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Drosera Tokaiensis

March 16, 2010

The seeds were sown on 22nd Oct 2009. I received them around 2 months ago prior to that. Germinated on the 13th November 2009. That was fast comparing to my 1st batch of D.Intermedia seeds which took like 2 months to germinate. Well out of 20 seeds only 3 germinated. Not too bad already considering I am really a newbie to droseras. xD

Begining of  Feb 2010 this year, i decided to put one D.tokaiensis out in a homemade mini hanging terrarium to protect it. You see the wind we get in patagonia is horrendous. anyway one week plus later i noticed the some of leaves were like badly scorced….looks like the summer sun is not good for it. the terrarium was in an unshaded spot. it looked sick.

so on the 13th feb 2010 i took the plant back in and cut the flower stalk off and put it back into the indoor terrarium. 3 days later it was looking better. refer to the pic below.

the other two d.tokaiensis were not looking dewy. it was in the terrarium but the pot was not covered. so decided to experiment. i use a 1.5 litre bottle cut at the bottom to cover the plant. less then a week and they were all dewy! here is one pic to show.

so now i am wondering, has it got to be covered apart from having the lights trained on it to get dewy or its just the lights needed. will update more later. need to test it out without the cover for the plant and pot.

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HE

March 3, 2010

HE …

recounted stories of his life during the Japanese occupation to my bro and i

made sure i knew my multiplication tables before term started for primary 1

witnessed my 1st day at school

was there for my very 1st sports day shot put competition

was the one who ferried me to ice skating practice and school

showed me how to ride my 1st non kiddy bicycle.

was the one who sat by my bedside with an icy cold towel, toweling me down when i was burning a high fever

was the one who dressed my wounds when i fell down

there are many more to be listed but basically HE was the one who had a part in my growing up and now HE is not around anymore. HE is my grandfather who passed away peacefully on the 21st Feb 2010 at 3ish in the afternoon. Sadly to say i could not make it home to see him for the last time. Sadly to say i never got to tell him personally “Thank you” for everything that he had done for me. At least his battle with cancer ends here.

Goodbye and rest in peace grandpa.

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Update on CPS

November 13, 2009

Well i sowed my drosera and nepenthes seeds on the 22nd Oct and yesterday when i went to check on the pots, i noticed that the d.tokaiensis, d.spatulata and d.oblanceolata pots have germinated! d.paradoxa and my nepenthes seeds seems to be still dormant so keeping my fingers crossed! well temperature inside the tank goes up to 29 degrees celsius now. hmm wondering if that is too hot for the droseras…i think should be ok cos temperature in asia can sometimes get up to 30 degrees celsius or more. not so sure about humidity levels since i do not have a hygrometer yet. have to get one soon so i can monitor it.

What i did tho was put the tokaiensis, oblanceolata and paradoxa pots together on one tray and filled the tray with a bit of distilled water. i am experimenting here. hehe hoping that the hormones from the tokaiensis and oblanceolata might leech out onto the tray and seep into the pot of paradoxa seeds. lets see if they germinate eventually. (keeping fingers crossed)

i noticed a flower scape showing on my 3rd d.intermedia so now i have 3 intermedias about to flower! that means more seeds! how exciting! i did trimmed off the dead leaves and had chose the not so dead looking ones and put it into a cup of distilled water, and the ones that looks almost expired i chuck it into another pot of peat, sp moss and perlite mix. lets see if these lots will propagate like the last lot of leaves which i had left in the main pot (those propagated into baby intermedias)

so far so good! i am happy and satisfied for now. will sow the d.indica (green and red form) and byblis liniflora seeds tonight.

at the rate things are going, i think i need to find another table for the other tank so that i can set it up for the new batch of drosera babies coming!

 

 

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Of bees and honey….

November 12, 2009

Recently not too long ago a canadian friend approached me to help him with designing a label for his new product – honey. I took it on so that I would have one more thing to add to my portfolio.

Here is my design

option01.

Original Honey label design on Corel draw

It is a really simple design and not all that hard to do. Pictures were taken and provided for by him. I did the design on corel draw, turn out his printer wanted an illustrator file instead, since he did not have enough time to get a hold of me, he went and converted the file by himself and now it looks like this!

final

Honey label design after the conversion from Corel draw to Adobe illustrator

The colors looked a little off…. but overall the design is still the same.

