Madam Butterfly … sequel

This Black Swallowtail left her birth place but did not leave the scene ~ no, it’s not from Opera 101. It a real life happening. “Madam Butterfly” has been fluttering around since she morphed from caterpillar to pupa (in her cocoon) and then to a winged creature, but she must like the Dillweed in the backyard to hang around.

She has been coming back each morning for breakfast so today I decided to slip my idiot proof camera into a pocket (just in case)… and there she was… munching on her favorite green.

The Butterfly has Landed.

The Dillweed buds must taste good.

In this pic – facing her but slightly lower down, is her cocoon. See the beige-brown casing?

This is like a return to one’s birthplace for native food.  :mrgreen:

In case you’re curious as to how I know it’s a She and not a He, see my earlier post again  (pic where she is drying her wings) then see Wikipedia pics.


Can’t See Eye to Eye…?

Did your contact lens pop out?
Did you fall and break your spectacles while girl/guy watching?
Looking for an optician, squinting, trying to read signboards?

Have no fear, you know there’s an optician right here!
Can’t resist sharing this on Cee’s Oddball Photo Challenge. 😀

Pandan Growth Gusto

The Pandanus Amaryllifolius (not any other Screwpine) ~ Pandan for short breaks into a growth gusto when Spring is about to turn to Summer. It must feel like the Tropics to them so ‘babies’ and aerial roots appear at a crazy rate.

This is the time to carefully check between leaves because unless you separate the leaves and inspect, chances are, small young plants will not be seen until too late ~ dehydrated and stunted. Cut the long leaves hiding them if required, be merciless, as the ‘babies’ need light and growth space.

Pandan “babies” just springing up from parent plant and leaves cut off giving them breathing space.

A thick healthy root is about to spring forth.

When that healthy root grows up to 2″, it will be ideal to remove the baby plant from the parent to have more subaerial roots develop in water.

With so many leaves cut off today, what do I do with them? Continue reading

Visiting Singapore?

I received a post-link from a visitor to Singapore with a very usual itinerary. It is the 1st time I’m reading of such an arrangement. Is it a new form of vacation or am I simply out of touch? Note that Johor Baru is in the state of Johor, Malaysia – a different country – north of Singapore, so this calls for passport entry processing, bag-check, etc. each time you enter/exit.

I can’t comment on why specifically this kind of vacation is sold but I am sharing this just to make readers aware of what’s in store IF you are offered a so-called “better” deal with your nightly stay in a hotel located across the border.

Read on …

One thing Definitely “NOT” to do while Planning for Singapore & Malaysia Vacations !

Butterflies Are Free

Many years ago, I saw a movie titled Butterflies Are Free starring Edward Albert and Goldie Hawn. I’ve never forgotten that title or the song in the movie.
“Open up my spirits wide and let them go
I will take tomorrow’s wings and fly
Nothing’s gonna keep me off that glory road
And when that wild wind blows I’m gonna ride…”

Each time I now see the formation of a beautiful butterfly ~ that song just comes to mind. I’ve grown patient. Yes, I will wait, observe each day, but patiently wait.

Right outside my back door, in permaculture zone 1, on my Dillweed …

Very young caterpillar I spotted at night (while out to cut some chives).

It enjoyed munching on my Dillweed and I enjoyed watching it grow.

A few days later.

Oh what Beauty!

Then, when it felt just right, with Mother Nature’s guidance (no parent needed), it just built its own privacy cocoon.

Look at the 2 support/suspension strands.

How did it know that 2 suspension strands were needed? At what angle was its hibernation abode supposed to be? Did it have a design blueprint for its temporary apartment? Continue reading

Asparagus from Seeds

I have read ample articles of growing Asparagus up north (Washington, New Jersey & Massachusetts) with most gardeners attempting to grow them in Central Florida stating that they simply won’t tolerate our warm weather. Those growing them also claim that it would be best to start with ‘crowns’. My 1st attempt had my ‘crowns’ disappearing in the ground.

