In one of my earlier post, I mentioned that my mom started growing her own snakebean plant from a seed of my previous snakebeans. On its own, the snakebean plant has taken up quite abit of space in the back balcony.

 

To date, her sole snakebean plant reaped 11 snakebeans with more to come. It has been flowering regularly and we have had 3 plates of stir fried snakebeans from her 1 lone plant already. We have quite abit of fun looking out for baby snakebeans that pop up overnight after the flowers drop off. Can you spot 5 snakebeans in this picture?

Yield from my previous 5 snakebean plants = 4 snakebeans

Yield from my mom’s 1 snakebean plant = 11 snakebeans & more to come

Growing up in a kampung (Malay word for village) in Perak, Malaysia, my mom certainly has the knack for growing stuff and will tell me stories of how delicious her grandmother’s snakebeans were. I am very proud of my mom’s snakebeans but am sad to say that I didn’t inherit this gift of growing stuff from her. Sheesh, her snakebean statistics puts me to shame man.

Though after my observation, there are some things that I can learn from her:

1. Do not be greedy and overcrowd my plants. Unhappy plants translate into a low yield.

2. Just let my plants be. Do not stare at them incessantly and or interfere with their growing path.

3. Be patient. In growing, “om” is the right word. The more I stare, the longer it seems to take.

“OOOOOOMMMMMMMM…..”

I’m back! Sorry that it’s been so long but I’ve been trying to catch up with the real life after coming back.

Instead of posting the standard tourist stuff, I have decided to share with you my shots of the balconies in Italy. While other tourists were clicking away at the statues and everything else, I was busily oohing and aahing at the balconies and happily snapping away at them. Abit mad but who cares?

There is a very distinctive style with regards to the balconies in Italy (balcony pictures are mostly taken in Rome and Verona). In my opinion, the balconies there really contributed to spirit of the beautiful country. Viva Italia!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After this, I think that balconies can really help to beautify and contribute to the cityscape in general so if you’re a Singaporean with an empty balcony and reading this, hope that you’re inspired as well to do something about it :)

Have decided to go on a spur of the moment, totally spontaneous but so last minute trip to Italy. My dream since I was 18, it’s now or forever I procrastinate. Booked the air tickets yesterday and am flying off tonight. Writing of blog will continue when back from wine, olives and the Tuscany sun. See you guys again when back! Take care till then!

After close to a month of self-enforced hibernation where I switched off my mobile phone and went off human contact apart from my family, I think I have recovered both mentally and physically. I no longer question “Why?”, I can recall what happened without crying and everything happens for a reason. Am sorry if I had worried anyone, and thanks alot for your thoughts and words of encouragement. Each and everyone of them helped.

I finally feel up to emerging from this black hole of not wanting to do anything.  I realised that I can persist to wallow in self-pity and self-centeredness but really, what happened to me was not that big an issue at all. Through close friends and this blog, I’ve come to cherish the fact that human encouragement and interaction really does lift minds and spirits, without which I might have slipped deeper into the black hole and continue to indulge in self-pity.

On the lighter vegetative side of things, the condition of my snake bean plants deteriorated drastically during this period and we had no choice but to clear it . I missed it quite badly actually. It yielded a grand total of 4 snake beans, laughable by farmer standards, but I’m still damn pleased about it. My mom is growing her own snake bean plant, which is 3 weeks old by now, from seeds that came from my snake bean plants so I feel that the lifeline had continued somehow. 

What’s still standing proud in my balcony is lemon balm, of which I have 2 pots by now. I’ve gotten seeds for Pak Choy which I want to try and grow, and will also be reattempting to grow cherry tomatoes again.

Pardon my pun but I do hope that in both oneself and vegetative terms – ONWARDS I GROW.

Exactly one week ago last Tuesday was my first gynae visit to check on my baby which was supposed to be 7 weeks old by then. It was a secret that was bursting to be shared once we had the confirmation of the gynae that all is well.

It’s amazing how fast things change and how you just had to cope with it. Nothing turned up on the ultrasound. A blood test and another transvarginal ultrasound confirmed a molar pregnancy. There was no fetus.

I was admitted into the hospital that same night and undergone a laparoscopy the next morning to clean out my womb and will need to undergo weekly blood tests to ensure that my BHCG levels is down to undetectable levels and that there is no risk of cancer developing.

From the joy, hope and anticipation of carrying a little being in you to simply nothing. I cried for 3 nights in the silent darkness of my hospital room and still tear abit every now and then thinking about it, but I believe I am healing abit as each day passes. Writing this out helps in the healing process as I type.

I will be pottering about in my balcony soon once my stitches are removed. I believe it will help in the healing process too. There is something about planting seeds, nurturing our plants, watching them grow and thrive that helps us, strengthens us and warms the humanity inside us somehow. Maybe it’s the process of watching life unfold before you that reminds you about hope that’s still abound around us. 

This is how my balcony looks like after 3 months plus of growing.

It looks like an unruly jungle from the pictures but compared to how empty my balcony was 3 months ago, I am not complaining.

My mom has plans to grow the snake beans again at the smaller balcony that’s at the back of the kitchen and I thought about growing some climbing foliage plant (fantastic if it flowers as well) up and along the pipe at the left of the balcony.

