Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ABC Wednesday - X box and Xylogenous Fungi

A lucky Michael gets a X box controller cake from his mum Grace. I wonder if he was willing to cut it.


xylogenous means growing on wood, so I take it that the Chinese Ear Fungi is xylogenous.

I went for a walk to a park next to Mt Albert Grammar school. I came across this tree stump which has some Chinese Ear Fungi growing. I have never been here, so I walked rather slowly and clicked as I went along.

This fungi is eaten by the Chinese and has a rubbery texture. You can buy them in dry form, soak it to reconstitute and it expands about 5 times its size. Not many people like it as it feels slimy and rubbery. I used to pick them when I was a child in Borneo.

I remember reading how this Chinese man made his fortune in New Zealand by shipping them to China. The Kiwis, Pakehas and Maoris laughed at this China man, but he had the last laugh. He laughed all the way to the bank.

So now, I will be keenly looking at tree stumps and hope to make my millions.

Wood ear fungus

The first commercial sale of edible fungi in New Zealand was in the 1870s, when Taranaki merchant Chew Chong sent bags of dried wood-ear fungus (Auricularia cornea) to his homeland, China. The fungus was in demand for the crunchy, chewy texture it added to food.

Wood ear fungus grows naturally on dead trees in lowland forest. Tonnes were harvested as settlers cleared forest for farming, and exports to China continued until the 1950s. In the 2000s, the fungus is now mostly imported to New Zealand from China, in dry form. Taiwanese growers had started cultivating a closely related fungus on sawdust blocks in the 1960s, and it became uneconomic to harvest it in the wild. A small quantity is now grown in New Zealand for the domestic market.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ruby Red Tuesday: Awnings


I was driving to my local open market when my radio released this news. "Because of the last six weeks of cold overcast weather, cucumbers are at a shortage.
Subway forced to ration scarce cucumbers"

I saw cucumbers for sale, admittedly at a higher price. Then I went to my Asian Grocery, and saw these telegraph cucumbers. There were plenty, at $4.25 which is quite expensive. The short ones were $3.45.

It makes me think of business men making their cock and bull story. They just didn't want to make less profit by using a product that is now costing more. When the price goes down, they don't use more or cut the price.


A nationwide shortage of cucumber is impacting on Subway diners' meals.By Geoffrey Bell

A shortage of cucumber, lamb and turkey has hit Subway stores from Kaitaia to Invercargill.

A sign at Auckland's Queen St store said: "Due to the critical supply issue with cucumber we need to reduce the amount of cucumber on sandwiches for a limited time."

At Subway Eden Quarter in Mt Eden, a notice said: "We are currently out of stock of our turkey and roast lamb products due to unforseen circumstances until further notice."

Subway marketing manager David Herrick said there was a seasonal shortage of cucumbers because of cold growing conditions, which led Subway to look at sourcing them from Australia.

"But what's happened in Australia is that all the growing fields there were hit by serious flooding a couple of months ago. Therefore they can't supply us," said Mr Herrick.

Subway management has told stores nationwide to use less cucumber until supplies are restored.

Six-inch subs will now get two slices of cucumber instead of three, and foot-longs will get four instead of six.

Subway Britomart acting store manager Uma Nam said: "We order cucumbers from one place and we are not getting stock from them."

Mr Herrick added: "We expect it to be resolved next week."

Sally Shen, duty manager of Subway Eden Quarter, said although she had a small amount of cucumber, there was no turkey or lamb in stock.

Subway management did not return the Herald's calls regarding the "unforseen circumstances".

Mellow yellow Monday: Roller


This chap was driving his roller machine up and down to flatten the ground after the digger had dug up the asphalt of the school grounds. It was drizzling, and he was still working.

He was getting bored and waved at me when I stuck my camera through the fence. I gave him a thumbs up. My students asked what I was doing in the rain and why I took his photo. I didn't tell them I blog.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Brunei Chinese Temple

While it is a cold winter here in New Zealand, I recall when I was visiting Brunei last year. The tour guide took us past this old Chinese Temple and then to a market place where he told us ,"No where in the world can you get rice so cheap. For One Brunei dollar, you can have Nasi Katok and curry chicken and vegetable."

My son was so hot that he went to the bathroom and splashed himself with water.

I was later told that the Government subsizes the rice.

