Thursday, September 24, 2020

Garden after rains

 Keeping a watch on the passion fruit. Waiting for them to turn yellow so that I can pluck them before they fall off 

These vines last for about seven years. They require strong trellis as the fruit tends to be slightly heavy. Plucked these tomatoes which went into the tomato soup. These are not the regular variety and they have that extra tanginess. No wonder the soup tasted yummy.  

The unusual rains kept most of the plants green and the mint leaves look good enough to go into a curry. Maybe we may make pudina chutney (mint chutney) one of these days.  

The sun does shine bright when there is a respite from the rains, and the butterfly thinks it is better to bask on the turmeric plant.  (I wonder if that yellow guy is a butterfly or a moth)

Got a good crop of Tendli (Ivy Gourd) and it was enough for one curry. 
It is said that Tendli has been used by Ayurveda to treat diabetes due to its ability to increase glucose tolerance and lower blood sugar levels. 

For my photography gear, I had made a light stand with 3/4" PVC pipe which was lightweight and portable. Later I realised that it was not sturdy enough to hold the weight of the light especially when I increased the height to six feet and above. So I decided to make a new one with 1" pipe (which I hope should be sturdy)

Instead of throwing away the old stand, I redesigned it to make it into a stand to hold our orchid baskets. 

Talking of flowers, last month these Brahmakamal (Star of Bethlehem) decided to bloom at midnight as they stay bloomed for only one night. 
What a sight. There were four of them 

Monday, September 7, 2020

Pants and cuffs

 Making things from leftover parts gives you a sense of satisfaction, like this apron. It is made from the top part of an old pant 

I loved those yesteryear's pants with cuffs which were in vogue in the fifties. It seems that the functional reason for the cuffs was to add weight at the bottom of the leg so that it draped the pant well. The scarcity of fabric after WW-II led the way to do away with the cuffs.

Coming back to the project, we had an old pant which was very tight, so the bottom part was cut and made into a small pant for our granddaughter.  

We added some elastic to make it a perfect fit at her waist. 
The top part with the belt loops was pretty good and wifey came up with the idea of making an apron. She made it a little colourful by using some leftover cloth pieces to make the tie and the frills. All in all a satisfying experience. My contribution to the whole project was helping with the machine stitching. 

Now waiting for the next project.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Garden Crate

It is good to see the finished product after struggling to complete it for the last two weeks. 

We had a futon which was extensively used for more than a decade and then discarded and not in use for the last few years. As the wood was of good quality we decided to use it to make a garden crate 

After putting it together we used a shower curtain (again discarded) to line it. I had to use a plastic sheet inside, as a shower curtain is not exactly water proof material. The idea was to see that the crate lasted as long as possible. For the water to drain, we drilled two holes and inserted small pipes 

On the inside we made it snug fit with the plastic so that water and mud won't come in contact with the wood. 

So the futon which was in use in the garden for so many years has come back to the garden in a different form 

Maybe I will start off with some lemon trees in the crate 

The rectangular pot seen in the second picture is used for sowing wheat. Within a week the wheat grass blades are the right size for extracting the wheat grass juice. The medicinal properties of this juice is multifold. 


Friday, July 17, 2020

And she is Hundred

Ten years ago when I attended her 90th birthday party, she told me "if all goes well, the next milestone should be 100"  

clicked 10 years ago

All is well and she made it, but unfortunately it is a different world. There won't be a birthday party, nor can the near and dear ones come and wish her. 

Before the lockdown, whenever I visited her, I could see her sitting at her table, painting a fabric or knitting. 

The usual time when she sits at the dining table and paints is from 9 am to 1 pm.
Whenever any machine stitching has to be done she uses her grandson's room.

There are many well wishers who are waiting with sarees and fabric so that she will find some time to paint them. (there is some voluntary payment too done by the well wishers)  
Two months ago this saree was picked up by a well wisher for Rs 11000/-  

First she draws the outline 

Then she fills it up with colours. Painting on tussar silk is not an easy task.  Each saree takes about three months.

Imagine, being 100 and still earning, and in the bargain keeping yourself occupied both mentally and physically.

Padmavati (Padmam) is ninth in the line of ten siblings. You can have a glimpse of her family tree in this short video.

the family tree

standing, third from left

Having lost her husband at an early age, she brought up her five kids in a very disciplined way. She spend her early life in Kerala. After getting married, she moved to Bombay and later settled in Pune with her daughter. 

In keeping up with the changing times, she is deft at sending e mails and receiving messages on WhatsApp.  
Some of her work adorning her drawing room.

Another activity that I enjoy at her place is having the Onam sadhya (lunch) with her every year.

Her daughter in law (Dr Geeta) writes "I am in awe of her. She radiates this calmness and peace to people around her. She has the unique ability of occupying herself and never getting bored. Exceptionally talented, she occupies herself by painting, knitting, writing, embroidery and thereby creating happiness and beauty all around her"

The mandatory cake cutting with just the immediate family

and the rest of the family participated  through a zoom meet 

Some of them were dressed up for the occasion and one wore the duppatta that was painted by Amma.  

I have put a one minute video on the 100th B'day celebrations on FB. 

Update on 23rd July 2020 
Her daughter Lata saw her enjoying a Malayalam rap. 

For those who want to make further enquiries regarding work done by her, the contact mail id is given below in the comments. 
More of her work can be seen in the links given below.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Nisarga and Pune

Looks like cyclone Nisarga spared Mumbai but Pune did get some powerful wind by which some 60 trees fell in the city. It even uprooted our Kappa (tapioca) which was planted in a grow bag. 

The usual yield of Kappa is better than this but I salvaged all that I could get from the uprooted plants. 

Wifey made the traditional dish with it, and it went well with the fish curry. 

With all that rain lashing around, I was happy to see the drumstick flowers holding on well. 

Talking of grow bags, I just tossed some watermelon seeds (and a mango seed) in one of the spare grow bags in our garden. I was happy to see that they took root within no time. 

Won't it be a good idea if we planted all the seeds that we discard from our kitchen? If there are no pots at home, just toss them where there is some mud, maybe on the road side when you go for your drive.
Within three weeks tiny watermelons have appeared and very soon I will have to give them some support when the weight increases 

As for the mango tree, I don't see much future for it in the grow bag. But let us see how far it will grow.  The  mango season is coming to an end and it is the right time to make some Uppumanga (mango in brine) 

On a lean day, (if the lockdown is reimposed) this will go well with the rice. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Manga Chutney

I saw this Ammachi on YouTube making Mango Chammandi on the grinding stone and I couldn't help salivating. 

To our bad luck, the mango tree outside our bedroom window did not yield any mangoes this year (except for two mangoes) 

It could be due to the unseasonal rains. Talk about wrong timing, that went hand in hand with the lockdown.

To pluck the mango, I borrowed an idea from a DIY video I saw on FB about the different uses of plastic bottles.   

We did the grinding in a mixer as Ammachi's grinding stone was something that is not seen in many households now a days. 

For my part, I did the grating of the coconut (apart from plucking the mango) 

The final product looks yummy and we are waiting for lunch time to feast on the chammandi. 

The second mango is earmarked for next week.