do things that I'll live to regret later...

One day Kim Jung IL, disguised as a farmer, was taking a walk on a farm along the border when he came across farmer Oh So Rong.

"Hello, I'm IL" says IL extending his hand.

"Oh", said Oh, extending his hand too. "I'm so sorry, I hope you get well soon".

"And you are...?"


"About What?"

Rong let that one go.

IL suddenly spotted a piece of heavy rounded metal jutting out of the ground.

Rong noticed it too and quickly said "Be careful, that's a mine!"

To which IL quickly retorted "That's mine!"

Rong became quite upset to find such a thing right on his farm land.

"I wish politicians would stop all these inhumane acts"

"Then you should join politics and get yourself a place in Parliament so you can be heard" IL advised (!!)

"There's already another Rong in our Parliament. I don't think two Rongs will make one right"

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Houston, We Have A Problem!"

This short, perhaps nervous, communication between the astronaut  and NASA gave you the eerie feeling of an impending disaster.

"Houston, we have a problem" has been my catch phrase since that Bruce Willis film Armageddon (or was it Tom Hank's Apollo 13?). You have to jog my memory here.

In any case 'Bruce Willis film' is not strictly correct, as even though he was the main actor, the film was not directed by him. I think it was a Michael Bay film.

I find it rather strange, in fact a bit disturbing, that I can't remember other details. The movie was screened not so long ago, and yet apart from that particular dialog I can't recall much else. I can't even remember from which film it was.

A sign of aging, perhaps?

They say three things happen to you when you grow old:

  1. You lose all drives - I certainly have plenty of drive in me yet
  2. Your memory will fail you
  3. Alamak!* I can't remember what No. 3 is!   (*also referred to as "Blimey!", or "Heck!", or "Crap!")

The only reason I have been able to remember that particular phrase is because I use it often, normally when I come face to face with a near-disaster situation.  I'll say "Houston, we have a problem" when:

  • The boat sprang a leak
  • I am very hungry and I only realise I have run out of spaghetti or penne  after I have cooked the pasta sauce. The nearest provision shop is ten miles away, and the shopkeeper has absolutely no clue what pasta is
  • Grandma is flying off to somewhere and I have to send her to the airport forty miles away. Since I'm lazy to drive she takes to the steering. On arrival at the airport we hug and kiss good-bye. I walk back to the car, only to realise that Grandma had taken the car key along with her to Florida or somewhere. (In this instance blimey!,or heck!, or even crap! will apply just as well)

Of course I still remember "I don't want to miss a thing". Who can forget that, bad memory or not. I'll leave you to enjoy it and reminisce...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wednesday's Child

I have to interrupt normal posting once again (and I don't say this unhappily).

I allow interruptions when there's a much bigger reason than serving you with another hopefully endearing post. And in this particular instance the reason is to honour a friend who had kindly given me an Award. Yes, I received another Award!

The friend I'm honoring is Gary, who blogs as klahanie.  If you ever need a friend, visit him. If somehow your life turns negative and you want to turn it around, having a chat with Gary may help. If you think life is not fair, Gary will give you enough reasons to convince you why that's okay and why you can live with it. He is that kind of friend.

Gary had kindly awarded me with this:

This Award originates from the delightful Samantha Verant of Live, Love, and Living in France. I would like to extend her a warm Welcome to The Farm!

The Award comes hot on the heel of L'Aussies' Fair Dinkum - how cool is that?

With all humility I accept this award. Thank you, Gary.

Apart from fresh air and sunshine, few other things in life come free. An Award is not one of them. In order to accept this award properly there's a condition that I have to state ten facts about myself. That's easy.

In fact I've been waiting for the opportunity to do just that! (Shhh...I'll let you on a little secret here: quietly I've been waiting for Rachael Harrie of Rach Writes to do an interview on me so I could tell you more about myself, but since that's not going to happen this is just as good I guess).

So here goes:

Fact 1. I am NOT an Alien. To be convinced of this go here.

Fact 2. I was born the first child to an extremely* poor couple (*that's an understatement - impecunious may be a better word). My parents soon realised that there's another child on the way. How can they support two when they're struggling with one? So on my 40th day they gave me away for adoption.

My parents' marriage was matched-made, but they so loved each other that they were blessed with eight more children, despite being the poorest couple in the village. We refer to children as rezeki (gifts from God). We have very fertile genes. One of my aunts has sixteen children, the last time I checked, that is.

I was blessed to remain the only child to an otherwise childless couple.

Fact 3. I was born on a Wednesday in August in The Year of the Rat! So I am a Virgo and a Rat. Rats! What could be more potentially- challenging!

If you don't like horror stories, you should stop here and go continue with that novel, or pay Gary a visit.

Still here? Okay - the scary part was when both the Western and Chinese Celestial Gods ganged up to align the stars to coincide with the birth of this Wednesday's child.

The rest of my facts will bear testimony to this weird coincidence, to wit:

Fact 4. I am extremely fastidious, so much so that when I was working a colleague couldn't help but smuggled the "A clean desk is a sign of an unhealthy mind" sign to put on my desk.