Friday, June 25, 2010

weekend reflection; Coffee Jugs


The person running the coffee machine has polished his jugs so well that you can see reflections in each jug. This coffee machine is at the lobby of Mt Albert Baptist Church. Visitors to the church at Sunday service are given a free coffee. The rest can buy the coffee are a cheaper price. The profits each month goes to the missionary for that month.

skywatch Friday: LPG

I was curious with this big tanker that pulled up at the gas station. It was delivering LPG. Liquefied petroleum gas (also called LPG, GPL, LP Gas, or autogas) is a flammable mixture of hydrocarbon gases used as a fuel in heating appliances and vehicles, and increasingly replacing chlorofluorocarbons as an aerosol propellant and a refrigerant to reduce damage to the ozone layer.

In my late teens, my mum in Borneo used LPG for her cooking. The gas came in canisters. Here in Auckland, I see customers take their empty canisters to fill them with LPG in the gas station.

This is a real story which my friend told me. In Miri town, there is a lot of natural gas. The Shell company has pipes to households. This gas is much cheaper than the gas pumped in the canisters.

A man living just at the fringe of gas pipes complained that he had to pay so much for the gas canister, while his next door neighbour gets his piped-in gas for a fraction of his gas. The gas delivery man told of how the gas company had to pay for extra pipes to be laid, people to fill up the canister, to load on to the truck and then pay the delivery man. The man said, save your cock and bull story, what if I just puncture a hole, and weld my pipe to the mains.

The sky was overcast that day I took the photo.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Photohunt 219: Purple

I teach young primary students. The junior girls tell me that pink and purple are their favourite colours. The boys tease the girls that those are girly colours. Recently on our consumer rights TV program, "Fair Go", a school girl wrote to "Fair Go" that stores only sell pink and purple and she has nothing to wear. Most of the companies were not very co-operative. They respond that overseas girls like pink and purple, and they just follow the trend.

Actually, when I was young, I liked purple too. I remember Dad took me to buy a pair of shoes when I was 14. I came home with a 1 inch silvered heel and purple shoes, and my oldest sister said it was ugly. I replied," I like it and it is me who is wearing it."

Do I still like purple? Yes. They are nice and soft. Since I have been blogging, I have noticed lots of God's creation are purple. Purple Lissianthus Flowers This is one of my favourite now, because my daughter G likes it and she gives it to me.

Last summer, I took Sam to the Star Dome, and I took these. There are plenty of purples in outer space. I will be happy there.

Finally, this is just one sample of my beautiful Hydrangea. It gives me warm memories of my Grand dad. He went to Borneo in his twenties in the early 1910s, so had much memories of China. He told us of this embroidery flower aka SAO JAO FA. In the old days, girls would embroider this ball and give it to her sweet heart. In more dramatic "Chinawood" style, she would be up the balcony of her house and throw it to the guys waiting in the garden. The guy who picks it up would be her husband. Of course, in real life, this would never happen, as guys and gals were arranged to be wed by their parents. My Grand Dad was an old romantic. This plant did not grow in Borneo. I once had a small plant with small balls of flowers in Singapore, and I had sweet reminiscences of my Grand dad.

This is my story, and I have told this to many of my fellow bloggers. I had a row of beautiful light coloured hydrangea. My friend who is a florist was happy to come to get some because of it's light colour blends very well with other flowers. One day, when I came home, my hedge had been given a complete make-over. It was bald, my husband went to ask him why he did it. The "blade happy" old man said, he felt more secure now the hedge is gone. His neighbour was burgled and he didn't like burglers hiding behind my hedge. We left it at that, the trouble is he continues to cut the hedge and the poor plants are almost dead. To keep the neighbourly peace, I decided to let him do what he wants. I can look back in my photos and also those of my fellow bloggers.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

ABC Wednesday: W for wagon.


The Singapore Zoological Gardens or commonly known as the Singapore Zoo, occupies 28 hectares (0.28 km²) of land on the margins of Upper Seletar Reservoir within Singapore's heavily forested central catchment area. This is rather difficult for young feet to walk in the tropical humid weather.

These wagons are much welcomed for the little ones to sit on.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Watery Wednesday: Sea birds


In Walker Park, not far from my school, are a whole lot of Oyster Catchers. They fly off when I get too near.

ruby red: School makeover


The Chinese have a saying when it comes to charity," If you have money, give money, if you have energy, give energy." During my church MABC's school makeover, a lot of church members worked two days to spruce up the school. The kids and Mr. Auva the principal at Mt Albert Primary school came to thank us and presented items of song and dance from the islands of Pasifika.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

mellow yellow monday:dinner for 4


It's been four years since I did any cooking for charity.
In Singapore, for sixteen years, my friends and I (a group of faculty wives and husbands) raised funds for the Deaf Children in Kenya. The school is Oyugi School for the Deaf in Kenya.
When my Church MABC got involved with working at the local school makeover, Mt Albert primary School, there was a call for donation of gift, cash and time. I offered a 3 course Malaysian dinner for 4.

