Saturday, 29 October 2011

Samuel the Speedy Snail

Samuel was the slowest snail that ever existed. Yes, he moved so slowly that even his mother said that Grandpa snail moved faster than he did. If it took the others to get from point A to point B in 1 day, it would take him 3 days. He was just generally slower than the others. And nobody knew why. His family tried training him with Speedy Snail (who by record was the fastest snail in their colony). But he still could not move faster-not even by one microsecond. His friends tried to build up his stamina by giving him the best of the plants. After being fed like a pig, he still did not manage to move faster. Instead he became fat like a pig and moved even slower! They then asked Mr. Millipede whether he had any extra legs which he could spare Samuel. He had some prosthetic legs which he used for his damaged legs. And when Samuel put them on and tried to walk, he broke the legs and came tumbling down like Humpty Dumpty. You can imagine his frustration and disappointment in himself. Why could he not move faster? Even his baby sister could move faster than him. And she was only 3 months old!

Life went on for the snails, but Samuel did not get any faster. In fact he got even slower. Day by day, he gazed longingly at the other snails who pass by him, shaking their tentacles at his slowness. He envied the butterflies who fluttered pass, the dragonflies who whizzed pass and the bugs who buzzed their wings and sped pass him. He was jealous of the caterpillars and even the worms. And he was 25 years old now, nearing the end of his life-span and yet he never had a breakthrough where speed was concerned. 

He had nightmares during the nights where he was in a race and that the snails who had just hatched from their eggs beat him shells down. By the time the little baby snails had turned 5 years old, he was still nowhere near the finish line. He had dreams where he tried to move faster and pushed himself forward with all his might that he popped out of his shell and died amidst the laughter of others. But he had dreams where he had the last laugh. In some dreams, he grew wings and flew amongst the dragonflies. In other dreams he glided along the path as though he had skates on. And there was once where he dreamt he came in second place in the 'Who Wants to Be A Speedy Snail Contest'.

And so it was just like any other day when it suddenly dawned upon his snail brain. And he wondered to why he did not think of it in all of his snail life? So he set his heart upon it. For one month he made sure he ate the best leaves in the garden and got all the rest that he needed. And he made sure he flexed his snail muscles everyday. And once the month was over, he started his journey.

'Where are you going?' asked his fellow snails. 'You'll see,' Samuel said with a smile. 'Oh come on, Samuel. Don't tell me you are still thinking of moving faster after all these years?' asked Slimy Snail. 'Yeah man, what do you think you are doing? You wanna turn into Slug Slime?' asked another. But Samuel ignored them all and persevered on. It took him another 3 weeks to reach to his destination. And then he waited.

'What do you think happened to Samuel?' 'I think he got crushed,' said Speedy. 'I think he expired before he even reach to god knows where!' said Slimy. And they all shook their snail heads and snuggled into their shells for their sleep.

The sun rose, the cockerel crowed. And the snails slept on as usual. That is until a rumbling from afar and a voice shouting for them to get up, jolted them up from their sleep. And the dragonflies shouted with excitement yelling for the garden community to wake up and to see what was happening. And they couldn't believe their minuscule eyes. Samuel was on the handle of the big bike and he sped pass them. And he was faster than all the snails put together! And he was having the time of his life. He was at optimum speed and clinging on to dear life as the big bike went roaring by.

And so it was night time when the big bike came roaring back with Samuel as the passenger. And the whole garden community was waiting in the garage for him. 'What was it like?' asked his fellow snails. 'It was exhilarating, crazily fast and awesome beyond words!' Samuel replied excitedly. 'I couldn't have asked for anything more!' he said. And they all went home feeling amazed that Samuel the slowest snail became Samuel the speedy snail in such an unorthodox way. He had the last laugh indeed! And he died a very satisfied snail.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Glorious Heavens (Part 2)

'We can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in the darkness.'  - Author Unknown

'Though outwardly a gloomy shroud,
The inner half of every cloud
Is bright and shining:
I therefore turn my clouds about
And always wear them inside out
To show the lining.
- Ellen Thorneycroft Fowler

