Saturday, December 4, 2021

Vanilla Pods

It is a good sight to see the vanilla pods hanging in the garden where fifty percent of the flowers were successfully pollinated. Now we wait for them to dry so that we can use them to extract the vanilla.
Here is another picture, clicked more than a month ago where you can see the flowers blooming, ready to be pollinated. The dry flowers still clinging on, shows that they have been successfully pollinated.
The bottle you see is from nuttie artzz. It looks better at night when the lights come up inside the bottle.  This season the yield of drumstick was pretty good. One of the regular visitors is the purple sunbird who goes in for the nectar from the Moringa (drumstick) flower.
The Ashy Prinia prefers to hang around or maybe even hang on the Moringa. No threat to my Moringas as the bird weighs only about 7 to 10 gms.  (Google facts)
Instead of throwing away the Mosami (sweet lime) seeds, I tried germinating them.  Most of the seeds sprouted which I planted in this pot.
As they grew I saw some designer leaves and found out who was responsible for it.
Clicking flowers against the sunlight makes the picture pop up.
I think the sunflowers also wait for the sun to rise.
As I was clicking the Begonia, this bee wanted to make a guest appearance.
The tomatoes came at the right time considering the upward trend of the price.
Nothing like some homegrown spices. Uprooted this lot from the 1ft x 2ft rectangular pot and got 1.4 kg turmeric. Now to dry and grind them for some organic turmeric powder.
The bulbs (roots) are saved for replanting in the next season.
The chiilies are just growing and hope to get a good yield after repotting.
The brinjals (aubergine) that came up this time is of a different variety.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Coconut scraper

I had two coconuts to grate so I selected a bigger plate for the job. While grating my thoughts kept drifting and I was wondering "is it the same plate?"
Once I was through, I emptied the plate, flipped it and had a closer look at the bottom. Yes, the marking was there. It was 30 year ago that I got this from my employer. They had distributed it to all the employees on the completion of the millionth vehicle. The old emblem also could be seen (The present Tata Motors was known as Telco in those days - Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company) It was very difficult to photograph it as everything was almost worn out after 30 years so I had to dust it with some talcum powder, and then enhance it a bit in Photoshop so that one could read the inscription.
The coconut scraper too was pretty old and has seen better days (about 40 years old) There was a formation of a dent where the metal blade rested on the wood, so I keep a coin there to avoid further damage.
The scraper in this open position reminded me of Mrs Kelkar, our old neighbour in Bombay from the early 60s. I remember her advice to her daughter वापरात नसताना ते बंद ठेवा (when not in use keep it closed) A simple safety advice which goes a long way.
A part of this grated coconut went into our puttu (steamed rice cake) and I made a 20 sec video on it (the puttu)
The song in the video is by Dr Akhila Alexander.
Couldn't help with the train of thoughts while grating.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

