Month: May 2016

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

It has finally become rainy season again. It’s rained about four or five times a week, often at night.  Thus it’s been cooler, too.

Gathering water for the garden has thus been easy.

The main success this month has been pumpkins again. So far I have harvested 25 full size pumpkins.  We’ve eaten boiled pumpkin, steamed pumpkin, baked pumpkin, stuffed baked pumpkin, pumpkin soup and baked pumpkin dessert.  And I have cut and air dried the surplus pumpkin, then vacuum-packed and frozen it.  I have then tested the frozen pumpkin by steaming it, and it was good, so this freezing method works.

The procedure is simple.  Just cut the pumpkin into wedges and let it dry out overnight – maybe in an air-conditioned room. The vacuum packing is easy.  Just put the wedges into zip lock bags.  Insert a drinking straw through the opening and then seal the rest of the bag.  Suck the air out, quickly remove the straw and seal.  It works well.

one of the last pumpkins growing for the moment

one of the last pumpkins growing for the moment

There are still four pumpkins growing on the vines.  Some of the vines have been dying off, and I have used them as mulch – as you can see below.

new pumpkin vine appeared and is growing

new pumpkin vine appeared and is growing – old pumpkin vine as mulch, too

And a  new vine that I discovered a month ago is growing.  I don’t know if it will grow big and produce like the other two vines.

newly planted passion fruit vine now has tendrils and is entwining itself and grwoing up

newly planted passion fruit vine now has tendrils and is entwining itself and growing up

Early every year I germinate some passion fruit seeds from the previous year’s crop.  So far the plant pictured above is the biggest.  But there are others pictured below, some of which I have already transplanted, and some of which are still in the pot.

passion fruit grown from seed are doing well

passion fruit grown from seed are doing well

 

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Lime tree is still producing

 

lime tree keeps on producing

lime trees growing quickly

 

moringa tree - in one week it's grown from a germinated seed to 7" tall!

moringa tree – in one week it’s grown from a germinated seed to 7″ tall!

 

grape vine happily growing. It's thirsty and likes water.

grape-vine happily growing. It’s thirsty and likes water. Moringa tree in background.

And otherwise nothing much has changed.  Normally in a month or two the passion fruit vines will start growing faster again.  And I will have to clear away many pumpkin vines.  And we had a visit from a lizard one day…

6" long lizard spotted

6″ long lizard spotted one day. It wasn’t shy.

 

6" long lizard spotted

6″ long lizard spotted

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Gurney Wharf Project progress photos No. 4, 21st May, 2016

The Gurney Wharf project started at the end of February, 2016, which so far is manifested as putting a fence along Gurney Drive.  So I will photograph progress from the same standpoint – in front of Bali Hai, which is around the middle of Gurney Drive.

But nothing has happened in front of Bali Hai since last time I photographed there.  But the fence has now been completed to the end of Gurney Drive:

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They just have to plant the climbers in the planting troughs now.

So it will be interesting to see when the next stage starts and what they will be doing.

I just lost 10KG!

I just lost 10KG

Well, a few disclaimers.  “just” means over the last few months. And 10 KG is my goal – so far I am down 9KG, but almost at 10KG.  And my waist is down 7cm.

Weight loss and maintenance seems to be a very individual thing, and also to vary according to periods of one’s life.  So I am simply going to write what worked for me at this time.  It may or may not be effective for anyone else.

To compare my weight and waist size I weigh myself when I get up in the morning.  My weight usually varies during the day between less than this figure to more – with a  2 – 3 KG range.  This is water.  I typically drink quite a lot of water, and  this can easily add 2KG to one’s weight.  Climbing Penang Hill while it’s still cool will reduce weight measurement by perhaps 2KG, even when drinking water while climbing.

I started the year with a two-week water fast.  Thus I lost 5KG, but, as usual, immediately after I resumed eating I regained weight, in this case 2KG.

Soon after I resumed eating I thought I would try a regime whereby I ate normally four days a week, and a restricted calorie diet (LCD, or low-calorie day) for the remaining days.  Internet articles and books set the limit as 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men. The aim was to lose weight, but I found that while I didn’t gain weight, all I did was maintain the same weight.  Still an improvement, as I was down 3 KG from New Year’s Day pre-water fast.  I also found restricting my food intake difficult. Once I started eating  it was difficult to stop until I was satisfied.

I did this regime for about three months, and then decided it was just easier to NOT eat for three days a week.  Not eating was easier as then I didn’t actually have to stop eating once I had reached a certain limit.  But another problem was the three-day thing. Which three days during the week?  So then I thought AFD – alternate day fasting – would be easier, and it is. I eat every second day.  If, as you can predict will happen, a meetup is on, it will invariably fall on a fasting day.  So then I do two days of fasting before, in the hope that this will compensate for the invariable overindulgence.

So this is the regime that has worked for me.  Once I started AFD I really started to lose weight.  One more Kilo and I will have reached my goal.  After which I must maintain my weight. For this I am considering fasting every third day – so eating two days and then a fasting day, ad infinitum.  And obviously adjusting this as needed to keep my weight where I want it.

I also walk daily for about half an hour – so that I total at least 8,000 steps a day with other activities, have a bath or sauna two or three times a week.

And soon I will start a new regime at the gym.  If new muscle mass adds weight then that’s OK.  Muscle, of course, weighs more than fat.

The result from all this is that I feel really good and light moving around, my clothes are a bit too loose, and I spend less on food.

Gurney Wharf Project progress photos No. 3, 10th May, 2016

The Gurney Wharf project started at the end of February, 2016, which so far is manifested as putting a fence along Gurney Drive.  So I will photograph progress from the same standpoint – in front of Bali Hai, which is around the middle of Gurney Drive.

But nothing has happened in front of Bali Hai since last time I photographed there.

just around the corner from Bali Hai

just around the corner from Bali Hai

 

Gurney Drive with completed fencing

Gurney Drive with completed fencing

 

looking out to sea

looking out to sea and the mainland

What has been happening is that they have continued to fence off Gurney Drive from the sea.  They have almost reached the end.  So here are a few photos of this progress.

the fence continues from here

the fence continues from here

 

fencing

fencing

 

the next part to complete

the next part to complete – they’ll brick off the bottom of the fence

 

the next part to complete

the next part to complete

 

where they are up to so far

where they are up to so far

 

the end of Gurney Drive

the end of Gurney Drive

 

the end of Gurney Drive

the end of Gurney Drive

 

 

 

Penang clinic and hospital experience – concluded

At the end of March, about five weeks ago now, I discovered a minor medical problem, and visited a clinic and two hospitals for consultation – as described in a previous blog.

Briefly, the clinic I visited first gave me some (all-natural, no-drug) pills and said the problem would go away by itself.  Then I visited a specialist at the local hospital who insisted an operation was the only possible solution – and that I should check into the hospital immediately, stay overnight, and be operated on with a general anaesthetic at 6AM the next morning.  After another night in the hospital I could go home. He gave me the same kind of pills, too.  I declined the operation, and visited a specialist in another hospital the next morning for a third opinion. This doctor said that surgery was unnecessary, and even  if it were, there were various alternatives apart from the knife. And he gave me the same kind of pills as the other two doctors.  The problem would go away by itself.  What I read on the Internet was inconclusive, so I needed the consultations to make my decision.

And as it has turned out, the problem did go away by itself.  In a little over a month.  So, be wary…