Monday, April 30, 2012

Ruby red/rednesday: Banana peel experiment.

This Room 16 in Pt Chevalier School under their teacher Keren and Sophie carried out an experiment using banana peels to fertilise their garden.

It encouraged the kids to save up their peels and learn that waste can be good for the world and the environment. You can judge at the bountiful harvest of tomatoes and zuchinnis.

Banana peels are a form of "green" compost that can be used in a vegetable garden. They will break down and provide added potassium to the soil and help in plant growth by providing needed nutrients.

Bananas are rich in both phosphorus and potassium which are important macro-nutrients plants need. Rose bushes in particular benefit from added potassium; however, all potassium fertilizers are extremely expensive. Banana peels are a natural source of the phosphorus and potassium found in expensive fertilizers, but why buy when making your own banana fertilizer is as easy as tossing the skins?

Was the experiment a success? You judge for yourself.

What do you think?

Read more: How to Use Bananas as Fertilizer |

Read more: Can I Put Banana Peels in the Vegetable Garden? | Garden Guides

Composting is not new, I used to chop up banana peels and other fruit peels.

The banana eaten by the kids were supplied by All Good Bananas.

Our Fairtrade bananas are good for the growers, good for the land and good for you that's why we call them All Good.
All Good is all about healthy eating with a healthy conscience

Founded on the principle that food that’s good for you should taste good and be good for the people who grow it.

Our mission is to find and promote great tasting ethical and organic food from New Zealand, The Pacific and all over the world.
Company Overview
We’re a company dedicated to only trading in the good stuff. Being the first to ever bring Fairtrade bananas to New Zealand is the start of something massive for everyone.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mellow Yellow Monday: Banana experiment

Last year, Room 16 of Pt Chevalier School, under their teachers Keren and Sophie carried out an experiment. Do banana peels make good fertilisers?

Tomorrow, Under the Red meme, I will post the results. 

Photo taken of the All Good Bananas . Letter E for eating and enjoying, My students enjoying  and eating their bananas and happy to participate in this experiment.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Scenic Sunday: A blog of Bs.

Facebook brought me a lot of cyber reunions with friends I knew from different stages of my life. Recently, a group of students from Kai Chung Seconday where I taught found me, and brought back times I spent at Binatang, or Bintang or Bintangnor on the tropical Borneo island.

To get to Binatang, teachers from other towns and I had to take a bus, or an aeroplane looking like boat known as the express. These boats were very very fast. Most of the towns were located on the river banks. Little boy vendors jump from one boat to another with big baskets, selling their Foochow bread, the Kompia which looks like a bagel.

 Francis' photo

Wen Kwong Ung's photo of Binatang taken from across the Rejang River.

Bagels I bought in New Zealand which looks Kompia. I brought my old friend JL to have a picnic at Western Springs. The food kept cool in my blue chilly bag.
I also bought a loaf of white bread for her to feed the birds.

This poem I wrote dedicated to my flat mate from Binatang. In his facebook, he shared a photo of a Bakery. I rehashed this post I did in 2008. I told him, I didn't think one day, I would tell him I wrote it. Hopefully he won't get upset, but just have a laugh.

The Sunday Bread

I love nostalgic stories.
Here is my bread story.
It is thirty years old.
I had just arrived in New Zealand.

I was flatting in an apartment with four others.
By virtue of his age, the leader of the pack assumed his role.
He laid down quite a few rules.
Without rules, he said, there would be chaos.

Every Sunday morning, Leader wakes us to go to church.
Two older ones ignore him.
Two of us younger ones follow him blindly.
I was one of them.

We walked, miles and miles.
Yes, we did a lot of walking.
Buses were not frequent on Sundays.
And where we walked to, were not on the bus route.

After church, we made a big detour.
Just to buy Leader's Sunday bread.
I protested walking all that distance.
To get that loaf of Sunday bread.

What's the big deal I asked?
You will know when you bite into it!
There were long queues at the bakery.
Your nose follows the waft of freshly baked beard.

Everyone pays and gets his loaf of bread.
Hang on, wait a minute! Where's the wrapper?
There is no need for a wrapper, paper or plastic.
The Kiwis hold their Sunday bread with their bare hands.

We walk all the way back.
I grumble again, all the dirt and the dust.
I am not going to eat that bread.
What's wrong with the commercially baked, sliced and bagged bread.

Leader cuts uneven thick slices of bread.
We spread the bread with a knob of butter.
Isn't it delicious asked the leader?
I devour my slice of bread in silence.

Either we are hungry with all that walking,
Or the Sunday bread was really yummy.
The loaf of bread is quickly eaten.
There is no crumbs for the sparrows.

The weekly ritual goes on for a year.
Leader leaves the flat.
Nobody is willing to walk so far,
Just for that loaf of Sunday bread.

It's good bye to the Sunday Bread.
Except, whenever I drive passed that bakery.
I tell my husband and my kids.
I reminisced of that uncut, unwrapped loaf of Sunday bread.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Scenic/Sunday Bridge: Under the Auckland Harbor bridge

Under the Auckland Harbor Bridge. I told Al, his last Sunday's photo looks like where the water engineer went.

Flower: Pyrostegia venusta

Found along the fence in the neighbourhood of Pt Chevalier.

With such brilliance in its flaming orange-coloured blossoms, it’s inevitable that Pyrostegia venusta has been reputed as one of the most spectacular flowering vines in cultivation. A vigorous and rambunctious climber with tendrils, Flame Vine will produce abundant clusters of brightly coloured trumpet-shaped flowers practically all year long. Truly a traffic stopper when in full bloom, especially if the vine is draped over a large pergola, fence or espaliered on a trellis or building structures.