Well, in February last year, when I found packets of Asparagus seeds in Orlando’s mini-Vietnam, I decided to try planting this perennial green again, in my backyard. Having never seen an Asparagus ‘plant’ before, I wasn’t even sure if what grew in that allocated area were actual Asparagus seedlings or simply ferny-looking weeds.

Edible shoots will take about 3 years to appear ~ so growers say ~ but I took the gamble as they may provide me with seasonal greens for over a decade!

Asparagus “weed” of sort.

But they did produce some very pretty flowers, which unless one grows them, no one actually gets to see them.

Tiny Asparagus blooms.

Tiny but eye-catching.

15 months after my 2nd attempt, the “weed” patch is finally showing me that what I am growing, is actually Asparagus Officinalis.

The Proof.

They may presently be small and skinny, should be allowed to grow and preferably not harvested till year 3, but actually seeing real Asparagus shoots is such joy.

1st year’s growth ~ from seeds! ~ not too bad …

So now, these weedy looking greens will be pampered and carefully coddled in hope for many years of fresh Asparagus from the garden, to the kitchen, to the table.

Garlic Chive Use for Dummies (like me)

With all the digging, splitting, re-potting ….
how can I not have some in hand for a hurried, no planning, throw any(every)thing in, to prepare a 1-plate dish for lunch.

*Main ingredient can be leftover rice, cooked al-dente pasta, blanched wheat noodles, whatever you fancy.

Ingredients – Lot 1

GARLIC CHIVES cut in 2″ length, Eggs, Bean Sprouts, oops! some diced onions not in pic ~ already in the pan…

Ingredient – Lot 2
Sliced beef, pork, chicken, leftover favorite meat, vegetarian soy, anything … I found some shrimps in my freezer.

Peeled shrimps I found in the freezer.

Then with further fridge browsing, I found and used some homemade Sambal but you can use any of your favorite sauce, seasoning, paste, etc.

Heat some oil in the pan, add Lot 1 + diced onions in (er… crack the eggs please, do not include shells in this dish) and pan-stir till sizzling. Then add Lot 2. When semi-cooked (shrimps begin to turn a little pink & opaque), add your favorite sauce or seasoning.

Pan stir till well mixed.

Finally, add your *Main Ingredient … I used pre-soaked Rice Vermicelli or Bee Hoon which is a staple in my pantry. Thoroughly mix; sprinkle some water if necessary and Voilà!!

Fried Bee Hoon

Lunch is served.

What exactly are Garlic Chives (韭菜) a.k.a Chinese Chives?

Garlic Chives are chives that have garlic-like flavor but are not really garlic.  The “bulbs” are not bulb-looking like onions/garlic and they are (urgh!) rough, fibrous and not at all appetizing. I would not term them as edible.

Rhizomes with massive roots.

These so-called “bulbs” are actually part of thick sturdy rhizomes that are their root form. To actually retrieve them from the soil takes quite a bit of slow deep digging as those roots, growing downwards are almost equal in length to their green leaves that grow upwards.

Some divided rhizomes with fibrous lumps that do not look like garlic at all.

I decided to continue my Split-&-Spread mission (just like my Sand Ginger) except they will temporarily be in pots to adjust and adapt to new soil and conditions … then be planted amongst tomatoes and eggplants, keeping them company, repelling pests that dislike the garlic “stench”. Heck, it might even repel people who dislike the garlic fetor!

Looking kind of miserable in individual pots at present.

Soon there will be little bunches, and though grown as companion plants, they will still be trimmed to be used in my kitchen.

Just for information:  Garlic lovers dating garlic haters, you can eat this in cooked dishes like omelets, stir-fries, pizzas, u-name-it … enjoy the garlicky aroma because you are safe! After a while your breath will not stink of garlic!

On the internet and in gardening stores, you can buy their seeds under the names Garlic Chives or Chinese Chives. Why do almost everyone call it Chinese Chives ~ everyone, except the Chinese? And why do the Chinese call it 韭菜 (pronounced jiǔ cài in Mandarin & ku-chai in the Hokien dialect) when word for word it translates to ‘Leek Vegetable’ … when it’s not even a Leek?  Go figure!!