Archive | February, 2020

The Lazy Woodpecker, Part 2

28 Feb

It seems that the woodpecker is a family bird, that’s why it was creating a comfortable soft cavity for a nest! Although I managed to take a picture of it, I could not see the coloring and features clearly. It flew away when I attempted to get closer.

But from what hubby described and a quick check on the internet, it resembled a Rufous Woodpecker, a species that can be found in our region. We could be wrong though. Anyway, this was a male woodpecker and typical of them to excavate a home for the missus.

While woodpeckers may be good for the ecosystem, they do not bode well with nature lovers (hubby here in this context) because they destroy the plants/trees with their pecking. Case in point the staghorn now has an ugly huge gaping hole on its shield frond.


See the fella napping inside the deep cavity of the staghorn fern? Zzzz…

And after our discovery of it sleeping inside the staghorn that Sunday night, we have not seen the woodpecker since! We wouldn’t mind if the staghorn was used as a nest but to destroy it and then abandon without use, hrmph… I’m not pleased too.

Well, I guess we cannot reverse the situation and only hope the woodpecker will come back to use the cavity for nesting.

The Lazy Woodpecker

25 Feb

Hubby saw a woodpecker on Sunday morning and he was not pleased. The woodpecker was pecking away at his (hubby’s) prized staghorn hanging on the tree in front of the house.

Now isn’t a woodpecker supposed to be pecking at a tree and not a fern? What a lazy woodpecker, going about his business with an easy soft surface instead of the usual hard wood.

I managed to get a picture of it before it flew away. And the damage to the fern, holy moly… quite a deep hole. I hope the staghorn can be saved.


Just look at the depth of the hole!

Maybe I Can Bake

24 Feb

I gave up the idea of baking with my Kenwood Rapid Bake but not baking itself. So another box of cake mix I bought and another attempt.

This time, I opted for a carrot cake that comes with icing! An improvement because there’s another step involved instead of just adding eggs, milk and butter to the cake.

The cake itself was easy – this time, an egg with water and oil instead of milk and butter to add to the mix. And for someone who doesn’t bake a lot, if not at all, I have a fair bit of baking essentials, like the loaf pan that I found. So I didn’t have to use the round pan.


Top: straight out from the oven; Bottom: drowned with icing

After 40 minutes in the conventional oven, my cake was done! Excited I literally drowned the cake with the icing that was mixed earlier, a separate fun task I must say. Maybe I’m not supposed to drown the cake like this? Hmm… but the overall taste was good, not too sweet and just right.

Maybe I can bake after all if I put my mind to it by using the correct equipment, that is the conventional oven and not a bread maker. Having said that, true baking skills come from doing it from scratch and not from a ready-mix box. What I have attempted the last three times was simply novelty and I’m far from being a pro at baking.

If I truly want to pursue baking to hone my kitchen skills, I should keep trying. But do I really want to? Hubby says we will gain weight from having to eat all the cakes, muffins and what nots. Given that we are still at the 16/8 diet, I think this baking novelty will be short-lived.

Consistently Inconsistent

21 Feb

Just when I thought golf is fun again, back to using my driver and woods, reality sucks. After the Iron Challenge Tournament on Sunday, I played a game on Tuesday and couldn’t get used to teeing off with the driver.

I have been so in tune with my 4-iron to tee off that switching back to the driver felt so strange. My coordination was off and consistently inconsistent. There were times when I could fly the ball off the tee, the ball would go so very far. But when I couldn’t launch it, the ball would just sputter off the tee to a pathetic 20 or 30 feet in front! Terrible.

As a result of this problem, I lost five balls playing at the Lakes course! What a confidence spoiler. Hopefully this setback is a temporary thing. I need to play more games to get my rhythm again for better golfing days ahead.

This Is Why I Don’t Bake, Part 2

18 Feb

So I attempted to bake again, on Saturday. And you wouldn’t believe the process of this second attempt. It’s simply incredulous.

