Getting Ready for National Day

We have to Get Ready for National Day which is tomorrow.
I hired an assistant to Dress Up the Boys with our National Flowers.
She got to work immediately without even alighting from her vehicle.
Some people are very passionate about what they do.

She did not bring any tools with her, only red hibiscus flowers in the basket of her bike.

I must admit that after visiting Rosie and Kala's sites, I am beginning to see beauty in bikes.
Click on the links to admire their spectacular bike shots.

Actually we wanted Pichu to hold the flower in the mouth, as if he is about to tango but he has other plans with the hibiscus.

Check out
Dressing Up the Boys for National Day
to see the outcome of the preparation.
The boys look more desirable than I thought possible.

Selamat Hari Merdeka!

Linking up with :

Sweet Shot Tuesday
Cottage Flora Thursdays


Caption - Fall Colors

It's Photo Caption time.

I can't help being amazed by your imagination to both last week's photos.

Anna I just got my wings dyed in the latest Fall colors. How do they look?

Kitchen Flavours : I'm going as Tinker Bell to the masquerade party!

One :  I may have got a little carried away with powdering my nose, haven't I?

b-a-g : It's not easy being green.

 Lisa : Do you think this is my best side?

GardenSpot : ET phone home.

Pichu could be enjoying the joke of a flying creature.

Clifford may be attempting to solve his teeth grinding problem during sleep.
What do you think?

You are invited to submit your captions for the last 2 photos.
Selected captions will be posted next Monday with links to your websites.
Comments are definitely welcomed too.
By the way, if you are keen to know a little more on Pichu's flying insect photo, click here.
Have a great week ahead!

Linking up with :

Macro Monday
Mosaic Monday
Mellow Yellow Monday
Creative Exchange
Macro Friday
Live Every Moment


Painting without Paint

I love paintings especially watercolor paintings.
I have been dreaming of doing some painting of my own ...

I have also been dreaming of clicking on some unsophisticated software  to convert some my photos to more painting-like.

Then I had some accidental discoveries. For the photo above, all I did was to focus on the tree trunk.
The background automatically has that soft watercolor effect that I just love.
When we focus on something in the foreground, somehow something magical happens in the background. Actually, there isn't even a need for any software to produce that look.

Leaves were falling and I wanted to show you 'fall' in a small tropical country. 
Yes, I know we don't have fall but sometimes leaves dropped abundantly.
I attempted to focus on the falling leaves, quite unsuccessfully as you can see in the first two photos. (I hope you notice a few falling yellow leaves.)
As I couldn't get the fall effect that I intended, I clicked on "Saturation' and 'Warmify' with Picasa.
I thought the end result has some oil painting touch. I didn't do much with the third photo except for cropping and clicking "I'm Feeling Lucky". I added 'Film Grain' on the wasp photo to achieve the grainy appearance.
I am sharing this in case you may want to experiment with taking some 'out-of-focus' photos and dabbling with Picasa.

Have fun with Painting without Paint.


Caption - Counting Calories

It's Photo Caption time again.

monkey stare at banana

One : Do not disturb! I'm counting calories; 148, 149...

b-a-g : 150 calories! I'll work it out by swinging in the trees for half an hour.

Anna Should I, or shouldn't I? I have eaten 20 already!

  Lisa : Kinda plain, don't you think?

  MyGardenHaven : Ooh, my stars...this fortune cookie banana says that I am meeting the monkey of my dreams on the day I have my blue eye-shadow on!!!

dogs chew cornstalk

Hootin' Anni : ...and Pandas EAT this daily? Ewwww!

GardenSpot : I got the heavy end, Clifford complains.

GardenWalkGardenTalk : Now, who do we get to limbo? Oh, Pichu...

Pomeranian smiling

This is Pichu, the tiny Pomeranian preparing to limbo...

Kitchen Flavours : Come on, Pichu! Do your limbo. We don't have all day!

Above is a butterfly covered with pollen and below is a praying mantis posing on a flower.

I am looking excitedly forward to your captions for these 2 critters.
Comments are very much welcomed too.
Linking up with :

Macro Monday
Creative Exchange
Fertilizer Friday


Collecting Earthworm Castings

Earthworms tunnel though soil, mixing top soil with subsoil allowing lots of air and moisture to pass through. They improve porosity and contribute nutrients. In short, earthworms create a healthy environment for plants.

"earthworms---the intestines of the soil" - Aristotle (about 330 B.C.)

