Tag Archives: Kitchen

Bird Feeder Fail

31 Oct

Last week, I had this brilliant idea to DIY a bird feeder instead of buying one from the pet store. I had this sudden urge to train the freeloaders that come daily for their bird seeds to eat from a feeder. With my being in and out most time these days, it’s hard to feed them at the expected time.

There are days when the birds would come into the garden porch, looking in through the glass door for me, and expect me to serve them! Well, sometimes I do so but not always.

I googled up ideas and found the easiest contraption, using recycled things that I found in the kitchen. And voila! I have a bird feeder that I thought was brilliant. But the birds do not think so.

Several days have gone by, and they are still wary of the thing, thinking it’s some weird new garden ornament. But I have stopped feeding the birds to train them on this new arrangement, and the feeder remains in the garden under rain and shine. However, being the rainy season, when it rains, the bird feeder gets drenched by rainwater. Sigh.

The only animal not cautious of it is the garden squirrel! I have spotted it a few times, running toward the feeder and having a quick bite. Well, when choices are limited, hunger precedes caution.

After several days of rain, one part of the feeder came out, but I did not fix it. My bad, for the next thing I knew, the wet seeds started sprouting! Hahahaha. My goodness. This DIY bird feeder does not quite work during the rainy season, so I have to go back to the drawing board on it.

Sprouts growing from bird seeds!

It’s Raining Rats!

28 Oct

The rainy season has begun, causing headaches, not just for humans but for four-legged furries too. It has been raining daily, and we suspect the rain has flooded some underground homes of the furry pests within our housing estate.

In a spate of one week, we encountered four rats! First, it was the mama rat, a rather plump but angry one. I think it was upset for getting trapped. Then, two days later, a baby appeared. And the next day, another baby appeared.

If we didn’t look properly, both the babies could be mistaken for being Roborovski Dwarf hamsters! Don’t be fooled by their cuteness and size. They escaped the water and ended up in our kitchen. We found them snuggled comfortably in the warmth of two separate kitchen rugs on both days. Ugh.

The fourth rat was not so cute and found itself inside the trap set out by hubby. I don’t feel sorry for it, though, as these critters can be a nuisance. I shall not elaborate on how we got rid of all of them. And yes, I threw away both the rugs as well. I hope this is the last of the furry lot.

Although these are not pleasant encounters, I find it funny that the idiom of raining cats and dogs during this rainy season is raining rats for us instead! Hahahahaha.

A Terrible Start, Part 3

7 Jan

I can’t seem to shake off this terrible start to 2022, for it has continued! Dang. It was after dinner when the latest mishap happened.

It’s been a long time since I last rewarded myself with a piece of dark chocolate. I find that I will be alright eating dark chocolate but not milk chocolate because of my Endometriosis problem.

Two nights ago, I thought a piece or two of chocolate to reward myself would be nice after such a mentally draining day.

So there I sat at the kitchen counter and popped a piece of chocolate into my mouth. As I was chewing, I felt an unusual and solid morsel suddenly. It did not taste like honey brittle pieces or hazelnuts as the texture was different and felt more like a tiny stone. Dense and hard as a rock!

That is a one huge chunk off my molar!

I fished out the tiny stone-like morsel, and lo and behold – it was a chip off my molar! I was aghast. The last time I chipped my tooth was when I was eating crabs and attempted to bite the shell. It was not the smartest thing to do. Oh well.

But this, a piece of chocolate that pales in density compared to the crab. Could my year get any worse than this? Geez.

Our Garden, Part 2

2 Apr

After the recent pineapple theft right before our eyes by the garden squirrel, hubby took no chances with the latest pineapple as it is almost ripe and ready. He had put a wire mesh around the fruit as it grew to protect it from the squirrels. Of late, squirrels have been visiting us.

Last week, hubby set out a cage trap intended for a suspected rat intruder in the wet kitchen area, but a silly young squirrel fell for it instead. It wasn’t a big-sized squirrel, nor was it the scalded squirrel. He let it go because the furry critter did look rather cute but not our intention to trap it. Then several days later, two squirrels was simultaneously trapped! Two, I thought it was quite a feat.

I suspect the critters are coming around because there are fruits in the kitchen, and they can smell the enticing fragrance of ripe fruits. Thankfully, we are one step ahead of them this time, and our fruits are not compromised.

