Last Saturday night was spent in my bungalow after having a barbeque. We had Rambutans for dessert and i had a really bad tummy ache paid the price for stuffing myself too much of it. But what can you do when it taste so yummy, is in season and all around you at the farm?
Archive for the 'Kuching Homestay' Category
Goats relish Neem leaves. We try to feed them with these normally using lopped off branches when trimming as and when we can afford to and we only have a single mature tree. There are some younger saplings but these are just too young to justify the quantity of leaves we would like to have available.
The use of Neem in veterinary medicine in India dates back to the times of the epic Mahabharata (300 B.C). According to scholars, two of the five Pandava brothers Nakul and Sahadev, who practiced veterinary medicine, used Neem to treat ailing and wounded horses and elephants by applying poultices prepared from Neem leaves and Neem oil for healing the wounds etc., during the battle of Mahabharata. Ancient Sanskrit literature indicates Neem applications as feed and in a large number of prescriptions and formulations to provide health cover to livestock in various forms. Various Neem preparations were standardized in the form of oils, liniments, powders and liquids. Ayurvedic scholars recommend the use of Neem oil as antipyretic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, analgestic, antihistaminic, anthelmintic and as an acaricide.
Neem has been traditionally used against various livestock insects such as maggots, hornflies, blow-flies and biting flies. Neem is also useful for controlling some bacteria of veterinary importance and against intestinal worms in animals. Patnaik, (1993) highlights the livestock friendly medicinal role of neem in the following: “the tree (neem) is revered by Indian herdsmen as a gentle but effective veterinary poultice, a virtue confirmed by the 16th century Portuguese botanist and traveler, Garcia de Orta in his “Coloquios”.
Neem trees grow slowly during their first year, but they reach maturity fast. You can expect to harvest your first neem fruit after three to five years. It takes about ten years for a neem tree to get to full production. After that it will produce 30 to 50 kg of fruit a year. A neem tree can be expected to live much more longer that any of us can ever hope for 150 to 200 years.
Sometimes when there is nothing because you were just too busy or lazy to eat there is always the herb garden to raid. One favorite is the Ulam Raja, eaten raw with some belacan , a couple of chillies and some salted fish not forgetting the hot rice. Eat the leaves mind you, not the tasteless flowers which don’t taste that great.
Buah Tarap (pronounced is Sarawak as Buah Terap) season is here. This is one of the most delicious of all the tropical fruits and is also a beautiful exotic tree. It has lobed leaves, as large as 2-4 foot long and 1 foot broad, similar to the Breadfruit’s, but a little less lobed. In a wild, it is found extensively in Brunei Darussalam and parts of Sabah and Sarawak and of course right here at The Kebun.
The fruit does not fall to the ground when ripe, only when it is over ripe and rotting. It may be harvested while still hard, and left to ripen until soft. The ripe fruit is opened by cutting the rind around or just twisting and gently pulling the halves complete the operation. The inside of the fruit is somewhat similar to the Jackfruit but the color is whitish. The core is relatively large, but there are fewer “rags” and less non-edible parts. Arils are white and the size of a small grape, each containing a 1/2″ seed. Once opened, the fruit should be consumed quickly (in a few hours), as it loses flavor rapidly and fruit oxidizes.
To open the fruit, just press your thumb into the soft skin and pry the pieces away and you’ll be greeted by a nicely arranged array of white sacs that looks like pale miniature Cempedaks. They will be wrapped in yellow tendrils extending from the husk and stuck to the main stem of the fruit found in the center. To eat, just twist the fruit and pop it into your mouth and the center of the fruit consists of a single oval shape brown seed. A single Tarap can hold as much as 150 to 200 little sacs within but the size of the fruits will vary from tree to tree.
Excuse me while I go open and enjoy another Buah Tarap.
After all this time of enduring the rough track to the farm we finally had the road tar sealed!
We drove over the road right after it was completed and smiled like idiots the whole evening.
We have not been accepting any bookings for the past 2 weeks and it looks like we will be have to work harder at finishing all the knick knacks that need to be completed by December when our next guest’s begin to arrive for their homestay booking.
One thing is for sure, all the repainting alone is hardwork and its amazing to think that only 10 years ago we were painting the same bungalows. We hope the rain will not come as often as it does almost every afternoon.
The Kebun is now undergoing a bit of sprucing up now that we have decided to officially open up the farm for homestay bookings. Busy lot we are what with some repainting and minor repairs going on apart from our usual chores. We really want to thank all of you previous visitors that encouraged us to turn the farm into a proper homestay experience. We are not accepting anymore walk in guest’s for the moment until mid December where our committed bookings shall continue.
Sometimes we come across tortoises in the stream more often at night when we go skinny dipping hunting for freshwater prawns. This time we had the camera handy. I don’t know what kind of tortoise this is but it is one of the more common types we have come across on the farm.
It would be good if someone could help us identify the species.
We went hunting for freshwater prawns a few early mornings before light. The stream was rather quiet that morning save for the crickets and frogs. Fresh prawns like these taste lip smacking good cooked whatever way but for a quickie it’s 2 minute instant noodles for us.
No one has been able to confirm if these are the juvenile of the what the locals call the Udang Galah but those huge fellows are even better eating. Now I am hungry.