Month: January 2016

Growing stuff on hot concrete – gardening in tropical Penang – what’s growing in January 2016

January has been hot, dry, mostly sunny, with a just a few evening showers or thunderstorms. Mostly glorious days. The Canna Lilies seem to be enjoying this weather.  I just water them and give them dried leaf litter.

Canna Lilies

Canna Lilies

 

Canna Lilies

Canna Lillies

I was growing what I thought were climbing beans.  Being legumes they should add nitrogen to the soil, which the passion fruit plants like.  But these beans plants were taking over, and crowding out and killing other plants, and still after months hadn’t even flowered, let alone producing beans.

climbing beans

climbing beans

climbing beans

climbing beans

So I had to pull them out.

drying the bean plants in the sun

drying the bean plants in the sun before composting

So the garden is quite bare.

Jpeg

pumpkin vines survived the beans

But a couple of pumpkin plants survived.

Jpeg

pumpkin vines

So far all I have got is mini-pumpkins from the pumpkin vines.  These taste like courgettes / zucchini.  I harvest one or two per day at the moment.  Perhaps later full size pumpkins will grow.

mini-pumpkin

mini-pumpkin

 

mini-pumpkin

mini-pumpkin

There still remain a couple of passion fruit which are not yet ripe on the vines, a month after the last of the crop.

passion fruit

passion fruit

The limes going well, too.

limes growing

limes growing

 

limes growing

another lime tree growing well. Still too young for fruit.

The younger papaya trees in a pot are doing OK.

papaya in pot

papaya in pot

However, mealy bugs still attack and I have to clean them off.

mealy bugs

mealy bugs on underside of leaves

The papayas below are also attacked by mealy bugs, which either will stunt the growth or kill them.

these papaya surviving despite almost no rain

these papaya surviving despite almost no rain

 

Bougainvillea are naturally happy with this weather

Bougainvillea are naturally happy with this weather

 

Bougainvillea are naturally happy with this weather

Bougainvillea are naturally happy with this weather

 

Bougainvillea are naturally happy with this weather

Bougainvillea are naturally happy with this weather

 

Bougainvillea are naturally happy with this weather

Bougainvillea are naturally happy with this weather

 

Bougainvillea are naturally happy with this weather

Bougainvillea are naturally happy with this weather

And finally, the chilli plant is producing chillis, but also has produced one bell pepper – seen at bottom.

chilli plant

chilli plant

A trip to Tesco

A funny thing happened on the way to Tesco.

I was rather sorrowfully berated by a motorcycle rider for not turning right from the right lane while at a red traffic light – although if he bothered to look it was still a right turn lane I was waiting in. Having berated me he noticed the oncoming traffic had cleared, so he zoomed through the red traffic light. A real stickler for the road rules, then.

In Tesco they left the trolleys downstairs, so that you go upstairs to Tesco, find there are no trolleys, and then go back down to get one. They are too useless to inform you that now you have to take them up yourself.

Then I was bitten by a mosquito in the Tesco car park – and they never have mosquitoes there. It followed me in to the car and harassed me while driving.

Not the best of days, so I am glad to be home again.

Dengue fever and a new vaccine

One risk of living in Malaysia is that of catching dengue fever. And another is of catching malaria. Both are mosquito based.

My understanding is that the mosquitos that carry dengue are circulating during the day, and those that carry malaria, at night.

I have blogged before about how to minimise your mosquito problem. If you choose to live in a condo, then live above the 12th floor. Use mosquito screens on your windows. Don’t leave water lying around outside. When coming in and going out of your residence move quickly so mosquitos don’t enter.  Use mosquito traps outside. And have a few of those tennis racquet mosquito killers to zap any that get inside.  They tend to be around more at dawn and dusk. And note that mosquitos like low down, blue colours and alcohol, but dislike smoke.  If you want to get bitten, wear blue denim shorts and blue t-shirt, have a few drinks at dusk, and stay on the ground floor. They are attracted to CO2, so smoke confuses them – do the aformentioned while BBQing and you’re OK.

A natural cure for vaccine is the use of papaya leaves.  I don’t know the exact protocol, but a friend who wasn’t getting better in hospital then used these leaves and recovered.  I read once in the newspaper that a protocol would be published, but I have yet to see it. But in Malaysia it is very very easy to get papaya leaves.  I can get them within 30 seconds of leaving my house.

There is a new vaccine released in Mexico for dengue – Dengvaxia® – tested for ages 9 to 45. I have read it uses a live virus. And I don’t understand that much about it.  The government here in Malaysia is still evaluating it and have yet to decide whether its use here will be allowed.