  Earthworm Castings are the organic material that have been digested by earthworms. They are enriched with nutrients and microorganisms and are considered excellent soil conditioning material.

earthworm castings

Since worm castings are very rich for plants, I collected several pails and applied generously on my new garden beds last month.

earthworm castings

Earthworm castings can be purchased or harvested from worm bins. It may take several months for the worms to digest the contents in the worm bins and eventually produce nutritious worm castings. I took the short cut. Actually there are worm castings all over the ground under the rain trees just in front of my house. I scraped off just the top inch of the soil which consisted of worm castings and partially decomposed leaves. The top soil was so rich, I felt as if I was collecting gold. In return, I threw in some of the clay soil that I dug out from my garden. They will slowly but surely turn to 'gold' too.

earthworm castings

If you wish to collect them, you will need to know how they look like so I am including the photo above. The worm castings are like little out-of-shaped balls, less than 1 cm in diameter. Do note that these castings have been around for a long time, exposed to rain and shine so they do not look anything like fresh worm poop.

Don't be surprised if your worm castings collection come with some weed seeds.

wall planting flower bed

The new garden beds about 6 weeks after earthworm castings application.

red Ruellia elegans

A closer view of red Ruellia with a white butterfly fluttering around it. I do rear earthworms but not in the bins. They roam free in the garden, encountering all sorts of dangers, meeting with predators like centipedes and birds. On some days when it rains continuously, the earthworms suffer from breathing difficulties. They breathe through their skin and must stay wet and slimy for oxygen to pass through them. However, too much water will drown them. Just for today, why not appreciate these little but invaluable creatures who risk their dear lives to create a healthy environment for our greens? There must be a reason why earthworms do not have eyes, ears nor limbs but come with 5 'hearts'...


Caption - Take Me to Your Leader

It's Photo Caption time again.


Luna Miranda : Owww...that tickles...

Hootin' Anni : PREYing for rain.

One : Secret to my radiant cheeks? Basically, I just watch what I eat...

dog with toad in mouth

Andrea : Mama, mama, I passed my initiation. Now they call me a Dog.

Bom : This does not taste anything like the green ball that One asked me to fetch.

Victoria : Mom, can I keep him,... pretty please?

Hootin' Anni : Take me to your leader!

Solitude Rising : I kissed you and I turned into a dog. Now, suffer my wrath!

One : I can explain... I did not catch the toad. It hopped right into my mouth! Come on! Trust me!

Bananaz : How I wish my darling is here to hold my waist just like Jack and Rosie in Titanic...my heart will go on and on...

(This orange dragonfly photo has been added to go with Bananaz's caption  because it looks like it is contemplating on diving ...)

The 2 new photos are of a monkey analyzing a banana and 2 dogs in action.
Looking forward eagerly to your captions and comments.

Linking up with :

Macro Monday
Creative Exchange
Fabulous Friday
Macro Friday


Pinching Basil Flowers

Pinching basil flowers off regularly would keep the basil plant lush and leafy.

As I approached my Thai basil flowers, a fly appeared to be drinking nectar.
It seemed really engrossed with the flower.

Yet, on a closer look, the fly seemed to be floating.
Of course that would be defying the law of gravity.

It made sense that the fly was actually in the arms of a white flower spider or a crab spider.
It wasn't the fly that was enjoying a meal after all.
Instead, it was the spider that was enjoying its meal.
Things aren't always what they appear to be.

Shifting my attention on another stalk of basil flower, I found a yellow wasp drinking nectar.
A brown spider was waiting beneath the wasp and several ants were busy on the petals above it.

"You couldn't be seriously thinking of disposing these heavenly flowers, could you?!!!" asked the wasp.

Pinching basil flowers off could keep your basil plant lush and leafy.
You could either use a pair of scissors or even your thumb and index finger.
The last thing you need is a camera.

Linking up with :


Caption - Junior Pageant Winner

It's Photo Caption time!

Is the grasshopper a threat or is it being threatened?
See the water droplets on its body?
Is it sweating, in tears, terrified or just exhausted?
Let's see some of the captions that came up last week.

grasshopper rain droplets

GardenWalkGardenTalk : Don't know why I have to climb this thing when hopping is so much easier?

GardenSpot : Oh, no! I think I've just been spotted by Ann of Garden Spot.

Anna : Man, I need to join Weight Watchers! I'm only half way to the top and sweating like a pig!

One : Please tell your child to turn his head away from me before he sneezes again!

Bananaz : A remake insect version of Ethan Hunt in the next movie, "Mission I'm-possible" at it's most critical moment with the one drop of sweat that could run his mission of stealing the NOC list from the CIA HQ.
(Personal note to Bananaz : When is it showing in the cinema? Akan Datang?)

dog with hibiscus flower

GardenSpot : A Hawaiian student's pet in University of Colorado.