I bought the same brand of cake mix but this time Vanilla instead of Butter. Despite this little flavor difference, the ingredients needed were the same – eggs, milk and butter to add to the mix.

Like a pro, I put everything into the pan efficiently and switched on all the buttons and my Kenwood Rapid Bake came alive. It was put to work to churn the ingredients before baking. Oh yay I thought, let’s hope it works this time.

But no, that’s when all the problems started!

It went straight into Mode 1 before I could even select Mode 7 for cake. Then it was user problem because somehow, I couldn’t press the buttons—any button or all the buttons—in a semi-panic state to change the setting. After that it was machine problem as it went into overdrive mixing because it was in the bread making mode. Quite a comedy…

Finally hubby had to help me and he managed to change the setting. By now, the ingredients were thoroughly mixed which was probably good. Or maybe not… I don’t know.

With Mode 7 selected, the machine started another round mixing the ingredients all over again. Gosh! Can a cake mix be over mixed? Suddenly several funny knocking noises could be heard…

The next thing I knew, there was a power outage!!! My Kenwood Rapid Bake in cake mode setting tripped a fuse in the house. Amazing or is it just me being totally hopeless?

As for the thoroughly mixed cake mix, into the round pan again and into the conventional oven again. Thirty minutes later, the Vanilla cake was done but a little bit more crusty on the edges and more brown than the first cake last week. The taste? Quite nice I must admit in spite of all that crazy problems.

A little burnt, a little brown but yummy

If I had known baking with the bread maker can be so hazardous, I wouldn’t even attempt. But will I bake again? Hmm… it’s hard to say because both cakes did turn out okay. It’s the idea of using the bread maker that was problematic.

So if I do want to bake, the easy way of course, I should just bake the conventional way and leave my Kenwood Rapid Bake as an extension of the upper kitchen counter.

Soldiering On

17 Feb

This year the Iron Challenge Tournament was held early, just over the weekend! And I was the only lady golfer amongst the men in the club soldiering on by myself in the event. I was unperturbed by this fact and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge, held on the less intimidating Hills course.

I should stand proud because I held up well in the field of all men, 16 flights in total and tied for 11th placing with a nett score of two over my handicap! A very good achievement.

I was very focused and basically played my own game without any external distraction. With my red tee box way up front, ahead of the field for all the Par 5s, some of the Par 4s and a couple of the Par 3s, it was certainly advantageous for me. One of my flight mates, however, jokingly lamented that it was unfair because their tee-offs would be just slightly ahead of my tee box and I have yet to tee off.

But hey… how can it be advantageous when the men’s tee boxes are also moved up? Also, it’s not like suddenly, I tee off with a driver. I’m also subjected to using just irons for the competition like the rest of the field. Nonetheless, I brushed his comments aside and focused on my game.

Initially I wasn’t prepared in the weeks running up to the competition, having had problems with my long irons and short game, but I managed to resolve these when it mattered most. And this year, no major blow ups or bunker disasters. And not even a loss ball, a big confidence booster indeed. The only big let down was a sudden loss of focus and I four-putted an easy hole. Hrmph.

The elbow pain was hardly felt because I took a painkiller to suppress it. It worked and helped, but today, it’s throbbing to high heaven, I don’t know why. Sigh… a constant battle with this problem.

So now that the tournament is completed and out of my golfing schedule, I will return to using my driver and woods for all my upcoming golf games.

The Streak Snapped, Part 2

14 Feb

It was only a matter of time because I’m bored by the mundane commitment. The Candy Crush Soda Daily Bonus on the iPad Mini finally snapped too. Three weeks ago, it snapped on the iPhone XR.

After being at it for 1267 days, I was taken aback when on Wednesday morning, it was back to Day One. Oh… I guess I had forgotten to check in on Tuesday morning.

Oh well. Now that this mindless pursuit is no longer a pursuit, there’s a sense of relief. I had wanted to give up after passing 1200 Days but I kept at it, just to see how long I could go on. Well, it has ended.

