Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Sweet Tangerine Fruit in My backyard

Sweet tangerines

Tangerine is varieties of citrus, come from place called Tangier, Morocco. Tangerine with scientific name Citrus tangerina is hybrid of Mandarin (Citrus reticulata), well known fruit of China's origin. The fruit first time come to Florida, USA is a quite long time ago, around 1800s.

Florida once to be center of Tangerine production in the USA. However, diseases created great loss to tangerine farmers, especially in the last 11 years. Bacteria spread by insects, psyllid caused wrinkling fruits, then trees died slowly.

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Branches bear a lot of fruits

California replaces Florida as center for Tangerine production in the USA currently. California has produced 41 percent of citrus, include Tangerine, Valencia and Navel. Tangerine is growing popular right now. 

We planted a Tangerine tree in the backyard and harvest the fruits in November every year. The citrus has thin and loose skin; thus, we could pull away the skin from the fruit easily. The orange is sweet, even as one of the sweetest fruits I ever eat. 

I the southern parts of USA (Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas), Tangerine grows well, and the fruits ripe from October to January. Many people said that Tangerines sweeter and stronger flavor than other oranges. 

Why not Just try it? 


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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Limousine and Motorcade in Funeral Procession

Polices blocked my way

I was frightening when police motorbike and cars stop me suddenly while green light turn on. I ask myself:” what wrong with me?” Then, I saw at least two Limousines and many other types of cars pass through from another road (my right). 

It was first time for me to see funeral procession in the America. Funeral processions have the rights to continue their driving even when red traffic light, and we must stop to allow procession pass though while our traffic light is green. Never cut in a funeral procession.

We may resume our traffic after the last vehicle of procession pass through by looking the flags. The last vehicle usually has at least two flags and it has light flashing sometimes.    

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Monday, October 29, 2018

A waterfall in the National Park of Smoky Mountains

A small waterfall

Around 22 million visitors, recreational visitors and non-recreational visitors have come to national park of Great Smoky Mountains yearly. The mountains cover two states, Tennessee and North Carolina.

We come through Tennessee entrance, luckily no entrance fee for smoky mountains. This is the only national park without entrance fee in the US. However, the relate tourist industries contribute billion dollars to revenue of states annually and encourages communities small scale enterprises that good for local economy. 

A small stream

We choose hiking routes provided by national park, since that we could observe beauty of nature through the trail. We found wild flowers seem to bloom year-round. We could also see a waterfall, rivers and streams.

There are dozens of waterfalls recorded by national park. We walk no more than 2 hours around, thus we can’t see a lot of things, but we feel amazing enough about the great Smoky mountains.  

Leaves colors start to change

There are around 100 species of trees in the great smoky mountains, include hickories, maples, oaks and sweetgum. In the early October, many trees start to change their leaves colors: green to yellow to red. 

Leaves colors changed

The best time to see fall foliage is from mid-October to early November. We could see yellow, half green, brown and red leaves at lower and mid elevations of the mountains. Look so wonderful for me. 









Thursday, October 18, 2018

Live Brown Crabs Sold in the Grocery

Live brown crab

We have at least 6 types commercial crab sold in the USA markets, they are: dungeness crab; snow crab; jonah crab; stone crab and king crab. In facts, there are around 40 species of king crabs, but 3 only are widely sold in the market that are brown (golden), blue and red. 

What I found in the market is brown crab, scientific name is Lithodes aequispinus. The crab could reach 11 pounds weight and 6 feet leg span from tip to tip. The size I saw in the grocery in my town not so that big. The weight might be close to 4 to 8 pounds (2 to 4 kg), but the leg no more than 1.5 feet.

This crab distributed all over the world from North Sea to Atlantic Ocean to Bering sea to Mediterranean Sea. King crab which we saw in American groceries mainly come from Alaska, but also import from as far as Norway and Russia. 

Price sold in the groceries around US$ 6 per-pound, thus one brown king crab with 8-pound weight reaches price of US$ 48. Very much expensive for me.

Cooked crab shells turn to red 

How to cook live king crabs? It is easy, just boiling or steaming in the pot for no more than 30 minutes. Some groceries sold frozen crabs, these crabs cooked already, need several minutes to reheat by microwave or oven. 

