Saturday, July 28, 2012

Non-oxygen producers!

It's now 1:38a.m., I realized it is past midnight, I cannot seem to sleep yet after the broadband I am using had malfunctioned. And after a long time tinkering on a few set of uninstalling and stalling and some more repeats, i finally got it right. Now, i need to post some critters for Camera Critters, where i haven't linked again for a long time. So i just opened the remnants in my laptop, as my external drive takes sometime to upload. At least I found some here. They are not plants, so please do not laugh at my title. Loss of wider thoughts can be the result of what's the time now!

 We have many of these spiders in the property in the province, and sometimes they really look big and scary. Do you notice those two small red ones? For a long time since i was a kid, i thought those are baby spiders. Searching on the name of this big one because of blogging made me realize that those small ones are actually the males! Oh i would love to observe their reproductive behaviors, but still i don't have time! And look at the head of the big female, it looks like a face with two eyes. I hope it is effective in fooling its predators, if ever there are predators of this. I haven't seen anything eating them before. That is another one big thing to observe. I realize, i still have a lot of observations to do around the vicinity of the house!

Now these adult cats are so different in colors, and they seem to enjoy the closeness of each other. Those two above are the offspring of the mother who is at the bottom. At that age, and big size, they still share with their mother's milk whenever there are newborn. The very kind mother still allows them to do so, and she didn't even give some growling. She is the best mother i know of!

And this is our naughty dog, who thinks she is human! And my sister who pets  her maybe is responsible for its habits. But can you blame it and the people around it? She is really so lovable, sometimes even better than human. :)
Camera Critters

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Farm Findings before the rains

Before getting the rains in June, many events happen in the property.  By the way, I am always calling our place as property because calling it a "farm" might be misunderstood by others. A farm normally has many agrcultrual activities going on. But in our case, we don't have agricultural production because we have just the land, some plants which are not properly tended, but just left alon on their own. I guess this is the real "organic farming", as everything being left on their own. We just get fruits as that we need, the rest are left for the birds and whoever wants to get there. Sometimes, we cannot get even a few fruits because the insects were there ahead of us. Last year we were not able to eat even a single santol fruit, or just got a few avocados because of the insects. This year, we had  feast, I wonder where the insects go this time. maybe the long dry season affected their reproduction, that is nature working on its own, unaltered by human activities. So we are happy, and they are happy too, I suppose!

But before you think I am coming up with a new idea of organic farming, I have to warn you. This is just my defensive argument for our unproductive property. If only we can sell our produce, we will be happier. But we cannot, and we lack labor to do the job, so at the moment i have to be content with my explanation of "organic farming", suits my case.

 This is the first time for me to see this structure, i guess it is a comb of a bee, but not a honeybee! But we know the owner of this house stings well and we are scared of it.

 It is already abandoned when the cycas leaf was cut, so i opened the cover revealing this comb.

 The tomato seedling has been feasted on by leafminers. And i suddenly saw that larva of an unknown insect. Till now i still don't know what type of moth or butterfly is responsible for this catterpillar. Is anybody among you familiar with it. It has a yellowish headband extending to both sides of the head.

 I also found a nest inside the thick portion of the golden Duranta plant. Apparently, the nestlings already left. They always timed egg laying that they are ready to fly before the rains come. Maybe the adult birds can predict the time when the rains or the typhoons will arrive. They are better than the Dopler radars that costs millions of dollars. This is the nest of the yellow crested bulbuls, which we have a lot in the property.

Unlike the sunbirds, the bulbuls don't use the old nest for their next egglaying. I wish they will again use it, because it looks still good and durable for maybe a few nestlings to come.

 New tree seedlings starting to grow luxuriantly in the property. At this stage, they are still easy to pull out. In a little more weeks they will be very well settled and a bolo is needed to cut them at the base. We try to lessen these volunteer trees every year, or else we will have a forest soonest than we want it. This is a Macaranga species with red petioles.

 We have a lot of this tree also, but it is not a hardwood. It grows fast to a bushy growth, easily produce seeds and scatter them everywhere, making it more difficult for us to uproot each and every one.

These are the mature fruits and seeds of the above seedling, which we call Alim. This is an endemic species. The birds also eat those ripe seeds, helping distribution of the species.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mushrooms and Goats!

"When it rains, it pours". This was so very true last weekend in the farm. Our place got rain late by one month than the big city where I stay. We seldom get rains without typhoons or strong winds, or actually, it is the other way around. We only get rains when there are 'low pressure areas', typhoons or thunderstorms. Last weekend we got LPA at the northernmost part of the country. It barely touched the country's area of responsibility, but still we got continuous rains for two nights and two days. Many low areas in the city got flooded. At least our farm in the province is in the uplands, so we just stayed indoors, eat more and talk more with the family most of the time. It is a good time to bond with my niece who is now in college, and my nephew who is not so keen in studying as long as he passed the tests.

The few minutes with a lull in rainfall, i got out with an umbrella to cover the camera, and took some shots under the drizzles.

 this mushroom cannot tolerate too much rain, it already looks old

 this one is happily growing on a decaying trunk

 these group grows abundantly and fast

 the widest of these measures ~1 foot, but we don't know if they have importance to humans

 while the mushrooms seem enjoying the rain, these goats don't look like they do

Look at those eyes, aren't they so sad and longing for something? I think they are praying for the rain to stop. Goats don't like rain. Water easily seeps into their skin, so we immediately get them to shelter when they are left out in the rain. Leaving them in the rain for a couple of hours will kill them.

