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Five Months Later

12 Oct

Over the weekend, we had our first dine-in at a restaurant after five months of staying home in a lockdown state. And it was a strange feeling yet, at the same time, liberating.

We chose to have Japanese food because this was one food that we never ordered for delivery nor prepared at home. Sashimi is something one must eat fresh and served on a mountain of ice to stay fresh. To even think of having it delivered is out of the question – what more attempting to prepare sashimi at home. So it was a good choice.

I downed half my beer before remembering to take a picture! Oops.

Getting into the restaurant at the mall was according to the protocol: face mask on, check-in with the locator app for contact tracing, taking our temperature, and being seated one meter away from another table.

It was nice to sit in a restaurant, instead of at home, with a cold beer and enjoy a different menu, but will we do it again, eating out, that is?

I guess we will as cases are on the decline and most of the population are vaccinated already. The government has also declared that the country is now in an endemic stage. With the economy fully opened and interstate travel now being allowed, dining out in fear is a thing of the past. Life must go on with as much normalcy as possible from here on.

The Chili Reaper

8 Oct

The habanero plants are gone, and in its place is a more palatable chili plant. The habaneros were too spicy for us. So no point in planting something that we cannot eat. And lately, there’s been a new visitor to our garden to enjoy the chili as well.

The new chili plant has provided lots of chilis, and now and then, we will give our bumper harvests to our neighbors, friends, and family. Sometimes if hubby does not harvest the chili, the Chili Reaper comes along to eat the chili!

The Chili Reaper is specifically the Yellow-vented Bulbul, and this bird eats only the red chilis! Not the green ones but the red ones. It would perch on the branches and peck away at the ripe chilis.

The Bulbul chili reaper!

I can’t decide whether it is a friend or foe. After all, the chili is in abundance. But it irks us that the bird gets the first choice on the red chilis. Then again, this is one garden visitor who does not wait on us to feed them–like the doves–it just helps itself to what the garden has to offer.

A Different Quarantine, Part 2

10 Sep

Two weeks have gone by so quickly! M1 is cleared of her home quarantine today and will be out of the room. She is now truly home. Woohoo!

We will be having a feast tonight, home-cooked of course, to celebrate the occasion. There’s no need to elaborate on the joy of being together again.

A Different Quarantine

30 Aug

M1 arrived safely after a long journey that took forever. But all’s good now. Several weeks ago, the government announced that people who are fully vaccinated and returning home to the country are allowed to home-quarantine. We decided to go with this option. Unlike when M2 returned in June, this option was not available.

So M1 gets to home-quarantine instead of being at a hotel. And as we have an extra room, the arrangement is perfect. At home with us but separate from us for the mandatory two-week quarantine duration.

We are just glad everything worked out well after all that initial travel anxiety and arrangement. Two weeks will pass by quickly, and before we know it, the quarantine is over! And when that time comes, we will have one big celebratory dinner together. I can’t wait!

A New Gardening Project, Part 2

17 Aug

The latest gardening project is coming along slowly. The okra plants have settled well in the planter’s box. Out of the nine seeds, one didn’t make it at the start, and one didn’t survive after the transfer.

Growing well these babies!

And the mini brinjals in the little nursery have started to show some progress as well. Nine out of nine seeds survived! When they are more stable, we will transfer them into the other planter’s box.

Coming along albeit slowly

However, the remaining herbs and plants in the nursery have not shown any progress. These are the long okra, blue pea shoots, thyme, and bitter gourd. Oh well. Two out of six species made it, so I cannot complain.

Separately, the chilis are thriving in abundance. We have been giving them to our neighbors because it’s too much for us to eat. And finally, the second papaya tree has some fruits to show; we harvested several fruits last week. The first papaya tree is still settling down after being cut down in size.

Now, if only we have some chickens to have fresh eggs to complete our little farm! Hahaha.

Feeding the Garden Friends

9 Aug

It has come to a point whereby the daily garden visitors expect food laid out for them. The doves, sparrows, squirrels, or rather, tree shrews wait on us to provide for them. So hubby bought birdseed from the online shopping site since we try not to go out so often. The birds love it.