Pyrostegia venusta (Flame Vine, Flaming Trumpet, Orange Trumpet Creeper, Golden Shower)

skywatch Friday: stormy sky

A storm was brewing, I better walk fast.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Swimming in Sarawak

Sarawak is a country of heavy tropical rain and rivers. Sibu, my home town is situated along Rejang River some ninety miles from the South China Sea. Rejang River is 350 miles long and is the longest in Malaysia. I learned to swim in that river. We started like my daughter, playing and until an older uncle considered us capable enough. Then he flings us to the deeper end. Then we frantically swim back to the jetty.

My oldest daughter D was two when she visited Sarawak. Her Aunt Elizabeth took her swimming in one of the tributaries of Rejang River near to Binatang. We all had fun. This was a tributary, not the main river, so it was shallow.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ruby red/rednesday: Knitting 2


This is a Facebook conversation between My friend Megan and me last Saturday. You may remember Mega from my STURDY post. She said she was knitting a baby blanket for a Sands baby. This is what transpired.
Ann Chin
  • Megan, you inspired me, I walked to my neighbourhood craft store to buy wool to knit a blanket. even bought needles because I am to lazy to look for my old needles. They cost me $5.
    How many stitches did you cast on? How big will it be,
  • Megan Lee
    Megan Lee
    • I cast on 100, and will just keep knitting until it looks big enough. Then I want to buy a darker shade of pink to border it with. I might need to buy a smaller crochet hook though, as the one I have is about a 4 or 5 I think. Too big. I need a delicate one for the border.
  • Ann Chin
    Ann Chin
    • so you crochet? I am going to knit. The girl in the shop says 40 is enough, I will do 60, and it might become a rectangle. It felt funny when I couldn't tell her who I was thinking for. I asked her how many balls I needed. I said, premature baby, then she ask if baby is born, I said not yet. First time in the shop, I don't want to tell her. She said Good luck. I mean how do you tell her that I am knitting for a dead baby I don't know?
  • Ann Chin
    Ann Chin
    • I bought mine lemon, I did cast 70, looks like it is quite small. Lemon is unisex, can be for a boy or a girl. Nice soft color. The girl in the shop says it is cotton, so they can wash it in the machine. I was thinking, a dead baby's mum doesn't have to wash the blanket.
  • Megan Lee
    Megan Lee
    • Fair enough. Mine is pink with a darker shade for the border. I don't want to do blue, because that's too close to home for me right now. Pink is good. I might keep making them. Just to keep my hands busy.
  • Ann Chin
    Ann Chin
    • I got it unisex. The funny thing was the girl kept saying it is cotton. very comfy for the baby and will wash nicely. Ah!!!!!!
  • Megan Lee
    Megan Lee
    • Cotton is good. I knit, and I crochet, the blanket I am making is both. Knit body, with crochet border.
    • I'm using acrylic, cos it's easy to wash.
  • Ann Chin
    Ann Chin
    • I can't remember one day, I was talking about my knitting experience including a man, we talked about how we have to hold our our hands out to hold the wool, so grandma could roll the wool into a ball.
  • Megan Lee
    Megan Lee
    • I remember doing that for my nana. I learned to knit sitting at her knee.
  • Ann Chin
    Ann Chin
    • when I grew up, I knitted straight from the ball from the shop, always wonder why we needed to do that except good family bonding time.
  • Megan Lee
    Megan Lee
    • I never figured that out either. I know Nan used to use the time to find out how we were doing, if we had any problems we needed to talk about, that sort of thing.
  • Ann Chin
    Ann Chin
    • now you can do it with your kids. OK, I finished casting on, Chinese style., 70 stitches because, I wasn't sure how many stitches I need, and too stingy on removing the rest,
  • Megan Lee
    Megan Lee
    • How do you cast on, Chinese style?
  • Ann Chin
    Ann Chin
    • This is for knitting, put 2 needles together, on the left hand, and then on the right fingers, you cast, hard to explain. I should have done a video. This is better than the European way, the first row is then loose and not tight. I know both methods. I chose the best.
    • May be I will ask my son to video it.
    • Megan, something very strange/ odd. You know how you say you wanted it pink so it s not close to home? I bought mine lemon, so it is unisex.
    • Guess what, the day Andrew went to the autopsy, he was wearing someone's knitted jacket. It was lemon!!!!! I didn't buy something for him, and the girl next to his cubicle who was abandoned by her mum, had a  couple of knitted jackets. When she outgrew it, (her head), the mum told the nurses, another baby could wear it. After he died and I asked the nurse if he could have it, and she found it for him. So now, every stitch I make, I think of him.
  • Megan Lee
    Megan Lee
    • Awwww!!!
  • Ann Chin
    Ann Chin
    • Grandma knows best. Now I know what we had to hold our hands out. I bought the wool that is not a "ball" type. But 8 inch wound up. It got all tangled up. Tomorrow, I will have to get my neighbour's daughter to do the same for me for my other two balls. I hardly did any computer work because blogger is being funny. I have done 5 inches . Very proud of my self.

      Son asks, what are you doing, knitting.Oh.

      Husband: What are you knitting?

      Me: baby blanket.

      Husband: who are you knitting for.

      Me: For myself.

      Husband: I thought you were knitting for some one.

      I didn't want to tell him.

      I finished knitting on Monday morning. I went to the hospital to give it to the NICU.I wanted to give the blanket to a living angel. I bought more wool to make more blankets. It's the wool virus that has captured me now.

       Once upon a time, before the computer virus captured me, I was more creative. I made sets of matching jackets, leggings, booties, bonnets and beanies. Now I only have the patience to knit baby blankets.