Hootin' Anni : Mana'o nahenahe. (means 'Sweet Dreams' in Hawaii)

Anna : Hawaiian Junior Miss Dog Pageant Winner!

I have 2 new photos which may bring about some smiles.
Isn't this the cutest dragonfly in the world?
I'll be happy to stand corrected.
Just show me a cuter one.


As for the photo below, be rest assured that the toad survived the ordeal.

dog with toad in mouth

You are invited to submit your captions for the 2 new photos; dragonfly and dog.
Selected captions will be posted next week with links to your blogs.
Of course, comments are always welcomed too.

Thank you to all of you who have been contributing.
This is a collage I have prepared for you as a token of appreciation.
Photos are from my edible garden.
They  consist of flowers of spinach, dragon fruit, dill, stevia and tomato.

Have a fun week ahead!

Linking up with:


Seasonal Gardens Without Seasons

Where I stay, there are no apparent seasons.
Sometimes it rains, sometimes it is hot and dry.
Basically, the weather is almost the same throughout the year, usually ranging from 25 to 37 degree Celsius.
I used to think our weather is considered hot until I hear of the heat waves reports in many places recently.
I think I better appreciate our moderate weather in Malaysia.

Where you see the red firecracker plant above is where I used to grow tall, spiky agave plants.
Where you see the white stones on the ground now is where I had my lawn.
I got bored with spiky plants and so much green that I have changed the look of my garden.
I and am now enjoying the colour of snow.
I love the soft droopy look of many of these plants.
They seem to have a COOL and calming effect.

When I'm in the mood for Autumn, I can change the colours of the pebbles to brown and remove some leaves...

On a more serious note, I love the varied colours of Autumn.
That must be the most beautiful season.
Forget about Autumn for now.
Let's look at HOT Summer below!

This is a photo taken 2 years ago showing the same wall.
Spiky plants are from left to right, top to bottom.
They consisted of aloe vera, snake plants and agave plants.
This place looks very HOT to me.
As our taste change, our gardens evolve and even the look on our blogs go through modification.
I enjoy these changes.
Gardening without seasons need not be boring.

To create a cooler looking garden, I've made the following few changes.

- Spiky plants are replaced by droopy plants. 
- The lawn is replaced with white stones.
- White flowers overshadow bright coloured flowers.

Recently I created a new garden bed and transplanted some of my bushy plants there.
The dogs thought the bushes were in the way and kept digging them up.
Obviously, these plants suffered more than just transplanting shock.
The side effect is some pretty wintry look which the dragonflies seem attracted to.
Dried up plants with white background have enhanced the cool wintry garden look.
How much more fun can gardening get?
If you are fond of drgaonflies, come visit my Dragonfly Farm

(Don't remind me of the weeds, please. Clifford is taking care of that.)

Linking up with :
Cottage Flora Thursday
Fertilizer Friday
Fabulous Friday


Caption - Dog Tired

I am posting a photo based on some of the captions you came up with last week.
If you have been following the weekly Caption Game, you would notice that this photo below did not appear last Monday but it goes so well with some of your suggested captions.

Anna : Dog tired!!!

Genie : What is this about climbing a mountain...all I want to do is to plop right here and chill.

Cheryl : Oh crap! I just heard the clicking sound again! Why can't One just leave me alone?

GardenWalkGardenTalk : I didn't even finish with the appetizer and here comes the main course.

Bananaz : Wasp-up? Didn't you receive my text message? Our Queen wanna have turkey this Thanksgiving!

Hootin' Anni : Table for two?

Hootin' Anni : Her-r-r-e, Mousey, Mousey...

Milka : I hope no one sees me, now that I see no one.
(Personal note to Milka : The above is improvised from your comment.)

Solitude Rising : I don't remember burying the doggone bone that deep.

Bananaz : Clifford held his breath for 19 minutes and 51 seconds, breaking the world record in "breath-holding in a hole". Do NOT try this at home! It is extremely dangerous and should only be undertaken by a skilled trained, professional DOG.

One : "Hey!!! Did someone just switched off the lights?", asked Clifford as he put his head deeper into the hole.

Notice cold sweat trickling down the grasshopper's neck?

Even if you are not game for captions, I hope Clifford's silly expression bring a smile to your face.

You are all invited to share your creative captions for the last 2 photos.
Comments are of course welcomed too.

Have fun!
Smile now for a great week ahead!

Note : In case I'm taken too seriously, let me just clarify here.
The water droplets on the grasshopper are actually raindrops.
I have not seen this grasshopper fly nor hop before because it is still at the nymph stage.

Linking up with :
Macro Monday
Mellow Yellow Monday
Creative Exchange


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