His bees have started producing honey and he had already harvest his first bottle. The honey is somewhere in canada, floating around with my design on it!😀

Here is a pic of him holding his very 1st bottle of honey!

eric_honey

Eric with his 1st bottle of honey🙂

and pics of eric with his bees!

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Eric checking on his bees

eric04

Eric about to bite into the comb!

eric05

Eric working with his bees

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bees

BEEZZZZzzzz

bees02

More bees

bees03

Bees

bees05

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My Terrarium

November 7, 2009

I had wanted a terrarium almost the very day I sowed my drosera intermedia seeds. That was towards the end of May 2009. It did not materialized until now. But right before that I was using a temporary setup.

It seems to work for me then maybe this can help newbies who are first starting up and do not have the budget for a proper light set up yet. BUT bear in mind this only worked cos my droseras were seedlings, as it got bigger I found that I needed more lights especially if I am to have them potted up separately.

lights

My 1st light setup

For the above setup, I was using a 9 watt cold light energy saving bulb (which is equivalent to a 60 watt regular non saving bulb) .

Now as far as I know the droseras I am growing need lots of sunlight, and since my place is not really suitable for putting them outdoors due to my pets being able to get their dirty little paws on them ( I have had experience of my pets mangling up my regular plants and shrubs enough to know :P) I had decided to grow them indoors. Since I sowed the seeds during late fall, sunlight was really limited and my windows were not really idea and when they germinated, I resorted to using regular lights just to experiment and test it out. Surprisingly that first setup there where I had the container of d.intermedia seeds handing from the light, they germinated a few days later when I had switched to putting the container there. Prior to that I had them sitting on a table which was then placed right next to the window to try and catch some rays. Coincidence or was it the lights that woke the seeds up? I can’t really say for now.

So when the d.intermedias started showing their 2nd set of carnivorous leaves I then changed the setup to the table along with a table light. This time I started using a regular 60 watt warm light, this was still in winter and my house tends to be on the cold side, thus I switched to the regular bulb because it actually emits heat and that could give the d.intermedias some warmth.

setup

2nd temp. setup

While using this 2nd setup, one d.intermedia was growing really fast, I think apart from the warm light being so close to it, it could also be due to the fact that it had its own pot to grow in instead of the communal pot, and subsequently this d.intermedia started growing a flower scape, and then later another 2nd flower scape started to form.

Then when I came into possession of extra drosera and nepenthes seeds (D.sessilifolia, oblanceolata, paradox, byblis liniflora, spatulata, tokaiensis, indica and N.mirabilis, stenophylla and N. sp. Pangà), I sowed them all and had to add more lights! This was what I came up with.

recent_setup

3rd temp. setup

Finally just two days ago I had the time to clean out the old fish tank that was given by a friend and then I had it all set up and ready to go. What is now missing is a permanent top with lights fixture so currently still using these table lamps for lights.

newestsetup

Terrarium

I had lined the inside with aluminum foil to test out and see if it actually can reflect enough light for the plants, if it does maybe I would save some money on buying the actual proper lights for now since I do have a budget. Keeping fingers crossed. Alas one fish tank is also not enough to be honest, i have 4 more pots of seeds which cannot fit in due to them being sowed into big pots, so I think I will definitely need one more fish tank, which is not a problem cos my friend had left 3 fish tanks here for me! One being almost 6 feet long but space is a problem for me. For now I will deal with what I can do first and need to work on getting a table setup for the long tank!

Anyway here are some more pics of my other d.intermedia that is flowering now🙂

flowerscape02b

flowerscape02a

floweringscape03a

floweringintermedia

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Asado

November 5, 2009

Today I am going to talk about asado. Asado is an argentine way of bbq. It usually consists of various meat being grilled, over hot coals or burning embers of wood or a mix of both, over an iron grill called a parrilla. You may say what is so special about an asado, its just like any barbecue, well technically no.

1st is in the meat, the cuts are very different, they have vacio (flank), matambre (meat just under the skin – the lower part of the ribs to belly or flank area),  asado (ribs, yes and its also called asado :P) just to name a few.

