environment

bird encounter

Monday to Saturday a solo bird comes for the first time around 8.30AM, and visits several times throughout the day to eat, the last being around 5PM.  If I am too late putting out the apple he cheeps when he arrives. He likes red apples best.  A bird couple come sometimes, but are very timid and with the slightest movement on my part fly away.  Sunday the solo bird comes late.

One day another bird came too – quite rare – I never see this type of bird.

Another taste test – kiwi or apple? Which is better? 

 

Months of cool weather – is the mini-ice age coming early?

It used to rain in October, and thus be reasonably cool, then as the year-end got closer, dry up and warm up again reaching the hottest time of year from January on to Chinese New Year in February.

Over the last few years the rainy period has started earlier and earlier – in September, and this year continued into January, with corresponding coolness during this period.  Actually, this is quite pleasant.  However, I am wondering if the mini-ice age is going to come earlier than usual.  There is a mini-ice age every 350 to 400 years, and the next one is due to start around 2030 at the earliest.  It’s only 2018, but could it be coming early?

But the earth was cooling in the 1970’s too, so this time might also just be temporary.  From the 1980’s there was a 15 year period when the earth was warming, finishing around 1995 – 7, after which temperatures have been quite stable for about 20 years, until recently. Record cold every winter in many places in North America and Europe. Snowing in southern Australia in summer. Snowing in the Sahara desert – for the second winter in a row after 40 years of no snow. etc.

One reason I chose Malaysia as a place to retire is that the tropics are not unduly affected by ice ages.  But outside of the tropics, more CO2  and a warmer climate would be a good idea – but the latter is just not happening.

Footpath progress along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah / Northam Road

Progress is happening! Yesterday I reported progress on the Gurney Wharf project – after months of nothing happening.  Progress is also being made – albeit quite slowly – but nevertheless, steadily, on concreting a footpath along the eastern side of Northam Road / Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah.

Starting from Jalan Larut near the Mayfair condo, I walked along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah towards the beginning of Gurney Drive, and took some photos of progress. They are working on the second last stretch here, with one more to go until this condo.

Hardly anyone walks along here. Probably more than 50% are tourists.  And almost no one cycles. As there is almost no one around usually, it would be great for cycling. Not long now and it should be finished, and then I can try it out.

From the car park in front of the Mayfair

in front of Northam Mansion- the last stretch as yet unworked on

before the grader got there

The second last stretch

The second last stretch – being excavated

looking back on the same area as the above photo

soon to be concreted

They infill with dirt beside the path

Temporary manhole of plywood. They seem to grass in the side area after, on the dirt infill

no grass yet – perhaps the garden will be extended

Later a proper metal manhole is installed

Perhaps not quite finished, but certainly usable

Gurney Wharf Project progress photos No. 18, 9th January, 2018

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

They were pumping mud again this morning so as to fill in between the barriers they placed.  Here are the photos taken from along Gurney Drive – towards the George Town end from Bali Hai.  I see them working at low tide, but not at high tide. They have now filled in as far as level with Gurney Hotel.

at work pumping

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Gurney Wharf Project progress photos No. 17, 4th January, 2018

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

Well, I’m delighted to report that I actually saw some work in progress this morning as I went for a walk.  They seemed to be pumping mud so as to fill in between the barriers they placed.  Here are the photos taken from along Gurney Drive – towards the George Town end from Bali Hai.

 

Dealing with rats then wasps

RATS

While we were away in Pangkor Island rats took advantage of the quiet and moved into our ceiling.  Web sites say lay traps to catch them, but they were too smart / not hungry – anyway, they didn’t work.

What we found did work was simply keeping on a light that would illuminate the cavity area.  Brilliant! They moved out and haven’t been back.

WASPS

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Yesterday afternoon I noticed a local building issuing a lot of smoke – but it wasn’t fogging for mosquitoes, and it wasn’t on fire.  An hour or two later we noticed a wasp / bee nest on a branch of one of our large potted trees.  Scary.

I checked the web for self-help solutions, combined ideas, and then did the following:

I moved all other plants away so they wouldn’t get sprayed

Trimmed the tree a little, but wasps were flying around so I couldn’t get very close, and couldn’t do a good job.

Waited until dusk, when they would be less active, but I could still see a little

Turned outside lights on that were not in the direction I would stand

Had a quick escape route if necessary

Ensured I had antihistamines nearby in case of multiple stings.  You can also put ice on stings to help.

Mapped out a route to the nearest hospital in my mind, so I could quickly drive there if necessary

Got two cans of insect spray – for bigger insects like flies etc.

Put on thick socks, Wellington boots, thick trousers, shirt, scarf around neck, hat, raincoat, plastic poncho with hood, gardening gloves – in light colours as they prefer dark colours, and it’s also easier to see if any land on you if your clothes are light.  Kind of like a Ghostbuster outfit

There was very little movement at the nest by now – they were tired after a hard day moving house, I guess

Stood up wind about six feet / two metres from the nest and then directed both sprays against the nest.  The nest appeared to be wasps sitting on wasps all the way to the centre of the nest, so the whole thing just collapsed into an array of bodies on the floor after spraying for a minute or two.  Most were not moving, but some were – very few flew, and none landed on me. I sprayed in the air around me, then moved a little closer and sprayed the floor where the moving ones were

An hour later I returned and washed the bodies away, washed all the foliage of the plants to try to remove insecticide, and washed the floor – which was slippery

The next morning I strung up brown paper bags in the gardens as wasps won’t set up house near where other nests are, and they think the paper bags are nests.  When it rains they’ll become soggy, but in all the years we’ve been here this is the first problem we’ve had with wasps, so it’s unlikely we’ll have another anytime soon.  I just didn’t want any wasps that might have survived returning to set up home again.

And I moved all plants back and watered them

This all worked and I wasn’t stung at all.  Here is a dead one the next morning.

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And a fake wasp home

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