But with the whiff of the ripe fruits, we have to be careful, and since the current pineapple is almost ready, hubby decided to harvest it. I think it should be two or three days before we can savor this fruit of his labor.

And yesterday morning, the scalded squirrel had a brief encounter with me. It contemplated coming inside the house as we left the terrace door wide open. We had a short staring moment, and I won as I got up, causing it to scurry off.

Again out of pity, hubby left a piece of bread for the poor squirrel. I hope the birds will not eat it and continue pecking at their provided bird seeds. The things we do for our garden visitors.

He Bakes, She Bakes

29 Mar

The past year during our various MCO (Movement Control Order) to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, hubby learned to bake while I cooked. Initially, I baked using ingredients from ready cake-mix boxes, but baking did not interest me. So I stopped and, instead, focused on cooking to expand the menu for our meals.

But hubby enjoyed this activity and baked stuff from scratch. Admirable considering the kitchen was never his place to be, more in the garden. And we had a variety of baked goods. From scones, cakes, and all sorts of bread, I have never eaten so much of these things daily prior.

Hubby’s lovely herb bread…
…and perfectly shaped cranberry scones

Once in a blue moon, I itch to bake, and I only do one thing – apple pies. And mind you, I do just the filling; hubby prepares the dough. I don’t know why I find this fun. But my approach to this is more by feel than by measured steps. Nothing is ever accurate because I always read the instructions halfway, never pass what is needed. So the amount required is sometimes missed out!

And you can imagine what comes out when I bake! When hubby bakes, the result is predictable and almost to perfection. Occasionally, a slight burn on the scone surfaces or the bread did not rise. But we know what to expect. When I bake, well, you don’t know what to expect. Thank goodness, I don’t bake so often, if not at all!

My recent attempt was the perfect example. I was craving apple pies, but hubby was not too keen. So he suggested I use ready-made puff pastry skin. Knowing I will mess up the dough part of the pie, I agreed.

The apple pie recipe that I scribbled on a paper was missing from the kitchen counter! Oh dear, so I had to google it up again. When I found something similar to what I had in mind, I just read half of it and jumped right in. Very brave because I used only the ingredients that we have, skipping those that we don’t. The only thing I measured was the amount of sugar. The rest was just thrown in by looks and feel.

And I had to improvise because, with puff pastry, I was making puffs now instead of apple pies. Hubby was appalled at the situation because nothing was standardized! Besides the pie-looking puffs, there was also a real puff, a dim sum, a wrap, and a blob. It was spectacular!

My spectacular apple puffs of all shapes!

He could not understand why I can craft laboriously on DIY miniature houses and cafes with their minuscule detailed accessories, but not the apple pies, or in this case, apple puffs. Hmm, unexplainable.

Horrid as they look, they turned out good, I must say. The filling was just right in taste, while the puff pastry was perfectly flaky and buttery. Will I bake again? Well, there’s another pack of the puff pastry in the freezer, and I just might. Whether the taste will be the same or what they will look like remains, we will only know when that day comes.

Our Garden

26 Mar

Our garden is a sanctuary of sorts for all the critters in the area. Birds flock to our place for bird seeds provided on a timely schedule, squirrels romp here hoping for the same fortune as the birds, and earthworms make a mess of the garden surface while having a galore underground. The smaller critters – the bees and caterpillars enjoy the nectar and leaves at their own pace without any disturbance. It is a very fertile and happy place.

Recently we spotted an injured squirrel from the kitchen window. Unfortunately, I was too slow with the phone to get a picture. The poor thing looked like it got scalded for its tail, and part of its face and body is missing some fur with the bare pink skin showing. The poor critter is constantly looking very frightened and wary of the surroundings and still surviving.

One day, hubby – out of pity – threw out a piece of bread for the injured squirrel to eat. It came around and sniffed at the bread, unsure what it was. It is evident bread is something that is not in the squirrel’s natural environment. It even sniffed at the surrounding plants, wondering if the bread fell off from one of the nearby potted plants.

We couldn’t wait for it to eat the offering and left for the office soon after. That night, when we got home, the bread is gone. I am assuming the squirrel ate it, and we have not seen it since. Hopefully, it gained some strength from the offered food and is recovering well. We have to keep a lookout for it to appear again.

