Forget the past, it is gone. Do not project into the future, it is yet to come. Live Now with awaken and conscious mind. Be conscious of the beauty of the sky and the colour of flowers, of the freshness of the breeze and the generosity of the sun. The greatest wealth is to appreciate what we have.
The Pink-necked Green Pigeon (Treron vernans) have built their nest in my garden around end of Mar 2017. The nest is flimsy because it is only an assembly of some twigs, perching
dangerously on one of the branches. Initially there was only one egg, but the next day, another egg appeared. The colourful male bird is the one incubating the eggs in the day time and the female with duller feather (suppose to be, cannot see clearly at night) take over through the night.
I try to check on the nest daily to make sure the eggs are intact because the nest look so unsafe with just a few twigs, but most of the time the male is incubating the eggs, very still and unmoving. Then one day, while trying to locate the nest, I was confronted with the big fat bottom of the male bird then I take the hint to stop being a busybody.
This plant has been growing in my garden for some time. It did not fruit until recently, maybe because of my regular trimming to keep it at reachable height. Recently I just let it grow (let it grow….let it grow…..) and it starts to flower and fruit in abundance. The birds love this plant, eating the fruits at the same time swinging on the long branches. It has beautiful fruits that taste like sour cherries with large seeds. And the colour gets redder after you plucked it. I personally prefer to eat the yellow-green ones as it is crunchy and surprisingly less sour. This fruit is rich in Vitamin C, it was mentioned that 100g of this is equivalent to 20 oranges.
Deep Fried Prawn Heads
Watched Jamie’s Oliver show on salvaging food waste, love this concept. When cooking prawns, most of the time I will discard the shells which include the heads, unless I am preparing for a prawn stock. This recipe is by a Chinese chef in the show; trim the prawn heads, sprinkle some pepper, salt and corn flour in that sequence. Deep fried till the oil has no more noise. Drained excess oil on kitchen towel then just pop the whole head in your mouth. It is very crispy and yummy. Prawn heads is high in cholesterol, so it is advisable to eat in moderation.
The prawn head is full of a gooey stuff like ‘roe’, which is very tasty. Ferran Adria (El Bulli) once compares sucking the juices from the prawn heads (steamed version) to tasting the “essence of the sea”.
Sense of Appreciation
While watching a NHK documentary, I was touched by a phrase – under the plank lies a watery grave which is translated from Japanese: Itako ichimai jigoku. It is beautiful yet sad and true at the same time. A lady introduced this phrase in appreciation to the fishermen who risked their lives to bring in the seafood.
I am glad to be reminded to bring back that sense of appreciation and not take things for granted. I love seafood and am happy that it will be savoured with an additional depth of gratitude.
I came across this object via Pinterest. I was impressed by the beauty and would love to share it with you. According to Wikipedia, Netsuke (根付), are miniature sculptures that were invented in 17th-century Japan to serve a practical function (the two Japanese characters ne+tsuke mean “root” and “to attach”). Traditional Japanese garments—robes called kosode and kimono—had no pockets; however, men who wore them needed a place to store their personal belongings, such as pipes, tobacco, money, seals, or medicines.
Their solution was to place such objects in containers (called sagemono) hung by cords from the robes’ sashes (obi). The containers may have been pouches or small woven baskets, but the most popular were beautifully crafted boxes (inrō), which were held shut by ojime, which were sliding beads on cords. Whatever the form of the container, the fastener that secured the cord at the top of the sash was a carved, button-like toggle called a netsuke.
An ancient bronze owl brooch was found and now on display at the National Museum in Denmark. The fastener or brooch is flat and decorated with enamel and glass in brilliant colours. The focal point is perhaps on the bird’s big eyes inlaid with orange glass pupils that seem to stare back at you. The owl’s body is decorated with colourful glass shaped in circles with a green enamel background.
It is believed that the owl is a symbol of wisdom and this rare piece was made between the 1st and 4th century AD by the Roman.
Beauty of Nature
There are many definitions on “nature” from science to geology. My context here is about the intrinsic characteristics of plants and animals.
It is interesting to note that the distinctive patterns on the flora and fauna serve some purposes; they may have arisen from evolutionary pressures which favor the bearers of certain types of markings. Example camouflage pattern to be invisible to predators another conspicuous pattern for the purpose of mating and reproducing.
Natures portrayed in art, capturing their beauty in the painting play a small part in raising awareness of valuing nature and prevent it from further exploitation.
It was common to offer a pinch of snuff as a way to greet friends and relatives in ancient China. The content may be tobacco which is considered to be a remedy for common illnesses such as colds and headaches. The bottles were made to be held inside the palm with a very small spoon for extracting the snuff, attached to the stopper.
The snuff bottles were commonly produced using wood, glass, precious and semi-precious stones. Most collectors are interested in the ‘inside painted’ – bottles painted on the inside surface of the glass. The earliest painted glass bottles maybe between 1820 and 1830. Due to intricacy of the painting, a highly skilled artisan was required, the brushes were manipulated via the narrowness of the neck bottle which measured just around 5-6mm and the images has to be painted in reverse.
Today, the snuff bottles were collected for its aesthetic rather than utilitarian purposes.
While we were having lunch, my daughter was excited sighting a pair of rooster and hen roaming the compound. Her excitement was understandable as it is uncommon to see a fully‘dressed’ chicken in Singapore. While our topic is on chicken, it is my turn to feel amaze when she introduced me to a breed in Japan known as Onogadori.
Onogadori evolved from the common domestic chicken. The tail lengths measured from 12 to 27 feet. Japanese breeders provide special hutches with perches well above the ground to keep the tail clean and in good condition. This breed has been designated by the Japanese government as a Special Natural Monument.
Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it – Confucius
The more often we see things around us – even the beautiful and wonderful things, the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world; the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds – even those we love. Because we see things so often that we see them less and less. – Joseph B Wirthlin
Decide to post some photos taken around Singapore after reading the book by Victoria Moran on Creating a Charmed Life – “Don’t keep your appreciation of details to yourself. Point out the wild strawberries barely visible in the grass, the gargolyes atop an otherwise nondescript apartment building, the way the air smells like London after the rain. And surround yourself with people who understand the importance of a nearly unnoticeable item or interlude. Because society at large applauds the big, the noisy, and the obvious, it’s helpful to have in your personal world others who value the small, the quiet and the subtle.”