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Surviving in a Chemical World (Part 2)


  1. I do not use any make-up. I only use the Ego sunblock 50+ for sensitive skin during the day. To wash off the sunblock I use the AA Sensitive Skin cleansing gel-cream. This product is fragrance free, contains no allergens and has no colour additives. It also has minimum concentration of preservatives. Sad to say, the supplier has ceased importing them in. This will be a challenge for me as I have to start experimenting with new products! 
  2. During the night, I use the Organic Aid Vitamin E as my moisturizer. This actually healed my skin of eczema! I swear by this product. 
  3. I use the Living Nature lip-gloss and lip-stick. Living Nature is one product that has no preservative, colourings, chemicals and carcinogens. And they cost a bomb! But you can be sure that they are chemical-free. I am not too sure about salicylates though, as their main ingredient is the Manuka honey. And honey is on the high-end of the salicylate list. But I do not react to this product. The human body is a a peculiar thing. One man's meat is another man's poison indeed. 
  4. I use the Simple brand for my shampoo and conditioner. They are fragrance-free. I use Sebamed cleanser for babies for my bath. I just started using the QV cleanser as they are fragrance-free too. 
  5. For my teeth, I use Sensodyne. Yes, at times it burns my mouth. I will then brush will salt for a period of time, and then use Sensodyne again when I am able to tolerate it. At this point of time, I am still searching for a salicylate-free toothpaste. I use the non-waxed floss. It has no mint in it. Mint is very high in salicylates.
  6. I use the QV Cream or the Organic Aid Vitamin E Moisturizing Cream to moisturize the arms and hands, neck and legs and feet during the night. 
  7. I am still in the midst of researching and reading up on how to make my own home-made toiletries. When I am successful, I will blog about it! Have a great week everyone.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

The Creatures in the Container Garden (Part 1)

If you have a garden, you WILL have creatures lurking around, making your garden their home. 'CREATURES?? WHAT CREATURES???' you ask. Well, creatures that are small and unique. Some are pests and are destructive. Some are squishy and chubby! Some add beauty to the garden. Creatures as in insects or bugs! It's a bug's world out there in the garden. And today, I would like to blog about some of the creatures that my son and I had seen or caught.

This is the male dragonfly

This is the female dragonfly

Oleander Hawk Caterpillars

The caterpillar changes from green to light brown (the middle)
and then into dark brown (the outer 2 caterpillars) before turning into pupa
The stage just before pupa

The beautiful Oleander Hawk Moth

The moth was trying to fly
The moth with a face! Amazingly beautiful!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

This Week's Vegetable Harvest From the Container Garden

The weather has not been good for the vegetables for the past two weeks. It has been raining over here quite frequently as the year is coming to an end. The monsoon season will be here soon. Here's a summary of what is happening in the container garden.

The okras have been doing really great. Just this week alone, I managed to fill up 2 plastic containers with just okras.

The leafy vegetables were doing ok too, I guess. When I harvested them, the soil was quite wet. And the fungus ngats were having a party!

One of the three trays of Siu Pak Choy veges that were harvested.

Vegetable harvest of Siu Pak Choy & Choy Sum.

My broccoli bolted as the weather for the past 4 months were too hot. And broccoli being a cool weather crop did not do well at all in this weather. I was really looking forward to home grown broccoli.

Broccoli sprout

Broccoli seedling

Young broccoli plant

The 2 Pots of Broccoli that never grew florets

The broccoli stems. I harvested the soft ones and threw the 2 bolted plants away. 
 I sliced them thinly
I added thinly sliced carrots and garlic
Lightly stir fried with sunflower oil and voila, a simple vegetable dish!

A short review on what's happening in the garden and what's new.

The chilli which is growing very well.
Chilli Padi!

Spring Onion

Radish sprout
Radishes in a pot!

Do-Re-Mi! Even more cherry tomatoes!

Another Siamese-Twin Tomato!