The Traumatized Pig

23 Feb

I love my salt and pepper shakers. The piggy-shaped shakers are just too cute. But recently, one of them has been ‘traumatized’ – the salt shaker in particular. All these years, the shakers were fine, then this happened.

My poor traumatized piggy!

So I washed out the insides of the salt shaker and decided to retire the little pig. Somehow, even after emptying the salt, washing, and left to dry, the situation is no better. Every other day, the salt remnants are evident on the surface.

Could it be that salt has absorbed into the clay all these years? Or is it a material problem of the shaker itself? Or the humidity in the air? My poor traumatized pig! What do I do?

A Garden Party!

12 Feb

Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year or the Lunar Year of the Metal Ox. A very muted occasion for us because our status remains under lockdown, with no place to go or family to visit. Honestly, it is no different from the past 12 months. There’s nothing to celebrate. Sniffles.

We did, however, made an effort to liven up our situation for the Reunion Dinner. Instead of having dinner at the kitchen counter like every other night, we chose to eat in the garden patio last night! And have a barbeque while we were at it. We even had some feathered guests joining our party, but they ate earlier than us because bird seeds didn’t need grilling.

The birdies having a feast on the newly painted wall!

I thought we had to take precautions against the evening mosquitoes but there were none thankfully. We set up the table plus a side table at the patio and cooked up an eight-item BBQ menu for the occasion.

Typical Reunion Dinners are either six or eight dishes to signify abundance, but since it’s just the two of us this year, the eight-item course is more than enough and equally meaningful. And even though the dinner was technically not a Reunion Dinner, we enjoyed the change in ambiance.

Not the typical and traditional menu, I labeled it as an eight treasure platter.
The colorful spread on our Barbecook grill

Both of us laughed about whether the dinner qualifies as a Reunion Dinner because, firstly, we are always together, and secondly, it’s more like a garden barbeque party. The lengthiest duration that we are separated so far this past month has been five minutes? Having long showers does not count, though. Whether it is indeed a Reunion Dinner or just a garden party, we need to inject variation and humor into our lives to keep sane. Let’s hope the current MCO status will revise for the better come 18 February.

Until then, steer the Ox by the horns towards having a happy and safe celebration during this Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai folks.

A New Tray

8 Sep

The mood for online shopping struck a few weeks ago. And I purchased a silicon baking tray, not for me obviously but for hubby. He has been baking a lot during the MCO, so we thought it’d be fun to vary the bread shapes and sizes.

Now, this is our first silicon tray for baking, and it took hubby a couple of bakes to get it right as far as the temperature and timing control are concerned. On the first attempt, I was left in charged to watch the loaves in the oven because he had to leave for the office.

Obviously I cannot bake! 😅

And the mini loaves, under my watch, came out a little burnt! Oops. I had followed the temperature and timing accordingly though…

Second attempt using a wheat bread recipe

So hubby had to make some adjustments. On his second and third attempts, using a wheat bread recipe, the loaves turned out okay. And by the fourth attempt, the mini loaves turned out lovely. All these attempts, I wasn’t roped in to help, thank goodness.

A tad too little (dough) that resulted in skinny minis?

We love the new tray and the breads.

Lovely mini loaves by the fourth attempt

Happy Ants

7 Aug

It is often said whatever that has been planted and cared for without using pesticides will be evident in the harvest; there will be worms enjoying the fruits of the labor.

This round, mostly green ones

Our scotch bonnet pepper plants have been very healthy and we have had non-stop supplies. And sometimes worms included. On and off, I’d find tiny worms in the container holding the basket of peppers. And I’d just wash the icky worms down the sink.

Bumper supply of worms too! Five altogether

One morning, I saw a worm on the kitchen counter top instead! Eeek… it had somehow escaped from the container. Before I could do anything, the ants got to it first! They were quickly maneuvering the worm to their nest for the rest of the colony as food. I didn’t have the heart to thwart them. It would be too vicious.

One, two, three… heave! One, two, three… go!

So I simply took a picture of the action but missed the rest of their journey to their lair when I turned away. Dang! They sure are fast but they sure are happy ants with the unexpected bounty.