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I miss waterfalls

I have posted shots from this Waterfall visit. But it's been a long time and i haven't seen any waterfalls again since March. I didn't know that waterfall shooting is really addictive. And everytime Betsy and George (Joyful Reflections and Senior Hiker) respectively, post waterfalls, i feel an itch. They have already visited 452 waterfalls in the US within the vicinity of their home in Tennessee! Imagine that 452, and that is many many repeats for the whole waterfalls here in our country. So to pacify my almost uncontrollable longing, I am posting representatives of this waterfall again! This is the Tinuy-an Falls, Bislig, Surigao del Norte in Mindanao! I have here the link for the older post.

The expanse and the height of this falls is already awesome among our waterfalls here in the country. I shot this before lunchtime.

This is the only waterfalls in the country where a reflection is easily taken.

We went back at sunset to have some different view of the falls, the many picknickers and bathers near the falls already went home at this hour.

Even a nun is allured of the falls, found her place in an outcrop facing the main falls, and prayed there! Everyone holding a camera saw the scene astounding, but i was the only one fast enough to take a shot! She noticed us and hurriedly left! I already have a remembrance!

Our World Tuesday Graphic  Outdoor-Wednesday-logo_thumb1_thumb1[2]

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Feast for the Senses!

In my recent trip south of the country, there was some program, building blessings, thanksgiving, games, foods and celebrations. I of course join the fun, but i have a special seminar on trademarks. But to top all of those, i have a terrible sore throat and cough! After the thanksgiving mass, I even requested the 'healing priest' to please perform with me the healing, and he so favored my request. I feel so honored because he did so oblige even if i am the lone sick to be healed. He put on his healing vests and went with the prayers, which i followed wholeheartedly.

The seminar went well, despite my coughing intermissions. And i ate a lot after that. I noticed that the cough went off somehow when i am eating, that is a lovely option. When others went on with their celebration and fun, i went out of the building and had some photo shoot. I always love these opportunities, and coughing was not active also when i was shooting. It was also a welcome sign!

a nice row of Licuala grandis palms are just recovering from the dry season, it provided contrast to the otherwise all coconut dominated landscape

 a fully grown bush of yucca plants, a lot of birds have nests on the thick foliage

an old Cycas revoluta 

Of course, you are already very familiar with this, the fully fruiting coconut palm. This is the sweet and aromatic variety, very much favored as a refreshment during the dry season.

Left: balloons decorate the walls and posts. Right:  a high-rise nest, an elongated bird's nest inside a dense polyscia plant. I guess the nests are just added there each season with the present nest on top making it very long through time. I was not able to take the owner's photo, it suddenly leaped out and far when i went to look.

 the decorated candles were held by everyone while the building was being blessed by the priest.

 Above and below are some of the snack food at mid-morning like noodles, sweets, pastries, breads and candies. More sumptuous food which are my favorite seafoods were eaten at lunch and dinner.

 a festive center decoration at the buffet table consisting of fruits, flowers and foliage

 another flower arrangement on another table where the guests converged to eat. I don't often see those green anthurium in flower arrangements. They just got these plants around the office building.

the anthurium spadix is full of seeds

above is the full set of arrangement which include Heliconia rostrata, anthurium and aster

Our World Tuesday Graphic  Outdoor-Wednesday-logo_thumb1_thumb1[2]

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Tree of Life

This is a very much used phrase 'the tree of life', but i can't think of a more likely title, so i will join the cliche!

The coconut is a very common plant in the Philippines. It has been here since the world began. According to my friend's research (Yedra, R 2012), the origin of those coconuts in South America is the Philippines. Our Filipino ancestors riding on their traditional boats brought with them our coconuts 2230 years BP (Before Present).  Wherever you look and wherever you go in our country, there is coconut. We exported at least $2 billion in 2011 for coconut products, 70% of which is from coconut oil. The US, UK and Japan are our major importing partners. The now famous health essential Virgin coconut Oil (VCO) belongs to the 30%, much more so with the upcoming healthier sugar, the coco sugar, which is said to have lower glycemic index per weight basis compared to cane sugar.

There are hundreds of products coming from the coconut, and I will be showing only some of them.

Coconut trees dominate our skyline, most especially along the expressways to the provinces

 Barangay roads are usually lined also with coconut trees, even if their fields are mostly planted with them

coconuts thrive even on marginal and hilly areas and can be seen as far as your eyes can see

 It is very well studied and an agency, Philippine Coconut Authority, with its satellite centers around the country fully works on it

Every part of this crop is utilized for many purposes; trunk, midribs, leaves, husk, shell, mature nuts, young nuts, coconut water, coconut milk, oil, dessicated meat, flowers, coconut toddy, fresh flower sap, buds and a lot more. The choir dust which is a by-product of getting the choir fiber from the husks is very much sought for by nurseries and farms as very good soil conditioning ingredient.

these nuts from PCA, Zamboanga Research Center will either be for seedlings or for copra

 Nuts differ in weights, sizes, shapes, quality of meat, and quality of oil

An example of the extreme size difference of two varieties

a teapot (above) and a bowl container (below) made from the mature shell

mature shells made into chandelier

 those coffee table boxes and organizers are composites of coconut husks and cement and mounted at the sides with our hardwood (narra-our national tree)

I consider this as the most beautiful product from coconut, a cottage mostly made of the composite fiberboard made from coconut husk and trunk. The floors and furnitures are wood parquet from the coconut trunk. During my two visits to the PCA Zamboanga Research Center, i stayed here all by myself. There was a kitchen, a T&B, a living room and bedrooms on the second floor. A verandah with the blue railings is at the 2nd floor, where I cam out to watch the birds. 

Coconut fronds dominate not only our sunsets but our sunrise scenes as well. It really is our sunshine crop!

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