What I do know is this:

20 years ago I innocently allowed myself to be  vaccinated as work recommended it. I suffered badly from it, and it took one and a half years to nominally recover from it.   I couldn’t work for a long time thereafter. Another friend almost died from a vaccine. So I have avoided vaccines ever since.

People who are vaccinated with live viruses – e.g. measles vaccinations – shed the virus and thus are contagious for a while thereafter.  Other people can catch the disease from them until the contagion ends. So one should stay away from recently vaccinated people.  If this dengue vaccine has live material, as the NY Times reports,  then one should avoid those vaccinated with it. For how long? I don’t know.  However, you probably couldn’t catch it directly. Dengue is transmitted by mosquitoes, so if a recently vaccinated person is bitten by the dengue carrying mosquito (Aedes aegypti), then it could possibly transmit it to another person by biting them.

And what else is in the vaccine? I don’t know. Vaccines can violate the precepts of all the major religions.  They can contain blood (violation of Christianity), cow products (violation of Hinduism), pig products (violation of Islam) and aborted fetuses (violation of Buddhism). They may contain mercury, GM material, and many other suspect materials. In Africa they have contained sterilising material that has kept the birth rate down – without the knowledge of the recipients. Let’s say you are not religious, or choose to ignore your religion. You should be able to read the vaccine insert, or find it online, find out the contents, and thus decide if you want these injected into your blood.

We need answers to these questions. I await further information.

 

Tail of two doggies and other stories – 2

A dog breeder used to live further down out street. For the last call to prayer of the day, perhaps around 8PM, all his dogs used to howl, kind of out of tune with the call to prayer.  He and his dogs have moved out. I had always meant to record them, and now it’s too late.

mimi snuffling around

Mimi snuffling around

Then there is Mimi – one of the watch dogs of a local business. She likes to chase cars.  When she was a younger dog she chased one too many cars, and her rear leg was injured.  She had a cast for a while, and she still limps, several years later.  And she still chases cars a bit.

 

dogs heading off to dinner

dogs heading off to dinner

Our street is quiet, and no one races their car along it.  Dogs will lie in the middle of the road, and when a car comes they will look up, and then reluctantly and slowly get up and move out of the way.

dog sleeping in workshop

dog sleeping in workshop

A couple of the dogs are actually owned by a workshop around the corner, but they don’t feed them at all.  So the dogs come to our street to be fed by neighbours. Other strays are fed by neighbours, too.

 

 

A few comments on Windows 10

A few months ago, a couple of months after the release of Windows 10, I installed it on my computer.  This was problematic, because I have a small SSD as my first drive (Drive O, used for Drive: C).  Drive 1 has plenty of space.  And so there was no space for the upgrade on C: drive.  By a combination of using D: and a USB drive for extra temporary space,  by deleting the hyberfil.sys and moving the page file to D: drive, by moving default storage of some programs from C: drive to D: drive, and  by uninstalling some programs I managed to get Windows 10 to install on C: drive.

When it was installed my C: drive was almost full, but the installation had saved the old Windows 8 installation files. On deleting them there were a few gigabytes of space on C.  Then I restored the page file to C: drive.

As you probably know, Windows 10’s default is to gather all the information it can from your computer and send it to Microsoft.  During the installation I had mistakenly chosen the default easy install, instead of setting the privacy settings at that time.   Thus I did this later.  There are plenty of articles on the web on how to do this.

I found Windows 10  quicker to start up, faster, and used less space than Windows 8.1. The interface is nicer. But the search function is no better than before.

Then last month along came the first major update.  Again I had space problems on Drive C:, and again I used similar tricks to temporarily free up space.  Once installed I had only 200MB left on C:, which with a little use became zero, as temporary files accumulated. But the old Windows 10 files were being kept in case of problems, and as it was working smoothly I used the Drive Cleaner (Advanced option) to delete them.  My C: had even more spare space than before – 6GB. I was pretty happy.

But then my Firefox did an update, after which it kept on crashing. A week or so later, Windows did another small update – which happen automatically unless it runs into a problem (and my problem was lack of space) – and Firefox works well again.

One program, Anki, that I use every day, ceased to work a few weeks after the initial install of Windows 10. I was hoping that the update would fix it, but sadly not.

Otherwise I am quite happy now with Windows 10.  Nowadays, though, much of what I do, I do on my tablet and /or phone, so the computer gets fairly light use.