But not wanting to perpetuate the Virgo/Rat genes and end up with a home which could be mistaken for a clinic, I gave up control and had to consequently bear with, or make up for, if you like, all the clutters that were absent from my life before. Sigh...

Fact 5. I am a man of very few words. Orally or verbally, that is. I'm way way below introvert. On the odd occasion that I join friends (I'm very selective on this too, by the way) to coffee shops or the pub, it has more to do with watching the world (or the women) go by rather than to talk.

Written words, that's an entirely different story - you can see what's happening here...

According to Thelmaz, a man speaks about 2000 words per day as opposed to a woman's 7000. There's a possibility of a typo there - perhaps one zero too many for men and one zero less for women.

I'm also for, in any argument, letting the woman having the last say. That's for my own safety, for anything I say after that would mean a totally new argument.

Fact 6. I am not terribly bad at making money, but absolutely hopeless at spending them.

To get me to part with my money I have been given countless advice ranging from "money is the root of all evils" to "you won't be bringing all that money with you when you die".

My stock broker keeps telling me that recovery is around the corner, so "buy!, buy!". I'm of course suspicious, and wonder why they are called brokers in the first place.

Some people just cannot understand or accept the fact that it is possible to be happy by just enjoying the simple things in life. Then there are those who tend to confuse prudence and thrift with stinginess, and pride for arrogance.

Fact 7. I don't suffer fools gladly.

Fact 8. I love and adore children, and grandchildren, even when they have become adults.

Fact 9. I am scared of heights, so no mountain climbing or rollercoasters for me.

Fact 10. I always dot my i's and cross my t's. On a hot day, I'll be cross if there's no ice in my tea.

Now to spread this goodness: It is my utmost pleasure to pass on this Award -

To Nancy De at The Hapless Homestead - a story of true grit. Read about a woman's struggle on the Big Island, making a home, raising children and animals, AND work at the same time.

For sharing colorful stories from their farms, to
Chai Chai at Homestead From Scratch
Faith at Lemonade Adventures
Jennifer at Goats in The Garden

Then go over to Texas and meet Maria Zannini, a writer with a naughty rottie. She also loves farming, or at least she intends to rear a few goats for a start;

To Melissa for sharing her life through the looking glass;

For sharing her fabulous photos of nature and her surrounding, to Linnea of Photoblogista

(I would have passed this Award to Patricia A. Timms too, but she already had one).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Birds and The Bees

Sunrise on The Farm. It is going to be another glorious day!

It is the start of the fruit season too.

The King of fruits as you know had started flowering earlier. I can't show you much progress except that there are now more and bigger flowers.

The next stage will be anthesis - when the anther will burst open exposing the pollen-covered stamens. The birds and the bees (and moi) are all waiting for this. With proper pollination there'll be heavy fruiting.

The first fruit will drop (remember, we don't harvest durian - they drop by themselves when ripe) ninety days from anthesis. I'm predicting anthesis in about a week. So we will get some durian around March 2011. You can start placing your orders for the King now... ;)

Another great pollinators of durians are the bats (Eonycteris speleae). A couple flew into the Farm House to start nesting, but unfortunately for them, and pour moi, they were hit by the ceiling fan. Hopefully their next of kins will come by. I need all the help I can get.

Do not however confuse the bats with flying foxes (Pteropus vampyrus). You do NOT want them on your farm.

The bees in the meantime are not without food. The rambutans and longans are flowering too. So are the cikus (sapodilla). Take a look at the busy bees, while I snap photos of some birds, from a distance...

Pollinating the Longan

Flowering Rambutan trees amongst the Durian

Insects having fun time with the nectar

And the Bees helping themselves, and making sure
we get abundance of fruits later - Fair dinkum?

Sapodilla is another fruit found in abundance on The Farm. Locally it is known as Ciku, or Sawo Nilo. To the botanist it is Manilkara zapota. It is available all year round at various stages - flowers, young fruits, and matured ones - shown below:

Birds - various species of birds have come to make The Farm their home.

So far with the 55 - 250mm zoom lens attached to my Cannon 550 D, I'm only able to take tiny images of them, sometimes only silhouettes! Obviously I need bigger zoom...take a look at these anyway:

Can you see the yellow bird?

It then flew off and landed on this dead branch

Here it is again

Those on the fencing pillars are Pigeons - normally one
then joined by another. Can't get much nearer to them
than this (about 30ft), I'm afraid

For much better and really beautiful pics of birds (complete with names) pop over to bird enthusiast John Saunders.

My follower Cheryl, from yesterday's post, can be found here.

OK dokay, all that's left for me to do is to extend a big WELCOME to The Farm to Rosalie Rigby, my brand new follower. She does beautiful artwork by the Australian countryside. Check out her paintings here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fair Dinkum!

We interrupt normal postings for this very important and delightful announcement:

Grandpa has been awarded the Fair Dinkum Award by teacher,blogger and award-winning writer L'Aussie. Read all about the award and other recipients here. Thanks Denise :)))!