So with this end, there’s no more Candy Crush Saga, Soda or Daily Bonus to tie me down mindlessly.

This is Why I Don’t Bake

11 Feb

I have a Kenwood Rapid Bake machine sitting on my lower kitchen counter and all these years, it’s used more as an extension of the upper counter to put things than to bake. It was a house warming gift when we moved in ages ago rather than a purchase on my part. As I’m really hopeless when it comes to being adept in the kitchen, the appliance hardly saw any action all these years.

Somehow over the weekend–out of the blue–I decided to bake a cake! I don’t know why but there was an unexplainable urge. Not from scratch but to use the machine which I thought was a brilliant idea.

Apparently my bread maker can also bake a cake at setting number seven. So I did some homework to make sure this idea was feasible before I even began.

To make things easy, I bought the easiest box of cake mix that called for just eggs, milk and butter to add to the mix. I can do that, right? Yep.

So Sunday morning was the big bake day! Everything went into the bread maker’s pan and all I had to do was even out all the ingredients and let the machine mix ‘em up and bake. Easy…

But when I put the pan into the machine and switched on the main power before pressing the ON button, nothing happened! Oh no!!! Has the machine kaput? It’s been left unused for so long. Why didn’t I think of testing the machine first before embarking on this ambitious attempt?

As for the mixed ingredients, what a waste if I left it unbaked; so I transferred the mixture into another pan and baked the cake the conventional way. In the oven…

After 30 minutes, the cake was done and it actually turned out pretty good for my first attempt after so long. A little crusty on the edges but moist on the inside.


The butter cake which turned out good!

Later as I was cleaning the counters, I was mulling over what I should do with my bread maker. Do I still leave it as an extension of the counter or get it fixed? Then when I was putting the cable away, I discovered another power button! Hey… I didn’t see that earlier!


Somehow I missed this!

I plugged the machine in again, switched on the main power and flipped this newly discovered button and voila, my bread maker came alive! Hahahaha… what a major dork I was.

I simply did not realize there’s a power button hidden behind and thought the worst of my bread maker. Now you know why I don’t bake or fuss around in the kitchen that much. I hardly know my appliances!

But having said that, I think I’d want to bake another cake again just to try the Kenwood Rapid Bake in the cake mode setting number seven.

Where’s the Fish? Part 3

10 Feb

Just last week I thought there would be no more ‘Yee Sang’ to toss and eat as the Lunar New Year celebrations was ending, we had a final one on Chap Goh Meh night itself! And what a thrill we had with this finale.

It was the family Chap Goh Meh dinner and I had the honor to put the dish together with all the ingredients available. It was decided it should resemble a mouse, after all we are celebrating the Year of the Rat. And this time, we finally had fish topping – salmon that was cooked not raw but still counts in my opinion.


Me busy putting the ingredients together

What fun I had crafting the dish, almost like a piece of art. The final toss was even more enjoyable with the family savoring our own creation in presentation and flavors. The dinner that followed, needless to say, was simply delicious, all home cooked. It was a good Chap Goh Meh dinner.




Where’s the Fish? Part 2

7 Feb


So on Tuesday when we were out with our friends for dinner, there was the ‘Yee Sang’ dish to toss right before the rest of the other dishes were served. But no raw salmon topping on it! Again, where’s the fish? We had slices of abalone instead…

With the Lunar New Year celebration coming to an end soon, I guess we won’t be tossing anymore ‘Yee Sang’ because there’s no more dinners to attend except the final one – the family Chap Goh Meh dinner on Saturday night.

Chap Goh Meh literally means the 15th night of Chinese New Year and it’s the last day of the festive period and celebration. For some (like my side of the family), the dinner on this night is equally important as the Reunion Dinner. So we will, as always, have a final family dinner at home to mark the occasion.

And most likely no ‘Yee Sang’ although there will be a steamed fish on the menu. Looks like we will have to wait until next year for a ‘Yee Sang’ topped with raw salmon.