All species of crabs or even shrimps regardless of their natural (raw) colors (brown, blue, black or golden), their shells will turn to red when cooked.




Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Coconut Oil: From Cooking to Health Treatment

Kinds of coconut oil products sold at groceries

I used to cook, especially to fry with coconut oil more than 10 years ago, but surprisingly many coconut oil-based products are developed recently. When I come to the Walmart grocery at my town, there are plenty of multi-purposes coconut oil products. 

Yes, there is coconut oil for cooking. But many other coconut oil-based products made me interest such as for coffee (hot drinks) blending, for fragrance, for dipping (like spooning out pudding), for moisturizing skin and many others. 

Naturally refined coconut oil

I bought a naturally refined coconut oil, an organic product from Walmart. The cost is US$9.8 for 56 oz size. It is called as "a naturally refined," because without using chemical during processing of product, simply just traditionally or mechanically processing. 

In respect to health, naturally refined is one of the best oils, because contain a good fat (cholesterol-free) and can be consumed as an immediate source of energy. It is good for substitutes of margarine and butter in baking or cooking. 

In treatment, it is a perfect for skin cares (hand, body or face), since the oil is a good moisturizer. I my self use coconut oil for shaving cream, moisture my skin and treat my hair to grow healthier.  

I am using coconut oil to treat my hair for the last 3 months. I treat my hair for around 15 minutes, then wash with organic hair wash. The result makes me happy: I feel my hear grow well, even shinier (look from mirror), softer and healthier.  


  

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Pumpkins Sold in the Small Farmer Market

Decorate of plastic pumpkins

Since the middle of September, one of farmer markets in our town has sold the pumpkins. We noticed four different kinds of pumpkins, they are (actually, I don’t know exactly, but I just guess) large orange pumpkins (Cucurbita maxima); common pumpkins or summer squash or styrian pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo); blue jarrahdale; and kinds of cushaw. 

Large pumpkins are ready for carving

As we know that the large pumpkins for decorating during October (before and during Halloween), but some people eating the seeds and flesh. However, these pumpkins not grown for eating purposes or not good for eating directly (after boiling), but might be suitable for making pie. 

Small pumpkins or common pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo)

We have several pumpkins with a little bit small size than pumpkins for carving, one of them has scientific name Cucurbita pepo. This pumpkin is grown specially as source of food. The pumpkin also called as pie or sugar pumpkin due to its sweetness. This pumpkin could be used as oatmeal, roasted veggie, soups and loaves. 

Blue jarrahdale

Blue jarrahdale pumpkin is smaller in size, I do not know what purposes of this pumpkin grown for: either for eating or decorating only or both. I read from “google” that Blue jarrahdale is bigger pumpkin actually, and be used for food and pie as well.

Some kinds of Cushaw?

Cushaw pumpkin is called as winter squash, harvested from winter to spring in American south. The color is green striped, but many varieties are yellow or half yellow and green. We found bigger and smaller size, the bigger ones could reach to 20 pounds and 11 inch in diameter each. 

Nutritionist said that pumpkins contain vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Thus, very good for supporting health of our heart. Potassium also known as good mineral for control high blood pressure or hypertense treatments.










Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A Quiet Corner of Populous Amsterdam

Small “motels” for rent

Amsterdam, Holland is a crowd city, like there are a lot of party every day for me. But, many important public buildings include restaurants, coffee shops, theaters, museum and other relate entertainment premises are walking or cycling distance.

Almost any corners of Amsterdam or big cities in the Holland could be reached by public transportations, they are buses, trams and metro lines. The regular schedule for these public transportations are from early morning (6.00 AM) to midnight (12.30 AM). 

Do not be worry after 12.30 AM, city of Amsterdam provides limited number of buses until 7.00 AM. Thus, public transportation available 24 hours. Quite different with many cities in the USA where public transportations almost not exist with very restricted operation hours.  

However, we could avoid populous of Amsterdam by finding a quiet corner with a beautiful scenery, but still not far from the heart of city. The location around 2.5 km from   Dutch National Opera and Ballet.

There are floating houses in one of canals that we could rent for several days. We might take meal while enjoying the excited views. Many “friendly” or tamed swans swim around, and even we could feed them.