A habit like reading

For those who like to read, it turns out to be a habit that sticks on. For many, the morning newspaper is a must. A way to keep yourself connected with the outside world. This is a picture clicked in Dhobi Khanna (Cochin) by Adrian Whittle a few years ago.
The rising sun gives enough light for these flower market workers to read the regional newspaper. This was shot in 2007 by Akshathkumar Shetty at the City Market in Bangalore, India.
The story can be the same in any part of the world, like for instance like inside an Osteria (Tavern) in Italy. (Photo credit Giulio)
Sometimes it could be just a novel, like this horse cart driver in Salzburg catching up on his reading while waiting for his next customer. Maybe he is taking night classes and is going through his text book. (Photo credit Bill Smith)
Sometimes you don't want the story to be interrupted and are willing to continue reading in the tight confines of a Metro in Washington DC (Pic credit:Dale Scherfling)
Libraries are a totally different world for book lovers.You can just sit and browse through a vast variety of books (provided you have the time) (Pic credit: bawtrees)
I like the design of this public library in Seattle. Nothing like allowing the natural light to come in. (Photo credit:Doc SaintX)
A book in hand is always good while travelling, especially when it is long distance. You will never feel "distressed" (Pic Credit: Siakou
Like this village scene. Kids enjoying by the riverside. The common factor? Reading. This is somewhere in Ayodhya (India) (photo credit: Eli)
Here is an interesting picture and this is what the photographer Ameer Hamza has to say: Wife cooked excellent tikka with some gravy, imli ki chutney which was just well made, additional support was provided by hari chutney, piyaz, mirch and kheera. Beautiful. My kids also enjoy this dish so I decided to have my Guria hold this wonderful book. I could not find a better way to photograph the entire spectrum including home made parathas with my early favourite book by master Islamic scholar, A J Arberry. This book must be considered as a classic among studies of Islamic Civilization, a vast, difficult, fascinating subject. So vast and so intricate that few Muslims would know or be able to accurately describe the term 'Islamic Civilization'. Example: A Christian translator working for a Muslim Abbasid King on a Greek manuscript to be translated and annotated in Arabic should be considered as 'Islamic' ? Questions like these are played well. In Pakistan Suhail Academy is at the forefront in publishing such wonderful books. This edition is 2001 printed in Lahore.
I never knew about this bookstall "Shakespeare and Company" till I saw the photograph. What the photographer Craobh Nua has to say :This is quite possibly the most famous bookshop in the world. It was responsible for giving "Ulysses", by James Joyce, its first print run - some were autographed, and these are now reckoned to be the most expensive books of the 20th Century. It was also closed down during the Second World War, when the owner refused to sell a book - Finnegan's Wake, according to legend - to a Nazi Officer. The books are pretty much all in English, and if you buy one you can get it stamped.
I added this photograph for the wonderful picture that it is. A good example of a candid picture and the contrast is very sharp. This was clicked at the Abbey of St Pierre in France. (Photo credit: Dprezat)
"Immersed in the book" so to say but not a very safe place to sit and read from the safety point of view. (Photo Credit Francesco Mariano)
This is a photograph of a painting kept in the State Russian Museum at Saint Petersburg.Nikolai Petrovich Bogdanov-Belsky (Shitiki, December 6, 1868 - Berlin, February 19, 1945) was a Russian painter. He painted mostly genre paintings, especially of the education of peasant children, portraits, and impressionistic landscapes studies.     This picture reminds me of Tom Hanks movie "News of the world" where he is a news reader in the 1870s (a masterpiece of a movie) (Pic credit: Gandalf)
Catching up on that reading while the child plays. Like the colours and the composition of the picture. (Pic credit: James Beard)
Everyone is interested in the news. A picture from 1934. Berlin photos from 1920 to 1950. (Pic credit: Janwillemsen)
When it comes to children's books, the illustrations matter. The imagination of a child gets fired by the drawings in a story book and the impression lasts. (Photo credit: Jean)
The photographer from Spain has compiled this and written: (roughly translated from Spanish)  "Today I intend to honor my parents who taught me to read and learn from reading. My father's first love was reading. With Don Quixote I started reading at school. However, at home after doing the usual homework, he always had to read a few pages aloud with them. And I am grateful for that." Reminds me of the Don Quixote stories I learned in school. (Pic credit)
Can imagine the days when people had to read a book to operate the camera. A picture of the fifth edition of the book (June  1956) (Pic credit:John)
Is the girl enacting what she is reading? Does the dog see something? Is he going to jump out? There is a story developing here I suppose. (pic credit:Jon)
The sticker says it all, and the book lovers will agree with this. (pic credit)
Would like to know what happened here. Or is it just strewn around for sale? This is somewhere in Brussels (pic credit Koen Jacobs)
It has been a long time since I have seen a proper globe, and a huge one like this. By looking at the shape of Asia, one can guess how old this is. The magnificent monastery library was built between 1680 and 1689, by Carlo Antonio Carlone. It is one of the great libraries of Austria and contains about 160,000 volumes, besides 1,700 manuscripts and nearly 2,000 incunabula. (Pic credit:LitterArt)
The photographer made an observation that three people are reading at the same time. He says that this is extraordinary and is practically a disappearing image in the metros and trains. This is in Catalonia in northeastern Spain. (Pic credit: Miquel)
In my lifetime I had met only one cricket commentator and his name was Mamma. When I met him in his house at Panchgani (near Pune) what struck me was his collection of books (mostly about cricket) Here is a picture of Henry Blofeld, a retired cricket commentator at Barton's Bookshop in Leatherhead. A proud moment for him with his picture on the cover page. (Pic credit: Monica Weller FRPS)
 Designing a book cover is an art. Trying to catch the eyeballs with minimal art on the cover is the trick. Incidentally this novel by Jenny Erpenbeck is supposed to be an excellent novel on refugees in Germany. (Pic credit : Vivien)
    There is no age bar when it comes to reading. "Retired and loving it " is the title of this picture. (Pic: pensioner Percy)
Young lady trying to figure out a hand written manuscript (Pic credit: Natalia Yankelevich)
And this was clicked in Brussels street (pic credit :Natali Antonovich)
  This picture by Lou reminds me of my school days when I used to pick up the comic paper first and finish all the comic strips. In the words of the photographer : A very rare scene...two young boys sitting in the coffee shop reading the Mercury News. Kids this age normally have their noses buried in an electronic devise.There is nothing like seeing a child engrossed in a story book. Pic credit Lou Alexander
Here maybe the child is trying to explain the story to her grandfather who clicked her in action. (Pic credit: Philip Van Ootegem)
This is something all booklovers don't like to see in a book. Dogears. And it happens when readers fold the page as a bookmark. (Pic credit Yvonne Kluin)
There are so many bookmarks you can select from. As long as they are flat and do not damage the book. (Pic credit:Anna Kristenson)
Some can be funny (Pic credit: Marian Kloon)
It can be the squished rat or the giraffe or the moo moo cow.
I like this huge mural in Germany. There is also a video on how the mural was made. Pic credit: Mhobl
 So let us get to know the world by reading more books. (Pic credit: Carlo)