Happy is the farmer who can go abroad while the farm sleeps in winter. This year being my turn, i am enjoying banana fritters, coconut water, rambutan, jackfruit, starfruit, and other local delicacies of Malaysian culture on the island of Borneo where my son and his family have lived these past 13 years. If one looks at a globe, i am on the other side of the world, close to the equator in the tropical rainforest of Sarawak, the largest state in Malaysia.
Here, my son, a chip off the old block, is a backyard horticulturist. His favorite hobby is bonzai. I’m impressed with his creations, never having done anything like it myself. Here are a few. Its been 4 years since I was last here. Tropical plants grow fast. Bamboo shoots spike up from the ground and within days they are above your head. These shots of his yard show the lush foliage in every direction, including fragrant frangipani trees, tall coconut trees, and exotic fronds of every description. A good permaculture backyard has chickens to eat the insects and food waste. Zayn’s backyard sports a fine flock of feathered poultry. They free range around the yard and the hens are broody. Zayn allows them to sit and hatch out their young rather than eating the tiny eggs. He tells me that when the flock grows too large, he has a friend in the next neighborhood who will take the extras. My grandson, Ridhwan, herds them back to the yard when they wander down the road. He’s been designing and building a better chicken coop, too.
So here I am with only a few days left to enjoy this delicious feast for the senses and the love of my family. But I am happy to have had this time to relax and gear up for another season of Michigan farming. Here’s a parting shot, taken at a nearby fishing village. For those who are curious to know more about Malaysian life and culture, Zayn writes with humor and delight on his web blog. http://www.bingregory.com