This will be proudly displayed on Life on The Farm sidebar from now on. This is the second award I received from L'Aussie. The first was when I was into my second month of blogging - this award

passed on to me by blogger Pamela Jo of Theres Just Life.

My understanding of Fair Dinkum is that it's about truth, honesty, and fairness. It is a way of life in Australia.

One way of illustrating fair dinkum, the way I look at it is this: if you take a big stick and hit a dog and it bites you, that's fair dinkum.

On The Farm, the closest I can think about fair dinkum is: you reap what you sow. The quality of what you reap is also dependent on how well you take care of what you had planted. Fair? Occasionally you get lucky and you get volunteers

Now it's my pleasure to pass this award to other bloggers who had been constant companions on The Farm and/or are regular visitors here:

Ohio Farm Girl who left corporate life to enjoy life on the farm with her hubby The Big Man. I agree with her that farming is a great way of life but not a great way of making a living. Join her for exciting adventures in the good land. At the moment she's under three feet of snow!

All Fellow Crusaders led by head honcho Rachael Harrie. Regulars to my blog are: Patricia A. Timms, Kristie Howard, Marieke, Joanna St. James, Maria Zannini, Rachel Morgan and many others;

Uncle Lee - The ultimate gentleman and courteous blogger - he is sure to response to your every comment, no matter how long it takes him! Visit him for some fun with Malaysian flavor, even though he now lives in Canada, at the Moonlight Rendezvous.

I want to take this opportunity to welcome to The Farm  new followers (in order of appearance):

The Blogger Fomerly Known as a.k.a The Enigmatic Masked Blogger
Klahanie a.k.a Gary
The Wanderer
Dominic de Mattos
John Saunders
Cheryl - (sorry Cheryl, I know I've been to you blog before, but Blogger is not giving me your link, so when you drop by again please leave your link, okay. Thanks)

You have all been wonderful. It is the beginning of new friendships and endless possibilities...

That's all folks. Thanks again Denise for the awesome award!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Volunteer and Mr. Darcy

Sometime back I showed this photo in one of my posts:

It was a volunteer (a plant that grows without the farmer planting it - the seed could have been sown by people throwing them on the ground after their desert, or by some animals, birds for example). This plant is growing well by the Farm house.

 I agree with Faith who said that a volunteer is a surprise gift.

I didn't know what it was at that time, except that I thought it belonged to the cucurbits or the gourd family. My guess was that it was some kind of melon. As you know I grow fruit trees, not into vegetables at all - not yet anyway.

I asked my neighbour Mr. Darcy what he thought, he said it could be courgette. I have to find out what courgette is.

It has since produced flowers and fruits, which look like this:

The Flower, as it blooms in the morning

The flowers look like zucchini flowers, don't they? According to Faith volunteers are sometimes a cross between pumpkin and zucchini, or what she calls zucchins - real tasty!

What do you think they are?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

When The Moon and The Stars Decide Your Partner

Even the Animals, for that matter.

For most of us what Ah Chong's and Mei Ling's parents did in  prearranging their marriage seems inexplicable. But for their parents that's the best thing they could have done for their child.

Match-making by the parents, relatives and other village elderlies used to be common-place.

While watching the children - still running around half naked - play among themselves, the elderlies would wonder if such and such a boy would made a good husband for such and such a girl.

The wonder would then transcend into discussions, and later turned to a more formal 'arrangements'. Once it is all agreed a 'promise' is solemnized. This promise is more or less carved in stone. To break that promise would cause severe embarrassment to either parents and even a civil war.

On the children's part if they were to refuse or later not fulfill that promise they would have 'painted charcoal on their parents faces' and will be disowned.

Whilst amongst the Malays the match-making are simple routines normally conducted between close families (marriage between cousins used to be common) to preserve the relationship, or to prevent the wealth from 'going to others', or to preserve status in society, deciding on a child's future partner is a bit more complicated for the Chinese.

As the Chinese consists of many groups or dialects, the parents may want their children to be married to those from the same group to preserve the surname. (This may not be true for all groups, but certainly the preference for sons rather than daughters stems from the fact that when the sons marry their children will perpetuate the surname).

The child's year of birth is extremely important. As we all know the year we are born make us one of the twelve animals in the Chinese calendar. Never should a person who was born in the year of the Tiger be married to someone born a Monkey,  for example, or an Ox to a Goat.

There's more: they would have also checked out what element is the child made of to ensure future harmony, based on the five elements of metal, water, wood, fire, and earth - e.g whether you are mixing fire with water, or earth with metal, etc.

There are affinity and enmity relationships between the five elements.

Certain birth year will make you the kind of animal you are: for example you are a Metal Rat if born in 1960 and a Water Rat if born in 1972; or a Fire Monkey in 1956 but an Earth Monkey if born in 1968, and so on.

To leave all these to the children would be taking a big risk and considered irresponsible on the part of the parents. It may invite disaster. The children would then be too young to think about all those, or to even understand them. When they have grown up they may not want to follow the stars. So it is the parents duty, as it were, to make doubly sure that they get the most compatible life partner.

What about love, you may ask. What has love got to do with it?