I was pleasantly surprised that the bid went up to $120. So I decided to throw in a dessert as well.

I forgot to say that I packed up the food and delivered to my friend's house.

Here's what I cooked:
Saffron rice with raisins and almond flakes.
Malaysian curry chicken with coconut milk, potatoes and tomatoes.
Individually sauteed veges
Jelly lime and mandarin cake.
S. and S. enjoyed their dinner with friends.
Thank you for your generousity.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Scenic Sunday: Sunday Bridges Series: in Papua New Guinea

Up in the mountains of Papua New Guinea, you need a walking bridge to cross a fast flowing stream.

photohunt: Six


At a beach on the Gold Coast, at South port. This sign has 6 DO NOTS. It is inevitable there should be rules. Otherwise the place will be in chaos.

Skywatch Friday: Winter afternoon


Everyday I drive past this tree on my way home. I wonder why it is loop sided. Why would anyone trim the branches of only one side of the tree?

The sky was dull and covered completely by clouds. Though the sky in the photo doesn't look dark, it was. You can see from the head lights of the cars.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

ABC Wednesday: V for Vat.


A lot of soup was brewed on this Thai King's birthday celebration at Rocket Park in Mt Albert. The soup was for noodles and sold to raise money to build a school in the mountainous area of Thailand.

I tried the soup. It was similar to the Bak Gu Teh aka Rou Gu Cha in Singapore.

Monday, June 14, 2010

watery wednesday: Fishing at the beach


Recreational fishing at the beach in South Port, Australia.

Ruby Red: Horse


This horse in this photo has nothing to do with this story. I just needed a horse and something red.

I have been watching a lot of SPCA shows and was infuriated at how a farmer and his wife could starve a cow. She (the cow) was so emaciated that the vet had to put her down. The farmer gave the excuse that the cow did not belong to them and it came with the floods.

A poor farmer with no money to feed his herd was given advice. But this news of a riding coach nelglecting a horse is another.

An investigation is under way into allegations that a top equestrian coach left a horse in her care to starve.

The woman, a high performance coach for Equestrian Sports New Zealand, is under investigation after a complaint was made against her this year.

Another woman - a rider under the same organisation - is also being investigated for her role in the alleged neglect of the horse.

A man who is now taking care of the 8-year-old stallion made a complaint against the two women after being contacted by the horse's owner in Melbourne to find out where it was.

Neither the rider - who took out a lease for the horse from its owners - nor the coach, who was the guarantor, contacted the owners after they decided not to use the stallion in dressage competitions in New Zealand.

"They've basically just left him out in a paddock with no food, nothing. And he damn-near starved to death," said the man, who did not want to be named.

A veterinary report issued after an examination on May 14 showed the horse to be in a condition of "2 out of 9, with the pin bones, spine of scapular and ribs all clearly visible".

The stallion's condition score rates it as "very thin" under the Equine Body Condition Scoring System.

The most severe rating - one out of nine - is listed as "emaciated".

Mellow Yellow Monday: Danger sign

An Australian tourist died on the Franz Josef glacier. He was part of a group of 12 on a day hike led by a guide on the glacier, on the West Coast.

The group, in single file, were negotiating a path along the bottom of a crevasse when he fell over and stopped breathing about 1.30pm.

In 2000, I walked to the glacier face with my husband and daughter and took this photo. It was a big giant river of ice.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

weekend reflection: Puddles in school

We have so much rain that there are puddles everywhere in school. It is very tempting for little kids to step on the puddle. Here is a mini mural of whale at the drainage to discourage children from throwing rubbish into them. There are many of these drawings done by the children themselves. There was a competition, the children who won got to paint their mini mural.

scenic sunday: Auckland city


View from my school at Pt Chevalier. The Sky Town is the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere. Some days we have a beautiful view, some day, it is shrouded with clouds.

A truly captivating experience awaits visitors to Auckland's Sky Tower. At 328 metres, it is the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand and offers breathtaking views for up to 80 kilometres in every direction.

Travel up in the glass-fronted lifts to one of the three spectacular viewing platforms, or for more thrills and excitement, SkyWalk round the pergola at 192 metres up or SkyJump off the Tower!