Katuk

Sauropus androgynus

Common names: Malunggay hapon, chinese malunggay, sweet leaf, star gooseberry


This started growing by itself beside the horse paddock. Plant ID was provided by Gina Mapua.

From Edible Plant Project:

It has a pleasant peanut-like taste when eaten raw and the cooked leaves taste excellent as spinach. The plant is sold everywhere in Malaysia and nearby countries, where it is grown as an edible hedge. Malaysian scientists have developed a technique for forcing the shoot tips to grow extra long and tender by applying plenty of manure, water and (sometimes) shade. The 5-inch shoot tips (locally called “sayor manis”) are sold to upscale restaurants and also exported to Japan, and possibly elsewhere, as “tropical asparagus.” I ate these in a hotel in Malaysia and they were outstanding. The chef stir-fried them for one minute.

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Now to taste it to confirm the ID!

Barkley the Model

When I get frustrated with drawing birds, there’s always Barkley! You can always count on him to take a nice nap during the day. And look really cute while he’s doing it.

Unlike those birds! When I see a bird perched nicely, I grab my sketching gear! Sometimes, the bird is gone by the time I’ve pulled out my sketchbook and pencil. If the bird stays in the area, then it’s a very intense few minutes of looking through the binoculars or scope and sketching and painting.

At the end, I’m always surprised when I look at my sketchbook and see how few bird sketches I’ve made. It always feels like I drew a lot!

Looking Back at 2016

Some things were lost, some things were gained, and much was learned.

We went on overseas trips in March and May, in addition to many local birding trips throughout the rest of the year. As a result, I didn’t get to spend as much time on the farm as the previous year. We did mostly 1-day trips to the farm/sanctuary. My hagonoy eradication project fell by the wayside. On the plus side, I learned how to do less housework type chores during my short visits to the farm and more fun things like walking around with Momo and Barkley.

In July we had two harvests of mangoes! They were absolutely delicious! We offered some of the first harvest for sale and they were gone in a flash. The next harvest, we gave away to family and friends. People were eager to eat our all natural, un-sprayed, pesticide-free mangoes! Our mangoes stayed greenish on the outside but became very sweet and orange on the inside. People told us the fragrance and sweetness of our mangoes reminded them of the mangoes of their childhood.

We treated ourselves to some very cool tools and gadgets in 2016! We got a scope for birdwatching from the veranda, a digger for making more wildlife ponds, and a wildlife camera for observing the wildlife as unobtrusively as possible.

March 2016, when Tonji was figuring out how the little digger works! This is Pond No. 4 under construction.

This next video is from November 2016. The ponds are full of rainwater and the ducks Continue reading “Looking Back at 2016”