It’s still a long way from my dream balcony filled with lush greens but I’m learning and we’ll get there bit by bit.

Since the eating of the single snake bean,  2 more snake beans have since grown, bringing my total yield now to 3 snake beans. It’s a little pathetic referring to them in singular, countable terms but this is how it is for me. Anything more than 1 is a damn good thing.

I came home 2 days ago to discover that one of this 2 snake beans went missing! Mind you, don’t find me a drama queen but when you have only 2 precious snake beans hanging, you will find it quite a shock losing one.

So here’s how the conversation went between me and my mom for the accounting of the missing snake bean.

Me: Gasp! How come it’s missing???? (starting to get abit high pitched)

Mom: Your dad’s friend from China came just now to visit and took that snake bean back with him.

Me: What!!! He can’t just take it like that! Don’t they have snake beans in China?!?!? Why take mine?!?!?! (at this point, I am whining abit)

Mom: He says that the ones he grows in his backyard are not as long as yours, so he wants your snake bean for its seeds to grow them back home.

Me: Oh.

Since then, I find it so great that my snakebeans seeds will be going far away from here and continuing its line and flourishing somewhere in a backyard in China where there will be alot more space than my balcony. 

So uncle, I’m totally cool about it now, it’s okay for you to take my snakebean. Grin.  

More updates: I have counted 3 more flowers to date so we should have some more snakebeans coming. Yippee.  

Here’s how you cook just one snake bean:

Step 1: You get your mom to cut it up while she’s very amused that you have to take pictures of the whole process

Step 2: Stir fry with anchovies and egg

 

Step 3: Serve.  Portion enough for 3 mouthfuls.

 

Pathetic recipe aside, my verdict is that home-grown vegetables is still the BEST! 

Simply because I watered, watched and waited for it. Full stop. 

I came home happily from the local supermarket last evening and was completely shocked and to see this hanging amongst my snake bean plants.

 

A full grown snake bean!

Where did that come from? I blinked and my first reaction was to scream for my mom because she is famous for her pranks. She once produced a 3 year old lottery ticket (we call it 4D here) bearing the first prize numbers of that day’s draw. I jumped in jubilation for awhile before realising that the ticket has expired, bearing the same winning numbers no doubt, but the ticket was bought 3 years ago. This is the extent of my mom’s pranks. This woman actually keeps her 4D tickets for years, waiting for her chance to play such a prank. So I doubted the snake bean at first, she could have stuck it on for all I knew. 

Upon closer inspection, it’s for real! After lamenting and mooning for weeks, I suddenly have a full grown surprise snake bean and it’s 22.5 inches already! Still scratching my head on this, but nevertheless, happy. Yes, even if it is just one snake bean.

Our deduction was that it could be growing at the very top of the blinds and was rustled from its resting postion during the heavy rain and hence, just dropped to its current position. I have a strange balcony of plants, first my lemon balm, now this.

My mom joked that it is my one yield snake bean. 5 plants and close to 3 months of waiting produces just one yield.

But behold, I saw some more flowers! Happy as a lark. Which means I’ve got about 4 more snake beans to come. I’ve never seen snake bean flowers before and they look great! Thanks everyone for your words of encouragement. I thought it will never happen but it’s true! It did!

The snake bean plants has been deteriorating rapidly this few days (not sure if it’s the freaky weather) and we might have to take everything down after this batch has finished growing their snake beans. But in retrospect, I’ve learnt alot about how better to grow them (no overcrowding and provide ample trellis cos they climb like mad and need good support) and the feeling of finally having grown something is just great. 

 

 grand-prix-advert.jpg

I had such a hoot when I read not just one, but two letters from two individual members of the public published separately in the The Straits Times and Today, writing about the organizers of the Formula One night race choosing to test their 3000 lux lighting system 30 minutes before the start of Earth Hour in Singapore.

Really? They did that? Oh my gosh, I didn’t even know that until I read the letters in the forum. To the two gentlemen who bothered to spend time and write in about this issue - Good for you! Way to go people!

It is heartening to know when there are others who cared about the earth enough and spoke up for it. Speak up, be heard and create change.

Quote from F1 Underground - The Singapore Grand Prix Organizers Mock Earth Hour: The lights (300 times more powerful than normal street lights) are being tested today when much of the world is turning their lights off for one hour to symbolically bring attention to the growing environmental crisis. The lights (only a fraction of the 1500 that will be used in the race) will be left in place and turned on each evening at 7 PM along with the regular street lights in Singapore for a week.

I know, I know… tourism dollars, hotel sector booms, helps the economy, etc, etc, but can we call for a little sensitivity please? For earth? 

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About Me

Limited apartment space is not a deterrent to my garden dreams. I’m no green-thumb but always have alot of hope and optimism.

I’m located in Singapore, a tropical Asian country.

Comments, especially gardening tips, are greatly welcomed. Thanks for dropping by! Teresa

Stuff That I Am Attempting To Grow

Cherry Tomato
Chives
Coriander
Curled Parsley
Dill
Lemon Balm
Okra (lady's finger)
Snake Bean (yardlong bean)
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