Sometimes when we are slow to have the seeds out on time, we find the two regular doves wandering into the garden porch to remind us. There have been occasions when they would even saunter cooly into the house!

Sometimes they sunbathe and of course, eat.

The shrews are more fortunate as they have more choices. With the various fruits that we eat, they get to eat them too. We set the tray in one spot, and every morning I can see one or two bouncing over to check the offering.

Enjoying a sweet offering

We do not mind the animal demands as they have to eat as well. And when we keep them satisfied outside, they won’t venture inside to create problems for us.

D for Durian

3 Aug

With the continuous lockdown and strict restrictions imposed, we find ourselves doing a lot more online shopping. And we also discover a whole slew of things available. Things we take for granted when, in our previous life, we could walk into a store to choose or just run out to purchase when the need arises. No such behavior now, though.

Anyway, we recently bought durian online! Who would have thought that this thorny fruit is now available online? Durian is not something we must eat when the annual season kicks in. It is more whimsical or craving on the spur of the moment.

The delivered sealed bag to contain the smell

But when one is under lockdown for so long now, one can do something out of the norm. And so, we bought durian from an online site. Twice, mind you. And I must say, both times were equally good, and we were not disappointed.

Practical Recycling

26 Jul

During the various lockdowns since the pandemic started, we discovered daily to-be-discarded things that we can recycle. It is good to give the unwanted one last purposeful usage before throwing them away in the trash.

Last year, we started recycling eggshells from baking endeavors for the garden as a deterrent for snails. They double up as a calcium nutrient for the plants as well. We have continued this practice until today.

This year, I found that the garden squirrels don’t mind rancid walnuts and apple cores. Something better than nothing to feed the hungry. I remove the apple seeds, of course. The recycling list can go on.

Recently hubby discovered (from YouTube, of course) that milk cartons make a great container to grow bean sprouts. All you need is some mung beans and an empty milk carton. A one-third cup of beans to the size of the carton is enough to yield a carton bursting with crunchy bean sprouts after five days!

He has been timing the bean sprouts growing process. So whenever he bakes and finishes the milk, the cartons are saved for future use. And when we want to have bean sprouts on the menu, a five-day notice is given.

One should consider doing this because it’s pesticide-free food and practical recycling!

A basket of homegrown bean sprouts!

Groundhog Day

9 Jul

Lately, the will to do things is not quite there. I feel as if we are experiencing Groundhog Day. Sometimes even with a busy routine, there is a sense of repetition getting to the mind. Mental fatigue?

Day in, day out, we wake up, eat breakfast and go about the daily routine. Then before we know it, it’s lunchtime. Then we eat again and go about the daily routine again. Then it’s dinnertime. The next day, same old, same old. My goodness.

It has become predictable, repetitive, and so taxing on the mind. Sometimes I wake up unsure what day it is. Is it the weekend already or still a weekday? Then again, does it make any difference?

The worst part, we are under EMCO after the MCO was revised to this status and did not end on 7 June as initially planned. And with Covid cases on the uptrend even more dangerous now than ever, Groundhog Day will go on and on. Sigh.

Double Celebration, Part 2

2 Jul

Mother Nature was good to us, for it didn’t rain on the big double celebration day. It was cloudy and did threaten to rain a little, but the hot weather held for us to have the outdoor barbecue as planned.

There was a constant stream of deliveries that morning. From my usual online shopping items to dessert cakes, more cakes and pastries, and the ultimate cake towards the evening, we were busy receiving all the deliveries. The fridge was almost bursting with all the delectable goodies, on top of all the barbecue food.

All sorts of mouth-watering yummies!
The funniest 4-inch tall birthday cake!
Our private garden birthday party
A colorful spread

It was a lovely garden dinner affair for the three of us. The birds left us alone, unlike our last barbecue for our Reunion Dinner. Even the mosquitoes did not disturb us. As our little one turned 20 that day, I guess we have to face the fact she is not so little anymore. Happy birthday M2, and many happy returns! Love you to the moon and back.