2nd there is no elaborate seasoning done, only salt is used, just to sidetrack a bit – when I had my 1st asado, I was asking my friend what seasoning does she use? and i actually wanted to season my chicken with the works (oyster sauce, chilli, etc) and my friend almost keeled over in shock. She said “Just salt”.

3rd the food has a smoky flavour to it. No special wood use as far as I am aware, not like the hickory smoke chips we can get back home from the supermarket. And they are juicy and yummy!

Apart from meat, they do have chorizos (sausages), morcilla (blood sausages), chinchulin (initial portion of small intestine), mollejas (sweetbreads) etc. These usually come along as an accompaniment with the meat.

Of course some will have this sauce with their grilled meat called chimichurri, a mix of garlic, oregano, salt and aji molido (grind chilli that is not spicy) and oil.

Almost every household will have an out door parrilla place where they can start an asado. Here is a picture of an outdoor parrilla.

outdoor

Outdoor parrilla

An asado can be easily done at home or at the park or anywhere, all you need is wood, a portable iron grill and a fork and knife set (usually comes in its own casing and all, some even includes a small wooden board along with it). I know of someone who actually have his grill in the boot of his car at all times! Some time back when the teachers had a strike at the city palace, he whipped out his grill and started an asado right outside for his fellow colleagues and himself. Since the others had no cutleries they bought some bread and had their meat wrapped in bread! Easy peasy! So have grill will travel indeed!

grill01

Portable parrilla

 

lake_asado02

Asado by the lake (lake is behind the photographer)

Basically a fire is started using dry wood and left to burn, sometimes charcoal is piled on at a later stage when the pieces of wood are burning, once they are glowing red embers, the wood/charcoal is then evenly distributed below the grill, this would usually take an hour or so before the meat gets cooked.

fire

Starting a fire

ready to cook

Meat on the parrilla

meat_edited
pollo

Chicken on parrilla

 

chorizo01

Yummy chorizo with salad and beets!

So apart from alfajores (alfa-hor-ras) and yerba mate (ger-ba mah-teh), we will talk about those another time, asado is the next most common and popular thing in Argentina. So popular I would think it is almost a culture on its own. On a public holiday or weekend, one can get a wonderful aroma of asado in the air as one walk through any neighborhood (almost).

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Game over!

November 1, 2009

Open your mind, dear readers…. imagine….
a blank screen suddenly filled with various pests, insects and bugs that plagues plants, just like the old classic space invaders game, slowly moving its way down the screen and your mission is to eradicate them all else the speed of them descend accelerates and will eventually come crashing down on you before you can say “DIE EVIL VERMINS!”

So before you, you see your bottle of pesticide which is movable from left to right using the space bar, to fire at the vermins, button for firing is “Enter”. As you rapidly shoot away at the descending vermins, you try to kill them as fast as they appear. Just as you have cleared them down to the last line of descending vermins, their speed escalated and descended down FAST on you, before you know it GAME OVER! —- to replay press “START”🙂

AH so as you can see battling these pests that plagues my plants are really frustrating. I keep them indoors so as to try and contain them and keep it under better control. I had left plants outdoor in my garden only to find aphids feasting on them. Much as I regularly spray the leaves and plants with a lethal homemade concoction of boiling a mix of onions, garlic and hot chili peppers in 2 litres of water, reduced down to 1 liter or less. Nothing seems to work. I did not want to use commercially available pesticides as those contain chemicals and I do have food plants nearby as well and have no wish to contaminate them with chemicals. I learn from my online gardening friends on the use of neem oil and such. To be really honest, neem oil is not found in my city, it can be found in Buenos Aires I am sure. OR maybe they do have neem oil here but its called something else in spanish. WHO KNOWS?!?!? So anyway, I continued to battle on, on my own with other various organic ways, initially it seems to work but eventually they come back again and again. OH the hassle of it all! In the end I seriously give up.

Well no I have not stopped gardening exactly, I just refused to get new plants or to be bothered with the pests anymore. Furthermore I decided that carnivorous plants are more fun! No doubt they will get their share of pests eventually, but I hope they (the vermins) will never find my secret stash safely tuck away in the corner of my spare room, locked away from all that hullabaloo.

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